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Old April 28th, 2006, 12:17 PM   #1
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Discontinuous sound = full sound design in post?

Lets say I was filming a microubudget production on location in a shopping center. I was filming a dialouge between different characters while muzak and other mall-sounds are heard in the background during filming. When I'm arranging the shots in post, there'll be an obivious break in the ambient effects. Shot 1 could have muzak at the beginning of the song, shot 2, filmed later, could have the same song, but two minutes into it This discontinutiy will obviously be perceptable, so when this happens do you totally erase the audio tracks and build it up from scratch? ADR, sound effects, different ambient track etc? Is the ADR easy to achieve when it comes to getting lip syncing to work? How long should it take? A day worth of your actors in your suite re-recording the dialogue to an audioless video? (ie, Video imported into Adobe Audition and using it as a reference to record)
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Old April 28th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #2
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You need to minimise as much as possible any ambient sound in the background. Shoot dialogue in close up, and mic as close as possible, or choose a shopping centre that doesn't play muzak.

Worse than have the same piece of music jumping around, if you're shooting coverage, but the time you get to the second actor's angles, it could be a completely different song (after all, a song is usually 3-4 minutes, you can't get much coveage on 4 minutres!). If the songs are recongisable, there are copyright issues.

ADR is hard to get to seem "right" on a microbudget.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 02:39 PM   #3
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Yeah, I was thinking PC Mic, Audition and lots of EQ :/

On a Hollywood production that's being shot on location, how does it work when that problem arises? In that situation, is all the sound redone?
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Old April 30th, 2006, 12:59 PM   #4
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On a "Hollywood" production, they'll shoot on a location or backlot where they have control of the background extras and can control sound (i.e. if they shoot in a Mall, it's closed to the public, all the stores are closed unless needed in shot, in which case they're staffed by extras).

Most feature films (and not just Hollywood but independent and international films too) are a combination of controlled sound shooting and ADR. Even if they've used the original dialogue a lot of sound work is created in post.

Quote:
Yeah, I was thinking PC Mic, Audition and lots of EQ :/
You're planning to fix it in post huh? Good luck with that one...

EQ will help you a bit but not much. The problem is music and background chatter will be in the same frequency range as dialogue, so as you try and eq out all the background sound, you'll affect the foreground dialogue too.

Audition might have some good noise removal filters, but it will be good at mechanical/electromic noise of a consistent tone and volume, whereas location noise and piped music will have random constantly changing patterns, hard to filter out. Plus again as it is sitting on your foreground sound, filtering out the BG noise will again filter out some of the foreground sound. This might be acceptable for a Documentary but not for a fiction film.

Pardon my ignorance but what is a "PC mic".
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Old April 30th, 2006, 04:44 PM   #5
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Your basic run of the mill $10 microphone meant for PC use. Yes, microbudget is my keyword! However, I do have a friend that owns a small recording studio, so I could always do ADR there.

Tell me though, when working on a small/guerilla budget, how does one film well on location?
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Old April 30th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #6
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By not shooting in a noisy shopping mall?
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Old April 30th, 2006, 06:26 PM   #7
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Well, one solution I can think of off the top of my head is to use two cameras at the same time to cover the reverse angles of your two-person scene. Rehearse your actors over and over again until they can perform the scene non-stop. Film it from start to finish.

That way you can edit from both shots and have it as continuous as possible. But there will most likely still be very small gaps. Although if you record enough ambient sound (minus music) you could use that to mask the cuts. I think you might be able to tweak the sound issues in post doing it this way - cutting and pasting bits of sound - and have a presentable soundtrack. (is that an oxymoron?)

Besides, if this is microbudget, then your audience may forgive the mistakes more readily. Although not always... Hope this helps!
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Old May 1st, 2006, 07:17 PM   #8
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Aviv, from the productions I have participated, I now firmly believe in doing all audio in post with ADR and background tone replacement. I think it will actually save man-hours and definitely provide a better result. The reason it will save man-hours is that the time of the whole crew on-set is wasted doing re-takes because of audio problems. It also takes a lot of time and crew to set up the audio and a very dedicated person to monitor. I now plan to only use on-set audio in easy/quiet locations where the audio just happens to work. With a short movie, there is only about ten minutes of dialog to replace, so I would rather take the actors into a comfortable environment and have them replace their audio instead of stressing everyone out on the set and taking up the time of the entire crew.

