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Del Sound

Let's Party like its 1999? What did they use back then?

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Hey Guys, 

 

So I landed a gig for a short, and they asked how they could take steps to set their film in 1999 as much as possible.  I think if you're going for that vintage sound, the best place to start is use period appropriate mics.  So what was the state of the art back then, and also what would a budget shoot have used back then?  And I'm curious about the entire signal chain here.  I image it would have been a Schoeps to a Sound Devices 302 to DAT?  Thanks for the help. Was the MKH 50 around back then?  

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Hi, Del, and welcome: " if you're going for that vintage sound, "

in the context of this group, it is the same sound as we have today. If they are palying music, say, it would be a bit different in that regard...

 

" the best place to start is use period appropriate mics... Was the MKH 50 around back then? "

give me a break... and yes.

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Vintage?

1999?

It's going to be hard to find a steam engine to power your microphones.

It was so long ago I doubt there is any left.

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"So I landed a gig for a short, and they asked how they could take steps to set their film in 1999 as much as possible." Are we talking at a "setting" - production design, art direction, props - or the actual sound recording?

 

Sound Devices was founded in 1998 and the 302 was not their first product. Doubtful that it would be a 302 that was used. As for DAT, you're right, probably some Fostex recorder (though I was already well underway along with a small handful of other sound mixers using the Zaxcom Deva for the first ever file-based recordings).  Also, if we're talking about the look, what sort of production are they depicting that took place in 1999?

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Thanks guys for the opinions.  The director is a Grammy winning studio ace, so he might be pickier about his sound than the average director.  I'd like have some mic options to present him.  Does anyone know what model Schoeps were popular for TV back then? I think the Schoeps lineup has progressed several times since then. I haven't had a chance to talk  in depth with the director yet, so I'm guessing by recreating the period, he's talking about the usual-production design, music choice and language. And we're shooting on Red Scarlet instead of 35mm, so maybe the commitment to period only extends to in front of the camera.  

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so maybe the commitment to period only extends to in front of the camera.

So you intend to put your mic in front of the camera?

15 years isn't all that much, especially for microphone development. Schoeps has a "Schoeps history in words and pictures" or something like that on their site, so you could look it up.

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"And we're shooting on Red Scarlet instead of 35mm, so maybe the commitment to period only extends to in front of the camera."

 

That must be the case, it is only the "look" of the set that is being considered. None of the "vintage" equipment would be appropriate for practical (recording) purposes if they are shooting with an incredibly noisy non-period camera. It may take every bit of modern technology to record vintage sound with this modern (and problematic) camera.

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Way back at the end of the last century, things were really different...but the leading hyper mics were the same. The Schoeps CMC6 was intro'd in the early 90s (right?), though the MK41 capsule has been around longer. And the Sennheiser MKH50 came out in the mid 80s.

 

The right mixer could play a role. Perhaps a Cooper 106+1 or 108+1. Weren't those released in the late 90s?

 

And audio post...what are you going to do there?

 

But didn't RED Scarlet first ship around 2010? Wouldn't a Sony F900 CineAlta be more cutting-edge appropriate for 1999? Or film?

 

Have fun.

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In '99 I'd have been using Schoeps MK41s and MK4s on interiors, and Neumann KMR82i on exteriors, mostly.  I was using TCDAT, HHB or Fostex.   We had TC slates, the earlier, full-size Deneckes.  That would have been the period of fixed freq UHF wireless, so 195s probably, in my case with Sonotrims mostly.  Carts were more prevelant, as were boom ops even for simpler jobs, on the carts would have been Cooper (106-108), Audio Developments (145 etc) and Sonosax (SX-S) mixers generally.   As you might expect Senn 416s were very popular, as were Neumann KMR81s as well.

 

This director might want to go with something that people might identify (however incorrectly) as "vintage", since the collette Schoeps mics are kind of unsexy and small….

 

philp

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I guess I'm recording with vintage mics right now. I wonder if anyone is saying, "This sounds like 1999. ?

Nice! I'm a vintage kond of guy also and I am using many microphones that are 30 years old or more.

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I can recall many, many projects still using Nagra 1/4" analog 2-track in the late 1990s, even early 2000s. I'd say by 1999, it was split about half DAT and half 1/4". Within a couple of years, Nagra went away and more and more projects were nonlinear, usually Deva or Fostex.

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Yeah, I realized that in '99 I could just as easily have been rolling a TC Nagra for sync stuff and a non-TC DAT for wild sound.  And I'm still using those Schoeps mics, which were already 17 yrs old in 1999!

 

philp

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If they're using a Scarlet, why don't you use a Zoom ;)

 

No, seriously:

 

Schoeps, MKH 50, MKH 60, MKH 416, KMR 81, KM 150 all did exist.

Two main differences:

1 - Using Nagra IV-S which still were common around 1999. Portable DATs like HHB or Fostex PD-4 too.

Ultra-portable would be a Nagra or DAT with an SQN mixer.

Cart-based mixer could be a Sonosax. Sound in these hasn't changed, they were as clean as physics allow.

2 - Using period wireless systems, and using less of them. I think Audio Ltd 2000 was among the best you could get. They have a distinct sound (that the 2020 and 2040 still somehow have) - a bit "woody". Sanken lavs already were around.

 

However I'm not sure this sound is what the director wants from set.

I'd check with them before committing to such a workflow. "Vintage" character could also be done in post if you get them clean tracks.

 

Another aspect, and I think this is way more important:

Working on set was different. Nobody overestimated the capabilities of Izotope (because there was NO Izotope), nobody would tell us to just wire everyone (because wireless was more of a risk than today, even with a less crowded spectrum), and usually one would rehearse over and over, and NOT "shoot the rehearsal" (because film was expensive). Everyone had to really know what they were doing.

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