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Old April 6th, 2006, 01:06 PM   #1
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Capturing sound for dialogue scene

The whole concept of how to record audio for dialogue scenes has plagued me for as long as I can remember. Which is why all of my short-films up to this point have had no dialogue.

Recently, however, I have decided to make a feature. And it would be pretty boring (to say the least) to watch a feature-length film without dialogue.

It's time for me to learn about sound.

More specifically -- dialogue.

I have no trouble understanding how to capture live sound, like the sound in a stage play or sporting event, but when it comes to dramatic, film-style dialogue scenes, I'm at a complete loss.

I suppose part of the reason has to do with the many camera angles, cut-aways, close-ups, etc.

I mean, after shooting multiple camera angles and chopping everything up in post, how do I make sure all the dialogue sinks perfectly in the final finished film?

I have never been able to understand how filmmakers do it. It just blows my mind. If anyone can post a simple solution/tutorial/workflow, or anything that will shed light on my dilemma, I will be eternally grateful.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #2
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When you are new to a subject, it is best to start with a book. I like "Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound".
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Old April 6th, 2006, 02:29 PM   #3
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Emre is right, but just to unravel the main mystery...motion picture studios often replace the dialog actually recorded during takes with recordings of the actors doing a separate audio take under ideal studio conditions.

There is absolute no way around the physics that determine that the only way to get that rich, intimate natural voice sound is to get the mic close to the source.

The next best thing to sitting the actor in front of a studio mic is a good directional mic--a shotgun or, indoors a hypercardioid--on a boompole, controlled by a boom pole operator. It's kept within a few feet of the actor's mouth but out of the shot.

Third best is a lavalier microphone worn by the actor, expertly concealed in his clothing in a manner minimizing fabric movement sounds.

I'm not an expert, and that's not first hand experience speaking, but I've seen this subject discussed so much by the experts that I don't fear contradiction.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 03:15 PM   #4
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Jay Rose's "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video" is an essential starting place.

Your other question seems to be about editing. For most scenes I start with a general idea of what footage I'm going to use, arrange everything in the timeline, and then proceed editing the dialog, sometimes swapping lines here and there and overlaying audio from one track over the picture of another, and sometimes chopping sentences in half and melding them together. For me the most important thing is that the dialog flows, and really sounds like people interacting and reacting to each, rather than the hodgepodge of material that it actually is. Then I start getting the images to match up and letting the cuts find themselves so to speak. It's not as complicated as it sounds. So far the material we've shot is very dialog heavy, so it's important for it to sound natural.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #5
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Oh...sinking = synching. Sorry.
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