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Sound and two cameras


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#1 Demian Barba

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 12:11 AM

Hi,

I am currently shooting a low-low-low budget feature with two cameras. This is something we decided to do to get as much coverage as possible in our tight schedule but we have not being able to do exactly what we wanted for sound considerations. Like shooting two different characters far apart from each other from different angles. We cannot do it because the boom can only be in one place at a time and cannot travel that fast (especially considering that most of our light comes from above and the roof is not too high. So, my question is: how do you normaly record sound for a two camera shoot? with two booms? or do you just not shoot simultaneously actors far apart?

thanks,


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 12:41 AM

Yes, if one boom can't cover both actors because they are too far apart, either two booms / two boom ops, or you put wireless lav mics on the actors. Or you use two cameras in a way that still allows the sound man to use one boom, like a wide and tighter of the same actor, rather than two cameras pointing in different directions at different actors.
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#3 Demian Barba

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 12:54 AM

thanks for the reply David.

one more question: how often do you modify your frame and lighting to accomodate the boom?

thanks,

demian
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 01:27 AM

I try and warn the boom operator if I'm setting up a shot that will be hard to boom, but otherwise, you don't light for the boom, but you may use flags or adjust the angle of the fill to help hide a boom shadow if it's a problem that can't be easily fixed by booming from another angle, and can easily be fixed with a little grip work.

But if I want to light a face with a big Chinese Lantern right above the actor's face, usually where the boom op wants to put the mic, I light it that way if that's what works best for the scene -- the boom op usually finds a way around it.

What drives me a little nuts is when the sound people don't want you to set-up shots that are hard to mic -- for example, I once set-up a deep-focus shot with one person big in the foreground talking, facing camera, and in the far background was another person in a doorway talking -- and the sound person said "I can't mic both people -- you've got to split up the shot into separate close-ups!"

Hence why now I at least warn them in advance about tricky upcoming set-ups in case they want to consider wiring the actors or planting a mic or running a second boom.

I worked with another very large overweight boom op who would constantly stand right in front of wherever the fill light was and say loudly "I want to mic it from here!" and force you to move the fill. Another time I had someone who wanted to sit in the camera truck and record the sound from there, and wanted to move the camera truck around for every set-up like a dolly because he was maxed out on cable otherwise. I once worked with a really inexperienced production mixer who tried to record as much off-camera foley as possible, so dialogue would be ruined by footstep sounds or hands using silverware, etc. He thought he was saving the production the trouble of adding foley effects later.

Anyway, you learn what sort of lighting creates problems for mic placement. Sometimes DP's overlight with a lot of crosslights and hard fill everywhere and it's a nightmare to mic. Since I tend to opt more for a soft single-source look most of the time, it's not that hard to mic, especially if it is a side-key.

One of the trickier things is an over-the-shoulder 2-shot in backlight -- because when the boom op swings out for the person facing camera, they can throw a mic shadow on the foreground person.
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#5 Matt Pacini

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 06:49 PM

David, I have a question for you:

What percentage of the time with the larger budget films you work on, do they use lavs instead of a boom?

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#6 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 08:12 PM

I had a situation on a picture last year that drove the sound department nuts. We were shooting with at least two cameras for 90% of the film, and we would start almost every scene with a 35mm or a 25mm on "A" camera, and a 135mm or 300mm on "B" camera. This is tough for sound because for the 24mm or 35mm they would often like to use lavs (or have to), but with a 135mm or 300 they would most likely like to boom it. So it turned into a very tough situation for the boom op because he would always have trouble staying out of my shot ("A" camera) while at the same time trying to get in close enough for "B" camera. It was normally impossible for them to lav the actors because "B" camera was so tight that you would see the mic under most clothing. Luckily, the mixer and boom op weren't complainers. They just did the best the could with the situation they were handed. I've worked with quite a few mixers who would have thrown a fit in this situation.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 02:24 AM

I've done ten features with the same mixer, and he generally only uses lavs and radio mics as a last resport.

Anyway, I'd guess about a 1/4 of the time, but it depends on the scene and logistics.
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#8 Max Jacoby

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 09:59 AM

I have worked several times with a very good sound mixer from Luxembourg and on bigger pictures he usually has a sound trainee who can do a second boom if the need arises. Very often he even records the off-camera actor on a boom, to give the sound editors more options. If the actors are not moving, a boom on a stand can do the trick as well. All the actors are miked up anyway, since on the new Cantar one can record the radio mikes onto seperate tracks.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 11:07 AM

I worked one day with a big name actor who refused to wear a radio mic and didn't want to see the boom on set, requiring mics be planted on the set, hidden. He felt that seeing a boom and wearing a radio mic would be distracting to his performance. But for some reason, he could act in front of two cameras crews shooting through a missing set wall...
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 11:20 AM

I worked one day with a big name actor who refused to wear a radio mic and didn't want to see the boom on set, requiring mics be planted on the set, hidden. He felt that seeing a boom and wearing a radio mic would be distracting to his performance. But for some reason, he could act in front of two cameras crews shooting through a missing set wall...

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You - "Singin' in the Rain - The Sequel"? :D
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 03:46 PM

That bring us to one of the biggest French actors who 2 years ago shot a wine commercial in Luxembourg. He is quite a well known drunk and misogynist and didn't fail to live up to his reputation. When they were shooting in a wine cellar he didn't want the focus-puller on set, so this one had to rely on his Cinetape and pull focus from the HD monitor for the entire shoot.
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 02:37 AM

I worked one day with a big name actor who refused to wear a radio mic and didn't want to see the boom on set, requiring mics be planted on the set, hidden. He felt that seeing a boom and wearing a radio mic would be distracting to his performance. But for some reason, he could act in front of two cameras crews shooting through a missing set wall...

Oh jeez.....
Imagine doing a whole movie with that guy! What a nightmare he must be.
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