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Peter Humble
Atmos sound
on Jan 7, 2010 at 8:40:33 am

Hi,

First post here.
I tried a search of this forum & was surprised not to find anything...perhaps "Atmos sound" has a different name in the US?

I'm in the early stage of planning a shoot and wondering whether different mics are used for recording atmos (different to Boom mics)
ie if you're recording some dialogue and need to get a minute of room atmos would you use a different mic for this?
If so, any recommendations for good quality atmos mics? And with regard to capturing atmos, would you suggest same or different mics between Interior & exterior work?

Thanks in advance.
Peter


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JC Boulay
Re: Atmos sound
on Jan 7, 2010 at 2:52:16 pm

If you take out another mic to tape ambiance after shooting your dialog, I would absolutely love mixing your stuff! Your mixer is lucky.

Most of the time, if we get separate ambiance sound or room tone, it's recorded with the same shotgun mic as the rest of the audio, which usually results in thin, phasey-sounding ambiance.

The ideal mic for ambiance would be stereo, but any omni-pattern mic will be a lot better than the shotgun mic. I can't really recommend a particular omni model, though. When I've taped outside interviews, some of the best results I've had were by recording ambiance with a handheld stereo recorder from the Sony PCM range. Mixing that in put some life into the audio. Laying mono ambiance into a stereo (or even 5.1) program is a little silly anyways.

Another advantage of recording ambiance to a separate recorder is there will be no setup changes and the mixer can ingest them separately, not having to go through all the production sound to find the ambiance takes.

So my personal preference is to get stereo ambiance separately, but just changing the shotgun mic for an omni would already make a good difference. I really don't see a need to change mics between inside and outside shoots.

Oh! and no, "atmosphere" is not the word used this side of the pond for what you describe. It would be ambiance or room tone. "Atmosphere" would be a sound created synthetically and relates more to the music track.


IHTH, good luck on the shoot.

JC Boulay
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Ty Ford
Re: Atmos sound
on Jan 7, 2010 at 3:13:07 pm

Hello Peter and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Darn it JC, you're Canadian Cold is killing us down here in Charleston, South Carolina this week. Bette and I were trying to escape Winter and it hasn't been over 41 degrees F all week!!!! Hard freezes at night down to 19 degrees. The southern folks are most disturbed and apologetic, but reel it in will ya! :)

Peter, JC's right, "ambi" is a term we use here. I have several thoughts. I reviewed a new, stereo Audio Technica mic last year with larger capsules. The AT 8022 uses a simple XY pattern and the larger capsules mean lower selfnoise so low level sounds don't get lost in the noise floor.

Go here: http://public.me.com/tyreeford
download the file called ambi08.wav and hear for yourself.

Other thoughts...JC is right about using a shotgun as an ambi gatherer because of its interference tube phasiness. However, if you use a Schoeps cmc641 supercardioid as a boom mic, you can also get good mono ambi.

You can also try the boom ics that offer MS recording. The Sennheiser MKH 418, Neumann RSM191 (my favorite) have a front element for dialog and two side elements in a figure of eight. These two capsule mics can be recorded to two tracks and matrixed later to create a variiably wide stereo field.

The typical downside is that the side elements are small and increasing gain on them to widen the stereo spread also brings up the selfnoise.

Regards,

Ty Ford



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






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Bob Kessler
Re: Atmos sound
on Jan 7, 2010 at 5:23:05 pm

When recording dialog the "atmosphere" - which we in the US call room tone when recorded indoors and ambience when recorded outdoors - should be recorded in mono with the same mic used to record the dialog. The dialog editor needs these recordings to smooth out the dialog edits.

Background sounds - also confusingly called ambience - are generally recorded in stereo and are added in audio post. In many cases they are not recorded at the same location as the production sound. The background ambience is usually constructed out of multiple layers of sounds rather than just one stereo recording. The reason is, of course, control; I have used as many as four layers of ambient sound plus dozens of other audio clips to create a background ambience.


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Peter Humble
Re: Atmos sound
on Jan 8, 2010 at 4:44:29 am

Many thanks for the responses.
So Bob, (& Ty) do you disagree then with JC Boulay who suggests that ambience with the shot gun mic is, although common, less than ideal?

I think I can get all your points having a bit of experience with post sound. I guess the danger of using separate mics for dialogue & room tone is that it may present some quality inconsistancies for dialogue editing.

Perhaps the ideal would be to mix some quality stereo room tone with the shot gun room tone (and dialogue)
Fair comment, or do you think this is too impractacle to consider as a realistic approach?

I guess I'm pressing this point because the soundtrack for this project is all dialogue and ambience (ie NO MUSIC to pretty things up) So I want the ambience to have a real kick to it.

Regards,
Peter


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Ty Ford
Re: Atmos sound
on Jan 8, 2010 at 1:25:34 pm

Hello Peter,

Sorry for a less than forthcoming answer. Room Tone is what we call the sound you use to patch dialog together. And, I do use the same mic I use for dialog for that. I check to see if I need it in different parts of the same room.

I ask the director or producer if there will be music or a lot of sfx that may cover the changes.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Peter Humble
Re: Atmos sound
on Jan 10, 2010 at 12:38:10 am

Not at all Ty, your responses and link were incredibly helpful.
Thank you
Peter


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