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Mattias Larsen

A question on MS recording for film

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Hello all experienced sound recordists!

 

I have an Audix SCX1HC and an Ambient Emesser ATE208 and today will be my first time using them together on a short film.

 

If the camera is moving around a lot I guess I'll piggyback them. However, I am playing with the idea (especially if the camera is in a fixed position) to put the Emesser (sidemic) on a stand from the cameraperspective of L/R and then follow any action with the Audix (mid) from a boom. I have searched long to see if anyone had done such a thing, but I found very little information. I did some initial testing last night and it seemed to sound fine from what I could hear. Is this doable or is there anything to prevent this? Swapped stereoimage/phasing issues etc? Would I be better of piggybacking the emesser on the audix and swing them around?

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Mattias, What are you trying to achieve by doing this? Of course you'll have a delay of whatever distance the two mics are from each other. And a bunch of other issues. But what do you think you'll get or hope to get with this?

Thank you, Martin

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Not a good idea if you're trying to record true MS. The mics have to stay together so that what you get after decoding will be usable.

 

Regards,

 

Ty Ford

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First of all, this won’t be MS. MS is a coincidental mic technique, whereby the membranes of both mics need to be as close to each other as possible. 

 

But if you treat them as two individual mono mics which are not part of a stereo setup, why not?

just remember that the Emesser on the camera is only going to pick up left and/or right signals, but not from the front

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Are you doing the audio post on this project yourself?  If so then knock yourself out--do whatever you think you might use.  If you are handing it off then it usually turns out to be a good idea to keep things simple, obvious, intuitive and industry-standard.

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As Constantin and others point out, you won’t end up with M/S, or and kind of stereo. If you want s stereo perspective, I would do an M/S mic system on the camera, and maybe a second M/S mic or spaced array on a boom.

Have done many projects using M/S, coincident mics, and spaced arrays. All have their pro’s and con’s.

-Scott


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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8 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

Mattias, What are you trying to achieve by doing this? Of course you'll have a delay of whatever distance the two mics are from each other. And a bunch of other issues. But what do you think you'll get or hope to get with this?

Thank you, Martin

 

8 hours ago, Ty Ford said:

Not a good idea if you're trying to record true MS. The mics have to stay together so that what you get after decoding will be usable.

 

Regards,

 

Ty Ford

 

7 hours ago, afewmoreyears said:

The best question was... "what are you TRYING to achieve.."?

 

Thank you guys for your replies! I guess I thought of recording some static space on the side mic and getting a usual focused boom sound with the mid. I am glad that some of you replied so quickly that I didn't try it. Today we only shot outside and what I ended up doing was placing the MS combo in a blimp on a stand for the camera perspective (sort of) and boom as usual with a shotgun. That way the MS mics are in an usual array and I can ditch them altogether if it would phase with the shotgun. I am curious how to make the most out of the Emesser.

 

On Sunday we are mainly going to shoot inside and as Audix is my only hyper, the setup will need to look a bit different. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

 

7 hours ago, Constantin said:

But if you treat them as two individual mono mics which are not part of a stereo setup, why not?

Can you elaborate on this?

 

5 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

Are you doing the audio post on this project yourself?  If so then knock yourself out--do whatever you think you might use.  If you are handing it off then it usually turns out to be a good idea to keep things simple, obvious, intuitive and industry-standard.

 

It is not set in stone yet, but I might end up doing the audio post for this project. I still want to at least cover the basics. If I then have a bit of experimentation that doesn't work out it is not a big deal this time, the director encouraged to experiment and give me creative freedom.

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10 minutes ago, Mattias Larsen said:

 

 

 

Thank you guys for your replies! I guess I thought of recording some static space on the side mic and getting a usual focused boom sound with the mid. I am glad that some of you replied so quickly that I didn't try it. Today we only shot outside and what I ended up doing was placing the MS combo in a blimp on a stand for the camera perspective (sort of) and boom as usual with a shotgun. That way the MS mics are in an usual array and I can ditch them altogether if it would phase with the shotgun. I am curious how to make the most out of the Emesser.

 

On Sunday we are mainly going to shoot inside and as Audix is my only hyper, the setup will need to look a bit different. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

 

Can you elaborate on this?

 

 

It is not set in stone yet, but I might end up doing the audio post for this project. I still want to at least cover the basics. If I then have a bit of experimentation that doesn't work out it is not a big deal this time, the director encouraged to experiment and give me creative freedom.

Mattias, I understand the whole principle of at first it's better to experiment than to succeed, I've sure done plenty of that, but not on the set. I mean if you want to wear your SpongeBob SquarePants bath robe and slippers in the quietness of your own home, that's one thing, but it might be best if you don't wear it to the set. 

