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rb1138

Washing Wardrobe to Reduce Clothing Noise - any specifics?

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rb1138   

Hey all,

 

I've edited this topic as I think people are getting confused and answering the wrong thing.

 

I've gotten early into the preproduction of an upcoming film on which I will be sound recordist. It is a great opportunity to do whatever I can before those rushy production days. One thing I told them to do is wash the wardrobe. This is based on information I acquired here in posts about reducing lavalier clothing noise at jwsoundgroup. They asked me if there were any specifics so I decided to ask you guys directly.

 

I wanted to know if anyone knew anything about the following:

-Whether they can be safely washed several times in a row (without drying until the end) or washed once and then dried once but several times in succession?

-If fabric softener helps noise?

-If tumble dry is better or worse than clothesline?

-If dry cleaning is effective at reducing noise (I've never done it personally)?

-I also wondered if we should be aware about how much damage any of this causes to the clothes or their colors (still the visual aspect to consider)?

-Anything else that is similar to the above but I might've missed?

 

Yes I have washed clothes in the real world as everyone has, but never really paid attention to how "noisy" they sounded. It's probably got a lot behind it, this clothing-quieting-through-washing process. I wonder if there are production designers or costume designers who've got the whole process down? Is there someone accessible?

 

I did look this up through jwsoundgroup via google, but it's difficult to do a search for "wash jwsoundgroup", "clothes noisy", or "clothes washing" or something like that without finding something unrelated about lavalier technique or maintaining our equipment. I apologize in advance if someone's already posted this topic somewhere (this one about how to go about washing clothes).

 

Thanks for the help.

Edited by srab1138

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ProSound   

Please don't advertise yourself as the "Low-Budget Sound Recordist" I hope this isn't how you sell yourself to clients. 

Best way to learn about reducing clothing noise is to work with a seasoned crew as a utility or via Trial and Error. Remember something that works sometimes doesn't work all the time it is very much a black magic thing.... 

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+1 what Whitney said.

 

I was going to respond to your questions but then noticed, as Whitney did, that you're billing yourself as a "Low-Budget Sound Recordist." 

 

So what that tells us is that you're asking seasoned pros to teach you their techniques so you can then undercut their livelihood.

 

Bad form!

 

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Whitney nailed it about learning by doing. Nothing is 100% so make sure you have a plan B on standby.

 

This thread got me thinking about how movies were made before wireless technology advanced to the point where we could bury mostly reliable radio mics in wardrobe.

 

Perhaps careful planning (i.e. blocking) and coordination with every department so you, as the mixer, can place your mics where you want them in and around the frame without them being seen?

 

Oh man...I'm turning into the Senator...

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I remember on "The Darjeeling Limited" the great costume designer Milena Canonero helped sound department by getting production to buy two washing machines and dryers. The Louis Vuitton shirts were washed and dried many many times over three days. 

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rb1138   

I remember on "The Darjeeling Limited" the great costume designer Milena Canonero helped sound department by getting production to buy two washing machines and dryers. The Louis Vuitton shirts were washed and dried many many times over three days. 

 

Thank you, Vin. I remember you mentioned this film before and this aspect about it. It sounds like the shirt was washed once and dried once, with the process being repeated several times?

 

To everyone else

 

I did not want this thread to be about lav technique. There are already plenty of threads about this. I wanted to start a thread about how clothes are washed to reduce the noise they produce. I wanted it to be about just the clothes-washing.

 

Yes I know that it's a team effort to record sound. I'm doing other things too. I'm just asking about this right now.

 

I've had that sig since sometime last year, and this is the first time anyone's even noticed...so this is why I hadn't thought about its wording until now. I apologize if it offends anyone. I meant I was just starting out, and also with limited equipment and working on mostly low budget projects. Trying to make it more brief obviously made it confusing. I was imitating your sigs that had a real name and a location (especially since my username does not have my real name). I'll just make it more generic.

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I think clothing selection is more important than washing, but everything is important. God knows, there's nothing worse than a silk tie and a starched shirt. Except maybe a noisy leather jacket. Or somebody who wears both. 

 

I'm reminded of that recent James Bond movie where there was clothing noise in a scene with Bond at a restaurant, and several people commented on the noise reduction that took place in order to minimize the noise. You figure if it happens on a $150M budget movie, it can happen to anybody

 

Lavs are still not a 100% replacement for booms, and lav placement can affect the sound quality as much as the clothes. And I've been through cases where we were hearing "clothing vs. clothing" noise that was just the microphone picking up the sound of the actor, period, which you could also hear by ear. On a low-budget production, they're going to be too cheap to have alternate costumes to wear, so you just gotta prepare, do the best you can, and (at worst) get alternate dialogue without movement to give the sound editor some choices.

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+111 Mark. 

 

Just to add, in my humble experience even the bigger $$$ sometimes does not ensure proper selection of clothing material... one has to keep at it, eyes open and keep the connect with costume design alive all through pre-production and on a daily basis during shoot. does not matter what the budget of the project is... 

