Fostex RD-8 or Yamaha AW1600 8-track recorders for film/video work? at DVinfo.net

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Old June 16th, 2007, 02:48 PM   #1
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Fostex RD-8 or Yamaha AW1600 8-track recorders for film/video work?

Does anyone know anything about the Fostex RD8 eight-track recorder? It seems to have the appropriate bit-rate and sampling frequency for video, timecode, and is a DAT recorder; but frankly I don't really know much about it other than that. It is, however, ADAT standard which I read was for the music world, in terms of compatability.

Also, the Yamaha AW1600 ( http://www.zzounds.com/item--YAMAW1600 ).

In any case, I'm asking because I have someone who needs to find an eight-track recorder ASAP for an upcoming feature-length film to be shot with ol' big bubba, the Panasonic HDX900. The reason is that he has a sound engineer friend who said he would be willing to do ADR for him for free in post, on one firm condition. ONLY if he recorded audio on an eight-track recorder, anything else he said and he wouldn't do it as it would take up too much of his time.

Make sense? I hope so, because to be honest we're a bit lost over this issue and could use some advice from those experienced in this area.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #2
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I haven't used either recorder mentioned so I can't comment but the engineer's statement you quote doesn't make a lot of sense and I'd ask if he actually has any experience in working in audio for film/video post-production. DATs have been largely replaced by file-based recorders ranging from stereo or 4 track recorders like the Sound Devices 7xx series, Cantar, Fostex PD6, etc to multi-channel recorders like the Zaxcom Deva these days, mainly because of the improved workflow that results. I can't imagine how an ADR workflow would be simpler or less time-consuming starting with tapes mastered on an 8-track DAT compared to working with BWF files transferred directly into a DAW timeline.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 04:20 PM   #3
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While it is desirable to record each sound source on a separate track, if possible, I wonder if your shooting will require eight separate tracks.

An excellent quality 4-track solution is the Sound Devices 744T. Please note, however, that this only has two microphone preamps. The other two channels are "line inputs". If you use an outboard mixer, such as the Sound Devices 302 or 442 with the 744T, then you will have four channels of excellent microphone level inputs and be able to reach each channel separately.

The 744T, even with a mixer, is a very portable, battery operated (if necessary) solution.

If cost is not an problem, then additional 744T's can be cascaded together to get 8 or more channels.

Please note that the 744T is a very professional solution with built in timecode facilities.

The above will record at all standard sample rates up to 192k at either 16 or 24 bits per sample.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 04:22 PM   #4
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Note: Steve and I are on the same track. He answered you while I was composing my answer.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 08:05 PM   #5
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Actually, to be honest, I wasn't sure why an eight-track was absolutely necessary either (but to be fair, I also really don't know anything much about what really goes into ADR behind the scenes either, this project is a step-up in the world for me, production truck and all); but that's just what I was told and that this guy said he'd be willing to do this free for his friend only if he recorded on an 8-track recorder. I just thought it was because he worked at an 8-track facilitiy, and that would make his job faster, or that's what he said, eh, well, something like that, I guess? Um, yeah, again I'm new to this level of production.

Anyway, this friend works for Sony as a sound engineer (maybe, more music side based rather than dealing with film and video?) or something like that and thus is quite reputable which is why procuring his services for free became desirable, which, of course, means that the decision was made to use an 8-track recorder no matter what for this project.

For the record, he just bought a Korg D3200. Anyone got any opinions on this one? ...regardless, I'll be working with it next month, and will be printing out the 200 page manual soon (once I run over to Office Depot tomorrow morning to check out some chics before church...you know how it be when you're almost out of paper).
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Old June 16th, 2007, 08:16 PM   #6
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btw, for power, we'll be using a Black & Decker, Electromate 400 I just bought from Wallmart for $100. Looks great, 400 watts of continous AC power, air pump for blow drying your eyeballs out at the end of the day, built-in work light for making out with the make-up artist over a moonlight dinner, AND aside from the one DC outlet and two AC outlets...and the built-in love handle...is that the battery charging clamps on this is REMOVEABLE, unlike with most jump packs I've seen.

