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External Sound

Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 6:54am

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Direktor

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I bought my camera a while back when I was just getting into filmmaking. I didn't look out for sound because I just assumed it would be great on my camera (Yeah...I know...). Now I'm going to film my first short film that I actually put effort into and I need a good way to do sound. So, I was wondering how you would go about doing sound separate from the video. I would like a way to record the sound digitally and make it easy to download onto my computer. I've already got a clapboard so I can use that to line up the sound and video. Thank you for you help.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 9:32am

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EvilDonut

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1) good location
2) good mike
3) close

There you go. Rest is how good you are in your nle and audio mastering application

d
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 10:38am

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Arktic

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Good advice there from ED.

Bearing those points in mind, there are a number of different options of equipment you can use to actually record the sound - DAT recorders, hard-disk/solid state digital devices, minidisc recorders etc.

There's a good guide to the different types of recording devices around here (though some of the prices seem to be somewhat out of date).

If you're tight on budget, you might want to record to something like a minidisc recorder, which can be found quite cheaply these days. The main drawback is that they only record compressed audio - but it's more often than not perfectly acceptable quality.

Another idea is to find an MP3 player which has a mic-in socket - if you can find one that records in decent quality / uncompressed audio, you've got yourself a cheap external sound recorder.

I hope this helps smile

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 10:22pm

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Direktor

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Arktic: Yes that helps a lot actually. Do you know which one will be easiest to upload onto my computer?

Evildonut: I know how to get good sound. It's just recording it I need to work on. I know I need a Mic. but my camera has no Mic. Input so I need a separete way to record the audio.

[MOD EDIT: Please don't quote whole posts for no reason, thanks.]
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 10:46pm

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Arktic

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It will probably be easiest to load to your computer from a solid state or hard-drive recorder, as this will just copy across the data directly, so you shouldn't get any quality loss.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 1:36am

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Direktor

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Ok thanks, I shall look into that. If anyone else has ideas feel free to post them.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 2:39am

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EvilDonut

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Direktor wrote:

Arktic: Yes that helps a lot actually. Do you know which one will be easiest to upload onto my computer?

Evildonut: I know how to get good sound. It's just recording it I need to work on. I know I need a Mic. but my camera has no Mic. Input so I need a separete way to record the audio.

[MOD EDIT: Please don't quote whole posts for no reason, thanks.]
If you're not recording video- make sure someone says the shot / take # clearly into the mic, so you can link it up to the shot of the slate in the video. Otherwise you'll be lost.

d
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 7:28am

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Direktor

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Yep, I've got that down. I just wanted a easy way to get it onto my computer.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 9:18am

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EvilDonut

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Direktor wrote:

Yep, I've got that down. I just wanted a easy way to get it onto my computer.
Depends on the device you use to record with - but it is always nice to have an actual usb audio interface to handle inputs. You can find models at any guitar center.

If it's just a fun student or short film, just plug it into the audio input and record. Depends on how pro you're making it.

d
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 6:14pm

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Direktor

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EvilDonut wrote:


it is always nice to have an actual usb audio interface to handle inputs. You can find models at any guitar center.

If it's just a fun student or short film, just plug it into the audio input and record. Depends on how pro you're making it.
That's where you lost me. Do you mean record it straight to my computer? A lot of people on another forum suggested that to me but my computer is a desktop so I wouldn't be able to carry it around. Atleast not easily wink And I want to make it look as nice as I can. I don't want it to look like something I thought up in 12 minutes. I'm actually taking the time to write the script and edit it, storyboard (which I hate doing by the way), cast people other than my friends, and I'm spending money on it (normally I just use what I can get ahold of) I want it to reflect the effort that was put into it.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 8:20pm

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pdrg

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If you've only got a desktop computer and no mic input on the camera, you're going to have to find a recorder of some sort.

DAT is very popular although Compact Flash recorders are getting more popular and cheaper. Even use an old-fashioned Compact Cassette if you need to, but as everyone says, you'll need to use a clapper/slate properly to make your edit easier.

