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Audio for shortfilm - Outside, without music
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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PVJesper's Avatar
Audio for shortfilm - Outside, without music

Hi "

I am recording audio for a short film in a while. The film will for nearly the entire runtime be without music. This will bring the natural sounds of the characters to the forefront more than in other films. Most of the scenes will also be shot outside, in a city. The locations are as of now unknown to me, but I have to assume they are chosen reasonably well.

I am feeling a little bit nervous due to the increased relative importance of the natural sounds and the less ideal conditions of shooting outside.

Do you have any must-brings, must-do's, must-don'ts? Any other general advice would also be very appreciated.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PVJesper View Post
The locations are as of now unknown to me, but I have to assume they are chosen reasonably well.
IMO this is a pretty terrible assumption. Most directors/producers in my experience don't give much if any thought to sound when choosing locations - they are focused on the visual - and so often locations are pretty terrible for sound. Unless you were involved in the location scout, start with the assumption that all the locations will sound horrible, and make a plan and bring coverage to deal with that.

Honestly I wouldn't worry too much about capturing the natural sound while you're filming. Focus on capturing clean, good-sounding dialogue and leave the rest to post. In my experience you will have your hands full with that anyway, and unless the environment is incredibly unique, the film will sound better in the end if the backgrounds, foley sounds, etc, are all added in post.

Even if the environment is very unique, it will be better if you record wild atmos at a different time than trying to capture that while shooting.

Good luck!
-Mike
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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tourtelot's Avatar
Oh boy! I guess ya gotta start somewhere but the do's and don't's would take you years of on-the-job training to learn.

Go do your best and good luck.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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jnorman's Avatar
Mike has good advice above. It would help if you gave us information on what gear you will be using and what approach you are considering.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Get the best dialog you can
You never know what production will decide in post
I did a film in Romania about HIV and the orphanages for HBO and spent a large amount of time on wild tracks
The studio sent me a note saying how good they were
On transmission the director had decided the final mix would have no FX or music , to focus on the drama
You have to respect their decisions, they may be contradictory.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PVJesper View Post
Do you have any must-brings, must-do's, must-don'ts? Any other general advice would also be very appreciated.
My best general advice would be to ask your questions at a web forum that focuses on video. This forum is focused on remote location recording of acoustic music. There's not a lot of overlap for you here. I'm thinking maybe DVinfo.net or DVXuser.com. I think I've seen topics like this addressed at both. Search around and you'll probably find it's already been asked and answered at one or the other, or other related forums.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
...This forum is focused on remote location recording of acoustic music...
Is that what "Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording" means? I do agree that we are mainly focused on music recording here, but there seem to be quite a few nature recording fans and some film sound types about. Some of our frequent contributors are/were working in video and film sound as their primary métier. However, the OP would be well served to look at the sites you recommend too.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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tourtelot's Avatar
This is a good site for film sound. Lots of experienced pro hang here.

Forums - JWSOUNDGROUP

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVJesper View Post
Hi "

I am recording audio for a short film in a while. The film will for nearly the entire runtime be without music. This will bring the natural sounds of the characters to the forefront more than in other films. Most of the scenes will also be shot outside, in a city. The locations are as of now unknown to me, but I have to assume they are chosen reasonably well.

I am feeling a little bit nervous due to the increased relative importance of the natural sounds and the less ideal conditions of shooting outside.

Do you have any must-brings, must-do's, must-don'ts? Any other general advice would also be very appreciated.
Three main set-ups:

1. boom mic, if the location is very quiet

2. lavaliers, if location is too noisy to use boom mic

3. stereo mid- side, if location has interesting ambient sounds without much dialogue

The main problem with recording dialogue in a city location is that during the post editing process the film gets cut from
one actor to another from different angles. Background noises get suddenly cuttoff at the edit points, defeating one of the
purposes of audio, which is to create an illusion of continuous time.

The Romanian director Christian Mungiu uses long static shots, without the camera jumping back and forth between actors. The audio and video don't get cut up in the editing process. His films seem more real and less contrived than the habitual film school systematic jumping back and forth between actors.

I would estimate that 95% of indie films being made are unmarketable.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Assuming this is an ordinary, scripted drama with human actors and dialog (and not some atmosphere travelogue, etc.)
During primary shooting, your ABSOLUTE PRIORITY is getting the best DIALOG recording you can possibly get.
Especially where (very likely) NO consideration has been made for ambient noise.
There is a very good reason background sound, etc. is ADDED after the fact in post-production editing.

ESPECIALLY if you have "increased relative importance of the natural sounds" they should be recorded and edited in SEPARATELY.
Quite frequently, background sound and sound effects are recorded as a separate exercise (and perhaps location) unrelated to shooting picture.
Because capturing specific sounds properly almost NEVER happens with the same microphones and mic locations as appropriate for dialog.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
ESPECIALLY if you have "increased relative importance of the natural sounds" they should be recorded and edited in SEPARATELY.
Quite frequently, background sound and sound effects are recorded as a separate exercise (and perhaps location) unrelated to shooting picture.
Because capturing specific sounds properly almost NEVER happens with the same microphones and mic locations as appropriate for dialog.
This is good general advice, although there are some situations where it is good choice to make a clear stereo recording of dialogue and ambient sound.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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PVJesper's Avatar
Thanks a lot for the advice. I really do appreciate it. I have quite a few years behind me doing audio in general, but am pretty new to recording film audio on set. A pretty unanimous support for focusing strongly on the dialogue is noted. I will try my best to do that.

The film is a pretty serious drama. There are quite a few walking/watching shots, with no dialogue.
My plan was to focus on the boom mic, but bring enough lavs so it would be theoretically possible to use only the lav audio.

A heavy majority of the recording I have done have been inside, with the smaller outside portion have been mostly friendlier locations with regards to wind (and rain). I have gotten by fine so far with smaller wind protection such as a Rycote Softie, and similar. Is it likely I would be making a mistake not getting a blimp+wind jammer for this?
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Rain may soak your nice fluffy microphone windjammer into a sorry image of a wet cat.



Porous matting material called "hogs-hair" is used as a noise-free "rain-hat" to keep your furry windjammer (or their camera, etc.) from getting soaked.

Hog Hair / Rain Mat - Special Effects | Roger George Rentals



Yes there are probably many nature-recording and production-recording people who hang around here, but GS isn't one of the "go-to" places for production sound.

Besides Jeff Wexler's primo JWSoundGroup, there are other production sound sites that may be more friendly to non-professionals. For example:

Audio Professionals Forum
All Things Audio Forum at DV Info Net
Location Sound / Post Audio

I don't remember what they are, but there are also a few online forums which cater specifically to nature recordists.
They tend to be very conscious of sensitivity, directionality, outdoor operation, and self-noise.
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