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Safdie Brothers Talk About Audio on 'Good Time'

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A couple of young co-directors, the Safdie Brothers (Josh and Benny), just released a film called "Good Time" which by many accounts is pretty good. They just did an, uh... interesting, interview for No Film School (read it here) where they discuss the audio for the film and do a bit of seemingly random name-checking.

 

Portions related to audio excerpted without further comment:

 

Josh: ... But if I'm obsessed with the image, Benny also obsesses over the microphones and the acoustics. 

Benny: When you hook up with somebody who's doing sound, they have their own kit. Our sound mixer, Patrick Southern, was going, "I've got all these microphones and I've got this boom mic."

I'm like, "Alright! But we're gonna rent all these microphones and this boom mic because I've been doing a lot of research about them, and they sound incredible." But they are very delicate. They're British. And there are these amazing, incredible lavs. And then there's this one boom mic that only one rental house in the city had. You can buy them on eBay because they were made in the '80s and they kind of just got thrown away. But it's got such a specific feeling to it. It's a workhorse but it's a real, directional microphone. 

Josh: You wanted to have two boom mics the whole time on this!

NFS: What were the mics called?

Benny: I don't want to give it away.

Josh: There is a recorder that we have yet to use that we do want to work with, the Cantar.

Benny: The closest thing that we ever got to was the one that Patrick used on this one, the Zaxcom.

Josh: I like our Sonosax, too.

Benny: The thing is, it's really hard to find digital recorders that have that "sound" feeling. Most digital recorders [are designed to] erase all the sound. Then you add it later.

The Zaxcom Nomad is very simple. It's straightforward, and then there's a lot of sound to it. It has "room tone," which a lot of people don't want because they want to have full, maximum, clean sound. It's the same with a lot of the digital cameras—they try and have nothing.

No Film School: They're too pristine.

Josh: Exactly. I've made short films where we used Nagra tape, and that's a crazy feeling because you can run out of sound. You can roll out on sound. But the warmth of analog tape is incredible. 

Benny: They don't make them anymore.

Josh: Yeah, and also, it doesn't all need to be that nostalgic.

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I'd be interested to know about those mics. But I get what they're talking about. Which is why I like to use an analog board. 

 

On a side note, I'm getting ready to do a film with a Nagra. Directors idea :)

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Most digital recorders [are designed to] erase all the sound. Then you add it later.

 

Can someone tell me what that means? Are they talking about a lower internal noise floor? Do they like thermal and random magnetic noise? Or are they working with digital recorders that have internal noise gates (with the thresholds set too high), which are killing the backgrounds?

 

The Zaxcom Nomad is very simple.... It has "room tone," which a lot of people don't want because they want to have full, maximum, clean sound.

 

...and that? Nomad is definitely an excellent recorder, but what are they talking about? Nomad's noise floor isn't significantly different from other recorders in that class. 

 

Obviously these folks are using 'all the sound' and 'room tone' differently than we might, but I'm not sure what they do mean. Help an older guy out!

 

 

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Of course, it's entirely possible their opinions could be completely genuine (if inarticulately stated), borne from many hours of listening to a wide variety of mics and recorders with that "sound" feeling.

 

But, frankly, to me, it seemed like a couple of retrophiliac hipsters talking out their asses, more in love with the romantic ideal of vintage audio gear than any rational assessment based on personal experience. I wonder how well they would do in a blind test.

 

Which is not to denigrate their film-making abilities one bit. I intend to go see 'Good Time' and expect to appreciate it. But being very good at one thing doesn't make you an expert on everything.

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Wow! Its's a shame all those 1980's microphones were thrown away. 

What were they thinking back then?

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Sarcanon, "Retrophiliac Hipsters" has just become my most favourite descriptor of all time.

 

Thank you, sir!

 

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Say what? Not sure wtf they said Jay Rose. I hear their film is good, but... wow. Maybe they were buzzed as they were interviewed. I've said some stupid shit when I was loaded.

