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Old October 11th, 2002, 06:58 PM   #1
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$2000 budget for feature film sound - What to get?

Hello Experienced Audio Experts!

I'm hoping someone can give me advice on how to get TOP GRADE sound for a ultra low budget DV feature assuming I have a maximum of $2000 to spend on sound equipment that I can own for future DV shoots (rather than blowing it on a sound guy with his own gear for ONE feature shoot)........... Most will agree that sound is the Achiles Heel on DV features!!!

Here is what sound related gear that I already own.... 1 Canon XL1s (NTSC), 1 Sennheiser ME 66, 1 Sony ECM 44 B lavalier mike, 1 Sennheiser 100 Series Wireless Mike set (camera receiver, bodypack transmitter, lavalier mike, XLR cable), 1 Sennheiser boom pole, 1 Wind Basket w/ fuzzy sock, 1 Sennheiser pistol grip with bands for the ME 66, 1 Canon MA 200...... I have no experience with clapper boards but do do my own editing using Adobe Premiere 6.0 (PC).... I've taught myself and have edited 4-5 short films which have turned out decent......... Inconsistent sound has been an issue though!!!!!!!

I've done tons of reading on recording into 2 sources...... ie. 1 source into the Canon XL1s camera........ 2nd source into an external DAT machine or mini disc recorder...... synched via slating and marking every shot (audio and video markers)....... Due to all my reading....... I'm now thoroughly confused.... What I need is some clear and specific direction..... so I don't kick myself in post production.......

IF YOU HAD $1,000 TO 2,000 TO BLOW ON SOUND GEAR (keeping in mind what I already own)....... what would you get for yourself to ensure a TOP GRADE film from a sound perspective.....

Thanks all.

Pepi.
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Old October 13th, 2002, 06:48 AM   #2
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It looks like your missing a mixer, DAT or MD recorder and a good set of headphones. How many channels of audio will you record? If only 2, I'd get the MixPre field mixer from Sound Devices http://www.sounddevices.com/index.html If you need more than 2 channels I'd look at the Mackie mixers http://www.mackie.com/ They aren't real portable but offer very high quality sound within your budget. High quality 4 channel portable mixers would blow your budget.

Plan on spending $100 to $150 on good headphones. I use Sony's (can't tell you the exact model number, they're packed for a job) 7000 series.

Use the search button and search DAT and MD and you'll see a lot of posts and comments on using either for high quality recording.

Jeff
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Old October 13th, 2002, 07:05 AM   #3
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald :
Use the search button and search DAT and MD and you'll see a lot of posts and comments on using either for high quality recording.

Jeff -->>>

Jeff,

Once you have aquired your sound in the field (DAT or MD), how do you sync it in post? Is this a long drawn out process?
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Old October 13th, 2002, 07:20 AM   #4
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Not for the type of things I shoot. Most of my clips are limited to several minutes in length at the most. I don't do weddings etc. where you might have extended scenes. I sync with a audible cue (slate, clap your hands, shut the car door). When I inevitably forget to make a cue it only takes a few seconds (OK maybe 30 seconds) to slip the audio in FCP and match a key point (frame).

FCP allows you to scrub your audio and match pretty easily. Avid's audio doesn't scrub well at all and I waste time doing this in Avid. I know of wedding guys who do their audio this way, so I would assume, because of the digital nature, the audio and video must stay synced pretty well even on long clips.

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Old October 13th, 2002, 08:02 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald :

FCP allows you to scrub your audio and match pretty easily. Avid's audio doesn't scrub well at all and I waste time doing this in Avid. I know of wedding guys who do their audio this way, so I would assume, because of the digital nature, the audio and video must stay synced pretty well even on long clips.

Jeff -->>>

What do you mean by "scrub" in FCP? We recently had a three camera shoot where the sound was captured to a HD from the mixing board. Since I did not have a audio que (slate, etc.) it made it a bit more difficult.

Any additional tips would be greatly appreciated!
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Old October 13th, 2002, 08:35 AM   #6
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Keep it coming guys........ I appreciate any and all the help / advice that you can throw my way. Thanks a ton.

Pepi.
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Old October 13th, 2002, 11:43 AM   #7
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sampling etc. background i find the FCP scrub and waveform audio features awesome. if you do go out of sync a little its simple to chop up your audio and slip each section or even single words around to get them to sync.
i have had nice results with a sony portable MD recorder and audio technica 822 stereo mic plugged directly into recorder and mic placed hidden in middle of room .picked up all voice and ambient sound well.
i own a mackie 1202 vlz .the preamps are nice and its built like a tank.you can find a use for this thing for almost every type of application.it also has inserts so you are able to patch in compressors/limiters etc which will help you even out your sound especially voices/dialog.you can use this before going to tape and also in post.
i also use a Roland vs880ex 8 track digital recorder.it records on built in HD and it does anything and everything.i havent shot with it along side camera yet but used it mostly for voice over work. but if you were gonna lug a mackie mixer(not that its big but this recorder isnt much bigger) you could just take this.it has built in fx/mixer/8 tracks recordable simultaneously and so on.but this model would alomost exceed your budget. but there are many other portable multitrack recorders/mixer/fx combos out there .
the HHB and marantz pro MD recorders also look pretty nice with XLR and phantom power. also you cant go wrong with sony MDR-7506 headphones
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Old October 13th, 2002, 11:50 AM   #8
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CAN I USE 2 CHANNEL MIXER ALONG WITH THE ON BOARD MIXER FOR THE XL1S?

