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Shooting sync with Arri 16BL and recording audio to P2 card?


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 12:42 PM

I have a short 16mm film that I'd like to keep as low budget as possible
but still shoot film.

Other than renting the Arri 16BL and paying for the stock, I have most of the
gear except for a separate audio recording system. I do have qualified
friends who can do boom/mixing but don't have their own equipment.

If I used my HVX-200 and set it to 720P 24PN I could record up to 20 minutes
on an 8GB card.

For a ten minute short that doesn't have a lot of dialogue, and what dialogue
in the film is mostly in short takes with maybe the longest being a minute, do
you think that the P2 footage's audio would sync up okay? It's not crystal
controlled but for short takes how much is it going to drift?

If I work this way, I could save hundreds of dollars on audio equipment
rentals and I know I can always also hope to loop in post but I would rather
get the audio on location.
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 01:08 PM

Tim,

I've never used an HVX, but any digital camcorder that records audio in linear PCM uncompressed mode will work for recording your audio, especially if it has XLR inputs for the microphone(s).

In a pinch I have used an old Sony Digital 8 camcorders with a beachtek box and a couple of Sennheiser mics on booms. Worked like a charm.

You can't field mix very well, like you could with a better field recorder, but you'll do alright.

-Tim
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#3 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 01:54 PM

Tim,

I've never used an HVX, but any digital camcorder that records audio in linear PCM uncompressed mode will work for recording your audio, especially if it has XLR inputs for the microphone(s).

In a pinch I have used an old Sony Digital 8 camcorders with a beachtek box and a couple of Sennheiser mics on booms. Worked like a charm.

You can't field mix very well, like you could with a better field recorder, but you'll do alright.

-Tim


Tim, you've made my day. Thanks!
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#4 Pete Von Tews

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 07:12 PM

Hi Tim, the HVX audio will be recorded perfectly at 24fps - if you have multiple mics, just run a mixer into the HVX, for an added bonus, use the HVX to record the visual subject as well, so you can have a visual reference for syncing. Have fun!
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#5 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 07:58 PM

Hi Tim, the HVX audio will be recorded perfectly at 24fps - if you have multiple mics, just run a mixer into the HVX, for an added bonus, use the HVX to record the visual subject as well, so you can have a visual reference for syncing. Have fun!



Terrific Pete, thanks!


As I'm going to be recording anyway onto the P2 card, it might be fun
when possible to line up shots similarly and compare them later or, just for kicks, if the Arri is
framed for say a medium shot,
frame a close up with the HVX-200 (or vice versa) and cut the shots together and see if I can show
some friends a "scene" from what I'm editing and see if I can get away with any of those cuts.

(I'll see if I can dial in a Cine setting in the HVX-200 to mimic the exact film stock. Still lots of
differences of course but it'll be added fun.)
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 10:43 PM

I've done the video-camera-for-audio gag several times. It will work fine, but keep in mind that the HVX is running at 23.976 fps, and your Arri will be 24. But since your motor isn't crystal, you're going to experience drift at some point anyway.

If you want to do longer takes make sure to record some "room tone" during each scene. Use that to patch holes and seams in the audio if you have to re-synch the audio track mid-shot in post.
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#7 diego vazquez

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 03:14 AM

I've done the video-camera-for-audio gag several times. It will work fine, but keep in mind that the HVX is running at 23.976 fps, and your Arri will be 24. But since your motor isn't crystal, you're going to experience drift at some point anyway.