This one really was designed more with the whole picture in mind. I think it's a better and cheaper alternative to the Xantrax unit at Best Buy for portable power, 320 vs. 400 watts continous power, about the same size, yet this one could be a lifesaver with the built-in handle (trust me, swing this baby around hard a few times and people will no NOT to mess with you...give me some space people!). It's also not as much of a lead anvil as I thought, by the way. Now that I've taken it out of the box and swung it around a few times, I realize that why it weighs no more than a few dozen irons. In other words, it's a more than manageable weight all things considered.

This said, I went to two separate Wallmarts, and one was sold out and not selling it anymore, and the other only had two open box ones left (you know the kind that look like they just came out of a Ruffles potato chip laundry machine). FORTUNEATELY, one of them still had the detachable battery clamp accessory in it, which is the one I settled on.

I'm not really big on electric shock therapy, but sometimes it's necessary now that I'm stepping up in the world onto bigger and better things...like ADR.

Btw, in all seriousness, we'll be using a Lapworks 2.0 to move the thing around.

Um, yeah; anyway, I think it was mostly just a lining-up thing. The Korg is a hard-drive recorder, 47 watt power consumption. The Fostex RD-8 DAT could have been had very, VERY cheap at a current Ebay auction, so that was why I looked into that.

The Sound Devices 744T, unfortunately, would have definitely been out of the budget (though, I'm not the one buying the recorder for this project)...I'm basically the lower-budget, lower experience guy, but not THAT low-budget, low-experience, option guy (i.e. the middleman) with everything but the recorder basically whose being given a chance on this project to take the next step up to the plate now that I'm being forced to sue my fiction writing grad school (but that's a different story) over an unbelievably offensive issue thus I'm now sitting out the summer (and giving up my degree with just three classes and a thesis to go) and focusing on trying to take my sound to the next level...whew, and do I make more sense now?
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Old June 16th, 2007, 09:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
I'm not really big on electric shock therapy, but sometimes it's necessary now that I'm stepping up in the world onto bigger and better things...like ADR.
The thing about ADR is that it's very time consuming and can give you second-rate audio. For example, look at a lot of the Asian action flicks... their lips just don't quite make it. As well, some people aren't very good at doing ADR.

2- For an indie/low/no-budget short, a reasonable approach to get good sound is this:
A- Have a decent boom operator with a boom mic capturing sound. This gives you the best quality possible unless the mic is too far away. You need to be ~2 feet from the talent; further than that, you might have too much background noise. Indoors, use a hypercardioid microphone.
B- In the other channels left in your audio recorder, record wireless lav audio. This will need some mixing to sound right... but the mic is very close, so it picks up the least background noise. Wireless can be a bit of a PITA since you can get interference, you need to keep replacing the batteries (they eat a lot of batteries), and you may need to ride the levels to mix them. If two wireless lavs are on the same channel, you will sometimes need to mute one wireless to avoid phasing. But this is your second resort in case A doesn't work.
C- Better than using wireless is to plant a mic close to the talent if you can hide it. But this isn't necessarily always possible.

ADR is a last resort kind of thing. You probably want to avoid it as much as possible.

3- Audio equipment may be cheap to rent.

4- I don't believe there's any reason to record location sound on 8-track if you plan on doing ADR. You kind of only need a single scratch track of audio for ADR. Jay Rose's book Post Production for Digital Video (see dplay.com) describes the process. (The book is well worth getting btw.)
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Old June 16th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Eugene Kim View Post
Actually, to be honest, I wasn't sure why an eight-track was absolutely necessary either (but to be fair, I also really don't know anything much about what really goes into ADR behind the scenes ...

..
What it involves is syncing the guide track to the picture so the talent can see the action on -screen on a monitor as well as hear the original lines in his headphones. You start the scene a short time before you want to punch-in the fresh recording, add a couple of warning beeps (pop...pop...start) and loop the take. Pro-level NLEs will allow you to loop over and over again and punch-in each in at the same point each time so the multiple takes overlay each other letting you have each take as a separate track so you can pick the best portions of several tries.

