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Recording screams in a horror film

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Andy Balla
Recording screams in a horror film
on Aug 28, 2011 at 5:35:43 pm

Hello all. I've been having an issue recording an actress screaming in this horror film I've been working on. She's a real "scream queen" , and when she's really into it, her screams end up hitting the limiter on my mixer hard, which makes them sound bad. She's so loud, this occurs even when I ride the gain almost down to zero.

The upshot of this is that I'm going to have to record some wild takes of her screaming. I tried this already on location with the same mic (an NTG-3) and putting a little distance between her and the mic, but the results are the same (we tried this in a small room, maybe 8' x 12', though). If I were to bring in a dynamic mic (I have a Sennheiser MD-421, for example) to record the wild takes, would this help? My other thought was to get her to do the wild takes outside. We shot some scenes where she was pretty loud outside, and I didn't have this problem.

Does anyone have a better solution for getting these screams captured cleanly? What would be "best practices" for recording something like this? This is my first horror film, and my first experience with loud screaming, so I'm sort of in the dark about how best to accomplish this. Any advice would be appreciated.


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Eric Toline
Re: Recording screams in a horror film
on Aug 28, 2011 at 7:19:10 pm

Lower the mic input trim level to give you more headroom. A greater distance between the talent & the mic will help alot as will turning the mic away from the talent or visa versa.


Eric


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Andy Balla
Re: Recording screams in a horror film
on Aug 28, 2011 at 7:50:01 pm

Thanks Eric! My mixer (Twelco LP4 32) doesn't have separate trim and gain controls, but it does have a -10db pad per input channel. I'll engage that, and play around with mic position. Would you recommend sticking with the NTG-3 or trying another mic?


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Eric Toline
Re: Recording screams in a horror film
on Aug 29, 2011 at 1:34:40 am

Definately use the 10db pad and back the mic away from the talent. What other mics do you have, a dynamic perhaps?


Eric


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Andy Balla
Re: Recording screams in a horror film
on Aug 29, 2011 at 1:44:33 am

Like I said in my original post, I have an MD-421 I was thinking of trying. If I get the chance tomorrow, I'm going to put up the NTG-3 and MD-421, both with the -10db pad engaged, and see what happens. Thanks!


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