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Soft, lightweight, natural fibers (think cotton) are the best.

If one is after the perfect sequence, then it would likely be "wash-dry-wear" -- repeated many times. The wearing part of the cycle helps stretch and relax the material and the threads binding it.

In the not-quite-perfect world, anything that softens, relaxes, and lightens the material will help.

The fit also matters as you don't want rubbing, and you likewise don't want a layer to trap and release air as the person moves.

(+1 on being pro rather than promoting low budget.)

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While a low budget show won't have time for that many pre shoot "Wear" parts of wash dry wear, they can at least wash the clothes to get the sizing and starch out of the new purchases.  Then, ask them not to re-starch anything.

I would ask them to try fabric softener.

Natural fibers are indeed much better than synthetics for sound.

and yeah, a crisp shirt under a synthetic sportcoat is just going to sound lousy, and will be audible everywhere..

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Q   

It really depends on the wardrobe. There are some costumes that, for whatever reasons, can not be washed.

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the lo budget soundmixer: " One thing I told them to do is wash the wardrobe. "

my first reaction is that wardrobe is another department,...you might better "suggest"...

that said, and in addition to the excellent advice already posted, there is often, in lo budget's world, no wardrobe department but caution is still advised, as there are lots of potential complications...

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jrd456   

Anyway,after all the BS,softner does help and sometimes anti-static spray helps----of course you want them to wash the clothes and push for cotton.

 

                                     J.D.

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It's interesting to note when the wardrobe department is in perfect harmony with the sound department and production, as they were on Les Miserables. On that film, they reportedly sewed the mics into place every day and had the mic heads more or less built into the buttons on the front side of the outfits. I thought this was a brilliant maneuver, and I wish all productions could take this much time and effort into finding the best way to minimize clothing noise. In the cruel world of low budgets, it ain't this easy. 

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 ...This is based on information I acquired here in posts...

 

 

I did look this up through jwsoundgroup via google...

If I'm totally off-base, forgive me, but the first thing that came through while reading your post was the feeling that what you really need right now, is an advancement in technique. 

 

I think that once your skill in the "dark arts" of hiding lavaliers hits a sort of critical mass, you wont research something simple (like laundry) as if it's a thesis project; the confidence in your chops will carry you through nearly everything.

 

Go experiment, fail, and try something new, don't read...do.

 

best

Steven

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Yeah, what Yoda said...

 

;)

 

In a perfect world, talent will only wear pre-washed, unstarched cotton... and then there's the world in which we are expected to operate... so many parameters that change shot by shot... bottom line is you just have to jump in and do your best with whatever they throw your way.  Accept right now that you will likely not be prepared for every situation you will face.  Grace under pressure goes a long way.

 

~tt

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 and then there's the world in which we are expected to operate... so many parameters that change shot by shot... bottom line is you just have to jump in and do your best with whatever they throw your way.  Accept right now that you will likely not be prepared for every situation you will face.  Grace under pressure goes a long way.

 

~tt

IMO this is the answer to almost every sound question we discuss here @jwsound.  ;~)

CrewC 

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Yeah, what Yoda said...

 

In a perfect world, talent will only wear pre-washed, unstarched cotton... and then there's the world in which we are expected to operate... so many parameters that change shot by shot... bottom line is you just have to jump in and do your best with whatever they throw your way.  Accept right now that you will likely not be prepared for every situation you will face.  Grace under pressure goes a long way.

 

~tt

+1

Sound sez to1st AD: "Can we wash/dry the wardrobes a few times before we shoot this scene?"

I can only imagine the reply

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When working on a feature I ask waredrobe people to wash the clothes ,the ones that are brand new ( I think they do it anyway because it gives more natural look) This will not always help and if it will, it will help just a little. Improvisation is basically the nature of our field, like it was said above there is just no magic way to solve all the audio problems.

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jrd456   

+1

Sound sez to1st AD: "Can we wash/dry the wardrobes a few times before we shoot this scene?"

I can only imagine the reply

 

remember,a film crew should work as a team [and sometimes it does]----tell them during pre-production and it may work.

 

                             J.D.

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I think clothing selection is more important than washing, but everything is important. God knows, there's nothing worse than a silk tie and a starched shirt. Except maybe a noisy leather jacket. Or somebody who wears both.

I'm reminded of that recent James Bond movie where there was clothing noise in a scene with Bond at a restaurant, and several people commented on the noise reduction that took place in order to minimize the noise. You figure if it happens on a $150M budget movie, it can happen to anybody.

Past gig... silk tie, starched shirt... beard STUBBLE... 3 cam, 3 talent shoot... wide master... "we don't want to see any mics"...

"Will he be moving?"... "No"... The shoot starts and this guy turns his head 90° to reference slides every 10-30 seconds...

Nice day...

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Mattin: " The shoot starts and this guy turns his head... "

and you were surprized..? because..?

 

BTW: you weren't booming "the guy", because..?

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