View Full Version : Audio Question For A Short Film


GurBurkEm
02-22-2009, 02:51 PM
Basically a few of the shot are going to require the actors to be far away from the camera. I am looking for a sound man but i want to cover my ass just incase I cant get anyone and I have to get a friend to record the audio.

I was A. either going to use these lavalier mics I have, and rent a transmitter and receiver. But it is risky cause the audio could get screwed easily with any movement and I don't really know what I'm doing with the transmitters and receivers. Or B. I was going to use the Edirol R-09 voice recorder or the Zoom h4 and have both actors hide them in front pockets, and secure the voice recorders down so they don't move. There really is no budget for the film I'm using all my money for mostly equipment and to pay the actors and people who help. Any ideas would be greatly appreciate.


Thanks

Alter Ego Productions
03-01-2009, 01:34 PM
Remember... the closest you can get the mics to the persons mouth is always better. Plan B may work, but I would go with the lavaliers if I was you. The xmtrs and rcvrs aren't difficult to use. Just get them ahead of time and practice with them. Know what the range is and also check for any type of interference that could be present at the location. Make sure you use headphones to monitor the sound during recording.

EddyMoon
03-05-2009, 10:29 AM
just how far from the camera are they?

because you can always just record the audio after filming, if you cant exactly see their lips moving.

M1chae1
03-05-2009, 04:27 PM
just how far from the camera are they?

because you can always just record the audio after filming, if you cant exactly see their lips moving.

That was my question. You could just ADR the dialog.

Alcove Audio
03-15-2009, 03:55 AM
ADR is very difficult to do, even for experienced actors. And you still need a "pilot" track for them, so you will have to capture the dialog anyway.

How far away is "far away"?

Why is it that no one ever wants to pay for sound? Isn't capturing the dialog important? You'll pay the talent, the DP and everyone else, why not get a PSM?

indietalk
03-15-2009, 04:01 AM
Why is it that no one ever wants to pay for sound? Isn't capturing the dialog important? You'll pay the talent, the DP and everyone else, why not get a PSM?
I have no idea. Filmmakers will spend $1500 on a recorder, mic, and boom pole, and have a friend operate it for free and ruin the sound anyway. I think I paid $250/day, and that was for the sound mixer w/equipment AND boom operator for a five (I think) day shoot.

Alcove Audio
03-16-2009, 01:07 AM
I have no idea. Filmmakers will spend $1500 on a recorder, mic, and boom pole, and have a friend operate it for free and ruin the sound anyway. I think I paid $250/day, and that was for the sound mixer w/equipment AND boom operator for a five (I think) day shoot.

A good rule of thumb is that every dollar and minute you spend on production sound will save you ten in audio post.


"Sound is half the experience"

As a Sound Designer/Audio Postproduction Engineer I cannot impress upon filmmakers the importance of quality production sound.

In 2006 I worked on an indie feature, spending over 700 hours on the audio post. ALMOST 300 HOURS WAS SPENT ON CLEANING UP POOR LOCATION SOUND!!! After spending all of that time the dialog for over half of the film was barely passable. We did some ADR but most of the talent was spread out across the country doing other projects so we had to live with what we had.

As a quick breakdown of costs figure that you will spend $450.00 a day on a top quality, professional location sound crew (mixer & boom op). For a twenty-day shoot that costs you $9k.

Okay, let's say that you DID NOT spend the money on a qualified production sound crew. The following scenarios have occurred in my audio post facility. Here's what a 100-minute project will end up costing you in audio post:

1. Location sound clean up and editing.

This includes auditioning and resyncing better audio from the alternate takes that did not make it into the film.

Figure on 1 hour per minute of location audio for clean up and editing.

100hrs X $50.00hr = $5k

2. ADR

We have about 50 minutes of the production sound that cannot be salvaged. Most of the talent you will be using has little or no experience doing ADR, so it will be a very time consuming process.

150hrs X $50.00hr = $7.5k

This does not include the cost of transporting and feeding your talent, and paying them if they are working on scale. If your talent is spread out across the country doing other shoots you may have to pay top dollar doing remotes at studios located near your talent, the associated cost of using ISDN lines and FTP sites, and the additional time/cost of uploads, downloads and importing into the primary audio post facilities editing system.

3. Picking takes and syncing/editing ADR.

You now have to pick the take you want to replace each line. However, the deliveries of the lines you choose have to match in tonal quality so you will most probably have to compromise. Then the voices of the various talents will have to be EQed so that they match each other.

50hrs X $50.00hr = $2.5k

4. Since you now have just words floating in the air you will have to do Foley. I'll be generous and say that we have retained a top-notch Foley studio & walkers who can work quickly and we that have thoroughly prepped for the session.

30hrs X $250.00hr = $7.5k

5. Now you will have to put in ambiences so your characters have someplace to "live". Again, I'll be generous.

Field recording w/prep, OOP and transfer into the audio editing system: 20.00hrs X $50.00hr = $1k

Picking and editing ambiences: 10hrs X $50.00 = $500.00

You have now spent $24,000.00 fixing production sound problems.

If you subtract location sound clean up and editing as part of the normal cost of audio post and the cost of the professional production audio crew YOU JUST WASTED $10K+ BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T WANT TO PAY A PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTION SOUND CREW!!! And you still haven't spent a dime on the "fun stuff". Imagine how much it would cost if you went to a big name audio post house that charges $250.00 or more per hour!

Let's not imagine it.

330hrs X $250.00hr = $82.5k
$82.5k + $7.5k for Foley = $90,000.00 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so I make money doing this (cleaning up poor production sound), but I would rather not. I am a sound designer. I want everything I work on to sound GREAT, not passable or okay. My job is supposed to be that of an artist enhancing the characters and the story, not being a mechanic fixing something that shouldn't be broken in the first place.

On a "Hollywood" production budget they spend 5% to 10% of the budget on audio post. So on a film that cost $100 million to produce they will spend between five and ten million on the audio post process. Everyone talks about how "Blair Witch" was produced for $40k. What nobody mentions is that the distributor spent almost a million dollars on audio post before it was put into major distribution.

There are six categories of audio post:

Dialog
Foley
Sound FX
Ambience
Music Editing
Mix

As a rule of thumb big budget films spend two to ten man-hours per category per minute of film. For a 100-minute film that is a minimum of 1,200 man-hours up to 6,000 man-hours for the audio post process and sometimes a lot more. They are also anywhere from 25% to 90% ADR.

Indie productions don't have the budget for this expensive, exhaustive process. So great production audio becomes a very real necessity to any indie project if you want to achieve commercial success and stay within your budget.

You or the screenwriter spent a lot of time crafting the dialog in the script. Your talent spent a lot of time learning those lines and prepping to deliver them. Unless you are doing a silent film those lines are telling the story. Isn't that important?

Keep repeating to yourself:

"Sound is half the experience"
"Sound is half the experience"
"Sound is half the experience"
"Sound is half the experience"
"Sound is half the experience"
"Sound is half the experience"
"Sound is half the experience"