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JamesP

Production Mix Structure

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Hey all! 

 

So it's been a chaotic first week, we've been put through our paces to say the least. We're dealing with noisy locations, noisy wardrobe, an unconventional shooting style that leaves us without the coverage we need half the time, last minute script changes and a tense atmosphere on set as everything is behind. Tho joys of low budget film-making! 

 

Good news is is the sound department is having a great time despite the challenges and we're doing as good a job as we can! I'm getting plenty of opportunities to practice mixing and I'm starting to get the hang of it. Fader moves are sounding smoother every day and I'm getting a good feel for how things should sound. My boom op is an absolute beast and is fighting for every inch and our second is learning super fast. We're all hoping we get to work on some better organised projects in the future! 

 

Went for a mono mix track in the end, feel much more comfortable that way and everyone seems happy with the results so far!

 

Thanks again for the amazing discussion here guys, really appreciate all the advice. 

 

J

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9 hours ago, JamesP said:

We're dealing with noisy locations, noisy wardrobe, an unconventional shooting style that leaves us without the coverage we need half the time, last minute script changes and a tense atmosphere on set as everything is behind. Tho joys of low budget film-making! 

 

That's not low budget film-making, that's film-making

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7 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

That's not low budget film-making, that's film-making

 

Agree with that statement.

My favorite article so far from Cinephilia & Beyond is for Terrence Malick's, "The Thin Red Line"

 

I don’t know if this will make sense the way a normal film does. Terry’s wildly intuitive and impressionistic. He wrote a script based on the novel, and he’s making a film based on the script, but he’s not shooting the script. He’s shooting the essence of the script, and he’s also shooting the movie that’s up there on the hill. He’s trying to transcend the book and the script and himself. He’s just out there. He’s a wild cat. — John Cusack on Malick

 

Terrence Malick is oblique. He would start shooting the scene, but watch the sky. And about six, when the sky was just right, he’d say ‘That’s enough of this scene, let’s revisit the scene we shot the other day.’ Nothing will match, but that’s fine. He was finishing the scenes in golden light. He couldn’t tell the studio he was only going to shoot in golden light, they would have freaked, so he would hold these scenes off. The actor didn’t get to do what he wanted to do, John Toll didn’t get to photograph it the way he wanted to, and Terry didn’t get to shoot it as he’d written it. All those elements were thrown out, and the only new element was this light that’s what it was about. — Nick Nolte on Malick

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Hi Tom great post!

 

A split mix plus ISO tracks is the way to go

 

A lack of time and rehearsals is dominant so true mixes are just luck

particularly if actor stick to the script, timing etc as in the day when I mixed to a mono Nagra.

 

Have seen several great TV dramas on Netflix where an ambience/acoustic boom is used

to render all the lavs true to a wide shot by adding some acoustic.

 

Times have changed, more lavs, less true boom work (maybe close-ups).

 

Regards

 

mike

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On 15.9.2017 at 10:45 AM, mikewest said:

 

 

Have seen several great TV dramas on Netflix where an ambience/acoustic boom is used

to render all the lavs true to a wide shot by adding some acoustic

Could you please name a few?

 

4 hours ago, JamesP said:

Interesting, I've been trying that in wide shots and it definitely makes the Lavs sound more natural. 

Isnt the boom in a wide shot kind of an ambience mic anyway?

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Hi Veit,

 

Gee I've watched so many British series in the last two months that I cannot be specific.

You do need to listen on a good speaker system or headphones to evaluate the approach.

 

Well a boom in a wide shot gives ambience but it does not offer the voice detail that lavs give.

In using a boom for just ambience it should be pointed at the ceiling and certainly away from the actors

so that it picks up clean ambience, not mixed with the lavs but captured on an iso track.

Then the rest is up to post production!

 

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/the-cul-de-sac/episodes/s2-e5

This is a link to an episode of a series that I recorded

The scene about 9 minutes in was shot in a very large empty space

with two cameras and I used lavs in the actors and an ambience boom.

There may have been more echo added in post.

 

mike

Edited by mikewest
Example link added

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James, Mike, Veit:

Common practice in post to take a boom (master), pull the lav into precise sync and phase, then mix according to available elements. Thus getting a general balance across scenes which have both the 'omph' of the close lav and the 'ahh' of the natural boom.

 

Outside of narrative (ie daytime tv style) I'm well aware of blending to get a similar result (especially where lavs = the bulk of the sound) but this is something which is fairly easy to achieve (and importantly not FU the tracks permanently) in post with the boom mic ON AXIS. I wouldn't be surprised if folk (especially folk used to mixing fast turnaround tv) are blending, but I would say it's a trick made obsolete by today's narrative ISO delivery for a careful post balance.

 

Jez

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7 hours ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

James, Mike, Veit:

Common practice in post to take a boom (master), pull the lav into precise sync and phase, then mix according to available elements. Thus getting a general balance across scenes which have both the 'omph' of the close lav and the 'ahh' of the natural boom.

 

 

Jez,

this is pretty clear to me. I also do dialogue editing on features. I am still wrapping my head around that ambience mic. Okay it is off axis vs on axis on a boom in a wide shot. But on an interior scene how will the ambience mic ever be without the actors voices? Pointed to the ceiling or not....

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Been doing it like mike westgate has described for years as well. Basically using the boom mixed into lavs to get it to sound like it looks on the wider shots. Whether post uses it or not is a mystery.

 

CRAIG

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Thanks cstauffer.

To Veit, well it's simple as all interiors have an acoustic excited by actors voices unless they whisper.

