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Old May 19th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #1
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Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

Hello Everyone!

I'm about to begin shooting an extremely low budget feature. My sound engineer and I have come up with a plan on how to go about capturing the sound. The problem is sound is my weakness, and he's a music producer and not typically a film guy.

We were planning on mic-ing the room with a couple decent condenser mics just for overall audio, then using a boom mounted Senheisser ME-66 for a more directional signal. Running them all through a mixer and into ProTools.

Someone mentioned ProTools isn't an ideal platform, which I understand, but we thought it might be working with since my sound guy is so familiar with it.

Is our workflow completely idiotic. Is there a better way to go about this?

Any recommendations whatsoever?
Thanks.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 06:45 PM   #2
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

The room mics will probably be useless...Too much room sound, not close enough to the voice. The ME-66 is a decent shotgun mic. Stick with that. Don't put it on camera, put it on a boom! Have a decent boom op to get it as close to the talent as possible. Maybe add a few lavs on your primary talent. How you capture it is up to you. I've never recorded location sound straight to ProTools, but I'm sure some have. I generally record from my mixer straight to camera or to an SD recorder like the Zoom H4n if it's a shoot with DSLR's.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #3
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

Will all activities take place in this one room? How many people will speak in any given scene?
What camera are you using and does it have any audio recording capabilities at all?

Recording direct to computer has been done, but I wouldn't personally recommend it.

I agree with Andy regarding the room mics, probably useless. I have and still use a K6/ME66, but indoors it's not great sounding compared to other mics.

What audio mixer did you plan to use?

Let us know!
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Old May 20th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #4
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

No. The activities will take place on about 15 different locations. Some indoor some outdoor. We were planning on using a Zoom H2 to get a good multidirectional room tone after a given take, when we're in the more fickle locations.

We're shooting on a Canon T2i... which I don't believe has a lot of audio recording capabilities.

What should we do instead of recording direct to computer?

I'm not 100% on the audio mixer, I've e-mailed my sound guy. I'll post info as soon as I have it. I know it's not a cheapie, but that's the extent of my knowledge.

Thanks
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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

Pro Tools would be horrendous to use for on-set location sound. Great for mixing and editing in post, but it's not meant to be used on-location for a film shoot. Go with boom recorder if at all possible. VOSGAMES - Boom Recorder
Much more straightforward.

However, you're indoors and outdoors on a small crew. Computer recorder generally works better with at least a 2-man sound crew, one as boom-op the other sitting away from set as the mixer where he can sit down and mix on a cart.

From the sound of it, you'll be MUCH better off with a portable recorder, rather than going straight to computer. In a perfect world, you'd have something like a Sound Devices SD552 mixer into a 744T recorder, with a range of other mics. However, since you mentioned a ME66 I'm guessing that's out of your budget. Can you state a $$$ budget for how much you and/or your sound engineer would be willing to drop on audio gear? (All all the gear + model numbers you currently have available)

Also, record room tone with the EXACT same setup as you recorded dialog. Same mic, same boom, same recorder, ect... just with no one talking and/or moving. The purpose of room tone is to match the production dialog, for dialog editing, which the H2 recording wouldn't.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 08:39 PM   #6
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole Seidl View Post

Is our workflow completely idiotic. Is there a better way to go about this?
Yes and Yes.

Read all the books below.

http://www.amazon.com/Producing-Great-Sound-Video-Expert/dp/024080970X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306028125&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/Film-Sound-Practice-Elisabeth-Weis/dp/0231056370/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306028041&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Television-Third-Tomlinson-Holman/dp/0240813308/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306028125&sr=1-3
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:11 AM   #7
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

For location sound keep it simple and keep it mono, it's what we have been doing in the pro industry for over 60 years. Put the mic on a boom and get as close to the action as possible and record it to the camera or to an external device.

Pro tools as said is ideal for post and editing but is totally unsuitable for location recording such as this, it has it's uses for multi track music work but it total overkill for drama or doco's.

Your stereo mic's may be useful but not for recording the main action but for doing room or wild track sound recordings that can be added during the edit, a sep sound recorder is also very useful for this.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:33 AM   #8
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

We used Protools for track laying a 35mm short film I directed. For various reasons we didn't always have a sound recordist during the shooting days, so most of the sound track was built up in post using foley and sound FX recorded after the filming was finished. I think there were 24 tracks all together mixed to Dolby Surround Sound.

Yes, mono sound except for the stereo buzz or atmos tracks during the recording. You can then place each track into the stereo sound picture in post during the mix..
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 01:19 AM   #9
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

I think the Zoom H4n is a great solution if you can't afford a more pro recorder and mixer (like the Sound Devices gear recommended earlier). You can record two signals independently through the inputs (1/4" or XLR), and you can also simultaneously record with the built-in stereo mics (which of course wouldn't be ideal for most film sound recording, but could be useful for ambient sound or whatever).
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:22 AM   #10
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Re: Is there a decent ProTools workflow for film?

Since this is low budget, I am assuming your audio guy owns Pro Tools hardware and software. That means he has either high-end Digidesign multi-channel audio I/O hardware, or the cheaper M-Audio USB (or FireWire) interfaces with Pro Tools LE. Depending on which hardware he has, multi-mic setup may or may not be a good idea.

If he has multi-channel audio hardware (i.e. 4 XLR inputs or more), so that you can record each mic on a separate audio track, then your idea is fine. Otherwise, you shouldn't mix multiple mics into a single stereo pair on-location, live, during the shoot. Not even if the guy is a seasoned audio pro. Your better bet would be to capture clean dialogue with that boom mic (i.e. one single mono track), and then capture room tone separately, possibly with two mics, for stereo image.

If you are on a tight budget, and your audio guy really wants to capture multiple microphones, and his audio hardware does NOT have enough tracks, there are many cheap and quite good USB audio interfaces out there with 6 - 8 XLR mic inputs (with phantom power). Tascam has US 800 ($200) or US-1800 ($300), with 6 or 8 XLR inputs, and they are quite clean. They wont' work with Pro Tools, though, but you could use whatever comes with them (I believe some OEM version of Cubase), or even GarageBand (if your audio guy has a MacBook or another Mac).
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