PDA

View Full Version : Audio equipment used on set for your entry



Russell Moore
08-21-2012, 11:41 AM
Hey DVXfilm festers!
Congratz to everyone that managed to actually make a film and enter it into the fest! Something I hope to do in the not too distant future.

There is always a lot of talk about how someone got a particular shot and lenses, sliders, dollies etc. in the feedback.
I've also read a lot of the audio forums/posts elsewhere on the site, all very helpful.

But I was hoping I could get some of you to share what audio equipment you used on set for this filmfest. What recorder? Lavs,Shotgun mics, hyper cardoid?

How much ADR, foley do you really use and for what/why?

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Chris Messineo
08-21-2012, 11:46 AM
We shot "The Spear" with the Panasonic AF100 and Nikon Lenses.

All audio was recorded directly into camera and we used a Sennheiser MKH416 Shotgun Mic (with a windscreen and windsock)

krestofre
08-21-2012, 11:52 AM
Audio recorder was a Fostex FR2LE which is a nice little Compact Flash recording unit. Terrible Headphone preamp, but the audio signal that's actually recorded to the card is one of the cleanest I've heard.

Microphone was a um ... Audio Technica shotgun I think. It was in a blimp and Rycote windshield so I'm not 100% sure on that one.

We boomed the whole thing because I'm partial to the sound of a boom over a lav.

Only ADR'ed one line because the Boom op didn't get close enough to pick up the audio cleanly for that take.

Everything was synced in post with the slate.

ZazaCast handled sound design. Maybe he'll jump in with some more info about the foley and process and such. That part of it I just listened to and said "I like that, I don't like that." :)

ZazaCast
08-21-2012, 01:06 PM
ZazaCast handled sound design. Maybe he'll jump in with some more info about the foley and process and such. That part of it I just listened to and said "I like that, I don't like that." :)

Chris provided the water splashes and musket cocking sounds recorded at the shoot...along with a little natural sound. I guess it was a very windy day the day of the shoot, so I had to cut and loop some background (natural sound) from the original tracks to even things out a bit. There were also a LOT of birds at the shoot too...more tweaking and crossfading to bring those down a bit.

I recorded footsteps with my Sound Design 722 and a Sennheiser 416 out in a field of tall grass...and a little bit on gravel too (for the few steps by the waters edge). It was just a matter of placing those correctly and mixing everything properly for the final. I also added a little ambient 'field' here and there as needed. In some spots I'd see the trees moving in the wind, but the location mic hadn't picked that up, so again, I added a bit in the proper places. Including dialogue and music, I believe there were a total of 12 audio tracks in the mix.

I recorded the banjo with an MS pair of Cascade Fat Head II's (ribbon mics)... you can see that process in the video I posted in the film's thread. Love those mics on acoustic instruments.

Hope that helps...

Noel Evans
08-21-2012, 02:25 PM
Hi Russell, well Matt and I had a sound recordist on the job (Matt arranged) using a Sennheiser MKH8060 with a Kamesama field mixer (the one with the analogue needles). For the dialogue components which there werent too many, it was fed straight into the C300 with some cable rangling going on.

There was a line I thought we would need to ADR but Ryan weaved his magic on it.

ryanjf
08-21-2012, 05:30 PM
Hi Russell, well Matt and I had a sound recordist on the job (Matt arranged) using a Sennheiser MKH8060 with a Kamesama field mixer (the one with the analogue needles). For the dialogue components which there werent too many, it was fed straight into the C300 with some cable rangling going on.

There was a line I thought we would need to ADR but Ryan weaved his magic on it.

For The Token, I had a blast cutting the dialogue from the MKH8060. Even though the first scene was exterior, there was so much isolation from background noise that it made dialogue editorial a breeze. The recordist did a great job isolating the voice though I did a few things to blend the lines together as smooth as possible. There was no traditional ADR done though I did some copying and pasting of a few things. I did some Foley to accent certain things (footsteps on grass, cloth, leather). In fact, the interior scene after the soldier sits down is all last-minute Foley. None of that was recorded on set. It would've been weird to have no sound of cloth rustling so Foley had to be done. The flask, liquid in flask, cloth movement, hand grabs, vocal efforts in that scene were all Foley as well. The truck sounds were all recorded by Matt B. and he sent them to me afterwards. I loved those sounds and had a great time panning that truck!!! Anytime the film calls for some fun panning, I'll take advantage of it. I added a few metal shakes and "interior military truck bumps" to give it some sort of life when the solider is riding in the back. For Foley, I used a Rode NTG-3 straight into Pro Tools. Because that interior scene was artificial roomtone (not recorded on set because there were many cars passing by), I didn't have to match anything so in a sense, I was given a little freedom there. Though the greatest challenge I had was finding roomtone that worked well enough to mesh with production tone. To get rid of the car pass bys in the background during the interior cabin scene, I automated EQ a whole lot and combined that with a small dose of iZotope RX2 to get rid of distant high frequency squeaks when dialogue was happening. There's a lot of other mixing stuff I did, but it all started with getting the best sound possible during production. I think the recordist for The Token did a fantastic job, and it made my life 10x easier. If the production sound was crap, 75% of my time would be spent fixing stuff that could've been avoided by getting a competent production sound guy with the correct tools for the job. Since the production track sounded great, I didn't have to "dirty" the added FX/Foley as much in order to blend with production. If you think about it, if the production track was distorted, then added FX would have to have some sort of grit (or even distortion) to it in order to be within the "world" of the production sound. Wouldn't it be weird to have a distorted production sound track (which would be ADR'd anyway) and then all of sudden hear a cleanly/beautifully recorded gunshot? I think the quality of the dialogue track sets the bar in terms of the surrounding sounds that are added after the fact.