Alternatively, shoot mute, and ADR the whole thing. Many thousands of features were shot just this way when 35mm cameras were just toooo noisy (indeed they still are quite often)
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 9:05pm

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Direktor

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How easy is it to get the tapes on your computer though? I assume that the Compact Flash Recorders would be the easiest to get on a PC right? Since it probably records audio files instead of to a tape?

Won't it be easy to tell a movie is ADR'd? It just seems like it won't sound right and leaves more room for akward sounding audio. If I were to do it this way how would I do it? What kind of microphone would I need, programs, etc.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 9:34pm

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pdrg

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Getting DAT onto your computer would be a case of playing out and recording it through a decent sound card, you're right, Compact Flash recorders are easy peasy - you get a bunch of WAV files to deal with smile

As for ADR - old movies use heaps and heaps, I bet you never really thought about it before, but you'll notice now you know. I agree, it's not ideal by a long shot, but it means you have total control of the soundscape of your film (and indeed the only real difference is that the lead actors have to redo their bits, you typically build up the rest of the soundtrack in post anyway). To do it, many NLE's support it - you have the original footage looping (a sentence or two at a time) and a mic set up, and the actors listen to it, take any extra direction from you, and have a few goes at syncing lips. It's actually quite easy once you get the hang of it.

Main problem you'll ahve is that you'll have to work harder on your audio post to make it all sound 'right', but that's no bad thing - as I say, professional movies have massively fake soundtracks (all that restaurant noise? Fake. That loud cigarette lighter? Fake. Those gunshots? Yup, you got it, fake.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 11:43pm

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Direktor

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Yep I knew about all the foley sounds that go into Hollywood films. I think I'm going to do a little test action film (since this is actually my first action film) and I'll try using ADR to do the sound since I assume this will be a lot cheaper. If I don't like it I'll look into a Flash recorder because I hate capturing video let alone capturing audio too burst

If I do end up going with the Flash recorder, any suggestions on which one to get? Along with a good mic?
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 10:11am

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pdrg

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Mic Sennheiser ME66 kit and a boom pole, recorder you can probably get for less than the mic, but practically look at hiring them for a few days - sound hires are quite cheap, especially by the week.
Posted: Thu, 17th Jul 2008, 8:38pm

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Direktor

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Where would I go to rent sound people? And which recorder should I look into?
Posted: Thu, 17th Jul 2008, 9:45pm

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Arktic

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Where would I go to rent sound people?
That depends on a few things - mostly your location and your budget.

Give us a bit more information, and we might be able to help out smile

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Sat, 19th Jul 2008, 2:23pm

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pdrg

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Unless you want to pay for people's travel, look for someone local to you. Who's local? Depends where you live.

In the UK expect to pay ~£200+/day for a soundie who'll be likely to have some of his own kit, you may get someone new to the scene for £100/day
Posted: Sun, 20th Jul 2008, 2:00am

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Direktor

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Ok so I was looking into it more today and I was reading something about being able to plug mics into the hot shoe? The camcorder I have is the Panasonic PV-GS80 which has a hot shoe on the top. Could I set up a external mic that way?

BTW I live in Minnesota is the US.
Posted: Sun, 20th Jul 2008, 2:35am

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Thrawn

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As far as renting audio, check out your local Community Media Center. They rent out fairly decent Shotgun mics (both long and short), some Lavaliere mics (wireless and not), some soundboards, etc. They rent them out pretty cheap as well.

Yes, you can have a DV shotgun microphone resting on your camera if it has a hot shoe. Notice I say a DV microphone, not a shotgun with a XLR output. If you end up with a shotgun microphone with an XLR output, your gonna have XLR - 3.5 mm jack converter.

