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Old November 18th, 2010, 06:51 PM   #1
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Isd my on-set sound recording workflow OK?

Firstly, just want to thank all people who have contributed to this forum. It is simply AWESOME! I have learned so much, and will continue to do so. Also, I love the positive attitude here.

I am about to record all dialogue, atmosphere and room tone for a short film.

I am using a H4n, with a Senn 416/boom set-up. My plan is to record in 4-channel mode as follows:

-The Senn 416 will plug into Input 1 to record dialogue. I will turn the stereo matrix on so that the dialgoue is centered in the stereo field.

- The internal pair of mics will be on at the same time to capture the atmosphere.

Are there any problems with that set-up?

Finally, I am planning to place the boom mics aprrox. 20-24 inches away from the speaker's mouths, One thing that is bugging me right now is getting consistent volume levels. If in a dialogue speaker A projects a stronger voice than speaker B (that is, volume levels will vary), will that cause any problems in post?

I hope my questions make some sense, and I look foward to reading any advice/suggestions you offer.

Cheers
Miggy
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Old November 19th, 2010, 02:21 AM   #2
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In need of an URGENT hand

The office I am working RIGHT NOW in has a lot of reverb.

I am going to kill the internal mics, and just use Input 1 (one channel). I will set Input 1 to mono mix. (The stereo matrix option seems to raise the noise floor, so I'm killing that option.)

I will do atmosphere and room tone as completely seperate files.

Man, this is wild and crazy...
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Old November 19th, 2010, 05:23 AM   #3
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It's difficult to cover two speakers with one, stationary, shotgun mic. The pattern of optimal pickup is too narrow to cover both. You need a boom operator who knows the script as well as the talent and camera to swing the mic to follow the action. The sweet spot for the mic is for it to be kept aimed within a circle of about 8 inches diameter centred on the throat of the person speaking at the moment. When the other person speaks, they pause a beat while the mic is pointed to the new speaker.

Shotgun mics usually sound terrible in a reverberant space such as you describe. Hang LOTS of sound blankets to deaden the space and consider using a hypercardioid mic instead of a shotgun for those scenes.

Do not record atmosphere while the actors are speaking. You want the set as silent as possible in order o capture the voices as cleanly as possible. Room tone is recorded separately, with everyone and all equipment in place but standing still and silent. Atmosphere (which is NOT the same thing as room tone) is recorded when you can capture the natural sounds on the location without any other sounds intruding and you might not even do that the same day.

Record your dialog on one track only, not as a centred stereo.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 05:32 AM   #4
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I agree with Steve, record the dialogue as mono and get yourself a boom operator.

Also read up on single camera shooting as you can do the scene three times, once as a wide shot cover and then as two singles of each actor, you can then intercut the clean dialogue on the singles with the master wide shot.

As Steve also says any stereo room buzz or atmos should be recorded afterwards so you then have a clean "wildtrack" to add width to the image in post and also to cover any edit points when you can make the buzz track mono. It may also be useful to record a buzz track with the same mic as the dialogue so it matches but you should be Ok using just the stereo mic on the zoom for most things.

A 416 is a great mic for drama but a hypercardioid mic such as the neuman KM84 will be better in a live room situation, as a budget mic the AT875R is also a good general purpose mic and you can hear some examples from a feature I did last year below. The mic is on a boom and these are the master wide shots we did with the mic about 20 inches away, we then did single close up's on each actor to cover the main part of the dialogue and get in closer. This was just the mic straight into the back of the camera a panasonic HPX-301.

YouTube - 0004OS - iPhone.m4v
YouTube - 00104R - iPhone.m4v

The HPX301 has four audio tracks so I am lucky to have most things in the camera but I always keep it simple, the exterior also had two radio mic's on ch 3+4 but it was the boom that we used on all of our shots as I had a good guy Ed Sunman on the other end of it.

What camera are you using for this shoot? It may be best to just record the dialogue to the camera like we did and use the zoom to do the stereo buzz tracks.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 07:05 AM   #5
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Gents

Thanks for the awesome advice! We just wrapped for the night (midnight), and I can't wait to read the posts more thoroughly.

For the record, I recorded all dialogue with the mono-mix setting on, through the boom mic via input 1.

If I record sound as one track tomorrow, will that cause any problems in post/ for the editor?

I also logged all the sound takes. A great idea, and one I picked up right here!

Cheers again for the advice...

Mike
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Old November 19th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #6
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Sound on one track will be fine in post for most edits but if you are doing drama you need to keep an ear out for dialogue overlaps as it will be more difficult to edit the sound and use it over single shots.

On some drama the reverse angle may use the sound from the previous shot for continuity so your actors should be aware not to overlap too much.

If you do get into any problems you could always ADR (additional/automatic dialogue recording/replacement) or even record rehearsals as they may be useful in the edit.

The outside scene from that dram I posted on you tube was a huge long take and we did it lots of times from all sorts of angles and the final audio camera from different takes and was overlaid on different shots to cheat so that the performance flowed.

Hope that makes sense its always easier to do these type of things rather than try and describe them.

This may also be helpful:PRODUCTION SOUND ESSENTIALS
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Old November 21st, 2010, 06:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
I agree with Steve, record the dialogue as mono and get yourself a boom operator.
I followed your advice Gary and Steve. I have been recording all dialogue mono.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
Also read up on single camera shooting as you can do the scene three times, once as a wide shot cover and then as two singles of each actor, you can then intercut the clean dialogue on the singles with the master wide shot.
Gary, are you saying that you can overdub the master wide shot with dialogue from the singles? If that is the case, are there issues with syncing up the sound and action?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
It may also be useful to record a buzz track with the same mic as the dialogue so it matches but you should be Ok using just the stereo mic on the zoom for most things.
I've been getting atmosphere and room tone tracks through the same mic as the dialogue, AND the H4n's pair of speakers. Is that a good idea? I read somehwre here that 'REDUNDANCY' is a good thing with audio: the more, the better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
What camera are you using for this shoot?
Canon 7D. The DP working that thing is AMAZING!!! The images are so sharp, so filmic...


Again, I REALLY appreciate your help Gary and Steve. And thanks for the links Gary.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:15 AM   #8
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Yes it is possible to cheat the single shot dialogue over the wide shot but it all depends how good your actors and editor is, you can also cheat dialogue over single shots.

The more takes and wild tracks you have the better as it gives the editor more to play with.

I am also an ex dialogue editor on features and sometimes you need to steal one word from a different take to make an edit work, I have even edited vowel sounds to cover edits and any faults that may be problematic.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 11:10 AM   #9
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All of the advise so far has been great. One other thing I like to do is record the single mic into both tracks as mono. that way I can have one track's gain set slightly lower. It has saved me many times when an actor gets a little over zealous with his line delivery and clipping occurs on one channel.

-Garrett
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Old November 24th, 2010, 01:07 AM   #10
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Garrett, do you know how I could record the single mic into both tracks as mono using a H4n?
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Old November 24th, 2010, 05:04 AM   #11
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A simple cable mic splitter will allow recording on both channels, there may also be an option on it to record dual mono to both tracks. The latest firmware will also allow you to set different levels for each channel.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 06:44 PM   #12
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...it all depends how good your actors and editor is...
The actors were very well-versed, and there weren't that many line i.e they kept hitting their lives and very rarely varied any of the dialgoue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
The more takes and wild tracks you have the better as it gives the editor more to play with.
We had so many takes that the English speaking crew were able to mimic the actor's lines, which were often in Hindi!!! The Hindi speaking actors loved it...
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