 

Sincerely, Martin

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Mattias,  I would follow Phillips advice...he is spot on...

 

"If you are handing it off then it usually turns out to be a good idea to keep things simple, obvious, intuitive and industry-standard."

 

You will probably work the smoothest, fastest, provide the best tracks and leave nobody on set or in post wondering what you were up to... There are times to get 'Fancy" and times when doing things to basic standards are best.... Know the difference...and when to provide either.

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18 hours ago, afewmoreyears said:

The best question was... "what are you TRYING to achieve.."?

Years ago there was a huge debate on here about MS and some wise old mixer summed it up with the words MS has

 no part of film making.

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MS relies on the 2 mics being as close together as possible. If you set them up more than a few inches part you will just get a load of phasey nastiness.

 

Many post production folks have little or no understanding of MS stereo. I have found it best, as a general rule, to deliver the MS mic tracks as 'regular', LR stereo, ie to matrix the tracks within the mixer/recorder and deliver them to post as L and R, this avoids much confusion.

 

I have done a lot of MS stereo work over the years, and I disagree with Malcolm (who I also have enormous respect for). I feel that there can be and is a perfectly reasonable space for MS stereo in film making ;-)

 

Good luck, Simon B

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+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.

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1 hour ago, 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.

May I ask how you recorded MS for the movie? MS on a boom, stand or the camera? I figured I would record undecoded MS for everything apart from when I did separate ambience recordings.

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On a few commercial gigs in difficult rooms, I've used a setup with a hyper very close to a group talking, and an omni at some distance. Then shuffled them in post as if the omni were a side mic in a proper m/s pair. Worked great, and since this was broadcast, I knew the LR info would disappear on mono receivers.

 

...with two gotchas:

 

1.  I was also doing the post, so there was no question how to handle the tracks I'd recorded.

 

2.  These were radio spots. I wanted a sense of real-world stereo in that awkward space. But with a large portion of the FM audience listening in mono, I didn't want anything that could sum awkwardly.

 

Never tried it on TV. And wouldn't dare try it on a film.

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On 6.1.2018 at 2:04 PM, Mattias Larsen said:

May I ask how you recorded MS for the movie? MS on a boom, stand or the camera? I figured I would record undecoded MS for everything apart from when I did separate ambience recordings.

 

Say goodbye to a mic and especially an MS rig on the camera right now. In doc situations you may getna small mic on there, but anything else no. I also doubt the usefulness of an on-cam mic, as you will mostly capture operator noise. However, again in doc situations this mic can be useful. 

 

On 6.1.2018 at 12:21 AM, Mattias Larsen said:

 

Can you elaborate on this?

 

Treat both mics as two individual mics, not an MS pair. You can use them as plant mics or whatever. But only do that once you’ve made sure you gotten everything essential first. 

Contrary to Martin I would say do experiment on set, but only if you don’t hold up the production, it doesn’t bother anyone and you are sure that you will get dialogue just fine. If all that is done, why not put up an extra mic to find out how useful that might be? 

 

As others have said I think that MS can be very nice and useful on a film set or on the boom for docs. Don’t put it on the boom on narrative work, it‘ll be useless, unless you have a dedicated boom available for this

 

In my current setup, I use an ORTF rig instead of MS, but in any case, I‘ll put the rig on a stand, put a Zaxcom stereo transmitter on it and move the stand to wherever I think I can get the best sound without getting too much noise from the set. This can sometimes be quite far away (although I always worry that someone might just steal it). This is a pricey setup, but I love it. 

 

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6 hours ago, Constantin said:

In my current setup, I use an ORTF rig instead of MS, but in any case, I‘ll put the rig on a stand, put a Zaxcom stereo transmitter

 

what mics are you using? My CCMs need a cable between mic and TRX742 to get rid of RFI

 

9 hours ago, Mattias Larsen said:

May I ask how you recorded MS for the movie? MS on a boom, stand or the camera?

 

basically what Constantin does.

Either on a stand, mounted up somewhere where the mic can stay for the whole scene or on a boom pole with a 2nd BoomOp

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3 hours ago, Matthias Richter said:

 

what mics are you using? My CCMs need a cable between mic and TRX742 to get rid of RFI

 

CCM‘s as well. In a Rycote with Connbox. I know everyone says that causes RFI, but for me it seems to work. 

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16 hours ago, Malcolm Davies Amps CAS said:

Years ago there was a huge debate on here about MS and some wise old mixer summed it up with the words MS has

 no part of film making.

 

15 hours ago, Bash said:

MS relies on the 2 mics being as close together as possible. If you set them up more than a few inches part you will just get a load of phasey nastiness.

