Sound recording in a tent during rain.

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by nicsko, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. nicsko

    nicsko Active Member


    I have an upcoming production where we are suppose to record 10 episodes of a new TV show in a huge tent. It's mainly reality recording with people talking and no music.

    What I'm worried about is the sound of rain on the tent. The chance of rain where we will record is pretty high. Does any of you guys have know of a smart way to cut out the sound of rain on a tent. I heard ideas of putting blankets on the tent to take away the sound of rain but on a tent that big I would guess the weight of the wet blankets would be to much.

    Any good ideas out there?

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The key to this is the type and position of the microphones. Can you tell us anything about this? For example, the production director could have specified omnidirectional lapel mics where shotgun mics on stands may be better at rejecting rain noise. Are you expecting the talkers to be stationary or moving about?

    On the other hand, you could put the audio through an effects unit and change the balance of wet to dry in the mix.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Be sure to get recordings of the tent in the rain in different conditions (hard rain, soft, etc.) with no talking. This can be used as a reference for noise reduction in post production. Of course, the primary focus should be on getting the best sound recorded in the first place, but noise reduction software can be a help.

    Does the "reality" in the show extend to the audience realizing it is taking place in a tent in the rain - so you just need to reduce the noise - or are you trying to hide the noise completely?
  4. nicsko

    nicsko Active Member

    We would use lapel mics on the participants. They will each move around their own working area where they will preform a task. There will be about 10 working areas in the tent. I would guess shotgun mics will be hard to use since there will be to many participants moving around their working area.

    The idea to record the different weather types and use it as a noise canceling reference is a good idea but I was thinking of maybe some material I could use on location to lower the noise of the rain. We will probably show the audience with exterior shots that it's raining outside but what I'm worried about that we have to stop recording because of the noise from the rain and that would cause big time delays.

  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    The noise of the rain on the tent will hopefully turn into nothing more than pink noise? That's more akin to hiss. And that can frequently be considerably reduced utilizing a specialized noise reduction setting in various manufacturers software. The noise reduction software must first sample a small segment of just the noise to create a " noise print ", of the noise. So generally, you will have to highlight an area of that noise with no other extraneous noises occurring. And then the noise can be considerably reduced. You don't want to try to reduce it 100% because that will cause audible artifacting. Somewhere between 15-30 DB of noise reduction should be more than adequate. Programs such as Adobe Audition & Sony Sound Forage have that feature already built in. Even ProTools. Other programs don't have that at all and you would be required to purchase a plug-in. Some of those noise reduction plug-ins can be relatively inexpensive and go all way up to $1500-$3000 US. The Adobe Audition software is a hell of a lot less money. And this is something that can be accomplished in just a couple of minutes time for the entire production. It's awesome. Of course if you have the sound of loud drip drip drip drip from something, you're screwed, screwed, screwed. Maybe you should try to move this production to someplace like the Nevada desert?

    Could you pass the suntan lotion please?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. nicsko

    nicsko Active Member

    Thanx for the reply. I guess it will be a post noise reduction thing to solve the rain problem if I can't convince the production to move to Nevada :redface: I will talk to our ProTools guys and make sure they have the plugins needed.

    Hope you live in a sunnier part of the wold than me
    Niclas Skold
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hmm. The only time I recorded in a tent during heavy rain was during a folk festival, and the result was almost unusable. There was very little high-frequency noise that could have been removed with noise-reduction software. Instead, the effect was a much lower frequency drumming, and it got right in the way of the intended audio.

    You may be better off than that if what you have is just speech, but I would not bank on being able to get much noise amplitude reduction without compromising the speech quality.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Speech quality is not necessarily the issue. Speech intelligibility, is. That's the criteria I always used doing network news shows for NBC-TV. Even in specially designed and purpose built network television studios, there is still the sound of air conditioning hiss & low-frequency rumble. That requires high and low pass filtering to modestly eliminate some of that out of speech frequency noise. And when you go on the air live, there is no postproduction noise reduction that can be utilized. In software postproduction, a combination of high and low pass filtering along with some downward expansion but not gating is quite advantageous sounding. You can't eliminate all of the noise but you can't eliminate noise in the frequency spectrum that nobody needs to hear. So again, it's not about quality is about intelligibility. And that intelligibility is of paramount importance when dealing with spoken word recording. Quality is merely secondary. So if noise has been modestly dealt with, the resulting product will be of high intelligibility still with a level of quality.

    This ain't music it's merely human's barking. Throw that fish a bone.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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