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Old February 9th, 2007, 04:33 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: The Netherlands
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intentionally holding the mic in frame

Hi all,

I would like to hear your thoughts on a thing I have been wondering about. One of the most important parameters in audio recording is the distance from mic to source. Now in narrative production this is normally an issue between camera operator and sound recordist to have the boom as close to the subject as possible, but not have it in the frame. In our productions we have had the occasional mic in frame, but as long as the camera was static and the mic was not constantly in frame, it was very easy to mask it out in post. So then I wondered if it might be worth it in certain situations when you're shooting wide to purposely hold the mic in frame to get the best audio, and also shoot a clean plate before or after the mic comes in so you can ask it out afterwards. This would of course only work if the camera doesn't move or not much (you could track it with a simple move) and if the lighting doesn't change.
Now my question was; has anybody ever considered this in a shot where otherwise only lavs would be suitable due to the mic distance? I would be interested in your experiences!

Steven Fokkinga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007, 12:30 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
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Two thoughts relative to the way *I* think. (Which is to say there's no reason anyone else should think this way, it's just my personal preference.)

A lav and a boom sound different. That's a good thing. A lav focuses everything on the person speaking. A boom typically records the voice, but it also records the sonic nature of the space you're recording. So it's often a more "realistic" approach for work like a movie where we EXPECT to hear not just the character, but the environment they're in.

If the enviromnental sound is unimportant, use a lav. It provides the best possible signal to noise ratio - given that the character's speach is the signal and EVERYTHING else is "noise."

But lav's are significantly more time consuming to rig. So for me it's a balancing act that tilts back and forth depending on the NATURE of the scene.

If I'm recording a walk in the park. Booming is a hassle and often precludes anything but a mid to close up shot. Recording dialog via lav and nat sound separately and mixing both in post gets you the best control of both. And makes sense in somethign that's supposed to last a long time and bear repeted viewings like a movie.

But if I have 12 subjects to record at a corporate gig in a single morning, and have reasonble control of the room (HVAC/crowd/etc.) the time savings of not having to lav each person might suggest a fixed boom might be more efficient.

That's the whole thing with audio. You can't ever just say "I'll do it THIS way every time." Because no two setups are ever quite the same.

I think the best approach is to learn to use a lav well, AND learn to use a boom well, AND learn to use plant mics well, AND learn to use stick mics well - and then distill all that understanding into a strategy for using the only tool that can actually get you quality audio in each and every setup you'll ever face.

Your brain.

By the way, in my view, there's absolutely nothing wrong with your "paint out the boom in post" strategy.

You're just trading away future time in post for current convenience.

When you're starting out, time doesn't typically seem like the incredibly valuable resource that it is.

But it's worth thinking about that while you're spending your time keyframing that boom out in post - somewhere your competition might be using those SAME hours you're spending at your NLE on taking another future potential client out to lunch.

Something to think about, anyway.

Hope that helps.
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