View Full Version : A little help with sound please?

08-30-2009, 11:28 PM
Hi! I'm buying my first ever HD camera soon! Allready I'm writing a scenario for a film I'm planning on making XD So I was wondering... Almoust all the scenes will be outside. Audience won't hear the actors. So I looked up this problem and I bumped into voice-overing. It's great and all.. But I really don't think we could synchronize the voices for decent enough quality. So about the question. Can I actually buy wireless microphones for the actors? Are they expensive? Can I record 2 simulatenius voice tracks at one time? Or is voice-overing not so hard? I'm really confused...

Alcove Audio
08-31-2009, 01:30 AM
Yes, wireless lav systems of decent quality are fairly expensive.

You can use a shotgun mic on a boom outdoors, that is the way it is usually done.

Voice-overs are narration, ADR/looping is replacing the production dialog during audio post production. ADR/looping can be very demanding on the talent and the director, but with the proper tools is not overly demanding technically.

Check out my blogs here on IndieTalk, that should help you get started.

08-31-2009, 02:42 PM
Wireless microphone (called microport) is' not the best way to record actors. First of all you must hide it - and then the sound is worse (less clear, often hear a noise, graze and shufle exactly during the best acting :) It hard to make it good when microphone is invisible. Directional - condenser microphone is strongly better resolusion. You must remember about keep the microphone as close as head of actor (over their head) on the boom. (this is most profesional way)
But savings money on soundman, or at least man who keep the boom, is mostly tragic in follow-up for end result.
Sorry for my english.

09-01-2009, 12:57 AM
A shotgun microphone is actually a very good idea! But do all cameras have microphone jacks? Because my budget is kinda limited. I'm planning on buying some sony camcoder.

09-01-2009, 01:09 AM
If the camera has XLR inputs, you're most likely fine (make sure it has phantom power though).

If it only has 1/8" or 1/4" ports, you can still get an adapter for that, but may loose quality or get interference if you jiggle the connection.

Alcove Audio
09-01-2009, 02:26 AM
If the camera only has an 1/8" minipin mic jack you should get a juicedLink CX231 or a Beachtek DXA-6A. Yes, they make cheaper models, but they do not supply phantom power to the mic(s).

Don't make the mistake of most beginning filmmakers of ignoring the sound quality of your projects.

Sound is half of the experience

Crappy sound = crappy project. The audience will forgive a lot visually as long as you have solid sound.

Check out my blogs here on IndieTalk as a primer on production sound. At the least you will learn what questions to ask.

09-01-2009, 10:55 AM
I've done some research... And as I understand. I really do need an XLR adapter. But do I need phantom power? Can the mic drain power from the camera through the adapter? Man , a few days ago I really thoaght this all is easier...

Alcove Audio
09-01-2009, 12:54 PM
Almost all condenser mics require phantom power, shotguns included. Some use a battery to supply the phantom power, many don't. And yes, phantom power will draw additional resources from your power pack, not much, but some. Units like the juicedLink and the Beachtek - which also use batteries - can supply the phantom power. Of course, those batteries will need periodic replacing as well.

Yes , there's a lot to learn when it comes to sound for picture. I got some great advice when I was learning computers back in the '80's (when you still had to do most of your programming in C, long before Windows) - "It's really very simple, but there is one HELL of a lot of simple." Don't be overwhelmed by the volume of information out there; take it in small pieces and keep building. One of the first lessons is to plan for sound from the first day of pre-production and to remember that the characters in your script live in a sonic world as well as a visual one.

09-19-2009, 07:38 PM
Hi Sinfire,

Alcove Audio is right: sound should be one of your top priorities. If I were you, I'd consider using the money you've saved for a camcorder and renting a professional quality camera instead (it'll usually have a couple of XLR jacks recording to separate tracks).

On my first feature, we had a shotgun and one radio mic, which the actors had to pass around depending upon the shot. We consistently got far better sound from the radio mic. The whole film was shot on locations, so in a studio you'd expect better results from the shotgun, but in locations where you can't control the passing cars/motorbikes/aircraft/humans/janitors with vacuum cleaners, I really think a lapel is a better option. Taping it to the centre of the actor's chest with gaffa is a good way to avoid clothing rustle most of the time. Overall, the inconvenience of the radio mic was far outweighed by its superior sound.

The idea of having your own camera is great, but if you really believe in the project you're working on and you want it to find an audience, it's worth considering that a consumer camera just won't get the kind of results you'd get with a Sony z1 or a Panasonic P2. Worth the money.

Good luck with your project!