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Old August 9th, 2011, 07:06 PM   #1
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filming in city

Hi all. I'm doing audio for a feature that's shooting in a fairly busy city environment, largely. The interiors sound great, and the exteriors are very clear and intelligible, but there is a constant background drone of traffic and such. Gear is a Rode NTG-3 on a Gitzo 12' boom with AT shockmount, Twelco LP4 32 mixer, and a pair of Sennheiser G2 wireless lavs when needed. All of that gets recorded to a Zoom H4n.

The mixer has a switchable low cut filter on each channel. On interiors, I've been running it flat mostly. On exteriors, depending on the nature of the noise, I either cut at 80Hz or 160Hz if needed.

I'm starting to look into noise reduction software for the exteriors, mainly, for post-production. Heard great things about Sound Soap, but their demo download doesn't work for me. I've downloaded it twice and I can never get it to install right. Any other suggestions for seriously good noise reduction that will work in this kind of setting? I can post samples of what I've got so far if needed, but they might be slow in coming since I'm working most of the time on location. Thanks for any input!
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Old August 9th, 2011, 08:02 PM   #2
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Re: filming in city

Rather than trying to remove the background, it's often better to try to cover it with sound design and/or music. And then there's ADR...

Regarding the low cuts, I'd avoid 160 Hz. As long as the lows aren't overpowering the recording, you can EQ in post. 80 Hz is reasonable for dialog.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #3
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Re: filming in city

Trying to avoid having to do ADR if possible. Those backyard shots we took are pretty rough, though. I just listened to the sound, and while the dialogue is clear and intelligible, there's so much BG noise! One lucky thing is that the lead actress is being replaced, so we're re-shooting all of those scenes anyway. Maybe I can convince the director to find a more suitable location...
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Old August 10th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #4
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Re: filming in city

Andy, does the bg noise worry others? the director/producers? Is the dialogue pitched up enough to acknowledge it?

BG traffic usually covers a wide audio spectrum to the point where no noise reduction system will work and if it does you end up spoiling the dialogue tracks.

I'd avoid 160 Hz dialogue cuts .. the answer may be to employ a shotgun with a narrower pattern than the NTG3, mic it closer or use your lavs.

And if you reduce the bg for the new gals reshoots, careful that her audio will intercut with the existing tracks.

Sounds to me like you ARE heading for ADR .. I'd get multiple bg traffic tones at the same locations next time out. Good luck.

Cheers.
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Old August 11th, 2011, 02:48 PM   #5
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Re: filming in city

Thanks! I think when we re-shoot, I'll definitely use lavs as well as boom. As for a mic with a tighter pattern, I recently got an Oktava MK012 hypercardioid. I can play around with that, maybe. I always get plenty of room tone and BG tone on locations. I'm not worried about the sound cutting well with what we already shot since all of these exterior scenes involved her, and are useless to the production now.
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