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#1 Anatole Sloan

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 05:33 AM

Yesterday, I watched a low-budget indie film and was suprised by the sound; each time the camera angle changed, there was a noticeable difference in sound; how do major productions cope with this?
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#2 Thom Stitt

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 05:37 AM

With expensive condenser mics like the octava, highly-skilled boom operators, and an in-depth sound design process with a full mix, including some amount of ADR looping and foley sound effects.

I mean, what can you say? Major productions are major for a reason. Making movies is way too damned expensive.

Edited by Thom S, 10 August 2006 - 05:38 AM.

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#3 Anatole Sloan

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 07:15 AM

What is the average minimum budget for sound on a "major" film?
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#4 Peter Tripodi

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 02:21 AM

Who knows? Thousands. A small sound crew that knows its stuff can get great results using lesser equipment than a bunch of guys with the best gear who doesn?t know their polar pattern from a hole in the ground. And the majors know their stuff and have the best gear.

How much are you looking to spend? Are you going to hire someone or go DIY?

A lot of that good sound is in postproduction, ADR and ?L? cuts between the audio and visuals. You don?t have to use the dialog from the scene your watching if you can?t see their lips move. Even the ?Majors? have trouble with sound.

And lots and lots post production tweaking.

You want cheap? Are you using DV? You can make a decent boom from a telescoping light-bulb-changer / window-mop thingy, $20. A real boom; $100 up for a nice one.

Try and get the best mic you can, an ME66 or an AT835b is a good start for cheap DV production ($200 - $600, a big spread, you got to shop around!) Big Boy mics start at around $1000 and go up from there. At least a slip-on fur windscreen ($40 - $60) to fit your mic and A GOOD SHOCK MOUNT!! I mean one that doesn?t squeak too much ($100) Better a Zeppelin with it's own shock mount ($150 up)

The list goes on: Headphones, ones with good outside rejection, Sennheiser 280?s are good ($100) and cables; one from the mic to the camera line in and one from the camera headphone out. You want to be able to stand at least 20 feet from the camera. Gaff them together so you only have to trip over one cord. You want the freedom to stand where you need to place the mic AND stay out of the shot.

Get a mixer ($60 on up). You can get away with out one if your going into the camera but it will make your life so much easier even if you?re only using one mic. With a mixer you can set the input level at the camera once and monitor and make all adjustment from the mixer. This will help you get clear, CONSISTANT sound, which when it comes time to edit, will make you very happy. Very happy. Trying to fix bad sound in post after your final cut can make you very sad. Very sad.

That's single system into the camera. Are you shooting film? Double system? Cheap means recording on a Mindisc (warning, they're dinky. It will be dropped, at least twice) no time code. Need time code? Nice flash recorders (Tascam HD-P2 $1000) will kick your sound quality up a few notches. DATs with out time code for a lot less.

Most important, more so than the wish list of stuff, is someone who can swing a boom properly, knows the pattern of the mic, and the gain stages of the mixer. You can get all the gear even cheaper if you shop (or borrow it for the shoot! Free is better than cheap!) OR you can spend a gazillion and get it all gold plated, but it will all sound like crap if you don?t have some one with experience doing the sound.

Or at the very least, someone who takes film sound seriously enough to learn about the stuff and has the guts to say, ?That last take had a problem? when they hear something fishy.

The details and dance steps of getting good location sound are all on line (search Location Sound) You can get great (well, good) sound on location with a small budget There will always be a car, plane or train in the background when you least want it, but that?s the challenge.

Thom said it all with fewer words. I drink too much coffee. Good luck with your project.

* Hey, I only used 3408 characters. Sweet.

Edited by Peter Tripodi, 11 August 2006 - 02:24 AM.

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#5 blakejohnson

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 11:14 AM

I fyou head over to Stick TO What You Know's forums to the topic here: http://www.sticktowh...wtopic.php?t=35 an article here: http://www.kenstone....tion_sound.html and another here: http://www.jorenclar...pers/sound.html and here: http://www.jorenclar...oundbuying.html, there's some really good stuff in there. It's a lot to sift through at first, but the last two and the first one I especially reccomend, having taken part in making and reading them myself (I posted numerous times in the STWYK forum as Runeshai, and I've read the Joren CLark stuff), the other article I haven't read yet but it seemed very good. Good luck. :)
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#6 Emmanuel Lariviere

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 12:08 AM

What is the average minimum budget for sound on a "major" film?



An average studio release, for post sound, is on average $400 to 600 thousand. That's just for a basic studio release. A "event" film (Spiderman,etc.) can go over 1 million. That's not even including music.
Music can really vary in price. An average budget range, for a studio picture, is around $200 to 500K.

Keep in mind if you use a "superstar" composer (John Williams, James Horner,etc.) They can make $500K to 1million plus, just for their salary (plus a percentage of soundtrack sales). Add the orchestra and support staff and you're talking another $500K to 1million. That's just underscore. That's not including songs and copyrights.

Obviously independant filmmakers do not have to pay those figures. Protools, and the computer in general, has radically changed this business. If you look around, you can get a profesional sound job and musical score for under $30 thousand for a feature. Talk to people at the smaller sound post houses and film school students, looking for their break.
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#7 Sean McHenry

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 04:56 PM

Personally I am not as detail oriented on my little projects as I could be but I am usually concentrating on other stuff, since I do most everything on my little pieces. One of the best things you can do in digital editing is to be absolutely sure you get at least 60 seconds of "room tone" at every location. On a real set the sound person will tell you he is about to roll for "room tone". Everyone will freeze and shut up for those 60 seconds as he records the sound of one hand clapping.

Every combination of locations and recording equipment has it's own dead sound to go along with it. Your dialog will have that slight open air sound under everything that you recorded. When you break up sentences, etc, you will need some of that blank sound to fill in those gaps so the noise floor isn't constantly changing. That's one of the distracting things you hear in bad films and videos. Mine included

A lot of that gets covered by effects and music and isn't really an issue. I think you mostly hear what you described when the inexperienced use on camera mics rather than a boom operator with a good mic. The boom person can adjust their mic placement to very near the actors and not way back by the camera. Also using different mics for different scenes can do this as well. The last thing that can hurt you is to do a cut in the audio track but have to pump it up a bit for a weak line delivery. I always try to do a smooth dissolve to ramp up the audio increase to smooth that out a bit.

Sean
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Aerial Filmworks

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Ritter Battery

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