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Old March 10th, 2007, 12:46 AM   #1
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colorbars and reference tone

My xh-a1 has color bars that you can record to tape and a reference tone as well.

How can I take advantage of the reference tone to make my audio better?
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Old March 10th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #2
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Reference bars and tone gives the editor in post a universal reference to the color and sound that was reproduced by a certain camera. That way they can check it against their system and your footage.

For audio, it gives a reference value for gain, at the standard -20db or what ever you have it set to. That way you can set your gain post to match your camera.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Larry Vaughn View Post
My xh-a1 has color bars that you can record to tape and a reference tone as well.

How can I take advantage of the reference tone to make my audio better?
Larry,

Tone generated by your camera does absolutely nothing to improve your production audio. But, putting up bars and tone can help someone downstream if the audio enters the analog world and they need to calibrate levels. It's important to indicate what the dB level is. I've seen some camcorders with -12 dB and some with -20 dB tone.

Tone generated by your MIXER is used to calibrate the record level on your camera. That's so you can look at your mixer and know what level you're sending from the mixer to the camera.

That's even more important. I was on a shoot and preparing to shoot some tone to the camera. The shooter said, "Don't worry. My camera has a tone generator. I'll use it."

In as nice a way as possible, I asked how his camera would know what audio level my mixer was sending without using calibrated tone from the mixer. And, furthermore, how would I know how hot I could send the audio.

He gave me a blank look for about three seconds, and then said, "Hmmm, no wonder I've been having problems with my audio levels."

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:54 AM   #4
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movie shoot

Thanks TY. I just finished a 4 day movie shoot. The director, who says he has years and years of LA movie experience, was quick about getting shots and moving on to the next one. But, lighting techniques and sound production values suffered because he wasn't concerned with getting any input from the shooters he hired other than making sure the boom mic was less than 3 feet away from the subject. Between the 4 letter word outbursts directed at some of the cast and crew, we did get things done but...

For my projects, I want to make sure to pay attention to the things that separate the pros from the also rans. From what I have learned here, I have decided that a Sound Devices 302 will be my next audio purchase. Does this sound like a logical improvement from direct mic to hdv camera input?
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Old March 15th, 2007, 07:00 AM   #5
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A very good decision!

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old March 15th, 2007, 07:18 AM   #6
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I have a 302 and I love it. I do a lot of ENG style work and it helps me most of the audio problems I encounter.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
Larry,

Tone generated by your camera does absolutely nothing to improve your production audio. But, putting up bars and tone can help someone downstream if the audio enters the analog world and they need to calibrate levels......

Regards,

Ty Ford
A lot of good info, Ty.

I once was given a picture lock betacam sp video of a movie scene and my job was to make vhs time-code window burns. When I set the tone of the tape and began the copy I noticed that the dialogue audio levels were so low on the tape that they could not be heard. In essence the laid down tone was worthless because it did not match the recording that followed. When I raised the dialogue levels back to "normal levels" and then rewound the tape the audio tone almost blew out my speakers because they were so much louder than the actual recorded dialogue scene.

I tried explaining to the person who had brought me the tapes that I would need to actually lower the audio tone to match the poorly recorded dialogue that was on the tape. This "producer" was so inexperienced that he could not comprehend why I felt it necessary to actually match the audio tone level at the front of the tape to the ridiculously low dialogue sound levels that followed.

Could you imagine what would have happened if the next person who got the tape, raises the dialogue volume levels so it could be heard by everyone in the room, then rewinds the tape to the beginning and plays the tone by accident, it could possibly have either blown the speakers in the room or at the very least pissed off everyone in the room to say the least.

When the "producer" refused to have me lower the tone to match the much too low level of the actual dialogue scene, I turned down the job. I figured he had a sitting time bomb on his hands and I wasn't going to go along and validate it.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 09:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Alessandro Machi View Post
When I raised the dialogue levels back to "normal levels" and then rewound the tape the audio tone almost blew out my speakers because they were so much louder than the actual recorded dialogue scene.
Alessandro,

I'm sorry for your pain, but the mental image provides me with my first chuckle of the day. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
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