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Sync Sound for Super 8 Weddings


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#1 Shane Hubbard

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 02:23 PM

I've read some of the sync sound topics on the forum, and I think I know the best option for syncing sound in my situation, but I'm clueless on how to implement the strategy.
[/left]I own a Canon 814 XL-S. I shoot weddings with it. I need a simple, economical way to record audio during the ceremony vows, as well as during the reception speeches. I never do longer than 15 second takes, rarely more than 10 seconds to be honest. I always shoot at 18 fps, but from what I've read so far it looks like for the carts where I need audio recorded and dubbed in during post, I'll have to set the cam to 24 fps.

So...first, what type of digital audio recorder device should I use. I'm aware that some of my "Super 8 Wedding" colleges use DAT recorders. But haven't these been discontinued / no longer manufactured? Are there better, cheaper devices available for my purposes?

Second, is there a way for me to connect the DAT recorder (or whatever digital audio device you guys recommend) to the PA system. Typically there would be a mic that the wedding officiant uses for the bride and groom vows. And of course at the reception toasts are given using a mic. So to tie into the DJ's system is really the only way. I can't spend time micing everyone who intends to give a toast!
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Third, what will my post workflow be like when adding sound to the footage. Remember, only select moments from the vows and speeches will be added and any takes during filming will be 15 seconds or less. I'm pretty sure that a crystal sync will NOT be necessary in my situation. Keep in mind that I'm fairly clueless on all this so please be specific in you instructions.
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#2 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 08:54 AM

I'd get the crystal unit for your camera, then simply use a digital audio recorder (I use a minidisc unit, can use one of the solid state units too). I'd also hook up a tone generator that would go off the moment you press the trigger, so you know when to sync up to. Keep the audio running and sync in post. A bit of a headache, but it works.
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#3 Olex Kalynychenko

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 02:56 AM

I've read some of the sync sound topics on the forum, and I think I know the best option for syncing sound in my situation, but I'm clueless on how to implement the strategy.

I own a Canon 814 XL-S. I shoot weddings with it. I need a simple, economical way to record audio during the ceremony vows, as well as during the reception speeches. I never do longer than 15 second takes, rarely more than 10 seconds to be honest. I always shoot at 18 fps, but from what I've read so far it looks like for the carts where I need audio recorded and dubbed in during post, I'll have to set the cam to 24 fps.


As for me, I will think about second ( B ) video camera at tripod ( or " B" cameraman )with shooting of medium shot and general plan with sync sound recoding of all time of ceremony.
You can use of a few microphones with sound mixer or sound mixing desk.
Any case, you will need sound track of full ceremony and use of any fragment.
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#4 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:40 PM

Shane,

You might want to do a little more reading up on how to shoot sync. But to answer your direct questions, Most DJ mixing boards will have some sort of line out: either XLR or stereo plug that you would then be able to route to your recording device. As for what kind of sound recorder to use, if you are editing in an NLE the best thing to do is to get a field recorded that records to flash memory. I use the Marantz 660 device and it works very well. With any flash device getting your audio into your NLE is a "drag and drop" operation since the recording format is .wav or mp3 files. If you record to DAT you would need to capture your audio in real time. Honestly DAT is pretty outdated at this point anyway.

Something else you will want to consider is longer takes. 15 second takes of a toast or speech seem pretty worthless. When shooting sync you will probably find that you start looking for performance more than you do when shooting MOS. To get performance, to capture the brief moments when people are at their best, you just gotta have longer takes. Sure some camera ops are really good at anticipating when that moment is about to happen but not always, and its still really easy to miss an important opening etc.

The big problem you will have is that you will most likely NOT be able to slate your shots so you are doing wild sync. This can be pretty difficult. Assume that your camera will drift about 1%-2% (if its well maintained and in good condition) over the course of a take. You need to have some sort of good hard effects in the shot to see sync. The "easy" way around this is to shoot CUs of the speakers so you can really see their lips moving and find sync on strong lip movements such as the letter "P". when you have found some of those sync points then you can get an idea of how much drift you have and how much you will need to adjust picture to match audio.

good luck.
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#5 Jeff Wright

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 11:08 PM

I would use the "B" video camera. I work for a production company that always uses non sync 16mm (mostly Arri 16s'). If we are trying to get audio we have someone rolling mini DV. If we are really thinking ahead we will shoot a clapstick with the 16 and the digi.

In post I would keep both your DV track with audio in your timeline with your super 8 track. I would turn down the opacity to about 50 percent. So your looking at both videos stacked on top of each other. I'd lineup the beginning of your shot and depending if it does drift I'd probably turn on the time remapping and keyframe different points in the super 8 track that are easily identifiable and shrink or stretch the Super 8 layer to match the B-video and in turn match it to the audio track. If it still doesn't line up you might need to use several keyframes at various points in the video. Obviously you delete or turn off the B video and you should be left with synced audio.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 09:12 AM

Here's another easy method, especially if you are using shorter cuts. Place a miniDV camera on a tripod towards the back of the room and run the sound into that (or simply use on-board mics). The miniDV format itself has excellent audio, at least the equivalent of DAT. The trick is getting decent sound into the machine and having the right connections (balanced/unbalanced) that are usually present in higher end miniDV cameras.

Once you have that set up you can just let it run then go back and visually sync up the Super 8 transfer and miniDV audio. Sometimes setting off a regular camera flash at the start of a Super 8 scene helps you sync it up since you'll have a visual cue from the miniDV video as well as the Super 8 footage. Basically like a clapper but easier & quicker.

This doesn't require any crystal sync on the camera and as long as it's reasonably on, you can adjust in post.
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#7 david savetsky

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:05 PM

It's most interesting to read the suggestions on this thread which are labor intensive and costly. Why not use sound film if aqvailable?
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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 04:59 PM

Why not use sound film if aqvailable?

Because it's not available.

If you find some it could have been poorly handled over the years and a real gamble if you're shooting a wedding. There's nothing quite like telling a bride that the film looks like it went through the mud. Fresh stock is the safest route.

It's most interesting to read the suggestions on this thread which are labor intensive and costly.

Welcome to the world of film. The miniDV method I suggested is actually quite inexpensive if you already have or can borrow a cheap miniDV camera.
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#9 david savetsky

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 07:13 PM

Because it's not available.

If you find some it could have been poorly handled over the years and a real gamble if you're shooting a wedding.


Welcome to the world of film.

1. it is available
2. it has been tested (results available)
3.i've shot 100,000 ft of wedding film (EDITED) since 1973
4. i'm shooting 95% dv currently and selling my last batch of sound film
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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:35 PM

Yes, but then you'd also be shooting the older Ektachrome stock. Even brand new it was the flattest stock I've ever shot and you loose the ability to shoot 500D which is a great low light alternative for interiors.

By all means if you have a reliable source for sound film give it a try and it certainly will be easier than sync sound. For weddings it may make sense but for anything with critical audio like music videos and bands you're still back at some type of sync sound and several of the methods described in this thread will work great.
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