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Old June 20th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #1
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Actors walking into a room

I was wondering how one would tackle a problem like this:
I need a steadicam shot of a group of 3 people talking while walking down a hallway and then into a conference room. The camera will be in front of them moving backwards to cover them walking/talking. The problem is that a boom won't work because of the clearance of the doorway and the shot is too wide to get it close enough anyways.

Are there any solutions to this challenge? I know ADR is commonly used to solve issues like this, but I'm not sure if ADR will be feasible given the production constraints of our little short movie.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old June 20th, 2011, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: Actors walking into a room

You could use radio mics, it would help if each was given its own audio track.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 05:54 PM   #3
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Re: Actors walking into a room

Steve:

Wireless mic 101 setup, exactly the type of situation where a wireless will do it best. Rent GOOD quality wireless like Lectrosonics with good mics and this will be a breeze.

Dan
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Old June 21st, 2011, 02:44 AM   #4
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Re: Actors walking into a room

Place the boom underneath the camera and pointing upwards rather than over the top, otherwise radio mic's as suggested if the door is too tight to get the boom op and cameraman through.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 09:05 AM   #5
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Re: Actors walking into a room

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Lewis View Post
I was wondering how one would tackle a problem like this:
I need a steadicam shot of a group of 3 people talking while walking down a hallway and then into a conference room. The camera will be in front of them moving backwards to cover them walking/talking. The problem is that a boom won't work because of the clearance of the doorway and the shot is too wide to get it close enough anyways.

Are there any solutions to this challenge? I know ADR is commonly used to solve issues like this, but I'm not sure if ADR will be feasible given the production constraints of our little short movie.

Thanks,
Steve
As suggested probably radio mics and worth trying to boom from underneath. If booming is at all possible - also worth considering using two boom ops, one boom op walking with cam and up to the door and another boom op picking them up as they walk through the door and into the room.

Sounds fun :)
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 05:51 PM   #6
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Re: Actors walking into a room

Good tips. If I had four channels on my mixer, I would lav all three principles, then run a boom low and out of frame as suggested. Since I only have three channels, I'd probably just lav them all and ditch the boom, although I would try a dry run using only the boom run low before committing to the lavs. A good boom op should be able to pull it off.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:05 AM   #7
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Re: Actors walking into a room

Not sure if you have ever tried to boom from below when a herd of people are walking backwards down a hall way? it doesn't work well with the operator, focus puller, cable puller, dolly grip kicking your pole! Try from above 1st.a lot of time because you are in a hallway it channels all the sound forward so it may sound good even if you arn't really close. Worst come to worst get the actors to speak up! Good luck
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 01:03 AM   #8
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Re: Actors walking into a room

Put a decent shotgun mike on top of your camera, I presume you will be using a wide angle lens, which will put you close enough to the actors to get a decent level. This setup should also capture the ambience of the hallway.

Don't try to complicate the shot, simple solutions are often the best
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 04:21 AM   #9
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Re: Actors walking into a room

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Put a decent shotgun mike on top of your camera, I presume you will be using a wide angle lens, which will put you close enough to the actors to get a decent level. This setup should also capture the ambience of the hallway....
Even a decent shotgun needs to be less than 24 inches from the speaker's mouth for crisp and clean dialog recording. Picture shot with a wide angle lens from that range will be very distorted, giving the talent bulbous Bozo the Clown noses, etc. And hallway ambience, ie echos, ring and slap, is the last tthing you want in your sound 90% of the time.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 05:37 AM   #10
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Re: Actors walking into a room

The idea is to have the mike on camera, assuming the hallway/corridor will be limited in width. We have used this technique many times for TV productions. Yes, you may get ambience hall noises, is it a realistic effect you want or just a clean sterile sound track.

Not suggesting you should push a wide angle lens close into anyone's face, wide angles can be used to convey space and get the whole actor in and at the same time still stay close.

The bottom line is, use what ever works best for the production.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 11:55 AM   #11
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Re: Actors walking into a room

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Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
The idea is to have the mike on camera, assuming the hallway/corridor will be limited in width. We have used this technique many times for TV productions. Yes, you may get ambience hall noises, is it a realistic effect you want or just a clean sterile sound track.

Not suggesting you should push a wide angle lens close into anyone's face, wide angles can be used to convey space and get the whole actor in and at the same time still stay close.

The bottom line is, use what ever works best for the production.
If the mic is on the camera and the mic has to be less than 24 inches from the subject's mouth in order to get a proper recording (which it does), that implies the camera will also be less than 24 inches from the subject's face. That's an awfully close range to work with a wide angle lens (it's awfullly close with ANY lens when shooting people).
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:15 PM   #12
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Re: Actors walking into a room

Point taken Steve, we used this technique on several productions and the sound was usable, but then again the actors weren't reciting Shakespeare sonnets.

For clean audio then a radio mike will be a good option.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:21 PM   #13
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Re: Actors walking into a room

The shot you describe is one I did hundreds of times in my 25 years of carrying around that infernal machine--if we counted individual takes I have a feeling the number would get up into the thousands!

In virtually all instances the actors were wired and maybe half or less of the time there would be a boom, but as Sacha points out, it's a clusterfook of bodies backing up down the hallway with the boom guy at the back, so it's usually not worth it. And as Dan points out, two boom ops doing a handoff would be the only way to survive getting through the doorjamb. I never once had the request to attach a mike to the camera. To be honest, I wouldn't have allowed it.

The most phenomenal boom guys I worked with were on "ER". I used to marvel at how they would back into a corner and actually telescope down the length of the pole as the camera approached, then once it turned the corner, they'd scope it back out again and continue on--all without handling noise. Astonishing.

Unless you have a really skilled boom op, hallway shots are best captured with wires.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 02:09 PM   #14
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Re: Actors walking into a room

"Unless you have a really skilled boom op, hallway shots are best captured with wires."

And by "wires", you mean "wireless". :)

I love language inversions, like "bad" meaning "good". :)

For the starving indie, put a cheap flash recorder in each person's pocket with a lav attached. You can't monitor live, but the cost per channel is lower than what it takes per channel of *good* wireless.

The key thing will be to predict how loud the actor will *really* deliver their line. A small few yell "TEST" and then whisper their lines. Most whisper "t e s t" and belt out their lines. Some actually deliver the test and the performance the same. Don't forget to review the last take before moving to the next scene. The biggest problem, IMO, is clothing noise. You won't hear it until you plug your headphones into the recorders.

And, yes, in this case it's truly "wires". :)
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