EDIT: Total tracks for the mix was about 60 or so, which includes the reverb returns, print bus, and stems. I have a template that's pretty wide and gives me enough freedom to place sounds anywhere.

Russell Moore
08-21-2012, 11:08 PM
Wow! I really appreciate all the information, thank you to everyone that posted.

I really try to read and educate myself as much as possible, but sometimes there seems to be so much information it gets hard to dissect it all and figure out what is important , what isn't etc.

These posts really help me break it down and its helpful that I can associate the equipment and techniques with films I can go back and watch/listen to. Admittedly I had to google some of this equipment, I wasn't even sure what some of it was :)

Zaza and Ryan thanks for taking the time to breakdown your work, a lot of details and recording, that I was completely unaware of....from the splashes of water, footsteps in grass and gravel, wind, "field" noise, this kind of stuff, I guess you literally just record it on the spot and mix/match it in later?

The foley stuff , rustle of clothes, liquid in flask, flask etc., this is recorded in the "studio" is any of it pre-recorded material? Roomtone is a term I was unfamiliar with, though you explained it well enough that I understand its purpose, not sure how you accomplish it. Do you literally just record a quiet room? Tweak it and then put it in the background?

Once again thanks to everyone that posted. The members on this site are great.

krestofre
08-22-2012, 03:56 AM
You've got room tone down. Be sure it's the room you're filming in and be sure that your actors are present. An empty room sounds different than a room with people in it who are quiet. Strange, but true. The last thing we do when we wrap a location is have everyone stand perfectly quiet and record tone for a minute.

Then in post if you need to ADR or chop up the original audio at all you can put the room tone under it and it will mesh much more effectively.

Chris Messineo
08-22-2012, 04:37 AM
You've got room tone down. Be sure it's the room you're filming in and be sure that your actors are present. An empty room sounds different than a room with people in it who are quiet. Strange, but true. The last thing we do when we wrap a location is have everyone stand perfectly quiet and record tone for a minute.

Then in post if you need to ADR or chop up the original audio at all you can put the room tone under it and it will mesh much more effectively.

I agree. Room tone is actually the first shot I put on my shot list for each location. It's amazing how often this quick little tip can save your butt.

taylormade
08-22-2012, 08:23 AM
Ryan, I thought the sound work on "The Token" was excellent, but two things did bother me during my first viewing. (I watch all the entries at least twice - once just to enjoy the film and a second time to take notes and make observations.) Both have to do with the Mauser the old man holds on the Nazi. Set aside the fact that I would find it much more believable if the old man had a shotgun or an old hunting rifle rather than a military issue rifle. Sure, he could have picked one up on a nearby battlefield or something, but doesn't it make more sense that he'd use something he had on the farm that he was more familiar with?

Anyway, the clicking of the bolt seemed way off. It didn't have the throaty, metallic thunk that a Mauser delivers when you slam a bullet home. I assume the click after was the safety, but this, too, seemed to high pitched. I'm assuming you recorded the Mauser's action for the scene, but something was off in the EQ. I know you wanted some sound from the rifle to add to the tension and dramatic effect, but the tinny sound combined with the fact that the barrel doesn't move when the old man is supposedly working the bolt makes the effect seem too obviously "added on" and not within the real amibience of the scene.

The second problem is the rifle shot. Inside a small room like that a Mauser going off would be deafening. It would produce a high crack, not the rather muffled and, in my opinion, rather undermixed report we get in the film. I think this really lessened the dramatic impact of the rifle supposedly going off. The lack of any flash or residual smoke, combined with the underwhelming rifle shot, made what should have been a startling moment rather mundane. Did you keep the shot muffled to explain the fact that the other soldiers didn't come rushing in from the barn?

