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Old January 21st, 2007, 06:54 PM   #1
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Audio editing with multiple layers

Hey everyone,

I'm just about to start filming my first short film without any aid, which means I'm going to be directing, filming and editing everything.

While I can't wait to get to filming and I'm sure it will be fun, I'm very nervous about one particular audio aspect of the filming and editing process.

Let's me use an example.

Scenario: A man and a woman are in a restaurant.

The shots: I'm going to be using four different angles with 1 camera. The woman, the man, both the man and the woman, and a far establishing shot.

Problem: This restaurant is not completely quiet. There's the traffic outside, the hum of the AC, sounds from the kitchen, the voices of the staff... I don't want there to be any continuity errors with the audio between each shot. I don't want there to be any audible "clipping" between each shot. It's got to sound like there's really 4 cameras.

So, in essence, how do I film this?

What I suppose I'm going to do is:
1. Leave my camera on in the restaurant for 10 minutes and capture the ambiance for audio only.
2. Film the shots.
3. Edit, with the shots muted and the ambiance on.
4. Dub their voices over their mouth movement on the screen, in a quiet place such as a car (i.e. ADR).

The issue with this plan is I'm NOT confident about 4. I've never done this before and I'm very worried it won't work out well at all. Also, there is one shot where there is a waiter who comes into the scene and talks to the woman for one or two lines. This is a person who's lent us his restaurant out of his kindness, and I'm sure he would not feel comfortable to leave work and do his lines. If I have one shot ADR and the other not, it may sound very 'off'.

How should I approach this? If doing it my way is the only one, is there a way to help do this through Premiere (i.e. loop the lines in succession?)

By the way, I'm using the microphone on my Canon XL2, I can't afford a boom, and none of my friends would know how to use it.

Thank you very much in advance.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 08:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm
I'm just about to start filming my first short film without any aid... By the way, I'm using the microphone on my Canon XL2, I can't afford a boom, and none of my friends would know how to use it.
Peter, you are in for a world of pain.

But, I know you don't want to hear it, don't take my word for it - do a test. Put your camera on sticks in the restaurant during the time of day you want to shoot, then shoot yourself or one of your actors giving a few lines, then go sit in your car and try out the ADR. I'm expecting you won't like the results one bit, but your mileage may vary.

Borrow a cable. Tape your mic to a broomstick. Train a friend to use it. Get a y-adaptor for $5 and both you and your friend listen on headphones. This may all seem unlikely, but IMHO what you're suggesting is impossible or at least impractical.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 08:32 PM   #3
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Ouch.

So I presume ADR isn't as common as I thought it was? Don't a lot of better-sounding films do it?

Having never even used a boom before, I couldn't even begin to tell you the difference it would sound compared with an XL2 stock mic.

I just figured, if you gotta use ADR with one mic, you gotta use ADR with all of them. There's no way around it.

Besides, aren't boom mics more sensitive? Wouldn't they pick up unwanted sounds even more?

Perhaps I could rent one.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 10:30 PM   #4
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http://www.synchroarts.com/products/...n/vocalign.asp

Has anyone used this?

:edit: $700... forget it!

Help...
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Old January 25th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #5
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I've no experience of ADR Peter, I can only imagine it's not an easy thing to get dead right without:
a) Actors/voice talent trained in the process
b) A good mic and a good quiet room to do it in.

Doing ADR in a car would, I imagine, make the scene sound like it was recorded in a car, even with an ambient background added.

A boom mic will get you closer to the source that you WANT to capture. The level of this 'wanted' sound will therefore be much higher than the unwanted sounds of cars passing and ambient noise etc. That's what you need to achieve and what Seth is suggesting. It doesn't have to be expensive but obviously you make sure you capture your wide shots as cutaways without your sound man in vision ;-)

Good luck

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Old January 26th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #6
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I agree, borrow a mic ... It's very important

even a good hyper on a stand suspended above the actors (just out of frame) pointing between them all, would be better than nothing.

the xl2 stock mic is nowhere near up to the job, particularly from a distance away. I wouldn't adr, it won't be convincing. ps we have two xl2s, we only tried the stock mics once.

find somewhere to borrow/hire a decent hyper cardiod mic and a cable. then tape it to a stick and get someone to hold it.

mic hire isnt actually very expensive
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Old January 26th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of your help.

I'm renting a Sennheiser ME66 for $35 a day and a boom for $10 for 3 days.

