Jump to content


Photo

Audio in general


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Robert Fearon

Robert Fearon

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Student

Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:42 AM

Hey guys,

I just had a question about audio in general when shooting a movie.

In the films I've made so far, the audio has always been dissappointing. I've tried different approaches each time, and nothing really seems to work that well, so I need some advice. I used a boom mic on my movies once, and that probably gave the best sound quality, but the wires were connected directly to the camera - so the boom operator was always in the way, and he also couldn't go too far off. Also if the wires moved even just the slightest amount, there would always be clicks and cracks over the top of the audio - the equipment was pretty crappy...in fact the boom pole was hand-made lol.

I worked on a film set recently, and saw that the boom operator's boom mic wasn't connected to anything so that he could move freely all over the place. I assume that's standard for professional crews. But are these systems affordable at a consumer level? What sort of equipment do you recommend I buy for my next production - or what's the minimum amount of stuff I need to get? I really don't want crap sound this time, and I need my boom operator out of the way lol!

Don't know if this is relevant - but I'm planning to shoot the movie on a Panasonic DVX100B...if that helps.

Thanks a bunch!!

Rob.
  • 0

#2 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 14 May 2007 - 06:30 AM

I'm no sound guy, but I have worked with enough to know just a little. Booms are almost always preferred. Lavaliers and clip-on's never produce the same fidelity and are normally used
mainly as a backup or when you can't get to the actors with a boom (like a wide walk and talk, for instance).

Sound guys use different mikes for different occasions, but for dialogue almost all of them are directional. Some swear by certain brands - Shure, Sennheiser etc. Most do agree that the infamous and expensive Schoeps mikes produce outstanding fidelity, but as I recall it you can't get it in full shotgun mode (very directional), so they're less suitable for exteriors or noisy environments.
  • 0

#3 Bernhard Zitz

Bernhard Zitz
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 342 posts
  • Other
  • Zürich, Switzerland

Posted 14 May 2007 - 07:11 AM

Don't know if this is relevant - but I'm planning to shoot the movie on a Panasonic DVX100B...if that helps.


If you have a DVX and wan't to save money, I would record sound on the camera, just get enough cable to let the sound-guy go where he wants. The DVX has xlr-inputs, the preamps and converters sound rather good compared to other cameras in the same price-range.

otherwise zoom, m-audio, edirol or marantz have recorders at reasonable price

for the mics, if you have a hypercardio plus a shotgun you can do pretty much everything...good condenser-mics (cardio or hypercardio) can be found rather cheap, one problem is handlingnoise and wind with certain cheap mics(oktavas)...
for shotgunmiks, the good ones are expensive and the cheap ones can be ok, I have a Rode NTG-1, it's okay for the money but I prefer Sennheisers, even the cheap ones...

plus you need a suspension to avoid handling noise and a windshield for exteriors...

and a fieldmixer for the soundguy to control soundlevel, this is maybe the most expensiv part. I'd stay away from cheap stuff, like rolls, and the good stuff like sound devices, sqn etc. is expensiv... I haven't found a cheap solution for this, dont' know either...

Edited by Bernhard Zitz, 14 May 2007 - 07:15 AM.

  • 0

#4 Duncan McDougall

Duncan McDougall
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 14 May 2007 - 12:45 PM

I just bought one of these and it works well. Records onto a flash card that inputs via firewire directly to the mac for editing. This will free up your sound guy. Of course, long cables to your camera is the way to go if you want to save cash. good luck.

http://www.tascam.co...ducts/hdp2.html
  • 0

#5 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 14 May 2007 - 01:43 PM

Make certain you're using a good mike preamp, quality field production mixers like the Shure FP series have good, low noise mike preamps (I personally use a Shure M387 - I got such a deal on it that I can put up with its hardbound book size). The Mackie gear with VLZ mike preamps is probably the best bang for the buck in larger mixers.

Buy expensive 4-wire twisted mike cable, Canare, Clark, premium Belden, etc. Poor cables generate a lot of static-like noise when moved around while recording and the reason for using the cables that have a pair of + and a pair of - wires is that they're wound in such a way to suppress hum and noise pickup when the +'s and -'s are wired together as one pair (black to black, white to white).

Use good connectors, Switchcraft and Neutrik only. Strain relief all connectors, tie them off with tyraps and/or gaffer tape. Connectors that get tugged around while recording can generate a surprising amount of noise, even the best connectors can have this problem.

Get the mike as close to the actor's lips as possible. I think good boom operators are gods - the best of them have a kind of radar that informs them where the actor's going next.

Keep down all random noise while recording. You can touch up equalization when remixing but you'll never get rid of random noise.

