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Old July 15th, 2004, 08:29 AM   #1
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Dumb question about stereo sound

My beachtek device allows me to record 2 different sound inputs simultaneously on 2 separate audio tracks (I think) to get stereo sound. I've just been recording mono which is then played in both speakers. To do stereo I assume I would need 2 mics or I guess there are stereo mics made as well? Most of my recording is with a fishpole of dialogue while people are moving around, and it seems like having that in stereo would sound better. Anyway, I just don't know how people usually do this. Record with a stereo mic, two mics or just change it in post. Does someone mind educating an ignorant novice?
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Old July 15th, 2004, 09:53 AM   #2
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Your BeachTek does allow keeping the inputs separated for either stereo or two-track mono, or you can send a single input to both channels, or you can have two inputs mixed to both channels.
True stereo does require either a stereo mic or two mics set up in a stereo configuration. There has to be a relationship between left and right at the location and how left and right are recorded on the camera in order to have stereo.
For example if you have a lav mic clipped to a subject and then also use an overhead boom on the same person and keep those two tracks separated, then you're doing two-track mono. You have two signals of the same person and there's no left or right directional information.
If you use a stereo mic or two mics pointed left and right and keep the tracks separate then you are doing true stereo.
For overhead booming of dialogue stereo is almost never used.
Adjustments in post-production can change the position of the sound from left to right but it's almost always kept centered for dialogue so an equal amount is heard in both channels. This is pretty easy to do with most non-linear editing software, regardless of how you recorded the original tracks.
Stereo is used for ambient tracks to give a "feel" for the situation. Sometimes doing this requires using an extra recorder if you want to get stereo ambience and isolate an actor or presenter in mono all simultaneously.
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Old July 15th, 2004, 11:28 AM   #3
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I was doing post audio at NBC when we decided to do Baseball in stereo. In our testing and experimenting we found that moving the announcers even a little off center tended to pull the eye to the edge of the screen anytime the announcer spoke.

You will also find that just about all movie dialog is placed squarely in the center for much the same reason. Even most sound effects are place in the center of the screen. Music and some atmospheric effects are the main users of stereo and surround sound channels and they aren’t moved around much in a given scene, just placed and left there to give a sense of place to the scene.

Any time sounds are moved around actively in stereo or surround great care is taken to ensure that attention is not diverted from the action on the screen. Please remember that even in a large screen movie theater the “sound stage” is much wider than the screen.

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Old July 15th, 2004, 01:08 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I appreciate it.
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