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Old October 6th, 2005, 12:19 AM   #1
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suggestion for boom mike solution

hi everyone. we are ramping up for an independent feature we plan to shoot in late november. we are going to shoot in dv with a 35mm lens adapter (letus35).

what we lack knowledge on is audio. i am looking for suggestions for a boom mike, as well as other equipment we might need for getting good audio. all we have right now are the on-camera shotgun mics and a senn lav setup... which are not ideal.

we would like to shoot as guerrila-style as possible, but we want good quality audio (most of which will be dialogue). any suggestions/best practices/advice would be much appreciated.

thanks in advance!
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Old October 6th, 2005, 01:44 AM   #2
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what's your budget?
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Old October 6th, 2005, 02:46 AM   #3
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Check out the NTG-2 from Rode http://www.rode.com.au/
They also has a boompole. They also have a "dead cat" to cover the mic and remove the windnoise. I think together they are about 400-500 USD.
I am going to buy it myself.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 10:43 AM   #4
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budget for audio is about 1k. looking for a standalone solution for one person to be the sound recordist: boom, headphones, mixer, media. what's the best audio format to record to?

also, to keep this on topic as with the board, i'd also like to get suggestions on other equipment:

do any of you use a slate? i'd like to hear from people that do and people that don't as to the pros and cons. we got into this thinking we don't need it, but as we build the shotlist, i'm getting a bit worried. i want to take out all the unnecessary equipment and manpower, but i don't know whether a slate falls in that category.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 12:12 PM   #5
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What camera are you going to use? Does it have 3.5 mm miniteleplug or a XLR connection? Do you want to record on a standalone or do you want to use the 2 channels on the tape? If you go to tape direct you avoid the trouble of syncing up the sound. Of course, that's when the slate comes to use. When the slate claps you can adjust the visual/sound of the tape to that of the external media. I haven't used a slate but will as soon it arrives. I think that using one will give the set a little more professional feel and will probably sharpen everbody's performance
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Old October 6th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredrik-Larsson
What camera are you going to use? Does it have 3.5 mm miniteleplug or a XLR connection? Do you want to record on a standalone or do you want to use the 2 channels on the tape? If you go to tape direct you avoid the trouble of syncing up the sound. Of course, that's when the slate comes to use. When the slate claps you can adjust the visual/sound of the tape to that of the external media. I haven't used a slate but will as soon it arrives. I think that using one will give the set a little more professional feel and will probably sharpen everbody's performance
hi fredrik,

we are using 3 vx2100s with the letus35 and a host of canon fd lenses. i have the beachtek xlr for them as well. i am leaning towards external media for audio, and we have a slate, so i guess we won't be taking that out of the equation.

now comes the question of dat. is it necessary, or can we get away with a simple mp3 solution like an iriver to do the job? most of the audio is dialogue, and any extra atmospheric sounds will be added in post.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 01:34 PM   #7
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I think you can get away by using an iriver. It records at 320 kbps at it's best quality. This is compressed to MP3. I think that DV record uncompressed audio at 16-bit, 48 khz and that is better quality. So tapping into one of the DV-cameras that will always record would probably be better.

If you have the Beachtek with a limiter then use the limiter. Distorted digital sound is horrible and basically useless.

You should also read through this
http://www.filmsound.org/production-...openletter.htm
It goes through some stuff that is good to know.
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Old October 8th, 2005, 12:16 AM   #8
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My setup is this:

Senn ME66/K6/Softie 'dead cat'
Gitzo 9' boom
Edirol R-1

I slate the takes with an announcement of the scene/shot/take number etc.

The recorder was about $400, the boom about $180 and the mic about $350. Dead cat was $79 I think.

