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Sound and Super 8


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#1 Chris Frey

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 12:58 PM

Hello I'm a screenwriter and really want to film a short of mine. It's a noir-ish type of movie about a playwright and his mistress. It's full deception, murder, and suicide. But I'm using a canon 814 and I know the camera is loud, but I was wondering what would be a recommended recorder and if possible to synch them together?

Any help would be great.


Thanks,
C.Frey
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#2 Robert Hughes

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 01:35 PM

One way to go is to use a video camcorder as the audio track recording device and second camera in case of problems with the Super 8. Put the video camcorder on a tripod for an unattended master shot while you shoot Super8.

During the shoot, have your talent perform the take twice: once while rolling video camera only, then a second take rolling both video and Super 8. If you can get lavalier mics on the talent you might even be able to use audio from the 2nd take. Use a head (and if possible, a tail) slate on each take you run the the Super 8 camera.

During editing, copy both video and S8 elements to your computer. If the S8 shot comes out OK, then dub in audio off the videotape (video only take) and slide around to achieve lip sync; it shouldn't be too far off if the 2 takes were performed the same. If the S8 camera crapped out on you, the video will provide backup.

Remember, of course, that S8 cameras are not sync cameras; they almost always run a little off speed. So you're going to have to deal with audio slip.
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#3 Chris Frey

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 01:44 PM

Thanks... that makes sense. I will give that a shot. But do you think it may be better if I shot it of 16mm or would that be more too much of a price increase do you think? (because my budget is slim).
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#4 Robert Hughes

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 01:55 PM

This sounds like your first movie project? Do it in Super 8 and save the big bux 16mm productions until you have a little more experience. Good Super8 looks nice, and bad 16mm looks, well, bad. Spend the money on lighting, costumes and catering; everybody will like that.
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#5 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 03:00 PM

Thanks... that makes sense. I will give that a shot. But do you think it may be better if I shot it of 16mm or would that be more too much of a price increase do you think? (because my budget is slim).



This is an issue of some debate on these boards. The costs of shooting both Super 8 and 16 have increased over the years but is 16mm really that much more expensive that super 8?

For me the answer is "it depends" since there are a few vairablers that need to be considered. First, most people need to rent a 16mm camera package Here in LA you can rent a good but baisc package for around $400 for a weekend and there are private individuals who will lend out their gear for less. Film stock and processing costs can be similar for both formats depending upon what film you want to use and where you buy & process it. The cheapest S8 film and processing will be less expensive, but that does not mean much if it does not give you the results you want.

As for telecine, its pretty common here in LA that you can get industry standard 16mm telecine for less than you can for super 8.

For what you want to do you will need a sound crew regardless of what format you are shooting so that would be the same.

But if money is super tight for you and you've never done any production, consider video. 24p SD video and prosumer HD are all over the place these days they are low cost and allow you to see what you are doing on set.
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#6 Chris Frey

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 12:25 AM

Right... I live in Connecticut so rentals are rather hard to come by, but if I were to use the super 8 and the video camera like suggested in the first reply Can I set the frame rate of my video camera or is there a standard... if so what is it...? I think it's 24fps... but is it more or is it less?

But to comment on the last reply you say I'll need a sound crew... what would you recommend I use digital... or analog... lavier mics or shotgun? You were right about this being my first production? Also if I were to use a digital and not super 8 are you recommending recording the sound seperate from the incamera mic?
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#7 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 05:53 AM

Right... I live in Connecticut so rentals are rather hard to come by, but if I were to use the super 8 and the video camera like suggested in the first reply Can I set the frame rate of my video camera or is there a standard... if so what is it...? I think it's 24fps... but is it more or is it less?

