I'm just wondering if any of you have experience using Acoustic Blankets and/or Mathews Sound Blankets on set? I'm filming in an abandoned house with no carpet, the windows are half broken/boarded up, and the walls are made of plaster and horse hair haha.
I'm thinking about buying some. The ones I'm looking at are around $100 for a 4ft x 8ft blanket.
That sounds about right for sound blankets. What's your budget? I've only actually used them once on a set; On my projects we usually just use moving blankets from Home Depot. While they don't work quite as well as the real thing, they help, and they're a hell of a lot cheaper.
It's always better to use the real thing if you can afford it. However, when you're on a micro-budget anything that you can do will be a help. Moving blankets, as SinEater mentioned, are a heck of a lot better than nothing. Even comforters and quilts can assist in mitigating acoustic bounce. Carpeting on the floor is another big assist. Don't forget to put carpeting under the crew; it's amazing how much noise even a disciplined crew can make. My studio is lined with Celotex fiberboard, and I used the leftover sheets to make baffles and gobos. Celotex, depending upon the amount of sound absorbtion, starts at about $30 per 4' x 8' sheet.
What you want is to diffuse the sound, so when hanging from C-stands (or whatever) don't stretch the sound blankets (or whatever you use to substitute) tight; leave lots of folds. You want to create lots of angles; a room is lots of parallel surfaces which exaggerate frequencies and create standing sound waves. Keep everything as far from the walls as room allows.
Insist that your crew and try to have your cast wear soft-soled shoes. It is common practice, working in conjunction with wardrobe, to put felt or rubber on the soles of footwear that normally has a hard heel/sole; the hard sound is replaced in audio post. Don't forget to sweep hard floors; pebbles and other grit are greatly exaggerated when recorded.
BTW, FreeCycle is a great resource. I've found lots of carpeting, drapes and fabrics, and I've gotten quarter and half full boxes of ceiling tiles. Once I even got a box of real Auralex sound-proofing worth almost $500. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work.
If you're in a corner and can't place a mic far away from a wall, I've stuck the mic up against the wall instead of slightly off it. Sounds better. Try it. You aren't getting that nasty first reflection from the wall and you're getting mostly the direct signal.
But $100 is way too much for something like that if you don't have a budget.
Random thick quilts and your old car blankets (you know, the ones you had when you were 4 that had those cartoon cars on them?) and such will do the job nicely if expertly placed in a room like Alcove says.
Take time to figure out the deadest spot of your microphone and learn how to position it to get the best possible sound.
Such great advice. Thank you!! Luckily I have a family member that bought a huge bundle of home depot moving blankets!! (which is a start). The rest of the tips, I believe, will prove invaluable. Thanks!
For an abandoned house, I think you are correct in looking for a sound blanket. The real kind are definitely more effective then the make shift kind. I did a little research, because I am also looking for something similar. I came up with this place that sells sound blankets. What is the quality of their blankets? Does anyone know the typical cost? Thanks.
You can rent moving blankets from Uhaul cheap. A single 4x8 $100 blanket won't do much. Get a lot. And as Alcove says, throw anything you have on the walls. It's amazing how much dampening and manipulation you can achieve with just stuff around the house.
Haha. I do a google search for "how to use sound blankets", and it leads me here. Of course!
This thread has already answered most of my questions. However, you guys mentioned moving blankets -- are they better than plain-ol' blankets? Cuz I can get a ton of blankets from thrift stores for just a few bucks each. If moving blankets are better, is it because they're heavy? One of the other links google led me to suggested carpet. I can't help but notice that like carpet, moving blankets are heavy. Is that key?
If I'm shopping around thrift stores for ghetto sound blankets, is there any particular quality I should be looking for?
I completely agree. Use as many sound blankets and carpets as possible. I use huge heavy duty 6'x10' bead spreads that I picked up years ago for cheep temporary studio wall treatment. These are about 1" thick and at lease three times as heavy per square foot as moving blankets. I like them because they provide a lot more isolation then moving blankets. We recorded a short film a few weeks ago that had a NOISY IT server room that could not be turned off. We needed to shoot a couple scenes just on the other side or the server room's hollow core door. It was like recording next to a leaf blower. We set up a sound blanket inside and outside the door and when we were shooting right in front of the door, we held up another two layers or blanket. We were able to use all the production audio from these scenes with minimal noise reduction.