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Old September 26th, 2002, 03:08 PM   #1
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How To Get Professional Sound For A Feature Film Being Shot With A Canon Xl1s?

In Nov 2002, we film a DV feature length movie using 2 Canon XL1s cameras. Sound is the Achilles Heel....... As such, I want to cover my bases and capture TOP QUALITY sound....... Any suggestions? I've heard that I ought to capture sound via a mixer, then send it into the master camera AND into a portable DAT recorder (ie. Sony TCD-D8) so that in post production, I have 2 original sound sources to pull from. Any one care to comment on this? My budget is tight...... I don't feel like paying a professional sound guy if I can do some of this work myself, or by using FREE help (that I have plenty of)..... I already own a great Sennheiser ME 66 mike, with boom pole and fuzzy wind basket, along with a Sony 44 lavalier mike..... What if I just bought a mixer and the Sony TCD-D8 portable DAT recorder, will my issues be resolved....... or am I better off paying a sound guy for the 10 day shoot......... Help!!!!!!!

Pepi Singh Khara.
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Old September 26th, 2002, 05:23 PM   #2
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Never underestimate the value of a good, attentive sound person...

I would suggest that you send a wireless feed from the soundman's mixer to the XL1S too - that way, when you are logging your footage, it will be extremely easier because you will hear all of the subtle nuances that the sound person captured on the double-system DAT deck. Also, I can't emphasize too much on how this will make editing your rough cut so much easier - instead of having only rough "scratch" audio from the camera mic on the XL1S. It is a major pain to be stuck in the middle of a rough cut because your scratch audio is unintelligible and you have to sift through the DAT tapes to sync up the production audio. Also, make sure that you visually and audibly slate each take - you will thank yourself for doing this when editing down your material. Be firm about labelling each video and DAT tape as they are recorded on - AND- use a new DAT tape when you start recording on a new video tape - this will make syncing up sound much, much easier. Tape is extremely cheap these days, especially in bulk. Make sure that the camera person monitors this sound feed with some ear buds - it will help the camera person to focus on the scene. Also, make sure you provide a headphone feed to the director.

Get a good sound person, trust me. If you are shooting this project, you do not want to be bothered by audio. This is not a news shoot, this is storytelling and there are a lot of last minute details that pop up concerning camera framing and continuity and you do not need to deal with the hassles of getting good sound. That is the job of the sound person. You want to keep yourself planted right behind the camera and focus on the image and capturing the energy of the actors. Doing this will make a huge impact on the quality of the footage that you capture.
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Old October 1st, 2002, 01:19 PM   #3
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Boy, do I second Don's suggestions! If you're shooting very static scenes you can often get away with setting the mic on a boom. But if there's any movement that must be followed you're absolutely going to need someone to sheperd your sound. Even if it's a relative novice with a good pair of ears.
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Old October 1st, 2002, 02:10 PM   #4
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I havent been much of a sound buff...let alone have much experience with it.

yet isnt using the XL1's sounds itself similar to a DAT recorder?? Ofcourse
a sound man and mixer should always play a role in something of budget,
yet for a low budget shoot wouldnt a boom mic directly to the cam be good enough??? If not what are the disadvantages of doing so.?
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Old October 2nd, 2002, 09:26 AM   #5
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Having a sound guy will help a lot.

First off, you are paying for experience and equipment. That means you have a person who not only nows how to run the gear, but knows about recording audio. Second, you are going to busy enough just shooting the video. The last thing you want to find out is that the audio over cooked or judging audio through some XL-1 headphones.

I also agree with Don's recommendations. BTW like Don says, it is very important to slate each take. You will kick yourself if you do not.
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Old October 2nd, 2002, 09:50 AM   #6
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I just ran across an interesting article regarding sound. It is an interview with Oliver Baumann on Audio Engineering. Here is the link:

http://www.ifp.org/experts/expert.php?id=9
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Old October 2nd, 2002, 10:46 AM   #7
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Good link. Thank you, Paul.
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Old October 2nd, 2002, 08:25 PM   #8
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pepi
interesting to see this going on in FREDERICK!
will you be shooting in any locations where it would be easy to watch?
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Old October 2nd, 2002, 09:30 PM   #9
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Well.... most of the film will be shot indoors so there won't be much to see....... this is a 4 location shoot with a few outdoor street scenes........ We have a cast of about 12 people working different days....... currently we're nailing down locations and all should start to fall in place by end Oct. Keep checking our film website for updates....... Regards, Pepi.
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Old October 5th, 2002, 11:32 PM   #10
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I've seen these items listed alot: Sennheiser ME 66 mic, with boom pole. Is this mic connected directly into the camera?
Is the mic that came with the XLS also connected at the same time? And how much does this Sennheiser ME 66 mic cost?
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Old October 6th, 2002, 08:11 AM   #11
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The Sennheiser ME 66 IS connected via boom pole and XLR cable into the Canon MA 200 XLR audio adapter...... which is connected to the camera...... This is an awesome mike kit....... telescopic pole, wind basket, fuzzy to go around basket, the mike itself...... the whole thing should be around $1,000...... if memory serves me right........ Call James Baldwin of Professional Products, Maryland (240-864-4000) and he'll get you hooked up.

The mike that came with the camera is NOT connected into the camera at the same time........ that piece of ___ (comparatively speaking) is sitting in my storage bin.
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Old October 6th, 2002, 02:12 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for your help Pepi.

You listed these items in your response:

The Sennheiser ME 66
Boom pole
XLR cable
Canon MA 200 XLR audio adapter
telescopic pole,
wind basket,
fuzzy to go around basket,
the mike itself

So are you saying ALL the above items would be a total of approximately $1000.00?

How fast does James usually ship things?

Also, If I had all the above items, but used the Canon MA 100XLR
audio adapter, would everything still work ok? Or is a MUST to use
the Canon MA 200 XLR adapter when using the abobe items?

Thanks so much for your very helpful information.
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Old October 6th, 2002, 02:13 PM   #13
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Thanks so much for your help Pepi.

You listed these items in your response:

The Sennheiser ME 66
Boom pole
XLR cable
Canon MA 200 XLR audio adapter
telescopic pole,
wind basket,
fuzzy to go around basket,
the mike itself

So are you saying ALL the above items would be a total of approximately $1000.00?

How fast does James usually ship things?

Also, If I had all the above items, but used the Canon MA 100XLR
audio adapter, would everything still work ok? Or is a MUST to use
the Canon MA 200 XLR adapter when using the above items?

Thanks so much for your very helpful information.
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Old October 6th, 2002, 02:56 PM   #14
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Canon's MA 100 will work just fine as well......... it has only 2 XLR ports........... the MA 200 has 4 XLR ports......... that's the only principal difference...........

I'd like to revise my $1,000 estimate......... Check with James on pricing............ but it should be $1,000 to $1,500 (if memory serves me right)........
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