But to comment on the last reply you say I'll need a sound crew... what would you recommend I use digital... or analog... lavier mics or shotgun? You were right about this being my first production? Also if I were to use a digital and not super 8 are you recommending recording the sound seperate from the incamera mic?



since you are in CT, you may want to contact the folks at http://users.aol.com/fmgp/, they do crystal sync conversions of many a super 8 camera. The previously mentioned method of recording sync dialogue is very tenuous at best. Lots of room for mistakes, that will be costly ones. Don't let this discourage you, shoot Super 8. Keep you project small and be open to experimentation. Also check out www.cinelab.com for great deals on Super 8 film and transfer, they can answer many questions you may have. To keep cost down, you may want to use black and white film.


chris
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#8 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 01:47 PM

Right... I live in Connecticut so rentals are rather hard to come by, but if I were to use the super 8 and the video camera like suggested in the first reply Can I set the frame rate of my video camera or is there a standard... if so what is it...? I think it's 24fps... but is it more or is it less?

But to comment on the last reply you say I'll need a sound crew... what would you recommend I use digital... or analog... lavier mics or shotgun? You were right about this being my first production? Also if I were to use a digital and not super 8 are you recommending recording the sound seperate from the incamera mic?


video:
It depends on what camera you are using. Standard DEF NTSC video has a rate of 29.97 FPS, some cameras do have 24FPS but the signal that is outputted is a 29.97 signal that needs to be converted to 24 fps in post.

Sound:
The use of mics depends on what you want. Lavs are omnidirectional shotguns are more unidirectional (as a general rule). The voices of your actors will sound a little flatter, a little more bass with a lav and you will pick up moref sound from the room. So a lav with a super 8 camera will have a higher risk of getting camera noise on your audio. A shotgun with a boom operator and picture framing with very little head room will allow you to get close and fairly clean sounding audio with less of the room in it.

The best way to do it on a low budget would be to use a compact flash digital recorded, with shotgun mic and boom operator. You can choose to have a production sound mixer or set the levels based on rehersal and hope that no one gets too loud. In post your audio would be easy to get into the NLE and it would be constant speed, you would conform your picture to your audio. Shooting head and tail slates is the key to making this go smoothly.

Never use the on board camera mic unless you want to use it as a guide track in post or you want the specific acoustic qualities that it gives you, this being, dirty, thin sound with your actors sounding like they are off mic. If you want clean audio a camcorder camera mic does not do the job.

Personally I would not use the video camera and film together method.
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#9 Jim Simon

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 09:32 PM

some cameras do have 24FPS but the signal that is outputted is a 29.97 signal that needs to be converted to 24 fps in post.


That depends on your final destination. If you intend to end up on film, the Panasonic DVX100B does have a special 24P (Advanced) mode that will make film outs easier. If you intend to distribute on any kind of video, like DVD, then you should shoot in 24P Standard mode and keep it at 29.97, because that's the only frame rate TVs will display.

The better issue to discuss with video is just how much you like the look of it. I've seen pros make 24P video look just like film. I've seen amateurs make it look like a poor attempt at film simulation. Given a limited budget, it's more likely Chris would end up in the later category. So if he likes the film look, he should stick with real film.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 12:01 AM

I would recommend you make a very short one minute film, challenge yourself to do something slick, but that can be shot in one day. Don't even worry about recording sound yet. Just do something simple, get it done, and then based on that experience decide what to do for your bigger project.

I've been shooting a Super-8 project for someone intermittenly over the past couple of months. They went to Europe at one point and shot some location footage outdoors and some of the shots of the lead actor, with no lighting (but shot during magic hour), looked absolutely exquisite. It was black and white Super-8 film with a touch of sepia added during the film to tape transfer which was done at Spectra Film and Video.

I don't think interlaced video could have produced anything near the look this film had although nowadays in post production it is much easier to mimic super-8 film from Standard Def than it used to be. 24P might give you a look you like, but in many ways, film is still simpler to shoot because you don't have to commit to any format ahead of time. I think nowadays there are something like 60 plus different video formats between SD and HD. Once you borrow an Hd camera for one weekend, but then it isn't available the following weekend, you may find yourself mixing Hd formats which can come back to haunt you later on, maybe not even during edit but when you go to make the DVD you may be using a DVD burning program that has certain formating criteria that you may not know how to handle. Whereas if you use film that has been all transferred to one video format you should have a much easier process during the edit and dvd making process.

As we transition to Hd, another issue would revolve around whether or not you feel the need to fill an HD screen entirely when you are done. In that case you would want to look at MAX 8 or super-16 or consumer HD.
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