If you want to do longer takes make sure to record some "room tone" during each scene. Use that to patch holes and seams in the audio if you have to re-synch the audio track mid-shot in post.


hi
the frame rate/running speed of the HVX shouldn't matter really cus the sound is recorded at samples per second, so doesnt matter if the HVX runs at 23.97fps, or 30 fps, or 25 fps. either way 10 seconds of audio will be 10 seconds of audio.. i made a shortfilm with a bolex ebm, with no crystal sync unit, and recorded my audio on a sony ntsc minidv (actually runs at 29.97)

the sound was just for guide to later do adr (due to the noisy bolex) but it was perfectly in sync, eventhough my camera wasn't crystal sync!!!

the secret was capturing the sound from my minidv tape as audio using Mbox (pro tools) using the normal RCA audio output from the camera, instead of capturing the audio with FCP using firewire which will make the sound be related to its embedded video running at (in your case 23.97)...

just really to say that i've done it and it works fine its just my camera was 32 000 khz, if your one is 48 000 you're laughing cus you'll have more dynamic range....
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#8 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 07:02 AM

I've done the video-camera-for-audio gag several times. It will work fine, but keep in mind that the HVX is running at 23.976 fps, and your Arri will be 24. But since your motor isn't crystal, you're going to experience drift at some point anyway.

If you want to do longer takes make sure to record some "room tone" during each scene. Use that to patch holes and seams in the audio if you have to re-synch the audio track mid-shot in post.



Thanks Michael.

I've usually recorded room tone but it's funny how it's really only in the last year that I've started
recording enough after too many times of being frustrated at running out while editing and having to
reuse the same short amount which sometimes, if say it's tone outdooors and there's a faint but
distinctive noise in the background, can start to sound like a loop. Somehow though, it took me this
long to remember, when shooting, those pains that happen during editing, and record enough tone.

I've also found sometimes that when shooting P2 footage I can group together several non dialogue
shots, say establishing shots, by panning and reframing without stopping rolling and thus have some
nice uninterrupted audio. (If anybody can hear me focusing then they're not watching the movie
anyway!)

Also, in addition to using some P2 space for tone, I'll also put in a Mini-DV tape and roll a bunch on
that.
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#9 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 07:14 AM

hi
the frame rate/running speed of the HVX shouldn't matter really cus the sound is recorded at samples per second, so doesnt matter if the HVX runs at 23.97fps, or 30 fps, or 25 fps. either way 10 seconds of audio will be 10 seconds of audio.. i made a shortfilm with a bolex ebm, with no crystal sync unit, and recorded my audio on a sony ntsc minidv (actually runs at 29.97)

the sound was just for guide to later do adr (due to the noisy bolex) but it was perfectly in sync, eventhough my camera wasn't crystal sync!!!

the secret was capturing the sound from my minidv tape as audio using Mbox (pro tools) using the normal RCA audio output from the camera, instead of capturing the audio with FCP using firewire which will make the sound be related to its embedded video running at (in your case 23.97)...

just really to say that i've done it and it works fine its just my camera was 32 000 khz, if your one is 48 000 you're laughing cus you'll have more dynamic range....



Hi Diego,


That "ten seconds is ten seconds" is an interesting approach. I do usually capture via Firewire but I'll
talk to some audio friends who have ProTools about how to do what you suggest. I might be able
to use one of the other outputs from the camera (usually for playing the P2 card on a monitor.)

My camera is recording in 48Hz but I wonder if there's any difference in quality using RCA cables.


I usually use Final Cut Pro but at work we have Final Cut Express on our laptops and sometimes that
captures Mini-DV footage out of synch. It happens to everybody but the footage is in sync when played
on other decks or in the cameras (which shot the footage and from which we also capture.)

Sometimes recapturing will fix it but rather than do that I've found that I can bump it into sync and
I've noticed 99% of the time it was off by -21 frames. So the first two thirds of a second of video have
no audio but I make sure to start rolling early enough to avoid needing anything in there anyway,
a habit I'm sure from when space for preroll was needed in editing.
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#10 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 06:03 AM

Hi Tim,

you might be looking into getting one of these:

Zoom H4

A friend of mine bought one for his girlfriend who sings, but we have successfully abducted it a couple of times to record extra sound on video shoots. It records a number of formats to SD card, among them MP3 or Wave. It features dual XLR inputs which are handy as well. I guess you're using a slate anyways so syncing should be no problem either.
These thingies run a couple of hundred euros here, but its much handier than carrying around a HVX200, and it will also save your "drum hours" or whatever get used when recording to P2....

