ndg2k005

Sound Blankets vs Thick Blankets

41 posts in this topic

Can you guys tell me what's the difference? I understand there is a science within the blankets but DIY sounds like a better idea....financially. we can get away with a few things especially if we are talking about recording voices in an empty room carpet or non carpet. You know, just something for the exposed walls. What do you guys think and do.

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There are many different deadening items you can use... Basically anything you can think of is many times better than nothing... I do not get too crazy putting up blankets...if you do, anything you have will work... Human bodies work on set....the lighting equipment works too..carpets on floors... Hanging duve..  do what you can, don't create a scene doing so..Always check with the DP...they may or may not want some surfaces covered for lighting reasons or reflections or may not like the light coming off a grey or green blanket..maybe ask for some help politely from your grip dept. They may help out..Also, you may ask an AD, they may make it happen for you.. and pick the correct mics and as always do what you can to place them correctly...

I recorded two days ago in a huge concrete and glass loft... 3 people in the scene.. some carpets, bodies on set, lighting gear and a couple of panels from the grips I never asked for.. which means they were killing light..but it worked for me... Excellent audio....

There is no science to sound blankets themselves.. they simply absorb and deflect audio frequencies.. there is science to absorption panels in studios, but that's another subject... Some moving blankets, or Sound blankets are thicker and hardier than others...there's your science..

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I would second everything Afewmoreyears says.

I would also add from my own experience on reflective sets that, where possible, a simple remedy is often at least as effective as more intrusive efforts. One or two furniture pads, preferably folded to double their thickness, placed at the feet of the people talking is usually more effective than a half dozen pads scattered about a room. Obviously, this is impractical in a walk-and-talk but often the bulk of the dialog happens when people are stationary and a pad (or pads) can be dropped in place. With a directional microphone pointed down towards the floor, the pad will soften much of the indirect sound reflected from walls and ceiling. This is quick and easy and reasonably effective if you are able to deploy the pad appropriately.

I'll also reiterate advice I've given for shooting in gymnasiums, indoor pools, echo factories and the like: some cooperation from the director can help enormously to tame the Babel of overlapping echoes. If performers can be persuaded (with director cooperation, of course) to pause just a moment before speaking, the echo of the previous line has a chance to decay. It really only takes a moment; it's not necessary to slow the scene to a languorous pace and the improvement in intelligibility is well worth the effort to sell the concept.

David

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I saw this video a little while ago and thought the results of his test were interesting. Would be interested to know if anyone here can spot flaws in his method though.

 

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One advantage of sound blankets (mine anyway) is that they are black on one side and white on the other. Gives the gaffer the option to choose, and I've at least one production where the gaffer would come to me and ask for my blankets, because they could help him, thereby helping me

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The first flaw is assuming the DP will be cool with white.  Sound pads are black/white for that reason--DPs appreciate being offered the choice (esp for the floor under the talent).  Any color at all (like normal blue-green grip furni pads) are a non-starter for working near talent.   We use these pads because they are a standard, don't shed that much, and do the job without being very expensive.  In truth, furni pads are an EXPENDABLE, and can be charged for as such if they are damaged or gotten really dirty.

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Mirror, how is anyone supposed to just know this answer. I know what to do for a studio and live production but film is DRASTICALLY different since your location ALWAYS changes. You're constantly moving along with scenes vs everything being permanently installed.

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Wow you guys were really helpful! I really appreciate your ideas and will be open to all of them. Also I'll be able to watch the video tomorrow and see if I can spot out those flaws!

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9 hours ago, Constantin said:

One advantage of sound blankets (mine anyway) is that they are black on one side and white on the other. Gives the gaffer the option to choose, and I've at least one production where the gaffer would come to me and ask for my blankets, because they could help him, thereby helping me

Constantin, a number of years ago you could have any colour you liked providing it was blue. I first saw them in Canada in 1990 as they were totally unheard of in the Uk.

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Constantin, a number of years ago you could have any colour you liked providing it was blue. I first saw them in Canada in 1990 as they were totally unheard of in the Uk.


I'm sure that's still possible today? Although I have not seen any blue ones. Anyway, black/white seems to work well for me. Although some have commented that light grey might be even more useful.

