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“I am very guilty of trying to do too many jobs at once and by doing this I have saved many headaches.”
These days you better be able to do more than one job and still stay focused. I do agree in that when possible, fill the different production positions with skilled/talented people you can feel comfortable to do a good job. Even when I have a full crew and am directing, I still work as DP and will have on headphones despite having a sound designer on hand. I don’t do their job for them or second guess them. It’s just more condusive to hear the performance as it is going into the camera. I’ve done straight directing but I don’t like it as it doesn’t feel like I’m ‘working’. On the plus side, when the crew sees me working in the ‘dirt’ with them nobody gets the idea I’m just standing there ‘officiating’. I can push them because they see me pushing myself. Working on a project with a small to medium crew is much harder, but to my mind it’s much more fun.
You’re dead right about the amount of work needed for overdubbing. However, if you shoot with overdubbing and foley work in mind it will make your job easier when it comes to doing it. I’ve done voiceovers and worked a foley soundstage and I can’t believe you can actually get paid to do that. Too much fun. Hard work though and you get zero props for it when it’s done well (can anyone tell me how many Oscars were given out for foley work?)
Amen to the complaints about ‘overdubbing’. In an ideal world, you want clean usable audio tracks in the field and use overdubbing as a last resort. Hollywood and Madison Ave. do it bassackwards (to quote EarlC on another post) in that they only use the field audio as reference and overdub and ‘sweeten’ audio in the studio. It works out for the most part, but when done poorly as you described it’s just sad. What I don’t get is, mainstream commercials cost way too much money for someone to produce a half-buttocked piece with unmatched or unsynced audio. Most likely what happened was the suits who bankrolled the project got ticked at the original production co. and got someone else to finish it ergo the mismatched audio.
The first commandment of Field to Studio Audio is; ‘Thou shalt collect clean room tone/ambient sound onsite prior to shooting and use the exact same mic’s for overdubbing as thou useth in the field.’ The second is; ‘Shouldsth thou needeth to overdub, then thou shalt overdub all who hath lines in order to keepeth audio continuity.’ Any onscreen talent who vocalizes but doesn’t have lines (laughs, screams, etc.) can be dubbed using canned sound fx. Spend your time and money on overdubbing your primary talent only.
I’ve used the ‘PC as monitor’ on a regular basis. I still keep a copy of ‘DV Rack’ (before Adobe renamed it On-Location) on a laptop. Worth every penny. The only drawback is it is purely a studio tool as you are limited by the length of your firewire cable. However (there’s always one of those) you can extend your ‘reach’ by using firewire extention cables. If the cables don’t carry power or you need to exceed 70ft you’ll have to have a firewire repeater. The drawback of that option is you absolutely have to have a crew to help keep those cables clear during shooting so no connections get broken during filming.