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Mattias Larsen

A question on MS recording for film

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11 hours ago, Malcolm Davies Amps CAS said:

At one point the BBC insisted that all FX to be used on any documentary had to be recorded in MS. The consensus of opinion from a lot of the 150+ recordists at BBC Ealing was that this was a total waste of time and effort and had been dreamt up by some desk pilot at Wood Norton. It was never in vogue at ITV.

PBS here in states tried to follow suit as well.     It was not successful...   had to record separate M/S tracks.  .. so you ended up choosing to create a mono mix that included your wires and the M channel...   it got weird pretty quick.  

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2 hours ago, johngooch said:

PBS here in states tried to follow suit as well.     It was not successful...   had to record separate M/S tracks.  .. so you ended up choosing to create a mono mix that included your wires and the M channel...   it got weird pretty quick.  

I lived through this period as well, and it was not just PBS that got into demanding this (for awhile).  In that all we had in the field at that time was 2 channels things, as was said, became very messy when trying to do normal verite work (maybe with a split boom/wires mix, or sometimes 2 booms split or wires on opposite channels to split a problematic one etc etc) and then we suddenly need MS ambiance...   At the behest of some directors I boomed some dialog scenes in stereo, with no place left over to put any wires or plants...and no real ability to pattern-off BG noises etc   Working alone with a minimal package it kind of sucked, and then I found out that the editors sort of didn't know what to make of those tracks and were just using them as mono....that was the end of that.    I had bought a Neumann RSM190i to do this work with, which then became a mic used for sfx gathering on nature etc films and a boffo drum overhead or center-choir mic...

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Years ago, I did a music project that was simulcast over NPR. We recorded all the music on multi-track, and all the dialogue M/S. It worked very successfully, but I supervised the entire project from the beginning to the end, (including being at the broadcast head-end when the show aired).

Had I not been able to do the show from beginning to end, I would probably wouldn’t have handed off the M/S tracks to just anyone though.

I was very pleased with how the show turned out, but it was of those rare shoots where things generally worked in our favor.

-Scott


quote post="342771" timestamp="1515532873" name="johngooch" userid="89"] PBS here in states tried to follow suit as well.     It was not successful...   had to record separate M/S tracks.  .. so you ended up choosing to create a mono mix that included your wires and the M channel...   it got weird pretty quick.  





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Sorry to bring this all back up (I should have stayed away anyway) but I don't feel I could contribute to another MS argument if I hadn't, and I've been pretty much unable to reply for a couple of weeks.

 

To the OP Mattias first of all, since the topic thread specified "in film" (and I was responding to Malcolm and Simon as regards to cinema film) my response was on that: actually I agree with both Jay and Constantin in their replies that a separate mic could be used to provide ambience - whether coincident or not and whether encoded into an MS mix bus or not.

 

My basic reply to Mattias to his first question would be - if you are doing the post production yourself then yes, do what you suggested and find out what works and what doesn't. You will probably find that much would work quite well and some things don't, for whatever reason. On the other hand, if you were just thinking to provide something 'extra' for someone else doing the post then no, stay away from experimentation that someone else has to deal with and concentrate on getting intelligible mono dialogue.

 

Very briefly, to Phil and Constantin who quoted me (and apologies for late reply): Phil, yes, I work in post sound (I thought you knew this?) and not only agreed with Malcolm's quip but was a little taken aback by the suggestion that we in post sound could not deal with what was given us rather than (as I think) there is too little understanding between departments of what works where and how. Constantin, I don't think it is enough to say to enquiring persons that MS is a coincident mic technique - one can and does derive MS material from any stereo source, whether spaced or coincident LR or a 'centre' mic and another. Not in this thread but often said is that one can use any mic for a mid but the side must be a figure of eight (presumably for stereo imaging but there's several reasons why this might not be the case). Easy for me to say but easy to argue against, so the debate continues. I'm thinking maybe Jeff might want to start a new group header on The MS Problem.

