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Old September 9th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #16
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Well like he said, he is just outlining some things that will really effect the production if not taken into consideration.. Yeah three minutes is kinda long..but if you try to hit that mark, you'll have plenty with whatever you get....which is all we can hope to expect out of any production.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 04:48 AM   #17
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30 seconds room tone will mean you get to do it again. Otherwise the producers will find it too intrusive a process and the director wont probably keep supporting your requests for silence.

Somethings you can hear the mic actually wont hear, or can be filtered such as low end rumble which wont come through on a lav with high pass filter engaged. Also distant chat in tv studios can be lost below the noise floor.

It is important to not over react to 'noises off' or you may find it hard to shoot anything in some locations. For example this shot, part of the script etc may have music over it and said interview might be heavily edited. This is where experience comes in. On a drama it's different from a doco etc..
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Old September 10th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #18
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Well the need for recording this ambient sound is as a filler for a section that might be missing sound in post or an extension on a scene...maybe to patch up someone's cell phone going off during the quiet part of a scene.... Correct?

Maybe it would be best if the sound man shows up early, or perhaps comes back after everything is packed up and gone..

Last edited by Terry Lee; September 10th, 2010 at 05:51 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
"I've run into several sound people who didn't understand the basics of sound recording"

Then I wouldn't refer to them as "sound people". At least not in professional sense.
When the director and the producers have declared them "the sound person," you'd pretty much better refer to them the same way, regardless of their capabilities and your personal opinion.

I've strung together blank stretches of audio to "fake" a missing room tone (somebody else did the audio and handed it off to me), and it worked, sorta. The problem was that there were certain "periodicities" in the room tone, caused by having to use chunks of the same dead sound over and over. Sixty seconds would have been better; two minutes would have been better.

I suppose it helps to have a good working relationship with the director and producers. If you can make the case for quality, I've been able to make reasonable requests and get them granted. Like everything else on the set, you've got to read the situation carefully and pick your battles just as carefully.

I don't mean to give the impression that the "Rules" are a set of inflexible demands. You HAVE to work within the current situation you find yourself in.

The topic seems to have taken a turn into the realm of discussing chili recipes or your favorite beer. Everyone puts their own "fingerprints" on their audio work, and has their own approach to doing so. It comes down the: "it doesn't matter if you're an Audio Wizard or Oddeo Wizurd as long as it sounds good."

Keep that in mind.

Regards;
Martin
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Old September 10th, 2010, 09:13 PM   #20
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As engineers, we tend to nit-pick everything.. (At least audio eng's)
A good general list though, just the same Martin.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 03:16 AM   #21
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Most sound I guys I know do about a minute of room tone. It seems endless, but it keeps people happy without annoying them. However, it does tend to run longer if there are sounds that weren't there during the filmed action (motor bikes, cars, aircraft etc), these are surprisingly common.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 11:12 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
Well the need for recording this ambient sound is as a filler for a section that might be missing sound in post or an extension on a scene...maybe to patch up someone's cell phone going off during the quiet part of a scene.... Correct?

Maybe it would be best if the sound man shows up early, or perhaps comes back after everything is packed up and gone..
You're pretty much correct. You need a "bed" of the normal environmental noise to lay down any material you're adding in or replacing. You'd be surprised at some of the audio shenanigans you can get away with AS LONG as the background audio is consistent.

Arriving early or staying late can work in most situations. I usually try to grab room tone immediately after the last take for a given scene, the reason being that in some places, the nature of the sound changes over the day (traffic, people moving about, weather shifts, wind changes, etc.). Grabbing ambient after the last take usually works because everyone has a sense of accomplishment after completing a shot (especially if it's a tough one), so you can grab what you need in the "breather" the cast and crew are taking. They need a chance to wind down, anyway.

I agree that three minutes is a luxury you might not get; however, I like to dream big. I've never got anything I didn't ask for (including a hard time).

