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Old November 17th, 2010, 05:54 PM   #1
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Advice for filming in woodland

A few years ago I shot a piece to camera in a small woodland setting. Although I could not hear any background noise being too great a problem to me, I found that in post my voice was being drowned by the noise of leaves from the higher levels of the trees which were making a lot of noise, despite there being little to no wind at ground level.

I did do 2 takes - audio wise - once using a wireless lav. mic (with foam cover) and again using a Sennheiser ME66 with dead cat held at just above waist level out of shot. To my surprise,it was the latter that proved the clearest recording, but still left much to be desired.

I have seen professional footage shot in similar settings with little to no rustling leaf noise in noticably windier conditions - so what's the secret? what is my best option?

I have to do a similar shoot shortly and would like to make a clearer recordng without me having to spend hours doing a mix dub
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Old November 17th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #2
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If the shotgun was held at waist level, it was pointed up at an angle, 'looking' directly at the leaves above and behind the talent. Of course it's going to hear any noise they're making as they are right in the zone of maximum pickup for the mic. Next time position the mic above the talent on the camera line so it points down toward the mouth at an angle of about 45 degrees. That way it's pointing at the ground behind the talent instead of the trees.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 01:44 AM   #3
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Steve,
Interesting. When I am filming alone, I was experimenting with holding the microphone myself at the waist level and pointed upwards. You suggestion appears logical. I will try it this weekend.

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Old November 19th, 2010, 06:42 AM   #4
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Steve that sounds logical, the reason for the waist-level is two fold 1. the make-shift stand I use for the mic is only 3ft 6in high and 2. during the course of the filming I have the camera pan both to my left and right at different points.

As you will have guessed I am working alone as presenter, cameraman and sound engineer!! and if that sounds like a compromise you should see me using bamboo canes gaffer taped to the tripod handle in order to do the panning! - Its as well I don't have an audience!...... I am going to have to 'design' something that will move with the camera at greater heights
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Old November 19th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Philip Younger View Post
Steve that sounds logical, the reason for the waist-level is two fold 1. the make-shift stand I use for the mic is only 3ft 6in high and 2. during the course of the filming I have the camera pan both to my left and right at different points.

As you will have guessed I am working alone as presenter, cameraman and sound engineer!! and if that sounds like a compromise you should see me using bamboo canes gaffer taped to the tripod handle in order to do the panning! - Its as well I don't have an audience!...... I am going to have to 'design' something that will move with the camera at greater heights
The solution to that is to put together a taller mic stand. A C-stand will go up about 8 feet or so. Set it up to the side out of shot. On top put a 'boom buddy" (ie, fishing pole holder from the boat store). Place a counter-weighted mic boom horizontally in the holder extending over the camera line to put the mic just out of frame in front of and above you. Problem solved.

Why are you working alone? If you need more hands to do the job right, the solution is not to improvise, it is to get the required number of hands to come work with you.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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The wireless lav, with good proximity, should provide good audio.

Perhaps the lav had its gain set too high? Try it with lower gain and see how it sounds.

I use lav mics a lot and they work very well, even on boats with engines running at trolling speeds.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:28 PM   #7
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Why are you working alone? If you need more hands to do the job right, the solution is not to improvise, it is to get the required number of hands to come work with you.
I am not doing this commercially, it is a project I am doing for myself (and family) on my family history. This section of the project is filmed in France on the World War 1 battlefields and cemeteries - lots of open space ,wind, rustling trees. I have a very limited budget.

I am returning to the Somme again shortly and want to try to get it right this time!
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:34 PM   #8
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Why are you recording live audio in the woods? Sounds like a perfect solution for ADR. And I'd probably be using something much more close mic than a shotgun if I could. The lav, if done correctly, should be nearly ideal. Learn how to hide it, and you should eliminate much of your problem. There are good guides online for learning to hide lav mics.

Sounds like a nice project, but probably pretty hard to do alone.
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