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Extras talking on set


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#1 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 06:54 AM

For all you filmmakers out there, what are your thoughts on extras talking during a take? Is it something that you hope will not occur or is it something that you basically expect and have to account for? I was on the set of a feature film sometime ago, and a number of times, one of the ADs had to go up to several extras who were quite close to the set and go "Ssshhhhh" to each one during takes. Granted, it was mainly teenagers who were making noises. I'm sure it must be frustrating sometimes!
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 07:47 AM

The sound recordist will be the first person to complain if the sound is unusable. Often unneeded extras are kept away from the main set, just to keep the numbers down and so they have an area in which they can talk.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 08:42 AM

Extras and fresh PAs often will not know when to be quiet, but generally you will catch them talking before the take (such as during a rehersal) if they're on set, and can tell them they need to be quiet when on set and if they can't be (for a PA) you can dismiss them or (for an extra) take them somewhere else for holding. Generally it's best to keep the craft services table away from the main set, as people tend to congregate around the coffee-make anyway.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 05:43 PM

During a take? Never! I'm not an AD but usually what I see is that the extras get "the talk" before coming onto set. You know the one, what to do, when to do it, don't talk while on set, etc. A few of the better 1st ADs just take a "one strike" policy and will send an extra back to holding the first time they get too loud during final rehearsals or a take. That tends to quiet everyone down since they all want to get in the movie or on TV. Without promise of that, they're just sitting around getting bored for their hundred bucks or whatever.
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#5 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:02 AM

There's all sorts of problems with dialogue on a film set, actors are never supposed to talk over each other, or do actions over the dialogues, yet they still do it. Things like shoes are a problem too, sometimes soles need rubbers.

Clean dialogue is the key to sound recording.
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#6 Matt Pacini

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:05 AM

Just did a low-budget shoot this weekend, recording sound for a friend who was directing.
This is always a problem.
I always make a big deal to all the extras that they need to be absolutely silent during takes, and fake talking, but not actually make any noise.

Even though you actually want talking in the background, you don't want it to actually take place while the shot is happening.
The problem is, you're cutting different shots together in editing, if you're hearing extras talk, you'll be chopping right in the middle of their dialog and you might hear it.
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#7 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:37 AM

Even though you actually want talking in the background, you don't want it to actually take place while the shot is happening.
The problem is, you're cutting different shots together in editing, if you're hearing extras talk, you'll be chopping right in the middle of their dialog and you might hear it.


I have been doing some audio gigs lately and this is something I cant get these student Directors to understand. You can get ambience but it has to be a seperate track. You dont want ambience being recorded on the same track. Not only because of the issue with chopping it up in editing but also because it distorts the sound of your dialog track after applying noise reduction.
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#8 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 09:57 PM

I actually think the audio department treat in the extra sound (perhaps talking) as an effects track rather than a dialogue one. For the mix and everything. Or maybe just their foley sounds.

Edited by Marcus Joseph, 11 August 2011 - 09:58 PM.

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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 12:12 AM

Actors get paid to talk, not extras. They should be quiet at all times. Is that practical? no. But they are there to work like everyone else and need to be reminded of that. I know it's difficult because they get bored and there is always a pretty girl to talk to.
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#10 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 02:12 AM

Actors get paid to talk, not extras. They should be quiet at all times. Is that practical? no. But they are there to work like everyone else and need to be reminded of that. I know it's difficult because they get bored and there is always a pretty girl to talk to.

Indeed that's true, I think that would go for every department. Things get pretty slow on film sets and it's very easy to lose concentration, but people in charge are better to understand the inner workings of making a film rather than seeing it as as some sort of constant productive work horse. I believe there's very crucial times on sets where there needs to be a breath of fresh air so that everyone can relax and recharge, most of all the end of the day leading to much needed sleep.
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#11 Tom Jensen

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 10:22 AM

I believe there's very crucial times on sets where there needs to be a breath of fresh air so that everyone can relax and recharge, most of all the end of the day leading to much needed sleep.


I see that you are from Australia. I was working on a show in Fiji with a mostly Aussie/Kiwi crew. Around 4pm production stopped dead and the tea and snacks/sandwiches came out. Me and the DP looked at each other and were like WTF is this. Well needless to say for the rest of the shoot we looked forward to tea time because it did give everyone a moment to relax and recharge.
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 12:17 PM

That used to happen here in Uk . Was quite nice and then wrap at 6 and productions were mostly finished on time .
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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:38 PM

That used to happen here in Uk . Was quite nice and then wrap at 6 and productions were mostly finished on time .


I remember seeing some Kubrick documentary where he was pissed off at this practice.

Then again, someone here pinted out, the man seldom ever seemed to need his own time to "recharge."
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#14 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 12:04 AM

I see that you are from Australia. I was working on a show in Fiji with a mostly Aussie/Kiwi crew. Around 4pm production stopped dead and the tea and snacks/sandwiches came out. Me and the DP looked at each other and were like WTF is this. Well needless to say for the rest of the shoot we looked forward to tea time because it did give everyone a moment to relax and recharge.

Ah yeah, that sounds about right. It would be great to work in a place like Fiji, must have been pretty nice.

I remember seeing some Kubrick documentary where he was pissed off at this practice.

Then again, someone here pinted out, the man seldom ever seemed to need his own time to "recharge."

I'm reading Kubrick's biography at the moment, the John Baxter one, really interesting stuff. I've heard he would rehearse a scene for a week before shooting anything at all.

Edited by Marcus Joseph, 13 August 2011 - 12:05 AM.

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