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These removal blankets are grey/gray. Not as durable as the american style but very cheap.

 


I had removal blankets before - didn't like them. Mostly because they kept losing dust and other particles. Even after washing.

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12 hours ago, johngooch said:

Ya, I like those but shipping is expensive (understandably since they're so helpfully heavy).

NDG, can probably find decent sound blankets at a local grip or expendables shop. And perhaps a location sound dealer. You're in Atlanta, so there are plenty. Here's one that comes up on Google:

http://pce-atlanta.com/sales-expendables/

The Atlanta contingent of this board can probably recommend other, perhaps better, local shops. And it's always good to get to know folks at the local rental and sales houses...

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8 hours ago, Constantin said:


I'm sure that's still possible today? Although I have not seen any blue ones. Anyway, black/white seems to work well for me. Although some have commented that light grey might be even more useful.

I am fortunate to be the sole importer of Sound Blankets in the UK. The ones that we currently import from the Far East are black on one side and grey on the other. A little known fact is that they are made as movers pads and are totally unknown or used as such here. The unit price is relatively low from the manufacturers but shipping cost are very high onto which we have to pay 6.3% duty on the unit price  and then Vat on the landed price. In China there are more companies selling blue than black.

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On 9/12/2016 at 9:54 AM, Constantin said:

One advantage of sound blankets (mine anyway) is that they are black on one side and white on the other. Gives the gaffer the option to choose, and I've at least one production where the gaffer would come to me and ask for my blankets, because they could help him, thereby helping me

Very cunning! Getting another department to ask to do the work for you ;-)

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On 9/11/2016 at 8:26 PM, ndg2k005 said:

Mirror, how is anyone supposed to just know this answer. I know what to do for a studio and live production but film is DRASTICALLY different since your location ALWAYS changes. You're constantly moving along with scenes vs everything being permanently installed.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
 

Wow you guys were really helpful! I really appreciate your ideas and will be open to all of them. Also I'll be able to watch the video tomorrow and see if I can spot out those flaws!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
 

You asked if there is a science to blankets. No, they are blankets.  You use what you have available.  You just do what you need to do.  Use a little self-initiative and decide what works best for the situation you're in.  No two situations are the same.  Blankets are not rocket science.  I know you're new to this whole sound thing, but since you asked... Save you're questions for the important stuff. You want your peers to hire you because you can think on your feet.  When you ask questions like this blanket one, you just advertise your lack of problem solving skills.

People will jump on me because what I just said sounded mean, but believe me, I'm the only one here that has the balls to tell you the truth plainly.  No one wants to hire someone that they have to hold their hand on everything they're asked to do. Particularly something as simple as blankets. 

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^^ some of that I actually agree with, but in choosing sound blankets there is indeed science involved.
I can't tell you how many producers asked me - after I had told them a room they wanted to shoot in sounded horroble - if we couldn't just stick a few egg boxes on the walls. Had they known just a bit about acoustics, they might have realized that this was an unsuitable suggestion. It's an old rumour that for some bizarre reason just won't die.
Choosing a blanket can be done without involving science, however it helps to have at least some rudimentary understanding to choose the right blanket.
Personally, I am not interested in the discussion whether or not the OP should've asked the question here, but it's once again a credit to this group that it turned into an informative discussion

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It's ironic, even bizarre, that someone who won't reveal their real name comments that "I'm the only one here that has the balls to tell you the truth plainly."  

Be that as it may, as Constantin noted, there IS science behind acoustics, and everything that affects it.  For example, natural fibers are more efficient sound absorbers than are artificial ones.  Weight makes a difference, as does the distance that the blanket is hung from a wall surface.  Giving a blanket some depth behind it makes it a more broadband absorber. 

Ignorance may be bliss, but it doesn't make someone a better sound mixer.

 

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A key thing, ndg, that perhaps hasn't been directly addressed: We not talking about blankets from a bed. We're talking about, basically, thick moving pads/blankets. Digest some of the information in this thread, google "sound blankets" and check out the videos, images, etc. Then go buy three or four black or black & white ones from a reputable source (ie- not home depot, rather a grip, expendables, or location sound dealer in the Atlanta area). Under $30 each.

Or even better, try to get some work, or a couple days just following, a good local mixer. See what she or he does with blankets...and with everything else sound related. So much education in so little time.  

