Author Topic: Two Tech Questions  (Read 1640 times)

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matt35mm

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Two Tech Questions
« on: February 20, 2004, 03:41:54 PM »
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I'm about to make a movie on miniDV, and there are two big questions that I have:

Lav mics:  I hear some good things, some bad things.  I have enough money for it, but I don't have enough to waste on it.  Is this better for dialogue than a shotgun?  If I had a two-shot, would lavs work well, or would I be better off using two shotguns?

DV to Beta:  Looks like most film festivals project movies in Beta SP.  What are the details of transfering DV to Beta?  A factor is that the DV footage has been converted to 30 progressive frames from 29.97.  How much does this cost to transfer, and after that, is that all I need for presentation at film festivals?

Thanks!

Ghostboy

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Two Tech Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2004, 04:32:23 PM »
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As far as microphones go...it's best to have both, but since low budgets usually prohibit that, I'd say the lavs may be your best bet. As long as you can get wireless ones, and as long as your actors aren't wearing anything skimpy or skintight, you'll probably get the best results that way. If you can afford to rent a portable sound mixer, that would help as well.

But boom mics are good too...I've used them plenty of times, and the only problem is that you'll end up with more ambient/background noise.

As far as dubbing to Beta goes, it's easy. Just take it to a post house and they'll take care of it for you. It'll probably cost under 100 bucks, which I know still sounds extravagant but you might be able to talk them down by talking about how low budget your movie is. BUT what you definitely want to do is provide your own tapes. There are tons of online tapestock retailers where you can get reasonably priced Beta tapes, whereas if you let the post house do it, they'll probably charge you twice as much as the tape costs. You may want to get more than one copy made, just for safety.

Also, while it's good to have Beta copies, there are a lot of festival that will project from other digital formats (DVD, etc.) now.

matt35mm

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Two Tech Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2004, 07:46:19 PM »
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Thanks.

My main concern was how wireless lavs sound, if it's really good enough and all that.

Are there places that can transfer the video file (Quicktime) to Beta, without me having to compress it back to DV?  ... although now that I think about it, that would be a giant file...

Recce

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Two Tech Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2004, 09:56:58 PM »
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I recently worked on a short documentary and I used a shotgun for the interview stuff and I was really surprised at how good the quality was. We had a lavalier with use, but we jsut used the shotgun and it was great. There really wasn't that much ambiant sound.
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metroshane

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Two Tech Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2004, 08:58:20 AM »
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Not a big fan of lav mics.  For one, the pick up any body noise so forget using them if there is any action.  Second, it kind of messes with the actors process...they become hyper aware of where the mic is and start acting into their chest.  Yes, I know professional actors won't, but who's got money for Nicholson?

See "Singing in theRain" for a good Lav scene.
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matt35mm

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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2004, 11:05:32 AM »
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Now I'm confuzzled again... yeah, see, the technical problems they faced in Singin' in the Rain is (to a lesser extent) exactly what I'm afraid of!

But see, if I were doing an interview with a locked down camera shot and a person in the chair not really moving, I'd use a shotgun.  But if the camera is moving and the actors are moving (especially the actors), what to do then?  I'm definitely aware of ADR but it's not a solution to the problem in general--the main question is: how should I record the dialogue?

Robert Altman famously uses wireless lavs on each of his actors, and of course the sound is just fine.  He has much better equipment and sound technicians, though.

Let me just ask... I already have a 250 dollar shotgun mic (I think it sounds pretty good), so given that I want to spend about $400 more on sound, what would you guys recommend?

Ghostboy

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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2004, 12:07:25 PM »
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What model microphone is that? For 250, you probably got a pretty good one. I'd use the remaining 400 to rent some additional gear, like a mixer and professional boom pole.

In response to your above scenario, the lav mics are best when there's not a lot of action, because they will pick up excess movement when clothing brushes against them -- but if you don't have a lot of movement, you shouldn't have any problems. I used them exclusivley on my last film and the actors never acted towards their chest or anything. But honestly, the boom will work fine for what you want to do, I'm sure.

matt35mm

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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2004, 12:41:08 PM »
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The shotgun is an Azden SGM-2X, I like it.

Professional boom?  Is that important?  I was going to use golf club shafts (they're strong, don't bend much, and are light).  The mic has an elastic suspension to help with the vibrations from the shafts.

Well I feel uncomfortable with only one microphone.  As for the mixer, the mic is connected to the camera via XLR--it sounds great, though.  There is some basic mixing stuff onboard the camera.  From all my tests, they sound great and I'm very happy with the sound--I just want to make sure I can get sound like that for my movie.

There are no real action scenes; the actors would not be moving all that much, no.  But if I were to do a two shot, would I put one mic between them, use two shotguns, or use lavs?  Or is it that any one of those things would work fine?

Do shotguns and lavs sound significantly different?  Could I use both?  Would the dialogue editing between the two sound funky?

Thanks for all this help!

Ghostboy

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Two Tech Questions
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2004, 01:21:22 PM »
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If your mic has an elastic suspension thingie, that'll help. The nice thing about the pro boom pole is that it's extendable and the XLR cable runs through the center of it, preventing any movement that might cause interference.

If you're going to use a boom mic, you can get away with just using one, no problem. For example, in a two shot, the boom operator would hold the boom pole over the actors' heads and angle the microphone ever so slightly towards whoever was talking.

Shotguns and lavs have different sounds, but you could edit between the two and you wouldn't have a problem, as long as your remembered to record room tone on the boom mic, since it will inherently pick up a little more than the lavs. Then you just layer a lengthy clip of that into your sound mix and there shouldn't be any differentiation.

 

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