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Old October 3rd, 2010, 07:12 PM   #31
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A few more for the rule book:

As a boom operator, when choosing a place to stand don't stand on the key light side of the frame. The chances of your boom shadow appearing in the shot increase exponentially.


Not sure if this is in there but when recording split the signal to different channels. Set one channel quieter then you main channel in case an actor gets to quiet.

If you're a production mixer don't bother riding gain during a take. Seriously. When I do audio post it is much easier for me to run noise reduction and then ride the track with software automation then it is for me to change my noise reduction due to the preamp (gain/faders) being adjusted. Set them before the takes, get your room tone and then proceed!

When recording 24-bit audio you can record at lower levels. PEAK at -20dBFS. Average around -30dBFS. 24-bit gives you a ton of headroom above the quantization noise floor. Being able to record at lower levels and still having a usable track is the biggest reason you're recording at 24-bits in the first place!
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 07:57 PM   #32
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Bad, bad, bad!!!!
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:46 PM   #33
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What number are we up to? :)

Don't think this one's been added.

When you're running boom especially indoors, once the mic position has been established and everyone's happy .. fix a direct eyeline from you to the head of the mic to a spot on a wall.

This is so for all retakes you can position the mic in exactly the same position to start the scene.

Cheers.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 11:09 PM   #34
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Quick note

I get a tremendous amount out of these forums. Thank you so much to everyone who contributes. Learning at a rapid pace :)
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Old October 12th, 2010, 01:31 AM   #35
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The one thing that hit me was the statement that if your ears can hear it, it will be picked up and recorded (or something like that). When you put a pair of cans on most people with decent mics set right, they are amazed at all the sound they can hear. I'd simply say that if they background contans objectionable noise you can hear with your ears, it will be WORSE when recorded and you need to address it when you hear it with your ears.

Most filmmakers think you can fix anything with ADR or using Soundsoap (for example) or by using a notch filter. It is way easier to fix it on the set in many cases.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 02:00 AM   #36
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One problem is that our senses are so unreliable. We don't hear what we don't want to hear, but even if we want to hear it we hear what our brain makes of the signal, not the signal itself. We'll hear musical notes that aren't there because we infer them from the harmonic series. We think the newly risen full moon close to the horizon is bigger than at zenith when it's exactly the same size to the camera - purely an illusion with no physical basis whatsoever (see Emmert's Law) just because we're misapplying visual clues.

I can't count the number of times something has sounded just fine while listening but was almost inaudible when editing. Headphones are the only answer - what we hear with the naked ear is not what the mic is hearing.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #37
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The can's/mics definitely hear more than our ears, that's why the assertion that if you hear it with your ears - it's getting recorded, is so true. The term, "We'll fix it in post." is usually only delivered as a joke on my sets.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #38
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OT Digression: during my studio days, the joke on the set of most sitcoms was "It'll get funnier in post" because they would just crank up the laugh track.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 02:31 PM   #39
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I'm not sure the mics hear more than our ears as much as they don't ignore as much as our brains. So even though it's stimulating your ears your brain can tune it out and the net is that we record what we "DON'T hear as well as what we DO hear. Or more accurately we record things we weren't paying attention to so we're always surprised to find out that the recording chain wasn't as selective as our ear/brain combination. In the end it's the samr - if you don't listen through cans you're in for a big surprise after the fact.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 08:01 PM   #40
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It should be no surprise that we perceive recorded sound differently than live sound. After all, we perceive a printed picture differently than the same scene viewed live. As a photographer and DP, it took me years to begin to understand the difference in visual perception between live and photographed images. The true insight for me in doing sound was to realize that similar principles apply to sound.

As with a photographed image, the most important thing in recording sound is TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS. We can ignore or tune them out in real life, but can't do it with a recorded image.

As with photography, good sound is a matter of cutting things out, NOT what you include. In my experience, the "foreground" sound usually takes care of itself; it's what's behind the object of interest that will make or break you.

Martin
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Old October 12th, 2010, 09:27 PM   #41
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Well put! How many amateur photos do we see with, for example a lovely photo of a young couple on their honeymoon standing in in front ot a lovely scene - with a dead skunk lying in the road behind them.

Or something similar.

I saw a silly video of Sarah Palin campaigning in a rural setting while someone in the background was going about his business of killing chickens. Was it real or a send-up of some kind? Who knows - but it was a great example of what we're talking about..
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Old October 12th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #42
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That was a turkey getting killed. It was real. It was for Thanksgiving or Xmas, and when they started the segment there was no killing, but an employee walked up and started doing it and they had to keep rolling. Funny as hell!
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Old March 18th, 2012, 10:44 PM   #43
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Re: Basic Rules of Production Sound

Thought I'd resurrect this thread to add another rule:

Leave the corduroy pants at home, ESPECIALLY if you're going to be doing walking shots.

I came up with this addition when I was handling the boom while we were recording the sound of a woman walking across an empty parking garage in high heels. It went something like this:

Clack wisp clack wisp clack wisp clack wisp clack wisp clack wisp....
ME (turning to the guy handling the mixer and recorder): You're wearing corduroy pants, aren't you?
MIXER GUY: How can you tell?
ME: Why don't you play back that take?
MIXER GUY (after a long listen in the headphones): Yeah. Guess we need to do that one again.
ME: Only if you can walk like a sumo wrestler.

Regards;
Martin
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