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AUTHOR SUBJECT: recording sound
Velusion
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Posted: 11/15/2016 5:43:28 PM
The most elusive part of film making for some people, myself included, is sound..

The movie I'm shooting has CGI characters comp'd onto live action plates.  I have equipment to record voice actors in advance of animating the characters.  I know there will be a learning curve but so far, my main concern is recording the voices so that they seem to fit the environment of the scene.  If a scene is shot outdoors then you would expect a very flat sound.  Flat as in, no reverberation... On the other hand, if the environment is suppose to be a cave with granite walls, you would expect some reverberation or echo...Of course audio editing software can take a clean recording then color it using filters and such but I've also heard of sound engineers who will actually playback the audio in a real location that matches the acoustics of the scene that the sound will be used in and rerecord it so to add the color naturally....... I'm just want to open a discussion to find out what people think when it comes to sound...  In high budget movies I always hear very clean ADR.  It seems to fit very well but it never actually sounds like it's being recorded live on set.  It always sounds too clean,, but like I said, it never draws attention to itself and it always seems to fit...  On the other hand, a good example of a movie that had ADR that did not fit well at all is Enter The Dragon, starring Bruce Lee.  The dialog sounded like it was recorded on a cheap Sears portable tape recorder in a large bathroom..  My plan is to record clean sound then play with it as needed later.  What do you think?

REPLIES:   6
Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 11/15/2016 7:05:25 PM
Recording clean sound in a controled environment is the standard way to go. But while you're on location, make sure you record a room tone, or environment ambiance. Later in post, you simply lay that room tone on your timeline, and overlay your clean dialog track. You may want to tweak a bit the voice track to make it sound more natural, but the room tone is where the magic is. It makes everything work!
Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 11/15/2016 7:13:17 PM
One trick I found that works when you record voice in studio, try to have your voice actor roughly at the same distance from the microphone as if you were recording on location. In short, if in your shot your character is 50 foot away from the camera, record your sound with the voice actor away from the mic. Find the right distance balance, and give it a try. Tell your voice actor not to talk louder because he's far from the microphone. Keep it natural. This trick works much better than recording voice in close proximity, and lowering the gain to make it sound 'far'.
Mike Conway
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Posted: 11/16/2016 3:45:15 AM
I do try and record outdoor stuff, outside or in a soundbooth (like my closet).   Did you ever see this ADR video from EXILE?




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Posted: 11/16/2016 3:59:12 AM
Some good tips there.  
I remember when I shot Beneath the Full Moon.  Most of the dialog was the actual production sound but I did end up ADRing a couple of lines.  Those lines never quite worked for me..  I recorded the dialog with the mic close so I'd get a nice full channel then, in post, I attempted to lower the volume to make it somehow match the quality and volume you would expect.. It didn't work out too well. It just sounded like a "close up" track with the volume turned down.

Mike, I never saw the ADR video before.. At least I don't remember...  The sound in EXILE is very good.  I didn't really notice any ADR when watching it, 

I'll give some more details on the equipment I have later..

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 11/16/2016 5:19:29 AM
When I did Crawler, I recall we got some beautiful shots but sadly had very bad sound, blending wind hitting the mic and whispering of the actor. I thought I'd redo the voices in ADR, but my sound mixer said he'd be able to fix it. And he did. The software he uses is NuENDO. Of course he's very talented, the software doesn't do everything alone, but I remember he said other professional packages were no match in terms of flexibility and quality.

Nuendo

mokkimachi
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Posted: 11/17/2016 11:40:24 AM
Ah yes, the recordation of sound...

Ever since the dawn of man, mankind has wondered how to accurately reproduce sound. 

So stoneage man built the first recorder with birds inside, that would repeat like a parrot what the human said. 

Yep, life was a gay old time back then. 



My own journey with sound was quite intriguing. 


The first handful of movies I made, I didn't even add sound.  Kind of like your movie James.  Inperspiring you called it.  I forgot that word.  It sounds like such a made up word.  

Anyway yeah, my first movies were like that.  All silent.   

 

And then, I started making sound films, but only on one soundtrack.  I recorded everything live, including music & foley & voices, all together at the same time onto one soundtrack.  I'm sure we've all been there. 


Then, I started another movement.  I would let the actors whisper, and with whisper, I mean not even let the whisper be audible.  More like just moving the mouths.  

This saved a lot of time when adding sound afterwards, because you only heard the natural "foley" sounds;  footsteps and the objects being moved etc., on the original soundtrack.  No voices.   

So then, we'd just dub in the voices over those and of course add music.  Dubbing in voices would mean the dialogue is clear and sounds professional.  


Then came a phase in my life when I returned to just recording everything afterwards on one soundtrack, all live.  I think I just liked the busyness and art of balancing everything live.  


Then came a time I did it almost the same as that, except I'd record music seperately on one taped version, while the sounds are recorded on another, the latter onto which the voices is also audio dubbed.  


Then in my late teens, came a time I loved microphones on set.  I would use booms & hidden mics and whatnot.  It's like a craze.  I was all about recording the actual dialogue as the actors spoke it.  


Then I returned to a filmmaking life where all sound is done in post.  The digital age had been well underway by this time, so everything was now done on computers only.  



This carried on to the present day.  

The present day, I'm like I'll have a microphone in the room, but not all stuck right almost up the actor's nose or into his head, just out of frame.  

I'll just have the microphone in the room, sometimes even the camera's mic if it's a camera that doesn't have lenses whirring, and then tell the actors to speak loud and clear.  

This can then be manipulated with dymanics settings in post to all sound the same level, and clear.  

Might sound a bit 1938 Hollywood though, whatwith the actors speaking loud and clear.  But it's a nice stage to be at.  


As for sounding like it's in a specific room, that's what reverb & echo filters are for.  



Tip:  For recording instruments like piano for example, do not rely on the camera's microphone.  Use one of those Zoom sound recorders that allows you to manually set the recording volume.  You want the loudest notes to be just under the distort mark.  


Well, that's the story of sound. 
 



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