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Old October 2nd, 2005, 05:04 PM   #1
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Many background noises


I just shot a scene of a film in my house using an azden sgm-2x mic. It sounded great, but unfortunately I could hear every footstep or everything anyone else in the house did. How many of these sounds will appear in the final project? How many of them should I pay attention to?

Is there away to reduce this?

Mike Toledano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3rd, 2005, 05:29 AM   #2
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When you say you can hear all the background sounds, I presume you meant through monitor headphones as you shot? IF you could hear them while shooting, they'll be on the tape and won't disappear unless you are able to clean them off somehow during post.

Sound blankets to dampen reflections and outside noises, attention to detail such as turning off fridges and air conditioning - anything with motors, taking control of the set and insuring everyone in the area is quiet and don't speak or walk around, directional mics (hypercardoid instead of shotgun indoors), and close micing the talent when possible, no on-camera mikes if you have any other options, can all help.

How many to pay attention to depends on the project. Cinema verite supposedly filmed on location "as it happens" can get away with more off-camera extraneous sound than would a scripted theatrical drama where literally nothing should be audible in the soundtrack by accident. Big ticket Hollywood productions shooting in locations like your house may even go to the extent of having police shut down all traffic movement for several blocks around while the cameras are rolling. But even for much smaller productions IMHO, nothing says "amateur" like distant, mumbly, echo'y dialog sounding like the talent is down in a well somewhere, coupled with an undercurrent of miscellaneous beeps, tweedles, hums, buzzes, thumps, creaks, dogs, birds, voices, and traffic noise sneaking in from out of shot. If truth be told, poor sound quality damages your project far more than does compromised lighting & camera work, at least IMO.
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 11:16 PM   #3
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If the question is how to remove those sounds in post, then you might want to look for Jay Rose's "Audio Postproduction" book. If the unwanted sounds are quieter than the part of the audio you want, a mixture of compressing the wanted sounds and expanding to make the unwanted sounds even quieter would probably help a lot.
Brian Kennedy
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