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Sync Sound - 16mm and a video camera?


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#1 Craig Knowles

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:11 PM

What kind of problems am I going to run into if I shoot something in 16mm at 24fps and use a video camera -- say an XL-1 -- instead of a DAT to capture sound?
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#2 Bryan Darling

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:52 PM

What kind of problems am I going to run into if I shoot something in 16mm at 24fps and use a video camera -- say an XL-1 -- instead of a DAT to capture sound?



I used an XL1 for sound on film where we shot thousands of feet of film and it was never a problem sync-wise. The issues I would be careful with is mic placement and your levels. You really want someone who knows sound and how to record it. On the film we did with the XL1 we didn't have anyone running sound that was experienced. In the end it shows. The next film I did we had experienced sound people that came in and did the recording for free. There were a couple days they couldn't make it, so we used the XL1 and just watched our levels. Those days we really didn't have much dialog so it wasn't as much as a concern.

What really made the difference was hiring the same sound people to do all the mixing and mastering. I think we paid them around $500-$700 which was a pittance, it really was worth all that and more. I think it's a big error not to put as much into the sound as the picture, effort-wise at least, if you're making a film that relies heavily on sound.

You can see both movies at: http://www.youtube.com/tornsprocket

Lily is the film down without experienced sound but on the XL1 and Listless was done with experienced sound people using a DAT, some additional sound was done with the XL1.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:09 PM

I think the main problem is just that a DV camera is not a good sound recorder in terms of monitoring and mixing levels while recording, but otherwise it could be done, especially if you're talking about transferring the film to NTSC, which actually changes your speed from 24 fps to 23.976 fps (and then pulldown is added to convert to 54.94i.) The sound should have the same "speed". But if you went to a film print, you'd need to have your final soundtrack speed-adjusted for the change from 23.976 fps to 24 fps in the picture to maintain sync. But this is fairly common.
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#4 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:53 PM

My last project we recorded Audio on a PD-170 because our three DAT machines are all in a state of disrepair. I had no issues with synching sound. The quality was good, but we also didn't have anyone who was experienced running sound. Basically our boom op straped the PD-170 on and monitored levels as best he could. I'd say that 75% of the stuff we got was good, the other 25% not as good as I would have liked. Nothing horrible.
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#5 Craig Knowles

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 11:06 PM

Thanks for the opinions, guys.

I'm not doing anything missing-critical with it -- just a short experimental piece. No crazy locations, no movement, just a series of talking heads. I thought I may as well use what I have on hand instead of renting a DAT machine, and it sounds like I'll be fine

Thanks again.
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#6 Jim Keller

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 02:31 AM

Thanks for the opinions, guys.

I'm not doing anything missing-critical with it -- just a short experimental piece. No crazy locations, no movement, just a series of talking heads. I thought I may as well use what I have on hand instead of renting a DAT machine, and it sounds like I'll be fine

Thanks again.


I wish I could find it now, but I remember reading an article on exactly this a few years back. The upshot of which was simply that if you're keeping your shots short, you should be fine as long as your camera truly does run at 24 fps. If you're planning on longer shots, you want a motor that can do 23.98. Either way, you're probably going to need a crystal sync motor as opposed to just trusting the tach on a 40-year-old camera :)

All that said, a great many films have shot MOS and done all the dialogue recording in a massive ADR session. So, if you're just experimenting, I say go for it! Let us know how it works out.
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