 

But back to film (and indeed even for broadcast there were cries against indiscriminate use of MS I was pleased to see, particularly since I started in my career during the loony times Malcolm and Phil describe) I pretty much agree with what Malcolm had said.

 

How often on a film location is there a perfect recording situation that you can get crystal clear dialogue? with perhaps some distance relationship to the mise en scene and focal length? and STILL have perfect noise conditions at 90/270 deg?

 

How often will these perfect conditions carry through any kind of long Bergmanesque take that will survive editing?

 

What will all this in/out of phase ambience translate to in a theatre, ... wherever you might be sat?

 

My experience as a post person in film is that most MS derived recordings are useful only for their mono element. FX is a particular bugbear because so much stuff was recorded as such in the 80s boom and beyond - car passbys, door slams, ticking clocks.

 

I'm not talking broadcast but film. I'm a fan enough of MS that I have an MSM rig and a Soundfield, as well as several MS combo possibilities to turn to. Folk song collection? Birdsong? Yep.

 

Jez

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On 1/6/2018 at 3:06 AM, Matthias Richter said:

+1 for MS in sound for film.

Just had a chat with a postpro guy yesterday who does the dialogue editing on a movie I have mixed. He was very happy with my MS tracks in addition to the dialog tracks for any given crowd scenes. Brings a lot of life into the scenes.

Btw post over here prefers discrete MidSide rather than already decoded material. Best to ask before the shoot starts - if possible.

 

Do you (or anyone else) have a link to a sample where MS is used to good effect in documentary footage, or as in the crowd scenes you mentioned?

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the crowd scene I mentioned is still in postpro.

 

Here is a scene from a finished movie I did mix. Although it´s hard to tell what exactly post was using here.

I recorded the (shabby on purpose) piano and the choir seperatly using ORTF + MS a day before we shot it.

We did one choir recording with them walking using a MS Boom. But if I remember right I used a static recording for the playback.

 

jump to 01:27:50

 

also 00:32:00 is a crowd scene we had a MS up and running. Don´t know how much they used it here ...

 

 

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One more fan of ms recording here...

i am doing mostly soundrecording and sounddesign for documentaries (cinema and tv) and record nearly everything in ms.

The big advantage is that if you work in a rush - no time for recording dedicated atmo/ambience sound or change the rig for different stereo recording sets, with mid side recording you always have your matching ambience track alraedy recorded...

Even for post pro its better to have a choice of available room and atmo sound at your fingertips without messing around in searching for sounds from libraries, that often do not match neither location nor the sound of the mics originaly used...

The last documentary i worked on was shot in manila city, bangladesh refugee camps, us, turkey and london - at manila, bangladesh and london i did the job, everything recorded in ms stereo, no problems to cut a nice ambience floor and it woold have been nearly impossible to rebuild everything from library sound...

us and turkey were made by local soundman - no ms recorded, mostly lav recording and mono boom - big hassle for creating a deep local soundscape!

post pro had to be done quick as the film was taken by a big festival and the sequences from the states and turkey are not the ones that "pull" you inside the movie.

Even for noisy locations i prefer to have a ms recording for post, because often a lightly spreaded stereo signal is sounding more pleasant than a noisey location sound compressed through a mono shotgun that jumps you right at your face.

some of my collegues here work even with double ms rigs if the goal is a surround mix for the same reasons.

 

 

 

 

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On 2/4/2018 at 8:13 AM, Matthias Richter said:

the crowd scene I mentioned is still in postpro.

 

Here is a scene from a finished movie I did mix. Although it´s hard to tell what exactly post was using here.

I recorded the (shabby on purpose) piano and the choir seperatly using ORTF + MS a day before we shot it.

We did one choir recording with them walking using a MS Boom. But if I remember right I used a static recording for the playback.

 

jump to 01:27:50

 

also 00:32:00 is a crowd scene we had a MS up and running. Don´t know how much they used it here ...

 

 

 

Thanks for posting this.

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