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Old July 18th, 2015, 12:10 PM   #1
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Recording SFX advice.

Hi all.

Within the next few weeks I'll be recording some Foley for a series of videos that I am producing and directing.

I've recorded all my VO stuff, and that worked out great, given where I had to record it. The voice overs are supposed to sound like they take place in a busy ICU unit at a hospital.

I hadn't given this to much thought other than I'd go out with my recorder, headphones and a Rode NT3 set up on a stand with the feet cushioned to prevent as much ground noise as possible. Probably position the mic approx. 6 feet high and aim toward any or all action and then hit record for 10 minutes and that's that. I also have a Rode NTG3 and a few omnidirectional AT899 lavs, which I'm guessing wouldn't work real well. But my gut tells me omni something or other.

I also have my old friend/nemesis the stereo AT822 I could pull out of retirement as well.

Any advice for recording Foley? The final levels will obviously be much lower than my VO. Just ambience.

Thanks.

Jonathan

Last edited by Jonathan Levin; July 18th, 2015 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Foley with capital F!
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Old July 18th, 2015, 02:52 PM   #2
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re: Recording SFX advice.

Sorry to nit-pic.. but.. That's "Foley" with a capital "F". A person's name: 'Jack Donovan Foley' (search for more info).
Foley and S/FX are actually two different things. For instance, recording footsteps to picture as a guide would be considered Foley. Recoding ambient sound for atmosphere, gun shots, door slams are considered 'sound effects'. (S/FX).type and normally recorded in stereo (or multi channel).
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Old July 18th, 2015, 04:28 PM   #3
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re: Recording SFX advice.

Thanks Rick.

Corrected spelling in message but could not edit title. Thanks for pointing out difference between S/FX and Foley. I won't be using any old washboards or coconuts for this so it is in fact sound effects I'm doing.

JL
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Old July 18th, 2015, 06:40 PM   #4
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re: Recording SFX advice.

Of the mics you have access to, the NT3 would be the best choice as long as your mic preamp is quiet enough to match the low self-noise but only moderate output of the NT3 without adding any noise of its own. You have a Sound Devices recorder, right?

If I was doing this, I would likely use my very quiet, clean, natural sounding and high-output AT4021 cardioid.

Or if I was limited to a battery-powered mic, my K6/ME64 cardioid.

Having a very clean recording of the sounds you want is important, otherwise you'll be doing a lot of work to not only match the ambient atmosphere tones of your recordings while slicing and dicing, but also dealing with any noticeable noise from your mic or mic preamp.

If possible also record as much of just the ambient tone in each situation too, with no sounds.
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Old July 19th, 2015, 06:01 AM   #5
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re: Recording SFX advice.

You might actually need to stroll into Foley territory anyway - Most of what you hear in a real hospital is 'people'. A kind of low level hub-bub, without individual voices being distinctive - I call it pub noise. Which can be recreated by multi tracking individual voices over and over again, and building up layers of them - thirty or so individual conversations starts to become this kind of noise, and better of it contains at least 4 different voices and sexes. The damn machines never go beep, or chirp when you want, and when you see hospitals in the movies and on TV, most machine sounds have been put in afterwards, as sound effects. Plenty of things to do. To record the wild track on location is good, but also record it from the same places your cameras were - but don't be tempted to pan it. That shifts the image and is odd to the ears.
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Old July 20th, 2015, 12:22 PM   #6
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re: Recording SFX advice.

To me, the Rode NT1A is the ultimate Foley mic for the money. Unlike dialog mics, you generally leave a Foley mic on a stand, so the size and weight of the NT1A are no problem. The key to this mic is that, due to its simple design, it has very, very low self noise. I've recorded a pin drop with this mic. And it's Rode's least expensive studio mic to boot.

Is the frequency response perfect? No. But were not recording voice or music here. We need cleanliness, not a perfectly shaped response. If anything, one will EQ the tar out of they Foley and sfx to make room for music and dialog.

Also, as a cardioid, we get some off-axis rejection and no bad room effects. It's much better than a shotgun for recording in live spaces.

On the other hand, for outdoor footsteps, the shotgun is the way to go. Hold it in your hand, point it at your feet, and record yourself walking without any concern about reflections. But if you want somebody walking indoors, left to right, a stereo pair of NT1As on stands could be the better solution.
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Old July 20th, 2015, 12:34 PM   #7
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re: Recording SFX advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
... at least 4 different voices and sexes.
Now that might be taking "inclusivity" too far. :-)
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Old July 20th, 2015, 05:19 PM   #8
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re: Recording SFX advice.

Ah - I see the error in my post...........
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Old July 21st, 2015, 10:05 AM   #9
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Re: Recording SFX advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
Corrected spelling in message but could not edit title.
Fixed it for you Jonathan. Glad to see you're getting some good advice here. I always relied on my Soundtrack Pro library which was/is pretty extensive.

-gb-
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Old December 1st, 2015, 04:47 PM   #10
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Re: Recording SFX advice.

I know this thread is a bit old now, and I only just came across it. I'd just like to add for people that are looking for a good affordable mic solution for recording sound effects I'd like to suggest that a pair of Oktava MK012 mics is a pretty good place to start. There is no shotgun capsule with these, but they do offer screw on omni, cardioid and hyper cardioid capsules. Depending on what you are recording the different can cover quite a wide of needs. Plus they fit nicely into a blimp.

In our 35 available affordable sound effects packs at Rocksure Soundz | Royalty Free Sound Effects, Royalty Free Music , a number of different mics have been used to record the sfx, including these Oktava microphones. They are slightly darkish sounding mics, but do a pretty good job for many things.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 09:13 AM   #11
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Re: Recording SFX advice.

As anyone familiar with these forums knows, the Oktava 012 mic has many caveats. #1 would be the addtional cost of a quiet high-gain preamp..... especially for low SPL S/FX.
Search for more info.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 04:40 PM   #12
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Re: Recording SFX advice.

I was thinking the same, Rick. That's why I had mentioned the NT1A above. Cheap, quiet, and delivers a hot signal. Of course, it's cardioid only, won't fit in a blimp, is heavy, and doesn't handle high SPLs well, so it won't cover all situations. But for indoor work on a stand and on a budget, you can do a lot worse. :)
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Old December 4th, 2015, 10:04 AM   #13
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Re: Recording SFX advice.

Thanks everyone.

My project with the S/FX went pretty well. What I ended up doing is recording with the Rode NT3 using a Sound Devices 633.

For my in hospital background, in post I actually mixed two separate recordings because just not enough ambient for my taste. It worked out great and the 633 is one quiet piece of hardware. I just did a tiny bit of adjustment in Logic before importing those files into FCP X.

Jonathan
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