CrewC

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7 hours ago, michaelmoote said:

maybe some t power 816s 

 

816 isn't British though. I'm really curious which British mics they are referring to. Off the top of my head I can't think of a British mic manufacturer (except Aston and Sontronics, but I don't think they were talking about those)

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1 hour ago, Spectreman said:

Perhaps they are Calrec mics ?  Good quality British mics they are...

 

Interesting, thanks! Yes, that's a good possibility. That name rings a bell somewhere, but I don't really know those mics. 

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Interesting, thanks! Yes, that's a good possibility. That name rings a bell somewhere, but I don't really know those mics. 

I think Calrec was known more for their consoles. Still fetch quite a lot of money on the used market.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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"I think Calrec was known more for their consoles"

- I think the same... consoles. Aside for their SoundField 'surround' mic, I'm was not aware of any others. Unless he means CAD mics, but I never heard of anyone using them for our type of work.

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I watched Good Time on a festival a few days ago. Not too bad a movie but maybe slightly overrated, a bit retro 90s style, apparently made with a very low budget. Since 95% of the movie consists of closeups, doing sound must have been a fun job on this one.

On 29.8.2017 at 1:40 AM, old school said:

Say what? Not sure wtf they said Jay Rose. I hear their film is good, but... wow. Maybe they were buzzed as they were interviewed. I've said some stupid shit when I was loaded.

CrewC

+1 LMAO

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I'm totally a noob here but I really like the sound in older movies.  It just has a texture that I enjoy more.  I haven't seen this film and I probably won't because the way they describe it with all those cu's would probably freak me out. But that being said, even though it really sounds like these guys are talking out their B-holes you just don't hear directors talking about sound gear, ever.  At least I've never heard anyone, well besides hearing the stories about Tarantino. His rule about no adr.  So I guess my point is even though these guys seem like d-bags or maybe high, haha, it's just kinda nice to have someone state something besides what camera they used.  

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That would be a very off-putting conversation to have with a director. To have all of my equipment decisions (based on actual use and careful discrimination) immediately up-ended by someone who read about a mic somewhere online....

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On 29/08/2017 at 8:18 AM, Constantin said:

 

816 isn't British though. I'm really curious which British mics they are referring to. Off the top of my head I can't think of a British mic manufacturer (except Aston and Sontronics, but I don't think they were talking about those)

Not exactly sennheiser, schoeps, neumann, microtech grefell etc but there is coles (electroacoustics) - admittedly more a broadcast thing than scripted drama, but the broadcaster's 'lip' mic is quite cool.

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4 minutes ago, daniel said:

Not exactly sennheiser, schoeps, neumann, microtech grefell etc but there is coles (electroacoustics) - admittedly more a broadcast thing than scripted drama, but the broadcaster's 'lip' mic is quite cool.

 

Oh yes of course, Coles. I know them, just didn't know they were British. 

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It would be fun to do sync dialog with lip mics. 

 

Well, not "fun" exactly, since the actors would be holding the mics. You'd certainly get a tight sound.

 

The fun would be when the various picture departments start saying "we can't get a good close-up because of sound!" 

 

Turnabout and all that...   ; )

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Thanks sarcanon for the post .... I'm damn well going to enjoy the rest of that interview ... I'm just deciding on what to loosen my mind with before diving in!

 

Calrec are (were) a pretty well known and respected mic - before my time but it's quite possible they were used in radio and/or broadcast - but certainly in music. Some crazy powering AFAIR but then so was everything pre 1970. And of course some of their people developed and manufactured the Soundfield soon afterwards.

 

Coles, as well as the lip mic, made the famous ribbon 4038 (perhaps still used on Desert Island Discs? I heard rumours)

 

Whilst I like to imagine a calrec cardioid and a Coles ribbon on the end of the poles I imagine those secret British mics to be 815s, KMR 81/2 or possibly the (Scottish?) Sony C76/74 ...

 

And I just hate it when you run out of sound ... last page of the script, run out of words, next thing the actors have run out of speech, all that warmth, all that room tone - gone! But then the spools start whizzing round really fast and I've forgotten I've run out of sound and I'm happy all over again!

 

Jez

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