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Old May 16th, 2006, 08:50 PM   #1
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sounds just like yesterday

I'm wondering how to achieve decent sound with a Panasonic PV GS400 & Rode videomic to mock the sound quality of movies from the 30s and the 40s. Not talking about the aged scratchy noise effects that those movies have....just the techniques they used (maybe it is the same techniques they use today). I'm hoping it is simple enough to get a similar effect with what I've got. To me, some audio from today's mid range MiniDV camcorders has a distinct sound. I would be willing to employ a boom for the Rode Videomic if needed. Also, what is a good technique to dampen echoes from a room with high ceilings. Maybe some think there is no difference in older film audio??? What is your opinion?? This entire question if for "indoor" recording. Thanks so much!!
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:10 PM   #2
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Do it in post

Steve,

IMHO, it is always best to get the highest quality sound you can capture then edit it later.

I think the sound you are talking about is more a matter of EQ than anything else.

I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for, but in your NLE, you should be able to put a multi-band EQ on the sound track. First try to decrease everything below about 450-600 cycles. Then boost around 1000-1200 cycles. This is similar to the sound you get on a telephone. Just play with the EQ until you get your desired effect.

The human voice is typically between 250 and 600 cycles. It is what your ear detects best. In most quality recordings, the frequencies are boosted below 200 cycles and above 1000 cycles and cut in the 250 to 600 cycle range.

Most of the diction in words like, "s", "sh", "k", "ch" and similar sounds are produced around 1200 cycles and up.

Also, usually with sound, the less you move the settings the better. The exception is when you are trying to either duplicate a sound or when you need something very different from what you normally hear.

For the echo, the more directional your mic is, the less interference you will get. Directional mics require close attention. Also, the "hotter" the mike input level is set, the larger the area of pick up. It's a balancing act, not to hot to avoid some echo, hot enough to get a good recording.

Hope this helps.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:37 PM   #3
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I think I've heard that you should cut out some
of the treble and some of the base to get that
30's and 40's sound. I guess the mic's used
back then didn't have the frequency response
of more modern mic's.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #4
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And add some hiss like white noise. Also, the voice cadence of the actors was different.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Davidson
And add some hiss like white noise. Also, the voice cadence of the actors was different.
Not the mention the excruciatingly correct diction, and everyone calling everyone else Dahling.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 09:45 AM   #6
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And you've got to talk really fast.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 11:20 AM   #7
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I know what you mean... there's a really distinct difference.

I'd record some dialog audio from movies you feel are good examples, and listen to it a LOT with no picture. I'd also suggest listening in your usual audio-listening environment (iPod, car CD, living room stereo), which might make the differences more apparent. (get your brain away from "I'm analyzing sound for film" and just "listen"...)

To my ear, there's a "distance" in old movie audio; it's just not as "present" as modern stuff. The dynamic range is way lower, too... lots of compression seems in order.

But, as mentioned above, one of the biggest ways to sell it is to make the performace close to the era. Voices were really more stylized then, with strange inflections (by today's standards), and often that "new england upper crust" thing going on.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #8
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I agree that the dialogue and the way the actors deliver is a definite part of it. I don't know why, but movies from that era really do something for me in every facet. Not sure where it comes from because my Hey-Days were the cheezy 80s (which definitely had their own style of movies too).
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Old May 17th, 2006, 10:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Witt
...I don't know why, but movies from that era really do something for me in every facet. Not sure where it comes from because my Hey-Days were the cheezy 80s (which definitely had their own style of movies too)...
I know what you mean. For me, the films of that era suggest that human interactions and individual character were on a higher plane then, more connected to values and meaning. It's off topic here but this might make for a a good discussion in The Totem Pole or Awake in the Dark forum.
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