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Old 06-06-2018, 06:06 AM   #1
HDRVisuals
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Recording Sound in Service Tunnel

Hello all, I'm the soundwoman in a classmate's second year film. It's a location film, and all of it takes place in a service tunnel. We're going to see the location tomorrow, but I'm (obviously) pretty worried about echoes.
Any suggestions? Anything I can cover the walls with in close-ups, anything I can do with the neckmikes?
Would greatly appreciate tips and advice!
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:48 AM   #2
Alcove Audio
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Recording production sound in highly reflective locations is a real bitch.

Obviously a great boom-op will be a great help, but sometimes that is not enough. Lavaliers, properly placed on the talent, can definitely have a much less ambient sound. Using as much sound absorption as you can will help as well.

Something else that helps is the positioning of the actors. If you can keep them further away from the walls and try to keep them at angles from the walls the sound will have (marginally) less recorded bounce.

This is really a tough gig. I would suggest that, immediately after the shooting of the scene is complete, you record wild lines very close with the boomed mic in the location. When I put on my dialog editors hat I really like wilds as the actors as still in character and the "pacing" of the lines is similar.

You may want to post your question here:

http://jwsoundgroup.net

This is a group for production sound professionals hosted by production sound guru Jeff Wexler.

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:22 AM   #3
HDRVisuals
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Thanks! So, did some tests at the location today. Boom is meh, definitely echo there, though the closer I can get the less echo I get. I have an option of taking a higher-quality Rhode gun mike or a lower-quality gun mike that's longer. Does that matter at all?

I'm recording with a Zoom Hn8. Are there any settings I should know of that can help cut off the echo? Someone told me to try to cut off the frequencies...

I will also be using lavaliers / neck mikes. I know from the tests that the dialogue of the person with the mike comes out well, but any other sound I get on it is echo-y. Actors will be wearing military uniforms + undershirts, the lavaliers will be wrapped in (cigarrete) filters. Any other tips?
Pretty worried about the gig, especially since I know the director probably won't invest in a professional sound mix.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDRVisuals View Post
Thanks! So, did some tests at the location today. Boom is meh, definitely echo there, though the closer I can get the less echo I get. I have an option of taking a higher-quality Rhode gun mike or a lower-quality gun mike that's longer. Does that matter at all?
You may want to think about a hypercardioid mic, as shotguns mics tend to exaggerate sound bounce in "hard" locations. I won't get into the physics, but a hypercardioid will have (again, marginally) less echo/ambience. Even if you use lavs record with a boomed mic. As an audio post editor and rerecording mixer I like having the room sound to mix into the lavs if I want too.

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I'm recording with a Zoom Hn8. Are there any settings I should know of that can help cut off the echo? Someone told me to try to cut off the frequencies...
With the exception of excessive low end you SHOULD NOT try to do any type of EQing on location; this is a job for the audio post folks.

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Originally Posted by HDRVisuals View Post
I will also be using lavaliers / neck mikes. I know from the tests that the dialogue of the person with the mike comes out well, but any other sound I get on it is echo-y. Actors will be wearing military uniforms + undershirts, the lavaliers will be wrapped in (cigarrete) filters.
I don't know what type of soldiers your actors will be, but one "trick" when shooting "modern" special forces types is to remember that they have sophisticated communications systems which includes headsets. You can also be creative with lav placement - next to a button, in a pen, under the brim of a baseball cap, etc. Just something to discuss with the director and wardrobe.



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Any other tips?
Getting in close is always the best option with boomed mics; the closer the better.

Use as many sound blankets and other sound absorption as you possibly can; every little bit helps.

Don't forget the wild lines. If the director says "no" on location or does not use them during the DX edit at least you have done your job; it's not your responsibility if the director does not do his/hers.

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Pretty worried about the gig, especially since I know the director probably won't invest in a professional sound mix.
Audio post is your directors problem; your job is to get the best production sound possible in the given circumstances. The director chose the location and should be aware of the limitations forced upon the production sound team. If s/he doesn't want to invest in a proper audio post that's not your problem.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:14 AM   #5
HDRVisuals
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Thank you so very very much.

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Don't forget the wild lines.
Can you explain a bit more about how / when to do this?
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:51 AM   #6
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Can you explain a bit more about how / when to do this?
Just record the actors saying their lines a few times with a mic in close - about 6" to 12" - while in the service tunnel after the shooting of the scene is completed. You'll have to use your judgment as to the distance re: bounce vs. clarity. As I stated in my first post the actors are still in character and the "pacing" of the lines is similar.

If you haven't purchased "The Location Sound Bible: How to Record Professional Dialog for Film and TV" by Ric Viers you should; a solid overview of doing production sound.

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