HTH, Dave
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#11 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 09:22 AM

Hi Tim,

you might be looking into getting one of these:

Zoom H4

A friend of mine bought one for his girlfriend who sings, but we have successfully abducted it a couple of times to record extra sound on video shoots. It records a number of formats to SD card, among them MP3 or Wave. It features dual XLR inputs which are handy as well. I guess you're using a slate anyways so syncing should be no problem either.
These thingies run a couple of hundred euros here, but its much handier than carrying around a HVX200, and it will also save your "drum hours" or whatever get used when recording to P2....

HTH, Dave



Thanks Dave, I checked it out and that's an excellent suggestion, both this particular product and in
general not adding extra hours to my camera or having it on a shoot unnecessarily and having
an additional item to haul and safeguard.

However, I'm going to use the HVX-200 at least once this way because it's going to be so much fun
to shoot both formats of the same film. This particular short is a personal project and will permit me
to take some time to do this that I wouldn't have on a typical project. However, I'm not going to
compromise any of the 16MM shots but if I can run audio to the HVX-200 and have it near the 16BL
and will be rolling picture anyway, why not shoot close to what I'm already framing?


Remember how Techniscope saved people money by shooting 35mm for less $ and now people
are shooting newer ways to save $ like 3-perf?

I think that my integrated 16mm/P2 approach is going to change the nature of filmmaking as we know
it. If anybody would like to get in on this bold new venture, please write a letter of interest on the
label of a new can of 16mm color negative and send it to me and I promise that you will be included
in the revolution.

"The revolution will be televised" ... yeah, after its theatrical run!
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 05:43 PM

the frame rate/running speed of the HVX shouldn't matter ... either way 10 seconds of audio will be 10 seconds of audio..


But 10 seconds of film will not be 10 seconds of film when it's telecined at 23.98fps, instead of 24. That's where the speed change is introduced.

But obviously it doesn't make much difference in this case, because the camera speed won't be perfect anyway. Synch will likely be "close enough" for most shots, and easy enough to fix for those that drift.
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#13 Michael Nash

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 05:57 PM

I think that my integrated 16mm/P2 approach is going to change the nature of filmmaking as we know it.


You're a little late to the party ;)

Any device that can record audio at a constant speed can be and has been used for double-system sound recording. When I was shooting with a 16BL I recorded audio on an available betacam camera, because the footage was posted on tape (this was before NLE's came along). Aside form the the 24/23.98 drift, it was fine.

I shot a short film once with an SR2 and recorded audio on a minidisk. It was amazing to have the boom op tuck the entire recorder into his shirt pocket! Worked fine.

Now that we can choose from multiple timebases when editing, there are even more possibilities.
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#14 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 07:19 PM

But 10 seconds of film will not be 10 seconds of film when it's telecined at 23.98fps, instead of 24. That's where the speed change is introduced.

But obviously it doesn't make much difference in this case, because the camera speed won't be perfect anyway. Synch will likely be "close enough" for most shots, and easy enough to fix for those that drift.



Yes, good point. The plan will work here but it wouldn't be good to treat that as a straight up equation after all.
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#15 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 07:27 PM

You're a little late to the party ;)

Any device that can record audio at a constant speed can be and has been used for double-system sound recording. When I was shooting with a 16BL I recorded audio on an available betacam camera, because the footage was posted on tape (this was before NLE's came along). Aside form the the 24/23.98 drift, it was fine.

I shot a short film once with an SR2 and recorded audio on a minidisk. It was amazing to have the boom op tuck the entire recorder into his shirt pocket! Worked fine.

Now that we can choose from multiple timebases when editing, there are even more possibilities.


Since I had no knowledge of these alleged audio recordings, my revolution stands. Are you with us
or are you a subversive?

Actually, I'm pretty excited that I can save the money on this one and the 24/23.98 difference looks
like not too much work given the length of the film and amount of dialogue. Most ambient sound
should be okay except for the occasional non dialogue thing that needs to be synched such as a
door closing shut but otherwise general tone ought to seem congruous.
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