Skip to main content

Film soundman

Hi guys and gals. I'm new to this forum. My primary interest in sound if in how it relates to filmmaking and I though who better to to ask than sound experts. Any way I wanted to start out asking a few questions about my stuff. I just got a Nagra IV-L and want to use it for sound and poss. start working it on film productions that come into town. I still need to pick up a crystal sync unit or Tobin camera systems sync board for it but they're not that expensive. The problem is this unit, unless I'm wrong is not capible of storing Time code. How critical is this and also are there any tips and lists of nessesary equipment I should have to do sound work. I have a fishpole and blimp but don't have a fur covering for the blimp. Is this a must have? I also have a 14' Audio-Technica shotgun, A shennhierser 20 w/ the power unit and a couple of omni directional mics, 3 wireless Shure Presenter vhf Lavs but should I pick up a Cordioil as well? Also do you need a mixing board or is this something that's nice to have but not imperitive? Keep in mind these will probably be small independent features and comercials. The headphones I have are old but in great condition. There a set of Archer deluxe 8 ohm and look to be mono, which is great because the Nagra is mono. Are these good enough for what I want to do? I would really apprieciate any asvice on this


Pro Audio Guest Sat, 04/01/2006 - 17:36
Hi Capt.

I'm new here also, and may not be the best person to ask about video work, but I've done audio on a few documentaries and an animated children's film (that's all the video experience I have).

First off, you've got some darn good gear. I'd love to get my hands on a Nagra down here. If I recall there is some option you can get for it that allows timecode syncing. don't quote me on that, but I'm pretty sure i've read about it, or a 3rd party option that will help you out. The way I've done it without having a timecode sync is by having either a clapboard or a when you're really in a pinch, we have someone count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... and then sync all the audio and video to the count.

About the mixer, I don't see how you'd be able to do without it. again, I'm not the most experienced in this field, but I mix all the mics down in my Mackie Onyx during the shoot into 2 channels, since you're running in mono you should be in the same boat, if I was recording 6 channels (for six mics, this may not be an issue as I could mix them in pro tools). This way I can EQ and level each mic to cut out any environmental noise, reduce loud talkers and bring up low talkers.

I've seen a few articles on how to make those fuzzy wind socks, and I'm going to make a few once I find the fabric (they have it every fabric store, except those in the caribbean!). I've used a "real" one before and loved it. I was able to record on the beach with ZERO wind noise.

As for your mics, I'd say you've got enough to get you started. You'll probably use the shotgun most of the time, but those lav mics will be worth their weight in gold for interviews. I use cardioid condensers when I need to capture a wide set (I use a pair in stereo) but you could augment these with your shotgun for specific dialog.

Headphones are a pretty personal choice, but since you've got some good gear, you may want to check out something a little better than the radio shack pair that you mentioned (I'm not sure if they use the "Archer" name at radio shack any longer, but they did for years and years). I use Beyerdynamic DT-250 on location as they are well sealed and don't have a pleather ear seal (it's more like terry cloth) the pleather ones get all sweaty down here in the heat. the most popular headphones for video work are the sony MDR-7506 and the MDR-7509, both have nice flat response so you'll get a more accurate representation of what's actually being recording.

Hope this helps,