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Basic Audio Recording Advice


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#1 JaredSmith

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:08 PM

Hi, I've been starting to approach the idea of making a movie just so I can get a small taste of how to produce and jump start the filmmaking process along with figuring out how big a budget could/should/would be on my first project (sorting out budgets for camera, grip, audio and lighting rentals as a start)...

That being said I am now trying to figure out the audio portion of the budget.

Let's just say I have a MKH416 (for example) and I want to sync the sound later in the post. WHAT ALL DO I NEED TO RECORD SOUND WITH IT?

- basic equipment: module? windscreen? boom pole?
- preamp? mixer? (or do most mixers have built in preamps?) ANY EXTRA CABLES?

If there are any suggestions on the specific equipment that would be appreciated. I'm basically trying to figure out what indie filmmakers use to record audio, that sounds just as professional as hollywood filmmakers.
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 12:16 PM

The first step is to get a copy of Tomlinson Holman's "Sound for Film and Television, Third Edition" (ISBN 978-0-240-81330-1) and read it cover to cover.

Tomlinson's initials are the "TH" in THX.
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#3 Tony Koretz

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 02:04 AM

If you are only starting into this and don't want to spend a fortune at first, get at least the following:
a) A good shotgun mic ( Rode NT3G or Sennheiser 416 for example)
B) a zeppelin type shockmount enclosure and windjammer
c) a boom pole
d) a portable recorder with XLR inputs, basic time code and built in preamps. (Marantz PMD661 is an example). You can always add a field mixer with preamps later if you can afford it. Avoid recording devices that have only mini jack inputs if you can. The connections are not very reliable and secure. Devices with XLR inputs will lock mic cables in place securly and also avoid the need for mic cable to jack adapters.
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#4 Daniel Smith

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:23 PM

I heard a figure once that sound accounted for about 80% of the viewers perception, of a film. I don't know how true that is, but it's certainly an indicator that the sound should be looked after atleast as well as the video, which is something I don't see happen very often in indie films.

It's worth learning a bit of theory, as this will affect the way the sound is both recorded, mixed and mastered. Quantisation noise, and aliasing are good things to start looking into.
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#5 Tony Koretz

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 06:08 PM

This tutorial article may help give a few ideas for the recording and sync'ing of audio and video
Sound For Film and Video: The Importance of Getting Good Audio
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#6 Tyler Faison

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:48 PM

Though probably irrelevant now, seeing how this thread is 6 months old, I'll still respond for archival purposes.

I would recommend just getting a green sound guy that has some of this equipement. If he/she is willing to work for mostly experience, then you solve your budget issue. You're gambling on the quality, but I think it's a safe bet assuming you yourself, or a friend, would be operating everything that you buy/rent otherwise. To answer your question directly, there are only a few musts for sync sound (double system aka when you don't record straight to camera)...

1) recorder: look for at least 16bit and 48KHz in the specs and the ability to record .WAV files, as well as XLR inputs, and phantom power. NO .MP3 reocrders!
2) microphone: tons of reviews out there, but you'll probably want an all-purpose short-shotgun for the most balanced approach. Not going to be the best selection for every situation, but it'll do the job. The 416 you mentioned is pretty popular, but there are several other [higher end] options. My favorite dialog mic is a Schoeps CMC-MK41.
3) cables: to get the mic to the recorder, probably just one XLR

RECOMMENDED:
4) operator: someone who has used the setup you use on set before you actually start shooting with success
5) mixer: a decent field mixer will have much better preamps and limiters than a basic recorder, and you'll have much more control of the levels...tons of options out there, but what does your shoot require (number of people talking in one scene, for example)?
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#7 Pat Jacobs

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:11 AM

I second Holman's "Sound for Film and Television". Good gems in there.

Pat Jacobs
www.patjacobsmusic.com
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#8 Matthew Freed

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 05:46 PM

Do you personally want to be a sound mixer for films? If yes, start investing in good audio gear. If no, don't bother buying any audio gear. Your money will be far better spent hiring a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced sound team.

Mixing and recording sound properly for a film takes far more than a shotgun mic and a recorder with XLR inputs. It takes a lot of specialized equipment and, more importantly, people who know what they are doing.

Hiring a "green" sound mixer will only yield bad audio and bad habits. Neither of which serve you in the long run other than hopefully teach you what not to do.

If your aim is to be a producer you can be served well by learning a bit about each department, what goes in to a PROPERLY run set, and where and how to allocate the budget.

A producer gets to be a producer by experience not by simply adopting the title.
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CineTape

CineLab

System Associates

Zylight

Glidecam

Pro 8mm

Visual Products

NIBL

Abel Cine

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Cinelicious

Robert Starling

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Cadrage Directors Viewfinder

Ritter Battery

K5600 Lighting

Lemo Connectors