Recording Sound 16mm camera (1 reply and 13 comments)
For anyone who knows,
What are the means of recording audio while shooting on 16mm film? I am going to be using a Krosnagorsk 3 which I know has a fairly loud motor. Has anyone had experience recording dialogue and avoided having that spinning/clicking motor sound?
The good news is I want to shoot a gothic style dark psychological short film where characters wear masks, so dialogue could technically be added in post (you won't see actors lips moving) but the ambient sounds will be tricky to match. I'd rather be able to record audio on the day, but anyone have any tips for that?
You can record dialogue with the K3 but you have to keep it short as the speed governor will start to fluctuate after about 10 seconds but you can say a lot in that time. The second problem is the amount of decibels the camera emits but again this can be controlled by using the right type of microphone. The standard mic used these days is the short shotgun, a super cardioid. This type of mic rejects sound from the rear and the sides and if placed strategically from the camera, it will reject the cameras noise. You could place a blanket over the camera but the cameras noise does not always come from the body but through the lens Itself. Arriflex BL 16mm had a lens “blimp” over the lens barrel which reduced much of the cameras mechanical noise. You could even place blankets around the camera to reduce noise, all these additives do work but it’s the placement of the mics that will solve your problem. Solving your problem is not impossible but does require some financial investment, a second hand Sennheiser 416 will cost you around $800.00. Don’t forget this is a Phantom mic 48-52 volts. So you will need a separate Phantom power supply. If on location will need a pistol grip/ boom pole (panamic) and mic gag cage and hairy high wind gag, Headphones to match the impedance of your recorder say 25 OHMS. Cables etc, I am not trying to put you off but good sound cost money. I can use your K3 for dialogue and nobody will hear any “clackity clack”, this will be due to the type mic used and mic placement perhaps some baffles. Perhaps even using RX/TX with 20 dB knock off, you certainly will not hear the camera.
So before you say Action! Try to understand How mics work and more important how mics perform, its a misconception that you cannot eradicate camera noise, it all depends on understanding microphone performance and placement.
Always happy to answer questions especially about Bioacoustics.
Btw. If recording dialogue, try not to record ambience at the same time.
Ambience sound will need to be recorded separately and added later. Don’t forget to record room tone, you will need that for continuity. Could save your neck when editing.
Wow. Awesome info Mike. Okay. I think I'll look into the shotgun mic option. And maybe use a blanket. How do you record the room tone? Just record the empty room with nothing going on? Turn it on and record it quiet?
Room tone. Kick everybody out of a room, better still out of the building and record the ambiance. Take the mic ‘off’ the cable XLR and record at normal levels. Listen for silence, if there’s no silence then your preamps, cables Of your recorder are noisy.
You should hear total silence. Plug the mic back into the XLR. and record but this time turn your gain control to 85 %, you should hear a very slight hum. Play it back at normal volume, and it should be fairly quiet. On the the other hand you may want to record natural noises, say a restaurant for example with people chatting then it’s the same procedure but probably stereo X/Y or MS stereo.(Middle and side) recording.
Keep all your recordings logged in a book, describing how you recorded it, even the temperature of the room and positions of microphones all help to when you edit.
Sennheiser 815/816 is the mic to use with the K3, it has maximum rejection. 815 is a “T” powered mic 12 volts.and the 816 52 volts, this will give you the best results
being a higher current mic. Cheap end shotgun mics but very effective are the Australian “Rode” (Pronounced RODER), Sennheiser, DPA, and the top end are Schoeps pronounced ‘Sherps) there are hundreds of others but made for the mass markets, although some work well in some situations they will all fail at some point.
Buy pedigree Mics as they will last a life time, the capsules are the weakest part of a transducer, it’s the precision of engineering you are paying for. The more money you spend, the longer it will last under stressful conditions and harsh treatment. I have over 100 mics even one that records at 2 hertz, can’t hear it ofcourse but you can see it’s performance on a graph.
Wow. Okay, I had to sit down to finish reading all of that. A LOT to take in and think about. But thanks so much Mike for this in depth knowledge. I know sound is vital to film and to making a good film and can deeply effect the film. (See Tenet) But I'm not sure how prepared I am for going that deep. I will keep this thread for when I need it. But really thanks again. I'll have more questions as the months pass and things come up, but good to know I can bring questions here to have great answers!
Audio for film is my bread-and-butter - Trying to record audio when using a camera that makes a noise is to open a whole world of pain for yourself.
Mike has given you a very good run-down of all the things you can do to minimise the pain, but my 30 Cents worth is to either not use an old 16mm camera or ADR (i.e. dub) the whole thing and add ambient sound in afterwards as well. You can buy SFX recordings or (better still) you can record the SFX and Foleys yourself.
If the actors are wearing masks, you will get a muffled sounding dialog anyway and getting this right is best done in a studio in post under controlled conditions.
Although TV uses production (location) sound a lot, films usually ADR most things and add ambience and Foleys in post.
My thought is to do this: Since you won't ever see mouths moving with the masks, I will simply film the scene with the actors using no masks, and record the dialogue, room tone, ambient sound. Then, bring out the camera and film the same scene with masks on with no dialogue. Then hopefully in post, match everything up. Does anyone see any holes in that plot? I really value all of this experience and advice from you all! It's literally gonna save me from potential pitfalls. thanks.
Film dialogue with no masks to mitigate/avoid that muffled sound. And avoid recording in studio so you won't have to find ambient sounds or a room tone. Just do everything on set and film it two separate ways..
And I know that anyone could scrap the 16mm and film digital and save all of this headache, but in my opinion, it's better experience to put yourself in a tough corner and mentally work it out and figure out a solution. We all know filming is nothing less than solving problems and arising to face the challenges. Plus, I like film and I think a kick ass film on 16mm would stand out for someone just getting started like myself.
I was so glad to see the back of film! Horrible, grainy stuff! And 16mm - even S16 was a nasty thing and it costs money! The idea of then adding to your problems with something noisy and over 30-years old (that may or may not work on the day) seems (to my way of thinking) like madness!
Audio for film is a HUGE subject and I really can not even start here - the principles of ADR, how to do Foleys and SFX, the loudness standards involved, getting the 5.1 right alone is a massive undertaking.
The best I can do is to point you at the film post-prod pages at Gearslutz https://www.gearslutz.com/board/video-production-and-post-production/» and start digging!
A better alternative would be to get someone who understands the subject who probably has a location recorder and a set of proper boom mics etc. They may even have a small VO room where the ADR, Foleys and SFX can be done without faffing about on set. You never know your luck!
If you are working with film, are you going to scan it in and edit in Resolve or Premiere or Vegas or whatever - so do you have access to a scanner or an editing table? Have you thought about such things as colour correction and other post-prod tasks (all of which are bundled with any software editor)?
Good luck and all that - but digital is 37.5 times easier! One small mixer with phantom power for the mics, one decent DSLR and a Sennhesier MKH416-P48 and you're in business for location sound and just the DSLR if you do it all someone's VO/Foleys room.
I do like your philosophy, very encouraging to hear that you have chosen to take the hard route. Rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in, is the best way to go. Make as many mistakes as you can and solve them one by one. That’s really quality learning imo. Well done to you. You don’t hear that these days, everybody wants the quick fix, no pain for me Thankyou. It’s so refreshing to hear that.
While rehearsing why don’t you switch on your mic and record the actors. Get your actors to mime to playback and film that. Although, they have Venetian type face masks they need to react to the playback as you will be filming neck and face muscles as though they are speaking for real. The problem here is that your playback system but be ‘reliable’and speed in sync. You will need an amplifier connected to your recorder so it’s the same source every time. JBL once made a very good playback system which was spot on every time, it was Aiwa based and rechargeable too, so you could position it anywhere. I used this Large CD playback system on the Lancaster bomber scenes for the BBC series “Bomber”. Also the BBC made “Rogers” series of speakers and playback was equally as good.
ADR is just as effective some say better but Is expensive and very time consuming for a small budget project.
If you see a ‘Countryman’ Max 2 mic, buy it. They are superb for close voice work and can be hidden under costumes even behind a mask, you could even tape the capsule at the side of the face, they are flesh coloured. These mics are flat and were designed for Theatre stage work, lovely sound. You will need to reduce the DB’s on your mixer to allow the mic to “Breath”.
Okay. Cool. I'll start looking for Countryman Max 2's and maybe a JBL playback. But to me it seems the best option for what I want to do. Thank as always Mike. I appreciate the encouragement.
Nothing quite like having a go! But a question - how are you going to deliver this film? i.e. what will the final consumer format be?
Final format will be digital. I plan to send the film off to be digitized to then cut/edit it on the computer. Then show it to whoever I can. So it will be hopefully 2 or 4k digitized 16mm film