Recording a narrative scene
Video: Recording a narrative sceneSo, if I've set my levels properly during rehearsal, a run through. I usually don't have to do too much at all during the actual scene except to keep a careful eye on the levels to make sure they're not over modulating or getting too soft. One thing to keep in mind, is that actors tend to rehearse at about a eight. But when they go to performance, they often crank the volume up a little bit to about a ten. So, I'm usually looking out for those things right at the top of a scene, but other than that. I'm usually able to just sit back and focus on the actual scene itself. I'm looking out for little things like clothing noise or mic bumps, and of course, I always want to be wearing headphones any time I'm recording dialog.
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Audio is one the most important but least appreciated aspects of filmmaking. Your audience will notice if you don't put the same care and attention you pay to your visuals into your audio. In this how-to course, Anthony Q. Artis walks through many of the most common audio recording scenarios. Think of it like an audio "cookbook" with step-by-step
recipes for situations like conference panels, stage shows, and narrative dialog scenes. Anthony also shows you how to set up mixers, wireless mics, and booms, and make sure your camera is correctly set up to capture audio. He wraps up with troubleshooting tips covering a range of issues, from wind noise to echoes, and shows how to fix the problems you can't solve on set in post production.
- Hooking up a mixer
- Selecting the right mic for the job—table, lavalier, or boom
- Using wireless mics
- Hiding mics
- Mic'ing the crowd at an event
- Capturing the action up close
- Matching visual perspective to audio
- Dealing with background noise
- Reducing rumble, wind noise, and hiss in post
Recording a narrative scene
So, if I've set my levels properly during rehearsal, a run through. I usually don't have to do too much at all during the actual scene except to keep a careful eye on the levels to make sure they're not over modulating or getting too soft. One thing to keep in mind, is that actors tend to rehearse at about a eight. But when they go to performance, they often crank the volume up a little bit to about a ten. So, I'm usually looking out for those things right at the top of a scene, but other than that. I'm usually able to just sit back and focus on the actual scene itself. I'm looking out for little things like clothing noise or mic bumps, and of course, I always want to be wearing headphones any time I'm recording dialog.
So let's go ahead and take a listen to part of that scene, so you can see what it sounds like, when you have hidden live mics on your actors. >> Mr. Dalton sent me to collect your design. Is it ready? I see. Well. >> 6 p.m. >> Is he sending you in here with scripted out dialog and everything? >> He suggested words. Yes. And said I should come every hour, but I decide whether I come before the hour or after the hour.
>> Look I'm not in the mood to be putting up with this stuff. I've got a lot going here. >> Okay, the boss man brought Levit and Myron from 42 Designs onto the project, and they've been working on concepts all week. And that Capital Tower board meeting is at the end of the day, and if they like any of the concepts, then I guess we keep our jobs. I'll see you In an hour. Maybe less. Goodbye. >> So just now, at the very end of that take, this is what we're talking about with blocking that actor folded his arms like this, and we got just a slight bit of mike brush.
Fortunately, there wasn't really dialogue, I think, going on during that part, so we should be fine. And one of the things that's very important we do with this technique. Is while the actors are still wearing their mic, we want to get some room tone. And we want to get the room tone with the mics in their exact placement under their clothing so that it matches the rest of our audio. So, just to make sure I got something to cover my butt there. I'm going to get a little bit of room tone with these guys right now. Can you step back in there Dan? I'm just going to have you guys hold your positions and you don't have to do anything. Except for be quiet for this one. So I'm going to get one minute of room tone, quiet on set for room tone.
Alright guys, let's try it again just want to get a little variation feel free to have fun with the scene let's go ahead and action. huh, >> Mister Dalton sent me to collect your design. Is it ready? >> No. >> I see. >> Well. >> cut, cut. Sorry, Dan, you're actually, your mic is hidden under there. So you can't touch this area right here. >> Oh, oh. >> And it might come a little loose.
So let me see what I can do to address that, so. What just happened right there for that scene, was that while we were in the middle of recording the actor reached up just in this general area which is something that happens commonly. But that definitely will result in some mic noise, as well as his body gestures might also be pulling on the loop. So I just want to take a minute and adjust the slack on his loop. So that he's free to move about a little more without worrying about that mic coming unmounted. So let's go ahead and do that. Let me grab my gaffer's tape. It's going to be a quick fix, if you can just slide that mic out from under there for me. Just untape it. that, do one more.
There we go. That's perfect. So what I'm going to do right here, is just add a little bit of slack. So that as you twist the turns, this mic is less likely to move around. And to do that, another easy technique using filmmakers' best friend, gaff tape. So I'm going to make a little loop just like this and I'm going to put the tape around it but sticky side out. Very important, it don't work if you put it sticky side in, so sticky side out. Now that I have the tape sticky side out, if he pulls, now the mount's going to stay in place and the tension's going to be pulled down there.
So let's go ahead and put this back into place real quick. We lose an item there. Great. And now we can go nice and tight. Great. So we can go ahead and button that back up, and then I'll push that back down in place. Awesome. And we can't really tell. Smooth that out. Voila! Nobody's any the wiser. Okay, so let's try that again from the top, fellas. Action. Still rolling. >> Mister Dalton sent me to collect your design. Is it ready? I see. Well, 6 p.m.
>> Is he sending you in here with scripted up dialog and everything? >> Well, he suggested, words. Yes. And he said I should come every hour, but I'm deciding whether I come before or after the hour. So. >> I see. >> So there you have it. We had the mics hidden on our actors and all of our audio was picked up crystal clear. Again, you're going to always want to be vigilant of clothing noise or other issues that might result from having those mics hidden on your actors. But beyond that, this technique will work for you in a variety of situations especially if your talking about wide shot where other scenarios where its really not practical could easily get a boom in there.
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