Martin
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Old September 11th, 2010, 12:01 PM   #23
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Just for clarity, room tone and atmosphere or ambience are not the same thing. Room tone is the "sound of silence" of a location. It's a combination of the sounds of air movement, people breathing, thermal noise of air molecules hitting the microphone diaphram, a zillion normally inaudible things that let you know a space is alive. Even an empty soundproof recording studio or announce booth has room tone - if you record someone speaking there, the room tone is what is on the track in between syllables. You use it to bridge cuts, etc. Imagine you've recorded the talent saying "My boy is growing up" and now you edit it to read "My .... (pause) .... boy is growing up." You need something to bridge that gap so it's not apparent that it wasn't originally recorded that way so you lay in room tone under it - that way the track doesn't have a hole in it. That room tone needs to match the tone under the speech so it needs to be recorded on the same location with everything and everyone in the same place it was during the speech recording. You even need it when the recording is of silence .... try recording 30 seconds of nothing in as perfectly quiet a location as you can find, drop the clip into your NLE, split it in the middle, slip the second section back 10 seconds to create a gap, and then listen to it play back. The sound of the hole is obvious. Ambience, OTOH, is a track of the way a location sounds or is believed to sound other than the sound of the dialog or Foley. It's essentially an FX track and it can be recorded anywhere and anytime. Imagine the above scene takes place at a table in the corner of a crowded restaurant. The camera angle is a closeup of the speaker's face with the wall behind him so we don't actually see any of the other patrons. We can record that on a soundstage with no other cast or extras present so we get prisitine dialog, then in post, create the illusion it was recorded in a restaurant by laying in underneath it an ambience track of background walla that was actually recorded in a working restaurant during the dinner service. Voila, the scene is believably to have been really shot in a corwded restaurant instead of in a contrived location. In editing we will need BOTH room tone to pull the edited version of his speech together without holes AND ambience to create the sonic atmosphere of a restaurant.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 08:22 PM   #24
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Depending on the level of production, size of crew, attitude of talent and producer/director, you are generally lucky to be able to record :30 of room tone. If you think about it, when recording "air" and just general ambiance, you can easily loop that room tone in any NLE or DAW so I am not sure why you would generally need more than about :30 to :45, unless there are non-repeatable sounds occurring during the room tone recording.

From a directors standpoint, directors are a selfish lot, it is their set and their time so they resent sound mixers taking even 2-3 minutes of it. And yes, some directors are sound savvy but most aren't so you just have to deal with that. They hate having especially high end talent wait around in silence for longer than :30, even at :60 you are pushing your luck. If you are shooting with "real people", usually not as much of a problem to record :60 of tone, but try having a hyperactive A-lister in an interview situation and :60 seems like 60 hours. I am on the side of the sound people but I also have worked in a lot of situations where pushing for even :30 could have resulted in a bad situation. Of course, we want to record tone for every setup, it is a good idea but there are times when you just can't record it.

I was shooting exteriors in a popular shooting neighborhood of LA yesterday. There was a huge Universal feature shooting a car chase right next to us on the street. We were shooting inside a building and just ran out onto the street to steal a shot of our talent entering the building. I had an LAPD officer telling us if we weren't done with our shot within about a minute, he was going to have to boot us back into our building. We went for it, got the shot, but definitely didn't have time to record any ambient room tone outside. It happens.

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Old September 13th, 2010, 02:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
If you think about it, when recording "air" and just general ambiance, you can easily loop that room tone in any NLE or DAW so I am not sure why you would generally need more than about :30 to :45, unless there are non-repeatable sounds occurring during the room tone recording.
I didn't want to jump in because I thought it'd sound stupid, but this is what I've always done -- Looped a short little section of room tone, and a lot less than :45 in some instances :/
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Old September 21st, 2010, 09:36 PM   #26
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Not quite on the room tone topic (and a good stretch of room tone can really save the edit) ....

I find that when recording a conference speaker with a room full of people, a collection of cough lozenges can be very helpful. Not perfect, but the less chunky bronchial coughs you have to manually edit out later, the better.

Someone coughing? Toss over a cough lozenge to them. They coughed again? Throw another cough lozenge at them! :-P

Andrew
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 07:11 PM   #27
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Okay, Rule 8 has been "officially" revised to SIXTY SECONDS of ambient or room tone. In hindsight, I went with three minutes originally because a lot of the locations we've been shooting at (outdoors) have lots of "intrusive" sounds (like chainsaws, overhead aircraft, sirens) that need to be cut out to piece together a good ambient sound bed.

Finished up doing sound for a music video last weekend. It was entertaining to watch an adorable four-foot nine-inch young lady wrestle the boompole. To her credit (and mine, I suppose, 'cause I tutored her), everything came out great.

Martin
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 09:22 PM   #28
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And if they cough a third time throw THEM at the lozenges???
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 10:57 PM   #29
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I guess I'd have to resort to the evil glare method. :-P

Andrew
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 06:18 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Catt View Post
Finished up doing sound for a music video last weekend. It was entertaining to watch an adorable four-foot nine-inch young lady wrestle the boompole. To her credit (and mine, I suppose, 'cause I tutored her), everything came out great.

Martin
Yep been there done that. The well endowed young lady hoisting the pole and bunching her assets together to the point where the talent asked our opinion for another op.

He didn't get one we didn't have one anyway and to our dismay she covered up. We didn't have one anyway, oh I said that.

Apologies to the gals here.

Cheers.
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