New Rough guide to video location recording - comments please

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by funkytwig, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. funkytwig

    funkytwig Active Member


    I have been writing a beginners guide to sound. As well as helping people get started it also aims to ensure people realise the importance of sound and having a good sound recordist. I am not a sound engineer but have written it with the help from some I know. Would be good if people could have a look and let me know what you think (I probably got at least one thing wrong). I am going to add more pictures and it is still in draft form but hopefully nearly there.

    It is at Rough Guide to Location Sound Recording - iContact Video Network: Community and Citizens Video, Bristol, UK

    Here is the first paragraph to give you an idea:

    "It is easy to get carried away with the visual side of filmmaking and let sound take second place; this is a big mistake. Generally sound is as important as picture and sometimes even more so. While picture can grab us emotionally it remains detached and outside the body. Sound by its very nature can be subtle and subconscious or even felt physically. It gets inside you, vibrates you and grabs you emotionally from within. It is almost impossible to be totally immersed and feel something is truly real with images alone, but shut your eyes and listen to a high quality sound design and you will feel that you are actually there."

  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Really nice stuff, Ben! At first look, it seems very very comprehensive. I didn't read it all in depth (yet), but I plan to, probably over my next morning coffee. ;-)

    I've been in this position for years and years (Capturing quality audio to go with the video). These days with digital video, it's almost the opposite of how it used to be; getting good video is (almost) too easy, and as usual, people tend to forget about the audio.

    Just this past week, a very good client (who really should know better) brought me a video shoot done entirely on a "Zoom" audio/video recorder. I had to admit, for low-light, single camera shot, in a dark and smokey club, it really looked much better than it had any right to. (Imagine tryign to shoot film/video in a dark smokey club just 10, 20 yrs ago, on film or VHS tape.....) The audio was just "OK". it was auto-level (but not as bad as the old auto-level recordings one comes to expect from that sort of thing), but even so, I had nothing else to work on for the guy; just the single-camera "point and shoot" audio & video clip......sigh......

    I keep telling him to hire someone - ANYONE, not just me - to record it multitrack; put up a couple of ambi mics on the crowd, and track it all individually, and THEN mix it afterwards. But, noooooo, he always does it the hard way; tracks it to just 2-tracks on the camera, and then brings it to me to "Fix it" afterwards.

    I should give him your link and make him read it top to bottom. :mad:
  3. jdutaillis

    jdutaillis Active Member

    Just about to run off to dinner but will read tomorrow and report back. If there is one thing video people need, it's help with sound! I swear some of them forget it's 50% of their film.
  4. jdutaillis

    jdutaillis Active Member

    Hey Ben,

    Just had a read of your guide, great stuff! A couple of points to consider:

    - In the second paragraph of "Omni-Directional Mics", you have a typo "Omci-directional".

    - When you're discussing "Separate Audio vs In Camera Audio" you're realy only touching on consumer products at the moment. The Zoom recorders are near rubbish and personally I wouldn't touch them!
    For film work you really want to be looking at brands such as Tascam (such as the HD-P2 or DR-680) and Marantz (PMD 671). Then you move up into professional territory with brands like Sound Devices (I own the 702) and Nagra. Of course there are loads of brands all with a range of models.

    I think that's about it really. It's a great guide you've written up there!

  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hey Jo, why do you think zoom recorders are near rubbish? I own an H4N and I love it. I use it for a back up and all sorts of remote stuff. Its a wonderful low profile recorder.
  6. jdutaillis

    jdutaillis Active Member

    Hey audiokid! Sorry, rubbish may be a tad harsh, didn't mean to offend!

    From my personal experience with Zoom recorders, they just aren't very good. They have a high self noise and don't sound great either. Of course it depends on what you're recording with it and what the purpose of that recording is. If it were for film work, I would be looking elsewhere due to the self noise issues I've experienced. Once you start compressing dialogue and mixing between boom and lapel mics, that noise is really going to start coming through.

    Just a personal opinion of course.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi Jo,

    no offense taken, however, quite a few of the engineers here recommend the H4N as the best of its class ( $299 portable recorder) so I was just wanting to learn your reasons. Your opinion is always welcome.

  8. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Re: Recording Gigs & Amplified Performances.

    Always use transformer isolation on the audio between the live sound system and the video setup. In my experience videographers tend to be a bit cavalier about where they plug in and are a likely source of audio ground loops.

    If mixing board feed and room mic to 2-track on location put the mic close to stage to minimize the delay between them. Place the mic to get audience and whatever makes its own noise from stage. Board mixes tend to be vocal heavy and drums/amps light, so make up for that with your own mic.

    If recording board and room mics separately use a 4-track machine. Recording them to two machines that aren't synced is a recipe for headaches in post. If the mic is getting much of the main speakers be sure it's perfectly centered to minimize phase interactions.

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