Hopefully it'll be quiet enough :S
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Old January 26th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #8
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Peter, you were on the right track with one part of your first post... the "recording 10 minutes of ambience"; that's known as "room tone", and you use it for audio continuity between cuts.

Do a search for "room tone" here, and on DVXuser.com. Can't recall which forum just now, but DVinfo or DVX user have a great thread going right now on how to edit with room tone, with different editors posting their techniques.

And please, please, get yourself a copy of "Producing great sound for DV"; try amazon, or give eBay a try for a used one if cash is tight. Lots of info to get you rolling!
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Old January 28th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #9
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ALSO... make sure you get a big Fuzzy sock for the mic. It will make a world of difference in the location audio sound quality. Additionally....
1. Before each take have your boom op find the CLOSEST location to the speaking actor that they can. Then dip ( or raise ) the boom until you can see it in frame. Then slowly move it *JUST* out of frame. There's your spot. Tell the boom op to look across the room or past the boom and find a "TARGET" to help them maintain frame. Like a line in the wall, or a door jam, or a picture or something to line up the mic too, to help keep that sweet spot.
2. IF THE SET IS VERY NOISY and YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO ADR - After you've completed your takes, but Before you move on to the next Camera setup, have the actors do one more take the same way they just did. This time get the boom right in their face and get a SOUND take for each actor... I've done this on a number of both low and high budget gigs and many times it's saved the day during noisy locations. (doesn't work all the time, but it has worked enough to be worth it.
3. If you have time, try to eliminate as much sound as you can by turning off compressors and fans during takes, using moving blankets to cover items, Placing moving blankets on the floor, walls, ceilings out of camera to kill reflections and other exterior noise.
4. Make sure that the boom op doesn't over handle the boom during recording.. It's really easy to screw up the sound by adding handling noise from the stick.
5. Get ROOMTONE after the shoot at each location. BEFORE YOU WRAP. call for a minute of silence from the crew and cast and record a minute or 2 of roomtone. If you're going to have to deal with a noisy background and you don't have the budget or ability to do extensive cleanup in post ( or even if you do) get the roomtone, so you can drop it in the edit to smooth transitions and angles...
6. Beg, borrow, or buy a cheap but closed pair of headphones that you can use to HEAR whats going to tape. It will help you determine sound problems and good mic placement.


cheers
geo
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Old January 29th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #10
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Georgia, your points are VERY helpful. I'm going to make a checklist of them in case I forget anything. Just one thing: I wasn't planning on getting a muff or placing a sock over the microphone. People won't be talking that loud/it's not going to be anywhere outside. It's a still restaurant, just the hum the kitchen might be a bit noticeable.

Thank you very much for your pointers.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 04:25 PM   #11
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Definitely, definitely, definitely do not use the onboard mic. Pick up both a shotgun and a hyper if at all possible; the hyper will probably be best for use in this particular scene.

I wouldn't rule out ADR necessarily. If done well, no one will know the difference. I recently recorded ADR for the first time, and I'm very glad I decided to do it. Douglas Spotted Eagle's tutorial for ADR recording in Vegas really spells it all out, and might help you quite a bit with the process--even if you don't edit with Vegas.

All of that being said, you should try to get it right on location if at all possible and record ADR only if the location sound doesn't work. If you place the mic properly when you do your ADR, you might be able to re-record only certain lines--if most of the location sound is OK--for example.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 08:16 PM   #12
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So: ME66. Yay or Nay?
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Old January 30th, 2007, 08:58 PM   #13
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get the sock anyway! it cuts out a lot of unwanted air flow and other noise.


cheers
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Old January 31st, 2007, 12:47 AM   #14
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Okay, so an ME66 as long as it's "socked".

I have no clue how my friends will do in their serious parts with a sock being waved in their faces, but we'll see!
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Old January 31st, 2007, 04:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm
So: ME66. Yay or Nay?
The ME66 is a decent enough mic, very popular. I guess you could consider it a good entry-level professional mic. There are other shotguns that are considered nicer sounding such as the Sennheiser MKH416, MKH50 and MKH60, Sanken CS1 & CS3, and Audio Technica 4073a just to add a few others worth consideration. The CS3a might give you better rejection of background noise and less of the 'hollow' colouration that's a characteristic of many shotguns in a reflective environment indoors. Likewise the MHK50 or 60. Not to say there's anything wrong with the '66
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