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Capturing Room Tone
Old 22nd March 2007
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Capturing Room Tone

This sounds like a strange question, but what is the best way to capture room tone? Should I capture the room tone at the same gain setting as regular dialog or crank the gain so the room tone is peaking between -12dBFS and -18dBFS? I'm assuming I should be capturing 60 seconds (or so) of tone before any scenes are even shot. Are there any tricks to placement, where I should point the boom, how to get everyone to shut up for 60 seconds?

Or, would it be best to capture room tone before each take (allow a 5 second pause before the on set mixer starts recording)?

Thanks.

~Ricky Chilcott
Old 22nd March 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rchilcott View Post
This sounds like a strange question, but what is the best way to capture room tone? Should I capture the room tone at the same gain setting as regular dialog or crank the gain so the room tone is peaking between -12dBFS and -18dBFS? I'm assuming I should be capturing 60 seconds (or so) of tone before any scenes are even shot. Are there any tricks to placement, where I should point the boom, how to get everyone to shut up for 60 seconds?

Or, would it be best to capture room tone before each take (allow a 5 second pause before the on set mixer starts recording)?

Thanks.

~Ricky Chilcott
Everything should be as close to how it was during the take as possible. Lighting instruments still on, mics in the same position, mixer controls and EQ the same. If the camera etc makes noise I've even asked that it be rolled for a short burst (10 sec for film) if it is really audible. If the actors are wearing lav mics and don't want to stay, I sometimes take them off them and put them on the set in some neutral position for the room tone. There have been endless jokes and misinformation passed around about roomtone and what it's used for (esp. after "LIVING iN OBLIVION") but they haven't changed the need for it in sound cutting, ESPECIALLY in documentaries. That said, some diplomacy is required. One should try to get room tone any time you think they might need it, but if there have been some decent sized quiet stretches during the takes you can sometimes pass on it. One should notify the AD or director if there is no AD that you will want roomtone, but the request should be made as something you'd like to grab AFTER they've gotten what they want from a setup--you make it clear that you don't want to mess with their flow. An exception to this would be an uncontrollable BG noise that has been recorded into several good takes that you suspect will shut off BEFORE you get a chance to get roomtone at the end of the setup. Then it is a good idea to ask for a quick piece right away (10-15 sec) to make sure the sound editors will have what they need to cut those shots together with later shots where the noise has gone away.

Philip Perkins CAS
Old 24th March 2007
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Everything should be as close to how it was during the take as possible. Lighting instruments still on, mics in the same position, mixer controls and EQ the same. If the camera etc makes noise I've even asked that it be rolled for a short burst (10 sec for film) if it is really audible. If the actors are wearing lav mics and don't want to stay, I sometimes take them off them and put them on the set in some neutral position for the room tone. There have been endless jokes and misinformation passed around about roomtone and what it's used for (esp. after "LIVING iN OBLIVION") but they haven't changed the need for it in sound cutting, ESPECIALLY in documentaries. That said, some diplomacy is required. One should try to get room tone any time you think they might need it, but if there have been some decent sized quiet stretches during the takes you can sometimes pass on it. One should notify the AD or director if there is no AD that you will want roomtone, but the request should be made as something you'd like to grab AFTER they've gotten what they want from a setup--you make it clear that you don't want to mess with their flow. An exception to this would be an uncontrollable BG noise that has been recorded into several good takes that you suspect will shut off BEFORE you get a chance to get roomtone at the end of the setup. Then it is a good idea to ask for a quick piece right away (10-15 sec) to make sure the sound editors will have what they need to cut those shots together with later shots where the noise has gone away.

Philip Perkins CAS
For the past few days, I've been trying to come up with more questions about room tone, but I think you've covered them all. Thank you for the thorough answer.

~Ricky Chilcott
Old 24th March 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Jazzpunk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rchilcott View Post
This sounds like a strange question, but what is the best way to capture room tone? Should I capture the room tone at the same gain setting as regular dialog or crank the gain so the room tone is peaking between -12dBFS and -18dBFS? I'm assuming I should be capturing 60 seconds (or so) of tone before any scenes are even shot. Are there any tricks to placement, where I should point the boom, how to get everyone to shut up for 60 seconds?

Or, would it be best to capture room tone before each take (allow a 5 second pause before the on set mixer starts recording)?

Thanks.

~Ricky Chilcott
Try and get the AD and Director on your side as far as getting cooperation for capturing room tone. If they have any experience, they will know you are doing it for the benefit of the project. That being said, it is always a battle to get consideration for sound during production but the plus side is that's what keeps us post guys in business

Good luck.
Old 3rd April 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
SiliconAudioLab's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Everything should be as close to how it was during the take as possible. Lighting instruments still on, mics in the same position, mixer controls and EQ the same. If the camera etc makes noise I've even asked that it be rolled for a short burst (10 sec for film) if it is really audible. If the actors are wearing lav mics and don't want to stay, I sometimes take them off them and put them on the set in some neutral position for the room tone. There have been endless jokes and misinformation passed around about roomtone and what it's used for (esp. after "LIVING iN OBLIVION") but they haven't changed the need for it in sound cutting, ESPECIALLY in documentaries. That said, some diplomacy is required. One should try to get room tone any time you think they might need it, but if there have been some decent sized quiet stretches during the takes you can sometimes pass on it. One should notify the AD or director if there is no AD that you will want roomtone, but the request should be made as something you'd like to grab AFTER they've gotten what they want from a setup--you make it clear that you don't want to mess with their flow. An exception to this would be an uncontrollable BG noise that has been recorded into several good takes that you suspect will shut off BEFORE you get a chance to get roomtone at the end of the setup. Then it is a good idea to ask for a quick piece right away (10-15 sec) to make sure the sound editors will have what they need to cut those shots together with later shots where the noise has gone away.

Philip Perkins CAS
Philip, I sent you a PM.
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