Sorry, I'm a bit tired today, so I may have gotten some information wrong.. pretty sure it's all right, though.
Posted: Sun, 20th Jul 2008, 3:12am

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Direktor

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Thrawn wrote:


Yes, you can have a DV shotgun microphone resting on your camera if it has a hot shoe. Notice I say a DV microphone, not a shotgun with a XLR output. If you end up with a shotgun microphone with an XLR output, your gonna have XLR - 3.5 mm jack converter.
I don't need a mic input for that stuff do I? Because my camera only has a hotshoe and a A/V port. I'd really like to avoid renting sound if I can.
Posted: Sun, 20th Jul 2008, 4:15am

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Thrawn

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Yep, your gonna need a mic input. You can record to a separate recorder, but you'd have to sync it up in post.
Posted: Sun, 20th Jul 2008, 6:04am

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Direktor

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Thrawn wrote:

Yep, your gonna need a mic input. You can record to a separate recorder, but you'd have to sync it up in post.
I'm down with that. Any recorders you'd recommend? Preferrably not to expensive?
Posted: Sun, 20th Jul 2008, 12:59pm

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pdrg

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Recorder-wise your best bet is to see what you can hire easily locally - unless you want to spend hundreds of pounds buying one that is! Fact is recorders are largely within a few percent quality-wise, so whatever you can get will probably do you just fine, especially if you're mounting a mic on the camera (even the very best shotgun mic sounds much better held just out of frame!).

If you want to buy something have a look at what Nagra have on offer, or DAT recorders, or some Sony MiniDisc players can record, and there are several solid-state devices available. Also try ebay, look for second hand studio equipment, you might find something - but I do encourage you to hire locally first.
Posted: Tue, 22nd Jul 2008, 9:40pm

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JornLavoll

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http://jorn.lavoll.no/MontyRobert.jpg
is a link to a ridicolus picture of me smile it was for a documentary film and we are interviewing horseman monty roberts, and we had about 30 seconds to set up.
so with the boom in my hand i am

close - and matching the "closeness" of what the camera is filming.
i wish i was higher up, but i had no idea how long this interview would take, and i didnt want to hold a a boom pole for 20 minutes withouth a break, so i quickly settled for comfortable on the floor smile but his jacket was a little problem, the leather was very creaky, and you can see i am closer with the mic to his jacet than to his mouth.
there was also alot of rigging and tons of people in the background, so i wanted to be maybe a little extra close to him because of that.

i have a very good mic inside my blimp. the blimp is there to prevent air from blowing on my mic and ruining the sound when that happens. even inside this is a problem!! outside you want to kill a cat and drag it over the blimp, the fur helps against the stronger winds.

the mic is being amplified by the excellent sound devices 442 mixer. a good mic preamp makes a huge difference in sound!! Huge!! cheap preamps like in most cameras are noisy and dull. the sound being first amplified by the 442 makes it large but still natural and very "detailed".. hehe, its hard to describe sound in words.

in the bag with the 442 there's a little roland/edirol recorder. it records directly to a little flash card like you find in photocameras. so afterwards i can put the flash card directly into the card reader on my computer, and all the files are there as wavs.

the camera is also getting a sound feed from the mixer, the panasonic camera that is used here records sound really well.. but we are still not using the preamps in the camera!! its a line level signal coming from my mixer to the camera.

the level into the camera is set -3db lower just in case.

you see i am crossing my sound cable over a power cable. dont do it. but if you have to, do it like i did, try to make it as straigt across as possible.

dont wear pants that will slide into your buttcrack like i did in this photo. it is no good for sound smile

theres a little grip on my mic-blimp to hold with. if you barely move a finger will holding it like that, the mic will hear it. practice taiji to learn how to be absolutely still in every part of you body smile

even tho it is a very directional shotgun mic, all mics record sound coming to it from any angle, the back, the sides...

any of that helpful?

smile
Posted: Tue, 22nd Jul 2008, 10:33pm

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EvilDonut

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Why didn't you put the boom on a stand since the subject was not moving or use a lavalier mic? Polish up the sound in post if needbe.

d
Posted: Wed, 23rd Jul 2008, 12:23am

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JornLavoll

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because of the circumstances i had to be the stand smile

no lav in my interviews for this film because I get to decide and I like the sound like this best. but dont feel sorry for my lavs, they got plenty of love and attention in other situations.

I'm doing all the sound work on this (and a follow up documentary) so if had made a mess, it would be up to me to clean it up again smile

if anyone have some horse questions, i might be able to answer them as well smile
Posted: Wed, 23rd Jul 2008, 2:03am

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Direktor

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JornLavoll: Wow. I read all of that but I have no idea what your talking about. I need things simplified for me. Sound is just baffeling to me. burst