Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Sound › Is it really that hard?
June 12, 2008 at 4:38 PM #41522DarkshrimpParticipant
Few of us got together, from all corners of life, with one passion, film making. We have a script done and most part of the crew settle. the only thing we are missing is a sound guy, and that one seem to be the hardest one to find.
I was just thinking, is it really that hard to be the sound guy? I personally have no experience with recording sound with external equipments, but seems to me it’s all about a guy standing there with a shotgun mic? If you are an experienced audio person, please don’t let my ignorance offend you.
As we are making this film to be submitted into festivals, we want it to be as professional as possible. Therefore, my question is, is a sound person really very important? and if it is, where do you suggest is the best place to find one?
Thank you all.
June 12, 2008 at 5:48 PM #175952RobParticipant
I’ve never had audio problems when connecting a shotgun mic to a camera and using a boom pole. What may be hard is following the actors if they are moving around a lot.
I think the hardest part is sound design, either capturing the sound that takes place during the shoot or creating your own sound in post.
What kind of film are you making? A narrative or a feature documentary? If you’re doing a documentary, you can higher anyone to operate the boom pole. A narrative may be a little more involved though.
Thats all what I think. Maybe some others can give you some advice too…
June 13, 2008 at 8:43 AM #175953DarkshrimpParticipant
it will be a 25min short film and most part of the film are just one person in the shot, as the whole thing takes place over a phone conversation. So does that mean a simple wireless mic attached to the actors would do?
June 13, 2008 at 1:56 PM #175954chrisColoradoParticipant
Uh, oh. This is a favorite topic of mine. Look out!
My last film, I ran the shot gun, hooked upa lav for some shots andwe also used the on-camera mic for some shots. 3 different audio sources.We used the on-camera mic for the rough cut before the DAT recorder audiocame together. Theshotgun micfrom the DAT is what we ended up using, though.
robgrauertis right. I think thatgood audiois more important for a narrative rather than a documentary. Have you listened to Hollywood film? The sound is intense!! Loud sound FX, crisp dialouge and strong music bring the whole thing together.
I love sound design and have discovered that good audio will always save your bacon. It could be the only redeeming quality of the movie. I think good audio is more important than good video. I worry about the audio more than the video.
BTW, festival winning, professionalmovies WILL HAVE good audio. All the movies I’veheard(keyword, heard)that won festivals, the audio was outstanding. Videomaker agrees in the July magazine(read the Editing column).
To find a good sound guy(that wasn’t me), I’d look for a musicianor ipod lover whoreally listens to his music. It’s easy to be a good judge of sound if you start with music.Post on craigslist or ask your friends. JUST MAKE SURE TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO YOUR GETTING, DON’T JUST TRUST YOUR AUDIO MAN.As stated above, audio can save your movie.
I believe lav mics are omnidirectional,so if you don’t want background noise, then get a shotgun and point it at the actor.
Study up on sound and foley. It will be worth your time for your whole career. And practice, practice, practice.
June 13, 2008 at 2:06 PM #175955AnonymousInactive
I would definitely lean more toward using a shotgun mic, even for the phone conversation. You just have to make sure that you practice with it beforehand, so that you can learn how to get pristine audio. Different mics require differnent tweaking to get perfect sound. Don’t count on anything being able to be fixed in post. Try to get it perfect the first time. Then if you are forced to fix something in post, it will hopefully be something small.
June 13, 2008 at 2:13 PM #175956AnonymousInactive
Getting good sound is harder than most people think. While simply plugging in a shotgun/boom to the XLR will work, it isn’t best. Most run-n-gun type sound is recorded with just an on-camera mic with “acceptable” results.
Your situation is a bit different. Having a dedicated sound tech running a mixer is ideal for any situation where you can control the action. I would avoid wireless mics as you just add the possibility of interference or drop-outs. Lapel mics can pick up too much ambient noise and you run the risk of something rubbing the mic and causing noise.
My recommendation is to have one person operate a shotgun on a boom, and another person monitoring the levels with a mixer. This audio can be recorded live back to the camera through the mic jack so you avoid any sync problems.
As far as finding a person to do the job, have you checked with local bands or DJ’s? While they may not have experience with video production, they will have some skill in monitoring and adjusting sound levels.
It sounds like you’ve have a lot of time and effort in the production so far. Don’t neglect the audio.
June 13, 2008 at 3:41 PM #175957RobParticipant
Yea, there’s definitely a lot of good advice in this thread. Like film814 said, don’t count of being able to fix anything in post. Not only is that attitude annoying to the editor, but some audio problems can’t be fixed…period. For example, echos can’t be fixed, neither can clipping.
Also, no one mentioned this yet, but I’ve been taught to record digital audio between -12dB and -8dB. Don’t mistake it for analogue which is recorded at 0dB and doesn’t peak above +3dB.
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