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Recording Dialogue

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Matt Schwab
Recording Dialogue
on Jul 12, 2010 at 6:26:07 pm

Hello,

I'm looking to do a few very short films. I'll be recording on to a canon camera, most likely a 5d or the 7d. I do not know much about audio equipment, however. I'm planning to have a few scenes of dialogue shot inside and out. I'd like to record the audio separately from the camera. Of course everything needs to be on the cheap. I just need a bit of a road map on what to look for in regards to equipment. I am thinking one or two shotgun mics? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Jul 13, 2010 at 1:14:00 pm

Hello Matt and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

At this point, going out and buying cheap audio gear is a recipe for disappointment. If you want usable dialog, hire a sound person. Good dialog audio is not an entry level job.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Bob Kessler
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Jul 14, 2010 at 4:05:19 pm

"Cheap" is very relative. You could purchase a decent sound kit for around $1,000. Most indie filmmakers consider this an exorbitant amount of money, but professional production sound kits will include individual mics that cost twice that much. Going HDSLR is going to increase the cost of your sound requirements as they have seriously substandard audio implementation.

Going cheap on sound is a sure way to kill an otherwise quality project. An audience will forgive "substandard" visuals as long as there is solid sound, they will never forgive poor audio. As Ty said, hiring a qualified production sound professional and listening to what they tell you is probably the way to go.


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Terry Mikkelsen
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Jul 14, 2010 at 6:01:42 pm

Rent some gear...see how it works for you...see how you like it...see if you make any more "films"...then buy something.

Tech-T Productions
http://www.technical-t.com


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Peter Groom
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Jul 15, 2010 at 8:36:12 am

Hi Matt. I think you said it all with "I dont know much about audio equipment" Why shoot on a DSLR camera? Clearly this is because youre seeing filmic / picture / stylistic advantages. So why then address the audio without getting in professionals to deliver an equally professional product on the audio front AND then remember that the location recording is only the start. To do any good location recording justice, you need a high calibre Post mixer who can bring the soundtrack to life., just like you'll no doubt be wanting from the edit and grade!

As Ty said, location recording and dialogue is not an entry level job. No one ever came out of a cinema saying what a great 2 shot, but they sure as hell do say what a great soundtrack!

Enjoy the film making experience, but Id encourage you to put the audio in ALL its disciplines much higher up the pecking order or you'll be disappointed with the final film

Peter

Peter


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Jon Goodman
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Jul 15, 2010 at 3:58:25 pm

Hi Matt,
I agree with all that has been said and perhaps you should rent some gear to try it out.
However to answer your question about what equipment you should look for: I would use a boom mic ( boompole, shotgun mic, suspension and wind protection) a mixer ( at least 2 inputs with stereo out and tone generator) an audio recorder ( a lot of indi film makers like the zoom H4N) and a wireless system or 2. The radio mics are good for micing the talent and or sending an audio scratch track to the camera from the mixer.
Cheers
Jon


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Bob Cole
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Aug 7, 2010 at 2:06:36 pm

[Peter Groom] "No one ever came out of a cinema saying what a great 2 shot, but they sure as hell do say what a great soundtrack!"

Not to take anything away from your statement about soundtracks, but I beg to differ about the 2 shot.


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Aug 7, 2010 at 2:36:25 pm

heh, as a convert to "picture-land", I'll have to agree with Bob.

the way the light falls off in the hallway behind the two shot and the frame edge just captures the right amount of door molding on the left and splits the castle in the bottom of the aquarium on the right and then as the camera moves the whole scene swings to perfectly capture the.....

Oops, sorry. Wrong forum. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford

PS: Killer dialog recording! No reflections or clothing noise. SWEET!

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






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Bob Cole
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Aug 7, 2010 at 2:45:49 pm

[Ty Ford] "the way the light falls off in the hallway"

Or, in "The Farmer's Wife," the way the cameraman instinctively holds the no-longer-a-two-shot when the angry husband leaves the frame, revealing the young wife staring at his empty chair...

Sorry for dumping on you, or seeming to, Peter. I think audio is under-appreciated, and the only time people talk about it is when it displeases them. The attention that George Lucas forced the theater owners to pay to audio speaks to its importance - and its low-place-on-the-totem-pole unless someone like Lucas says "Fix this, or else you don't get the next Star Wars."


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Craig Alan
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Jul 17, 2010 at 6:08:51 pm

Clean audio is by far the hardest and most important aspect of capturing a scene involving dialog. You really need someone to monitor the audio as you shoot and adjust levels. In other words, someone with experience. If you are shooting without a budget or a very small one, your best bet is to find a student with his/her own gear. Lots of music students have a lot. Run tech rehearsals specifically for the sound. It’s a great idea to have many rehearsals double as tech rehearsals. Get the actors and crew used to the gear and the actual shooting conditions. Make it clear to everyone there is one director. Make the rehearsals an event. Feed your crew and cast. Have a schedule and a set of rules. Get rid of haters early. Get everyone to sign a contract. If you find you need an extra piece of gear -- rent. But rent for a period that allows for reshoots and rehearsal.

If you are really determined to buy a good kit, start with any sound devices mixer -- choose the one that has the number of inputs you need. If three will do, then the 302 is very good bang for the buck. Cordless will increase the cost by several fold. If you stay wired, order the length of xlr you need, canare/comprehensive makes nice ones from BHphoto. Get a number of lengths if you can afford it. Remember, one wire to mixer, the other to the recording device.

Monitor from your recording device, not from your mixer. If your mixer and device are separated use one of these: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=BACX25+Cable+for+Portable+Mixers+-.... Though you can buy each wire separately.

Sony MDR-7506 Circumaural Closed-Back Professional Monitor Headphones are a must.

As for boom poles, they are a lot like tripods. As they get lighter and stronger the cost goes up. It’s always best to have an experienced boom pole operator on each mike. If the talent is close together, you can get by with one. You can allow the operators to have their own headphone and a way to monitor by splitting the feed. This way they can hear if the mike is aimed properly. Whether you go pro or student or volunteer, give yourself time to experiment until you’re happy. Other wise, you will end up with a sub-par video no matter how great the visuals and acting.

If you afford one pro, make it a sound tech. If you can afford two, make it a sound tech and a lighting designer.


OSX 10.5.7; MAC Book PRO (EARLY 2008); Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30, Sony vx2000/PD170, Canon xl2; Pana, Sony, and Canon consumer cams; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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steven childs
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Aug 1, 2010 at 5:03:39 pm

Depending on what you're going for, I've seen guys on a shoestring budget have a lot of success with recording the audio after shooting the video.


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording Dialogue
on Aug 1, 2010 at 5:20:54 pm

Hello Steven and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

My experience has been that doing the job right the first time works a lot better unless you and your actors have unlimited time to devote to fixing it in post. Please define "a lot of success" and point us to any examples you can.

Thanks,


Ty Ford

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






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