I hope you don't mind me saying this but it is a puzzle why ADR is such an issue for you guys. I think of it as a method to fix audio that is screwed up beyond repair or for scenes that are recorded in a location such as a working foundary or on an aircraft carrier's deck during flight operations where recording good dialog is simply impossible. While some ADR is the norm in many, if not most, Hollywood productions, even they try to record good sound the first time around right on the set. ADR is time-consuming and expensive and even the big budget boys try to avoid it if they can. To plan your whole sound recording strategy around a capability that you might not even need seems a bit odd.

If he wants a multi-channel recording, that's one thing, but that can be done with file-based recorders that are more compatible with the workflow of digital video than is the old 8-track DAT machine. The DAT recording has to be captured to the computer and converted to a PCM or WAV file before it can be synced up to picture for editing and/or ADR. The file based recorders are already there and it's just a straight file copy to get it into the computer and onto the timeline. For example the SD records 4 tracks, the Cantar 8 tracks, the Fostex PD6 does 6 tracks, the Deva IV does 8 tracks and the Deva V does 10. Admittedly we're talking some pretty steep bucks to purchase but rental might be a viable option to consider. Now if you were shooting film and going to telecine to get it into video or shooting analog video, recording the sound on multitrack DAT with one track dedicated to linear timecode and then syncing the sound with picture in the telecine, your engineer's stand would make more sense and perhaps that's the workflow he's thinking about. I'd suggest a meeting with him to make sure everyone is on the same page before committing purchase moneys.
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Last edited by Steve House; June 17th, 2007 at 09:24 AM.
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Old June 17th, 2007, 06:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene Kim View Post
btw, for power, we'll be using a Black & Decker, Electromate 400 I just bought from Wallmart for $100. Looks great, 400 watts of continous AC power, air pump for blow drying your eyeballs out at the end of the day, built-in work light for making out with the make-up artist over a moonlight dinner, AND aside from the one DC outlet and two AC outlets...and the built-in love handle...is that the battery charging clamps on this is REMOVEABLE, unlike with most jump packs I've seen.
I am assuming that you intend to power your audio recorder (and other items) with this unit.

This unit is most likely a "Modified Sine Wave" inverter. As such it is not designed to power sensitive electronics devices.

The much better, and much more expensive, inverters produce sine wave power. If an inverter does not specifically mention that it is a "sine wave" inverter, then it probably is not.

Normal household power is sine wave, AC generators also produce sine wave power.

Most "Modified Sine Wave" inverters will have warnings buried deep in their instruction manual to not power some cell phone chargers and/or sensitive electronics. Your proposed audio gear is very sensitive and must not be powered by a "Modified Sine Wave" inverter.

Yes, it may work, but it may leave you with unusable audio or damaged equipment.

The Honda EU2000i or EU3000is or similar inverter type generators will work very nicely powering sensitive electronic equipment, but they must be placed some distance away even though they are much quieter than other generators.
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Old June 17th, 2007, 08:03 AM   #10
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I can only second the warning about using non sine wave inverters. They can be fatal for a lot of equipment, even seemingly safe things like HMI and fluro lights that use electronic ballasts don't take too kindly to them.
Even if you don't fry them the units can make a lot more noise from the harmonics plus the inverter itself is radiating quite a bit of electrical noise. I've got one pure sine wave inverter running quite nicely, it is heavy and expensive but with <4% harmonic distortion it's electrically very quiet.

here's a link to the range that I buy from:

http://www.solaraustralia.com.au/html/bolero.htm

Clearly not of much use in the USA but look for similar kind of product.
I also bought one of those cheap made in China non pure sine wave inverters and like I say, already fried one bit of gear with it, sensitive audio gear would really worry me.

For a not so expensive field recorder that gives you 4 channels don't overlook the Edirol R-4. The mic pres aren't terribly good but a Sound devices preamp isn't all that expensive although with high output mics I've not found the noise level too hard to live with. The new "pro" version is a much better unit than the one I have, if just for the external 12V power option.
In reality if you choose your gear carefully I can't see why you'd need an inverter on location. Anything designed to be used on location apart from major lighting kit, is designed to run off batteries.
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