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5 hours ago, John Blankenship said:

It's ironic, even bizarre, that someone who won't reveal their real name comments that "I'm the only one here that has the balls to tell you the truth plainly."  

Be that as it may, as Constantin noted, there IS science behind acoustics, and everything that affects it.  For example, natural fibers are more efficient sound absorbers than are artificial ones.  Weight makes a difference, as does the distance that the blanket is hung from a wall surface.  Giving a blanket some depth behind it makes it a more broadband absorber. 

Ignorance may be bliss, but it doesn't make someone a better sound mixer.

 

Interesting to read natural fibres are more effective - is this because the natural fibre have follicles? To judge from the smell of lanolin my blankets are made of wool (but I was not considering the man-made vs natural at the time acquisition). 

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6 hours ago, John Blankenship said:

It's ironic, even bizarre, that someone who won't reveal their real name comments that "I'm the only one here that has the balls to tell you the truth plainly."  

Be that as it may, as Constantin noted, there IS science behind acoustics, and everything that affects it.  For example, natural fibers are more efficient sound absorbers than are artificial ones.  Weight makes a difference, as does the distance that the blanket is hung from a wall surface.  Giving a blanket some depth behind it makes it a more broadband absorber. 

Ignorance may be bliss, but it doesn't make someone a better sound mixer.

 

See what I mean? 

So you mean to tell me that when you walk into a room that you have to shoot in, you say, "Hold on guys, I can tell from the acoustics of this room that we have to use a thick, natural fiber pad, at least 3/8 inch thick. And I want them hung no more and no less then 4 inches from the wall to optimally dampen the slap back of each and every acoustic wave. I'll wait here, eating my panini sandwich, until my wishes have been met."

Nope. You go in and say, "Well, this room sounds like shit. Let's throw some stuff around out of frame to see if it helps. What do we have in the truck?"

And that's the science behind furniture pads on movie sets.

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See what I mean? 

So you mean to tell me that when you walk into a room that you have to shoot in, you say, "Hold on guys, I can tell from the acoustics of this room that we have to use a thick, natural fiber pad, at least 3/8 inch thick. And I want them hung no more and no less then 4 inches from the wall to optimally dampen the slap back of each and every acoustic wave. I'll wait here, eating my panini sandwich, until my wishes have been met."

Nope. You go in and say, "Well, this room sounds like shit. Let's throw some stuff around out of frame to see if it helps. What do we have in the truck?"

And that's the science behind furniture pads on movie sets.


Choice of blanket/pad can involve science, but it is - obviously - something to be sorted out some time before the shoot.
Placement of said blankets is a different question, but it certainly involves science and experience.
If you throw your blankets and pads haphazardly around the room... well, that's your problem. I try to find the ideal placement, often a compromise of course (ideal placement would often be in the frame), but this is a process sped up by my knowledge of acoustics and, of course, having done this a few times before.

Recently we were filming in this horrible sounding room, very small and boomy. There was only enough for one hanging blanket. My experience told me that my biggest problem were room modes, and my acoustic undestanding told me where to place the blanket. Following your method definetely would have put it in the wrong place.

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5 hours ago, daniel said:

Interesting to read natural fibres are more effective - is this because the natural fibre have follicles? To judge from the smell of lanolin my blankets are made of wool (but I was not considering the man-made vs natural at the time acquisition). 

If you compare natural fibers and typical artificial ones, you'll see that the natural fibers appear fuzzy while the man-made ones usually look like strands of solid plastic.

-----

A person's futile attempt to discredit another's statements by taking them to absurd extremes just seems like... well... an act of desperation.

On certain types of commercial jobs where the mic typically occupies a familiar position I also don't just toss a mic up haphazardly, but still consider the mic characteristics, room acoustics, off-axis pickup, talent's range of motion, type of delivery, end product and post needs, etc. when placing the mic -- even though to a casual observer it may seem like the identical spot, quickly placed.

So, to imply that either a furnie placement or a mic adjustment is a slow, painstaking, highly-deliberated and time-consuming process is to lack understanding of how an experienced sound mixer works.  I'm surprised that someone who has been in the industry for any period of time can't relate to that.

 

 

 

 

 

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