Here is a sample that was done outside with a 5mph wind - 2 people sitting on a park bench with the mic about a foot above and in front of them, evenly spaced between them and angled at them:

MP3 file

That is the raw file out of the Edirol. 384K compressed (the Edirol will record 24 bit PCM uncompressed as well, but for dialog, I dont see the need). No processing. There is some noise that I was easily able to subdue with a comb filter.
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Old October 8th, 2005, 02:08 AM   #9
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As someone who has learned the hard way recently, I would suggest that you consider sound as important or even more important than your picture. As much as a lousy picture says "amatuer", lousy sound really says it. Fixing lousy sound is not trivial and can be both very difficult, time consuming and displeasing in the end. It's easy to overlook, but if you spend a little more time, effort and money up front it can pay off big. Think about it, it sounds like you've got $10K or more in cameras and such, yet your budget for sound is only $1K. For all the hard work you are going to put in to make your film and get it to look the best, I would urge you to consider at least doubling or even tripling your audio budget and get the best sound you can. I assume the dialog in your film will be crucial to your plot. If so, the audio is extremly important.

There are many good solutions, but I would highly recommend:
#1 - Get a Good sound person - this can make all the difference no matter what equipment you have. Even if they aren't there all the time. Find someone you can learn from or that can teach someone else that you can depend on.
#2 - If you want to record into either the camera or a separate deck, the best investment you can make is into a good portable mixer such as a Sound Devices Mix-Pre (~$650) or 302 (~$1200). These things are just fabulous. The limiters alone will save you tremendous headaches. The Mix-pre is two channels in, the 302 is 3 channels in.
#3 - Are you going to be dong interiors, exteriors or both? If exteriors, a short shotgun will genrally work well. If interiors, a hypercardiod. If both, then by all means get both. If you try to rely on a shotgun for interiors you will probably be sorry. Most of them sound bad most of the time on interiors. There are many models of either mic type and which ones you get simply depends on your budget. Search the posts and you see what the general favorites are.
#4 - Get a good shockmount and wind protection for the mics. Again, many good ones to to chose from, but don't get the cheapest, spend a little more and get good ones and they will pay off many times over.
#5 - If you do steps 1 through 4 well, then what you record to is likely not going to be that critical, as long it is decent (garbage in -> garbage out), that is, as long as it doesn't introduce any significant noise or distortion. I bought a used Nonmad Jukebox III with a 20 GB hard drive for $200 that records uncompressed 16 bit wave and sounds great. But you need the good preamps (mixer) to make it work well. If you can, record double sound. In other words, use the stand alone device and record into your camera as well. Think of it like covering the scene with three cameras. One camera may miss something, but the others may cover it. Same with sound, you would hate to shoot a great scene only to find out that the sound didn't record for some reason. Plus, you can set different levels on the camera and recording unit and therfore protect against digital overloads if they were to occur. If your film is anyhitng like mine, there are scenes that you will likely never be able to re-shoot, so get it right the first time, that includes audio.
#6 - See number 1. There is a fair amount to getting good sound (and it only starts with equipment) and the more you pay attention to it in the beginning, the happier you'll be in the end.


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Old October 14th, 2005, 02:59 PM   #10
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Matt is so right

Take Matt's advice. Nothing screams amateur like poor sound. I know. I shoot a series twice a month and our sound is really crappy. It's a no-budget show and we haven't been able to find a sound mixer/boom operator in our price range... free.

We shoot two cameras and record four mics on the four camera audio tracks. We then sync the shots in Final Cut and use one of the four audio tracks; whichever sounds best.

We have a tall mic stand so we hang three mics over the scene; one Shure SM58 and two ME66. (The ME66 is likely a bad choice for indoors but it's all we've got.) We also try to plant a second SM58 somewhere out of sight on the set to pickup anything else we can, depending on the blocking of the scene. Some of the actors are so soft spoken we always have a hard time picking them out of the background.

We shoot about 20 to 30 pages of script in six to eight hours; a very fast pace. This is one or two takes per scene with little other coverage; maybe one or two inserts per episode.

All this footage takes from 20 to 30 hours to edit. About 25% of the edit time, I estimate, is used in trying to improve the sound. That is adjusting levels and taking loud transients out caused by actors crinkling paper, bumping a desk with a chair or nocking a bracelet against a table. If one of these transients is over dialog then we're really screwed.

Our sound is one place where we could really improve the show. Don't scrimp on sound. It's false economy. It'll either lower the quality of the resulting movie or you'll spend ten times as much trying to fix it in post.

Peace,

Rob:-]
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Old October 14th, 2005, 07:20 PM   #11
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Will you be shooting interiors or exteriors or both? Does the Beachtek have phantom or is it passive?
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