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How to record good audio in difficult situations?

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David R. Falzarano
How to record good audio in difficult situations?
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:36:46 pm

Hi there,
a few days ago I had to shoot an acting seminar for teenagers, and the location was a complete mess: people practicing piano, guitar and drums in other rooms, tens of cicadas, very hot with no air conditioner so we couldn't close the windows...

I moved my Videomic Pro as close as possible to the actors, but I still got cicadas, music, and echo in the background. Very very prominent. Post production helped but didn't make miracles.

In a situation like this, what should I do? A lapel mic would be a good idea? A more directional and less noisy mic? Any other trick I can do with the gear I have? (Videomic Pro connected straight to a Canon 6D).

Thanks in advance!

Ekam Sat


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Bruce Watson
Re: How to record good audio in difficult situations?
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:59:19 pm
Last Edited By Bruce Watson on Jul 22, 2016 at 4:03:46 pm

[David R. Falzarano] "In a situation like this, what should I do? A lapel mic would be a good idea? A more directional and less noisy mic?"

The first thing one needs for good dialog captures is a quiet environment. You don't have that. First thing you should do is set expectations by telling your client that making a recording in a noisy environment is going to result in a noisy recording. You can't change the laws of physics.

You can try a lav., but it's only going to help so much. It will not eliminate the background. And resist the temptation (I'm not kidding here) to use a directional lav. as these introduce their own problems (head movement taking the voice out of pattern, proximity effect becomes a variable, etc.). Even professional actors and newscasters have trouble with directional lavs, and they've had the training and have the skills.

You can try a shotgun, but a shotgun(interference tube) mic near reflective surfaces (walls, ceilings) causes it's own audible artifacts. And even when perfectly placed, a shotgun will only lessen a noisy background, not eliminate it.

Your best shot is perhaps an earset mic. Since it's worn on the head, it turns with the head, so you can use a directional mic without much of a problem. Since the mic capsule sits near the corner of the mouth, it's about as close as you can reliably get, so your signal-to-noise ratio will be as high as you can get it. Will this eliminate all the background noise? Of course not. All it can do is minimize it. But it may well minimize it to the point of practical inaudibility. Broadway shows use a fair amount of earset mics for example.


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David R. Falzarano
Re: How to record good audio in difficult situations?
on Jul 23, 2016 at 10:02:12 am

Thanks a lot to you and to the others who replied... it's looks like there are no "shortcuts" or easy ways :)

Ekam Sat


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Richard Crowley
Re: How to record good audio in difficult situations?
on Jul 22, 2016 at 4:35:51 pm

To expand on Mr. Watson's information about selecting a quiet location, suggest reviewing this valuable information:

"An Open Letter from your Sound Department"
http://filmsound.org/production-sound/openletter.htm


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Eric Toline
Re: How to record good audio in difficult situations?
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:21:33 pm

It's not a sound problem, it's a location problem.

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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