If you have clean tracks of the lavs and an iso track of the ambience boom you can add acoustic

on the wide shots to in effect produce perspective, I think my example posted yesterday shows that

 

mike

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Okay I think I am piling up misunderstandings...

I am just saying a boom in a wide shot or a so called ambience mic don't differ. They both

add acoustics of course. I would never not boom any scene ever (so why record an additional ambience mic esp in a wide shot). I am still onto this ambience

mic which Tom mentioned very very early in this post. All answers I am getting are about

101 of production sound recording and how they mix it in the post. I know all that, so I think my posts

are being misunderstood.

 

Cheers

 

On 17.9.2017 at 10:06 AM, Veit Norek said:

But on an interior scene how will the ambience mic ever be without the actors voices? Pointed to the ceiling or not....

To this, how can the answer be this:

12 hours ago, mikewest said:

To Veit, well it's simple as all interiors have an acoustic excited by actors voices unless they whisper.

 

:huh:

Feels like a superweird pingpong

Answering with the most basic 101 acoustics

I don't get it, sorry

 

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Sorry you don't get it.

 

I do not understand your comment " I would never not boom any scene ever"

 

If you've ever recorded music in a live space say an orchestra it's a similar process

 

Use a stereo pair close to the orchestra to get detail

Then use a mono or stereo mike pointing at the back of the venue

 

Then in post mixing you can achieve a balance of close and ambience

This particularly is useful if multi camera shooting covers wide then close shots

Just like dealing with actors!

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This is a great thread, Its making me  examine some of my work practises and suggest alernitives. I am mainly doing corp stuff now and its a horses for courses approach, what seems best for the day. Usually a split mix to camera and iso's separately . Recently did a short film in a large reverberant hall with talent lav hidden in a lace ruff. In the wides the lavs would be too clean so the boom track would smooth that out , never thought of it as an ambience mic or pointing it away from action. 

 

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This is indeed a good thread. Thinking about how I've arrange tracks over the years, the ability to have isos and dial delay on an input changed the way I worked in this respect. The classic 2 track split (often recorded on camera only), RMs 1 side and boom the other, allowed post to choose the boom as a primary source (with some back up from RMs) or use the RMs as the primary and they then manage the issues of adding boom for 'air'/'perspective'. I would monitor stereo, LR.

If a mono mix was requested, it felt safer to hang the boom over my shoulder and just raise the boom fader so the ambience was just evident over the noise floor of the RMs. This would reduce the chance of phasing issues but I would loose the back up of having a boom over the top in case a RM got messy. With delays and isos I feel comfortable with pointing the boom at the source because I can reduce phasing with delays (while having an isos for safety) and maintain an on mic sound for the boom. For some of the stuff I do at the moment. I put a mono mix of RMs and boom on L. Then a mix, minus the boom on R. I monitor in mono (LR, like it will sound if they put both on timeline; L, for the 'airy' mix and picture perspective, R for 'dry' and possible use off screen. Probably not possible with current hardware but it would be interesting to see if time delays could be automated in the future. Prior to the 'delays', I quite liked the use of Lectro 411 RX because the 3ms latency worked well with a 'loose' boom. 

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I absolutely love how everyone is willing to jump in and offer advice to people on this board.   Willingly.  It's amazing.   I remember the days when I would ask someone how to time align a PA system, or how to sync tracks,  and NO ONE would say anything.  Their little secret.   

 

Maybe I am a bottle of wine in and being sappy, but I seriously appreciate this community on this site.  I wish the OP a successful shoot.   

 

Mack

 

 

 

 

PS.   I meant beer.  Don't judge.  

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Ha. Glad you enjoy the joint Mack. Just so you know, there are 5 stages to JWSound love.

Stage 1. OMG. Can't believe this exists.

Stage 2. This is the best....

Stage 3.  I've found my people and they like me.

Stage 4.  This place was cool until "so in so" reared up to give me grief...

Stage 5. F U JW Sound and the recorder you rode in with.

 

But really there is a stage 6 in which you get "it" for what "it" is, a community of peers from around the world who share a social platform beer now and again.

Cheers.

CrewC

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3 hours ago, Mack said:

I absolutely love how everyone is willing to jump in and offer advice to people on this board.   Willingly.  It's amazing. Yeah pretty dumb....  I remember the days when I would ask someone how to time align a PA system, or how to sync tracks,  and NO ONE would say anything.  Their little secret.   Yeah, pretty smart...

 

Now were all fighting for our rates, jobs and careers against a tidal wave of persons.....  There WAS some logic in the old ways...

 

Stage 4...?  LOL

 

Maybe I am a bottle of wine in and being sappy, but I seriously appreciate this community on this site.  I wish the OP a successful shoot.   

 

Mack

 

 

 

 

PS.   I meant beer.  Don't judge.  

 

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Good comment Daniel!

Years ago when mixing two radio mikes to a mono Nagra 4.2 I would add a little bit of boom to

level the b/g (and help mask any clothing noise) by getting my boom op point at trees or some light noise.

 

The big lesson outdoors is of course if you use a radio mike then never point a boom at is as well as

the time lag of the sound reaching the boom becomes very obvious.

 

mike

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So after reading a few replies, (thanks all) it appears to me some of you are using the delay function of the mixer on the lavs when adding a boom to the mix.

Quick math check...  sound travels at 1088 ft per second, if the boom is 5 ft above the head of the actor and that would be a 5ms delay?  Seems like 5 ms would not be a issue with phasing.

I read that some of the lav transmitters that are digital 2.4 Ghz (they A to D in the transmitter before sending it to the receiver) say there is a 25ms delay.

Am I Incorrect in the above statements, or have I fallen asleep and am dreaming? Ha!

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