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Adjusting levels

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kat hayes
Adjusting levels
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:17:24 am

I do not have anyone helping me for my shoot. I will be around 6ft from the camera during the shoot wearing a Countryman E6 connected directly into an HVX-200 without a mixer.

Is there any reason why it would be a bad idea to walk over to the camera while wearing the headset and speak at the volume I intend to during the shoot so I can check the levels on the camera and make the adjustments there? I'm assuming that this is the way to do it, I just want to make sure that it does not make a difference if I am in the actual spot or not when the levels are checked.

Thanks.



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Ty Ford
Re: Adjusting levels
on Oct 6, 2008 at 5:16:18 am

Hello again Kat.

Confirming. You are shooting yourself?

If so, in general, no, no problem, but by moving away from your intended speaking position, you move away from knowing what the mic will actually capture when you do shoot. You can do this to check levels, but problems remain.

The #1 rule of audio for video is ALWAYS LISTEN. I repeat, ALWAYS LISTEN.

Once you set levels and take the headphones off, you have no way of knowing what anything sounds like. BTW, how will you know if you are in frame?

Regards,

Ty Ford

PS: Did I mention you should ALWAYS LISTEN?

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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kat hayes
Re: Adjusting levels
on Oct 6, 2008 at 6:49:52 am

Hi Ty,

Yes, I will be setting up a camera and shooting myself.
Regarding being in frame, I am either going to use a field monitor connected to the camera pointed at me so I can see if I am in frame, or do some test video and find the ideal location and just place some tape on the ground so I always know where to stand.

1.) How do you recommend I monitor the levels with headphones when testing it while simultaneously speaking into the earset mic? How do other single person crew/talents handle this?

2.) As soon as the audio levels are set and I am happy with them, is there any reason to need to check or change these levels again for future shoots assuming the camera will always be in the same location and I will as well?

Thanks for your help.



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Rodney Morris
Re: Adjusting levels
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:47:59 am

To answer your two questions:

1.) How do you recommend I monitor the levels with headphones when testing it while simultaneously speaking into the earset mic? How do other single person crew/talents handle this?

Most decent production headphones use a coiled cable that allows the user some space to move about. Walk over to the camera to visually check the levels. When you are happy with your adjustments, walk over to your spot with the headphones on and listen. You may have a strange echo or background noise or something that you couldn't hear from other locations. This happened to me just last week. We were working in a small room and when I got the microphone in position I could hear some buzzing from the lights. My mic was in the "sweet" spot for the buzz. I could not hear that buzz from either the camera's position or my mix position.

2.) As soon as the audio levels are set and I am happy with them, is there any reason to need to check or change these levels again for future shoots assuming the camera will always be in the same location and I will as well?

In theory, you wouldn't need to check levels, given that NOTHING changes (ie. you are in a controlled environment and no one elses touches the camera). But in practice, this is NOT a good idea because things change. ALWAYS check levels everytime you shoot and make adjustments, if necessary. It's not that hard to check levels. The only reason not to is laziness and that will bite at some point, and at the worst possible time.



Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Adjusting levels
on Oct 6, 2008 at 3:50:21 pm

1. If you have headphones like the Sony MDR7506 that cover the ear and are closed back, you'll be fine.
I've done it. If you saw the video I shot for my book, there I am, talking to the camera with an E6 and MDR7506 on.

2. Lots of things can happen. Best practices says always listen. That's really the only way you know. In almost every case in which someone comes to a forum with a "what do I do now" question about audio that went wrong, they were not listening while shooting.

If you must be a one person band, your only "safety" is to listen to and watch the shot during playback to make sure you got it.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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