Also, ADR is a skill that filmmakers must learn eventually (if not on their very first production) and you may as well develop that skill now. Once you learn how the process works and how to direct your actors in the audio room, it really isn't that hard.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 07:32 PM   #9
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You can save the video, but I think fixing the audio is beyond your means. You could capture purely background audio from the mall, and do dialogue in a studio enviroment.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 11:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
Your basic run of the mill $10 microphone meant for PC use. Yes, microbudget is my keyword!
Then I would recommend shooting a silent film.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #11
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Dubbing engineers have this nifty tool I think from the company Cedar Audio. It's a little box with faders, coupla passes through the box works some magic in cleaning up dialogue. Ask around for a demo.
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Old May 27th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #12
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Good ADR is hard to do...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
[...] I now firmly believe in doing all audio in post with ADR and background tone replacement. I think it will actually save man-hours and definitely provide a better result. [...]
Your success doing ADR will be highly dependent on (1) the actor's ability to match the pace of the original dialog; (2) the actor's ability to deliver the right inflection and emotions of the original performance; (3) and the sound editor's ability to match the quality of the dialog with other dialog that was recorded for the production.

Good ADR is hard to do. I strongly suggest avoiding ADR if at all possible, especially with inexperienced actors, who often have a hard time delivering a good performance. To make things easier for them, if it's a conversation bwtween two people, look with both actors present, assuming you're getting a better performance with them playing off each other. That said, if you simply can't avoid it, make sure you get good sound during the shoot so you have a decent guide track, which will make the looping easier for the actors. Sometimes ADR is done in order to improve performances, so for every point in this discussion there's a counter-point. That's what I love about filmmaking, it's all about problem solving, trade-offs, creative solutions to problems... there is never one right way.

Another option, if you're not shooting on the sly and are shooting with permission, is ask the mall management to turn off the Muzak for your shoot. Background walla walla is OK to work with and easier to hide the cuts of, it's the music jumps that really kill you. LOCATION SCOUTS are a good time to eliminate these problems before they start. Since I really like the quality of original performances, I'd rather have good location sound and change locations than deal with all the issues around ADR.
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Old May 27th, 2006, 11:44 PM   #13
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The reasons I believe in ADR are thus:

Drunks in the vicinity
Computer noise
Sporadic traffic (especially when the location is supposed to be remote)
Mopeds (thousands of them in Hawaii)
Hogs (the kind with V-twin motors and no muffler)
Airplanes flying overhead
Mic in the shot
Sneezes
Time setting up the recording on-location while the crew waits
Crewmember noise ruining the take
Cell phones going off during a take
Someone ringing the doorbell during a take
Noisy neighbors
No A/C allowed in a room full of people and lights on a Summer day
Dogs barking
Bad saxophone players on the beach (really, I'm not kidding)
Loud surf noise drowning out the dialog
MIC IN THE SHOT!
And the worst of them all...MIC IN THE SHOT that nobody noticed during the actor's best performance of the day and now we have to throw it out even though we thought we had the perfect performance on tape and struck the set.

It seems impossible to completely avoid ADR, so I consider it a necessary skill that must be developed in every filmmaker. Since I find it relatively easy to get right, I want to take advantage of ADR on the set. Now, I will be happy with any good audio I gather, but I won't waste time and takes if the inevitable audio interruptions occur.

I don't want the worst of both worlds. I won't make everyone crazy on the set expecting the impossible with audio then go crazy trying to avoid ADR when editing and finally begrudge it when it is inevitable. My thinking is to plan for ADR and make up a bunch of time on the set (every minute wasted on-set is multiplyed by the people involved) and in the editing bay. I refuse to waste a good take because there was a noise in the background. I refuse to ever again make a dozen crew and actors wait for 5 minutes while a noisy weirdo in the neighborhood meanders away.

Once ADR is assumed, many other things become easier. Since ADR is unavoidable, we may as well make it part of our skill set and take advantage of it on-set.

I'm not trolling or trying to start flames, but you may have detected that I have had a lot of anger involving location audio. I only hope to keep others from having the same experiences.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 12:08 PM   #14
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How much time does it take to produce 1 minute of video/audio on location compared to 1 minute of dubbed audio?

Thanks. I'd love to save myself the expense of location microphones and mixers and use ADR for my upcoming low-budget films.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:55 PM   #15
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It might be easier to rotoscope (or simply mask) the mic in the shot out than to do ADR? This depends on the shot though (i.e. does the camera or background move).
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