I know this is nitpicking, but since we are discussing sound here I thought I'd toss in my 2 cents.

ryanjf
08-22-2012, 09:21 AM
Thanks for your feedback! Not nitpicking at all - I appreciate it. The original production recording of the rifle sounded plastic, and in the interest of time (I didn't have much as my schedule didn't allow me to) I was forced to search for library material. The mix that was heard and released did not include any notes or feedback from the creators - there was simply no time. Nothing more, nothing less than that. So in a way, I sent a mix blindly HOPING it would be approved. Of course, that's not the way I normally work as I refine mixes literally a dozen or so times. For the past 4 years that I've been doing sound for the DVXFests with Alex J, Shawn, and others, I'd say I at least sent anywhere between 4-8 mixes per film prior to getting it approved. To be done correctly, money would have to be spent renting out a mix stage and in that case, I would feel more comfortable sending a blind mix to someone as the translation would be a whole lot more accurate. No I didn't record the Mauser on set as I was in a different country at the time :) If it was a perfect world, I would've had that same weapon shipped to me in California so I could spend a lot of time capturing all the mechanics of it. Heck, if this was a big budget show, I would budget some money actually recording a real one! It seemed as if many people's great feedback involved that particular scene and it was a challenge for me as well. For reasons that you mentioned, I was caught in sort of dilemma, but hey, I wasn't expecting this mix to be the final anyway. I didn't have a chance to rest my ears and come back to that mix. Print and go with it.

Russell - the Foley (always capitalized - The Foley) sounds were not pre-recorded material (not from an FX library). That was me recording in an wide open/reverberant room with a SHOTGUN mic (bad idea to begin with), 2 feet away from fans spinning in an older MacPro, 3 miles away from an airport, next to a busy street :) As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of noise to get rid of though my recording chain has some analog noise reduction tools prior to getting into Pro Tools. Even after it's recorded, I spent time quickly getting rid of some other stuff that leaked in. Yea - not ideal but I think it worked as a last minute thing.

For room tone to be useful, I think the recordist has to maintain the same exact gain level and mic position. Noise introduced into the signal by the mic and preamp affects the signature sound of that particular room tone. Recording room tone 6dB down and pointing the mic in a different direction might not be useful. I remember cutting dialog for a short film and the recordist actually recorded room tone! I was very excited since they were nicely labeled with the correct metadata and it made it easier for me to math the roomtone with a particular scene, but when I started cutting in the room tone for each scene - I noticed that the room tone didn't sound anything like the roomtone present in the dialogue track! It was lower in volume, more "open" sounding, and had less noise. I found out that the recordist didn't record the roomtone immediately after each scene and went back to the location 20min later or so when a few bodies cleared the room and after readjusting the gain settings on the recorder.

I wish it was easy to place roomtone under an ADR'd line and say voila! done! But heck it's not that simple, at least in my experiences. I'm definitely nowhere near the pros when it comes to blending ADR - heck, sometimes I can even pick out ADR'd lines in major feature films so I can only imagine how difficult it must be to mix ADR in! I say great ADR recordings starts with an active ADR mixer/engineer who is willing to get off his or her chair and adjust the darn mic and really try to match the line before the line gets recorded! That combined with having the right tools, space, and a great set of ears. There are forums on Gearslutz and the DUC about some tricks about blending ADR. I think a lot of it has to do with early reflections and trying to emulate the correct space with reverb (delays, pre-delay, decay, etc)

taylormade
08-22-2012, 09:51 AM
Well, I have an original Mauser my grandfather picked up on the battlefield in France in 1918. If you need the sound for a future mix I'll be glad to record it and send you the files.

ryanjf
08-22-2012, 09:57 AM
Well, I have an original Mauser my grandfather picked up on the battlefield in France in 1918. If you need the sound for a future mix I'll be glad to record it and send you the files.

I certainly can't say no to that offer :)

taylormade
08-22-2012, 11:01 AM
Just PM your email address and I'll get it off to you in the next day or two.

Lynchenstein
08-22-2012, 12:42 PM
Recording room tone. What a great idea - shows now n00b I am to this. I was busy copy/pasting bits and pieces from good and bad takes to fill the gaps, and never though to actually just record some "silence".

Russell Moore
08-23-2012, 07:54 AM
Thanks again...that's great stuff. I'm going back and watching the films so I can relate this info to what I'm hearing there.

This is the kind of info I was looking for.

EJBinSD
08-23-2012, 11:11 AM
Super helpful thread, I was very impressed with the Sound quality for this Fest. For The Light Once Captured, and this probably explains a lot we were using a Zoom H4N and a Rode NGT 2 with windsock. Ryan and myself work together on a lot of projects on Poptent.net (check it out) and we have survived thus far with this set up. The H4N has very noisy preamps but can be overcome with very close micing (which can be difficult). All the foley work was recorded with this setup as well. Ryan also has a Rode microphone running right into his 5D/7D. This is nice for syncing but due to some onset problem we had to use audio from it which isnt as good. Based on the difficulty experienced on this shoot as well as our last couple efforts on Poptent all this gear will be upgraded. I'm still looking at recorders (recomendations) and I'm leaning toward the NGT-3 from Rode.

For the score we had composed for the sub and underwater shot our composer was using a Blue Yeti usb microphone.

Considering some of the shots, I'll work with Ryan to make sure a full equipment list is put up for this one.

Take care ~ E.