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Use of Lav's in feature film Condenser Microphones
Old 22nd August 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Talking Use of Lav's in feature film

Hi fellas,
first I'm not sure if this thread belongs here, but I don't think it should be in the post-production forum either, so... If anyone knows better...

I'm wondering if some of you experimented video shoot guys could talk a bit about how you use lavallier mics in feature film.
I'm pretty familiar with their use in a documentary styled shoot, but feature film wouldn't be the same obviously.
The first problem being hiding them 100% from the camera! I'm confident this can be done most of the time, but it sure limits quite a bit the positionning, and might be a problem when changing camera angle, etc...
So how do you guys do? Do you use'em on pretty much each shot/take for dialogue scenes? Or do you always keep boom mic as your main alternative, and use lavs in special configurations where it helps (like capturing dialogue from a car on the move when you can't be in that car, or so on...)?? How do you make sure you don't have voice coherence problems from one shot to the nexxt if you use lavs on one chot and the boom on the next one, do you rely purely on post-production work for that? (you should never do that, as a general rule, right?)

Hope you can help!
I have a short film shoot coming up next. I already know how to proceed for just about every shot, but I wanna make sure beforehand I'm doing it right, and if there isn't a better way. So far, I'd only be planning to use lavs occasionnaly for certain situations where boom work would be impossible.
Thanks!
Old 22nd August 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Tram lavs are the brand most commonly used in TV/film production. They have a serious HF emphasis, and are most commonly hidden UNDER clothing close to the actor's head.

Always, always, always use wired boom and plant mics in addition. A good boom op is all you need for most work... there is a lot of information about this, between magazine articles and other resources.

Hope this helps!

jim
Old 22nd August 2007
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Hello Jim.
I've used the TRAM 50 a few times, I agree it is really an amazing thing! But yeah, these times were only documentary styled shoots.
Could you point out any reliable source of info on te internet about this?
In fact, I guess my real question would be "why should one use lavs in feature films, except in situations where boom work is impossible?".
Thanks for your time!
Old 22nd August 2007
  #4
I am by no means an expert, have only worked on small independent projects... but it would seem to me that for feature film material, the location sound that is captured is used mostly as a reference tool for the post production effort, but that very little if any of it actually gets used in the final cut. foley, ADR, and FX probably comprises almost 100% of much of the final product. am i off base here?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 

I believe a good place to look for the answer may be another group:
Discussions - rec.arts.movies.production.sound | Google Groups

Gunnar
Old 23rd August 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
somedude74's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser View Post
I am by no means an expert, have only worked on small independent projects... but it would seem to me that for feature film material, the location sound that is captured is used mostly as a reference tool for the post production effort, but that very little if any of it actually gets used in the final cut. foley, ADR, and FX probably comprises almost 100% of much of the final product. am i off base here?
Not always depending on the budget. It is a good idea to record an extra couple minutes of silent room tone so that it can be used, if needed, to smooth out edits, etc.
Old 23rd August 2007
  #7
Gear Nut
 

I do mostly feature work and can shed some missing light here......first, lavs tend to be used only if there's no other way to get your audio. That is, mostly, in extreme wide shots, or i.e. with multicamera shots aka wide'n-tight ! A nice microphone on the boom used by an experienced boom op beats any lav any time.

Them 'trams'.....Trams are a industry standard in the TV world and not in the feature world. they became standard not because they sound great, which they don't, but because they're easy and quick to mount on the talent! Whenever I use lavs I always always also use the boom, and most of the time, even in what often seems to be impossible, the boom mic's sound is used.

Leading to the myth of production sound being recorded just for fun, because in real films they ADR anyway. I don't know where this myth comes from, just let me say....far from it. I estimate about 80 to 90% used in the final cut is production sound.

Mounting lavs is an art by itself as, obviously, they as well as the transmitter have to be well hidden, but they also have to be mounted in ways that produces usable audio even when hidden under a number of layers of fabric.........

to come back to the main question: lavs are only used if there's no other way to get usable production sound, they're the last choice and IMHO, even if you use high quality lavs and know how and where to mount them....they still kinda suck ;-(

rg, Karl
PS. i.e. car shots: just for the heck of it I'm mounting 2 or 3 lavs under visors or on the car roof etc. But I always also mount a nice condenser (Schoeps or AKG) coming from below about where the shift stick is and 9 times out of 10 this is the one that's used. And don't forget, the 'wireless system' you used plays a role too. Cheap Sennheiser G2s are not really exciting......!
Old 23rd August 2007
  #8
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

Not intending to hijack, but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl_Lohninger View Post
But I always also mount a nice condenser (Schoeps or AKG) coming from below about where the shift stick is and 9 times out of 10 this is the one that's used.
How exactly do you mount them there? Just Gaff tape? Magic Arm? whatever...?
Old 23rd August 2007
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Magic arm is too cumbersome and takes up too much space: I always use a condenser with a knee between body and capsule for fine tuning and either a simple clamp to fix it or, as you said, gaffer tape. I put a bit of foamy stuff around the mic body to clamp down on rattling noise.

rg, Karl
Old 24th August 2007
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl_Lohninger View Post
Magic arm is too cumbersome and takes up too much space: I always use a condenser with a knee between body and capsule for fine tuning and either a simple clamp to fix it or, as you said, gaffer tape. I put a bit of foamy stuff around the mic body to clamp down on rattling noise.

rg, Karl
Or the Schoeps colette system might be quite useful for this, wouldn't it? Not in the budget, though...

Thanks a lot for your complete answer Karl, that's exactly what I wanted to know (lavs used as a "last alternative"). Then I won't worry about them at all for normal shots, where boom work will be doable.

For the lav in the car, that's exactly what I was planning to do, actually! Plant a lav at the bottom of the gearshift thing (be carefully placed cuz I want it to stay in the same spot for all the car shots, which have different angles), as I won't be able to be in the car.

Thanks everyone for answers. That google group seems interesting (a bit spammed, though!).
Old 24th August 2007
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Your lav(s) will sound better mounted on the ceiling - probably under the visors. Lavs really need to be as close as possible to the source.

Karl
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