There's nothing more depressing than learning after the fact that your location sound isn't useable. I knew some people who had to junk a visually very good documentary because the sound just wasn't good enough. A ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure when it comes to sound.
  • 0

#6 Robert Fearon

Robert Fearon

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Student

Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:19 PM

If you have a DVX and wan't to save money, I would record sound on the camera, just get enough cable to let the sound-guy go where he wants. The DVX has xlr-inputs, the preamps and converters sound rather good compared to other cameras in the same price-range.

otherwise zoom, m-audio, edirol or marantz have recorders at reasonable price

for the mics, if you have a hypercardio plus a shotgun you can do pretty much everything...good condenser-mics (cardio or hypercardio) can be found rather cheap, one problem is handlingnoise and wind with certain cheap mics(oktavas)...
for shotgunmiks, the good ones are expensive and the cheap ones can be ok, I have a Rode NTG-1, it's okay for the money but I prefer Sennheisers, even the cheap ones...

plus you need a suspension to avoid handling noise and a windshield for exteriors...

and a fieldmixer for the soundguy to control soundlevel, this is maybe the most expensiv part. I'd stay away from cheap stuff, like rolls, and the good stuff like sound devices, sqn etc. is expensiv... I haven't found a cheap solution for this, dont' know either...


I don't know much about all this equipment...it's a bit complicated for me!! But thanks for the advice guys. I really appreciate it.

I think I'll just go with the shotgun mic plugged into the camera idea. Just to save cashola. So I need a shotgun mic, lots of cables, suspension, and a windshield, right? I have a Rode mic (don't know what model number), and it has some form of suspension, but when I used it the suspension made heaps of noise! I think I know where to get the mic and the windshield. But where can I find the cables? eBay? I think I'll invest in a good boom pole too.

You mentioned that the DVX100B has xlr-inputs, the preamps and converters. I don't know what they are. Could you explain that?

Again, thanks for the help!!!

Rob.
  • 0

#7 Daniel Sheehy

Daniel Sheehy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 407 posts
  • Other
  • Brisbane

Posted 14 May 2007 - 11:26 PM

You mentioned that the DVX100B has xlr-inputs...

Front right hand side of the camera has 2 XLR.

the preamps and converters...

Internal, the inputs for the DVX 100B are switchable for line / mic.. that is all internal.

Noisy suspension on the boom; check that the suspension is securely attached. If it is a 'sling' type suspension, check that the rubber bands haven't worn & become slack. If so they can be replaced cheaply with those small rubber bands that are used for braiding hair. (I get them for $1 a pack here ;) )

Another tip is to get the boom operator a pair of soft leather gloves, or put some sort of soft grip material on the end of the boom pole (the type you use on the handle of a tennis or squash racket would be ok.) This helps cut down on noise as the operator handles the boom.

Cables.. you can buy them of E-bay, or you can make them yourself if you are technically minded.

One other suggestion might be to run the mic through a mixer into the camera... the sound op. monitors the audio for levels instead of relying on the camera auto control. This is better than relying on the auto level as it will tend to screw up pauses in dialogs.
  • 0

#8 Bernhard Zitz

Bernhard Zitz
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 342 posts
  • Other
  • Zürich, Switzerland

Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:22 AM

Noisy suspension on the boom; check that the suspension is securely attached. If it is a 'sling' type suspension, check that the rubber bands haven't worn & become slack. If so they can be replaced cheaply with those small rubber bands that are used for braiding hair. (I get them for $1 a pack here ;) )


Another good thing is to use some inches of very soft thin cable between the mik and the suspension, this avoids a lot of handling noise. Even with the best suspension, if you have a thick and stiff cable it will transport vibrations from the boom to the mik. For the part between the mik and the boom I put some extrasoft and thin cable of about 10 inches then I continue with regular mik-cable...

cheers, Bernhard

Edited by Bernhard Zitz, 15 May 2007 - 05:23 AM.

  • 0

#9 Bernhard Zitz

Bernhard Zitz
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 342 posts
  • Other
  • Zürich, Switzerland

Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:36 AM

the preamps and converters.


the preamp amplifies the the very low signal of mik to a level that the rest of the device can handle. It is the first thing that comes after the input. The preamp is crucial for the soundquality, it's the thing that makes the difference between a good and a bad mixer. Bad preamps ad noise to the signal, behave strangely when saturated etc..

the converter converts the analog signal to a digital signal, it's pretty much the same thing like a soundcard(audiointerface) for computers. This is often the weak point on cheap devices. I think the converters on the DVX are ok for a prosumer(semipro or whatever) camera...
  • 0


Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

CineTape

Opal

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

CineLab

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Opal

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets