Advantages and disadvantages of feature film live sound

Posted on by

Home Forums Camera Advantages and disadvantages of feature film live sound

  • Creator
  • #215198
    rama lingam

      Dear master Roger and forum members what’s the advantage and disadvantage of movie sound live recording?

    Viewing 2 replies - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
    • Author
    • #215226
      The Byre

        As luck would have it, I am writing out the shot-list for wind, rain and a high-velocity sniper’s rifle.  We are doing the entire thing in post and no prod. sound because getting good prod. sound is really hard on a set and outdoors it is even harder.

        Gunshots are done in post. You can get an off-the-shelf (grams) GS, but I prefer Foleys, i.e. a longish wooden batten (3ft-4ft) smacked onto a stone floor with my foot for a small calibre pistol – up to a 9mm. For a larger weapon, add a little kick drum. Add reverb to taste.

        Lavaliers and wind do not mix as you need one of those furry caterpillars and they are almost impossible to hide and still get reasonable production sound. For that reason, a boom mic for production sound is the answer, which is nearly always a Sennheiser MKH416.  But 90% of the time, wind and audio do not make for good bedfellows, especially if you have to use a noisy wind machine.  (It never is windy or rains when you want it to do so – ever! Wind and rain/fog always require rain, wind and fog machines!)

        For all those reasons, I would not even bother to use any production sound, though usually an MKH416 on a stick is used just in case. I would (and do) ADR the whole thing (using a 416 to match other prod. sound) and save costs by not even recording any decent prod. sound – a mic on the camera would do!

        Wind sound – keep wind low and either grams or DiY. I prefer DiY using mouth noises slowed down to half speed and pitch and multiple layers – 2 to 3. Wind is a very important part of any sound design and can be used to great dramatic effect.

        Of course prod. sound means you do not have to get the actors to do an ADR (additional dialogue recording) session in a suitably dead vocal booth and then add the right ambiance from a machine or a plug-in.

        Also, ADR means that the voice has to be squeezed and stretched so that the lips match the image perfectly.  If you are working in Avid’s ProTools, you will need the Elasitique plug-in, if you are working in Reaper, Nuendo, Cubase and a few others, Elasitique is built in and that speeds things up and editing the ADR becomes a doddle!  (ProTools does have ‘Elastic Audio’ but it warbles and has other digital artifacts and is nowhere nearly as fast as Reaper!)

        Unfortunately, most US production companies and sound supervisors insist on ProTools because they have got it into their heads that it is the “industry standard” on the rather flimsy grounds that Avid told them so!  Universities usually teach only ProTools because they either get it for free or at a reduced price.  The same applies to Avid’s Media Composer for video.

        So for a sound stage, prod. sound is the best answer.  For locations where unwanted noises such as nearby traffic, planes overhead, wind and mic handling noises are the rule, ADR with added Foleys and FX are usually the better answer.  Like all these things, it depends on the circumstances.

        The Byre

          I’ll just add to the above that not all actors are good at ADR, but ADR does give the casting director the freedom to pick actors who look perfect for the role but whose voices are unsuitable.  We are hoping to get going on a film in Gaelic, English and German next year (or maybe the year after that – we shall see!) and I imagine that there will be quite some ADR involved as most Gaelic speakers are older and the kid we would like for the junior lead does not even speak English!  The actress for the proper lead role speaks all three and the script is being written around her.

        Viewing 2 replies - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
        • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.