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Old August 11th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #1
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Best practice for setting levels (for interview and run and gun)

Hi,

Thanks for everybody's help with advice on Rough Guide to Location Sound Recording, I am getting there but having problems how to describe a good way for setting levels to beginners. A friend of mine suggested clapping near microphone and ensuring this did not peak but this seems a little random, even for the rough guide.I guess it boils down to a giving both pragmatic and a more technical advice. Also I wish to be able to help people using camcorders which have a level meter which does not actually have dB markings.

So stuff like 'when people are talking the levels should be at least around half way up the meter' (as well as a more technical description would be good). There is stuff in the guide about not peaking and being well above the noise floor but has anyone got any good tricks and tips for setting levels.

Regards,
Ben
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Old August 11th, 2011, 04:48 AM   #2
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Re: Best practice for setting levels (for interview and run and gun)

Unless it's impossible (eg ENG run and gun - but even then much below still applies):

#1 do your homework on the event/production
#2 plan your setup well in advance
#3 get your gear in place early
#4 test it thoroughly before you need it for real
#5 use rehearsals to check levels
#6 don't rely on meters/displays - ALWAYS monitor the audio
#7 check the recording if possible before everyone moves on to the next scene etc.

Maybe not the kind of thing you are looking for, but it's hard to be specific where audio unknown gear is concerned.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #3
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Re: Best practice for setting levels (for interview and run and gun)

In my broadcast audio class the instructor has tried lots of different ways of getting students to good levels. The most effective advice, and what I try to do for spoken voice is:
- The 0dbu (-20dbFS) LED should come on most of the time while words are being spoken.
- The 4dbu (-16dbFS) LED should come on much of the time
- The 8dbu (-12dbFS) LED should be "tickled", only coming on very rarely, and never any higher LEDs.

Last edited by Tom Morrow; August 13th, 2011 at 09:16 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2011, 03:23 AM   #4
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Re: Best practice for setting levels (for interview and run and gun)

Hi Ben
One thing to add to Colin's point #6 - always monitor you audio. Good advice. I'd also suggest you get good over-the-ear headphones that provide some sound isolation for field use. (example: Sony MDR-7506)
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