Jeff,

I checked out the 2 channel MixPre from Sound Devices.... and also the Mackie mixers.....

I plan on using 2 wireless lavs (Sennheiser 100 Evolution series) and 1 boom pole (Sennheiser ME 66) mike to film a drama feature with plenty of dialogue...... I own the Canon MA 200 XLR adapter which has 4 XLR inputs......... 2 for Audio 1 and 2 for Audio 2.

Assuming that I buy the MixPre 2 channel field mixer............ Can I

(a) plug in the 2 lav's into the MixPre Mixer (to control dialogue levels) and then feed it into the Audio 1 XLR input of the MA 200 enroute to the camera......... AND......... also into an accompanying DAT recorder (ie. Sony's TCD-D8).

(b) feed the boom pole mike directly into the Audio 2 XLR input and set the camera mixer for Audio 2 to a desired level......... This way I can mix Audio 1 via the Mixpre (going into the camera and into the DAT recorder) and Audio 2 via the on board camera mixer.

Is this possible....... any limitations here?
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Old October 13th, 2002, 11:51 AM   #9
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Scrubbing is when you're in the timeline and you click on the position indicator and drag it back and forth. The audio (audable sounds) either playback slow or fast depending on the movement of the indicator in the timeline. In linear editing you put your finger in the jog dial and spin it real fast or slow and listen to the audio to find your marks. This is called scrubbing. FCP does it almost like a linear system. Avid Xpress DV does it poorly.

In post you drop your video in the time line. Then pick an audio track and drop in the audio. They are not in sync. You recorded them on seperate devices. If you have a cue, such as a slate/clap board your in luck. RT audio needs to be turned on. Slip syncing items involves using the slip item tool in the Tool Box (or press the S key). You can now move your images to sync them up. It's hard to describe. If you use FCP help, look up slipping and its described. Try it a couple of times and it'll make sense.

Jeff
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Old October 13th, 2002, 11:56 AM   #10
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The XL1 has 4 channels 12 bit, 32khz audio or 2 channel 16 bit, 48khz audio. The 4 channel option will not deliver audio quality needed for a feature. The mics all need to be run into a mixer and then into a recorder (DAT or MD). One of the outs of the mixer can go to the XL1 as a scratch track to help sync your DAT audio in post (match waveforms). If you use 3 sources you'll need a mixer (Mackie) and an external recorder for high quality audio.

Jeff
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Old October 13th, 2002, 12:05 PM   #11
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Jeff,

I recently read http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/articles/article71.htm and http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/articles/article69.htm

I am a bit confused and need direction.........

Given my 2 lavs and 1 boom mike configuration........ and my desire to record superior sound for the feature.......... how should I then, SPECIFICLY, set up my camera for sound?

Thanks again.
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Old October 13th, 2002, 12:20 PM   #12
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more questions.........

Here is what I'm trying to understand........... I have 3 main actors in my film........ there are some scenes where all 3 interact with one another........ at other times on 2 at a time.........

I'm trying to see if I can make this work with the MixPre mixer that has only 2 chanels.............

I currently own the following mics:
One wireless lavalier mic.
One wired lavalier mic.
One directional mic on a boom pole rig.

** I'm prepared to buy a Sony TDC D-8 (DAT recorder)
** I'm prepared to buy the MixPre 2 channel mixer
** I'm prepared to buy one additional wireless lavalier mic setup.

Thanks for putting up with my NOVICE questions. You guys are great!!!!!!!

Regards, Pepi Singh Khara.
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Old October 13th, 2002, 12:21 PM   #13
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You need to decide if your going to record the master audio to the camera or external device (DAT, MD or maybe Hard Drive). If you choose the camera you have only 2 channels of high quality 16 bit 48kHz sound. Your inputs will need to me mixed (bad because you can't seperate sources if they are mixed) then recorded to the 2, 16 bit camera channels. You can investagate multi track recorders but they will probably blow your budget. The DAT and MD recorders within your budget are all 2 track recorders, I think.

Jeff
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Old October 13th, 2002, 01:17 PM   #14
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pepi if you are going with portable dat you may want to look at tascams dap -4 ? not sure of exact model # but tascam only makes one portable. it has xlr and phantom where as the sony only has mini jack mic plug.
also the hhb and marantz pro MD recorders have the same features and are reltaivley cheaper than the tascam dat.

tascam,zoom and a few other companies make portable 4 track recorders that record to HD or smart media. more than likely an external mixer would be needed for these as most only have 1/4" inputs and not xlr. but it would give you the flexibilty of recording 4 seperate tracks that you could mixdown later in post.these will give you at least 16 bit 44.1k some will do higher
since you are in frederick you should head on down the road to rockville and go to the guitar center or other large music equipment chain and chek these recorders out.
i usually record to roland digi 8 track mixdown to cd then import from cd to FCP3.im close by frederick so if you ever need any help let me know.
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Old October 13th, 2002, 01:54 PM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald :
In post you drop your video in the time line. Then pick an audio track and drop in the audio. They are not in sync. You recorded them on seperate devices. If you have a cue, such as a slate/clap board your in luck. RT audio needs to be turned on. Slip syncing items involves using the slip item tool in the Tool Box (or press the S key). You can now move your images to sync them up. It's hard to describe. If you use FCP help, look up slipping and its described. Try it a couple of times and it'll make sense.

Jeff -->>>

Excellent! Thanks for the assist. Will give it a go on Monday when I get back to work on my current assignment.
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