 

Many post production folks have little or no understanding of MS stereo. I have found it best, as a general rule, to deliver the MS mic tracks as 'regular', LR stereo, ie to matrix the tracks within the mixer/recorder and deliver them to post as L and R, this avoids much confusion.

 

I have done a lot of MS stereo work over the years, and I disagree with Malcolm (who I also have enormous respect for). I feel that there can be and is a perfectly reasonable space for MS stereo in film making ;-)

 

Good luck, Simon B

 

 

If we're talking (good old fashioned) FILM, then every rerecording mixer I've ever worked with has had a thorough understanding of MS, or sum and difference technique - in theory, mixing practice and recording practice. After all, they would be incapable of dealing with the likes of Dolby Surround, Dolby Stereo, etc etc if they hadn't a good understanding of what is fundamental theory.

 

If we're talking of a more modern widespread take on post sound for picture, it's a shame if Simon has come across many post folks who don't seem to understand the application. In my experience it has often been the other way around: that recordists who have "learnt" MS through a mentor or perhaps on a distant Wood Norton training course have taken their learning, applied to a specific application (say FM stereo or NICAM TV broadcasts) and not understood how different media, monitoring setups and indeed encryption systems relate to MS. I for one was first taught MS theory in relation to mono compatible stereo radio technique 30 or so years ago, and would later be taught it again in a very different field of music mixing. I've worked with MS in many forms and there is a host of difference between an FM broadcast, a stereo stylus and a Dolby Digital stem, all with their own problems to know about.

 

For instance, there are several "facts" about MS spoken by folks here in the threads above which are quite simply inaccurate, although for a specific application could be said to be "good practice" for MS working: just based upon what was taught them, or what has been repeated so many times, without a real consideration of the actual theory.

 

Back to actual multichannel film, post production people have often rejected, not wanted or expressed dissatisfaction on being delivered or forced to deal with MS elements, not because they had little or no understanding, but because they understood very well how they would have to deal with such elements. And there's probably 'some' MS tucked away in virtually every major film mix of the last twenty or so years, in the MX tracks, even if the DX and FX had been thrown back at one!

 

What is it useful for then? Well possibly everything else out there with two (or more) channels - certainly broadcast and streaming. Just as MS as a 1920s theory got a new lease of life in the adoption of two channel for stereo, the development of the stereo stylus, tape recording, then again with stereo radio, it continued into ambisonics (which is MS) which itself got a new lease of life in surround broadcasting. And on and on it goes : new uses, advanced development for MS and vector formats with VR, AR ... 

 

And who knows? How will theatrical sound develop beyond Dolby Atmos and its kin? And whilst those old DD, DTS and SDDS mixes needed to be remixed down to home or broadcast-able formats how might format compatibility progress in the future? Probably with some knowledge in post of Blumlein and his maths scribblings!

 

Best all,

 

Jez

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I once hear that telling a mixer to record MS was like telling a DP to only use a 50mm lens!

 

mike

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13 hours ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

For instance, there are several "facts" about MS spoken by folks here in the threads above which are quite simply inaccurate

 

Perhaps, for the benefit of everyone posting and reading, you might care to elaborate on this? 

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15 hours ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

 

 

 

If we're talking (good old fashioned) FILM, then every rerecording mixer I've ever worked with has had a thorough understanding of MS, or sum and difference technique - in theory, mixing practice and recording practice. After all, they would be incapable of dealing with the likes of Dolby Surround, Dolby Stereo, etc etc if they hadn't a good understanding of what is fundamental theory.

 

If we're talking of a more modern widespread take on post sound for picture, it's a shame if Simon has come across many post folks who don't seem to understand the application. In my experience it has often been the other way around: that recordists who have "learnt" MS through a mentor or perhaps on a distant Wood Norton training course have taken their learning, applied to a specific application (say FM stereo or NICAM TV broadcasts) and not understood how different media, monitoring setups and indeed encryption systems relate to MS. I for one was first taught MS theory in relation to mono compatible stereo radio technique 30 or so years ago, and would later be taught it again in a very different field of music mixing. I've worked with MS in many forms and there is a host of difference between an FM broadcast, a stereo stylus and a Dolby Digital stem, all with their own problems to know about.

 

For instance, there are several "facts" about MS spoken by folks here in the threads above which are quite simply inaccurate, although for a specific application could be said to be "good practice" for MS working: just based upon what was taught them, or what has been repeated so many times, without a real consideration of the actual theory.

 

Back to actual multichannel film, post production people have often rejected, not wanted or expressed dissatisfaction on being delivered or forced to deal with MS elements, not because they had little or no understanding, but because they understood very well how they would have to deal with such elements. And there's probably 'some' MS tucked away in virtually every major film mix of the last twenty or so years, in the MX tracks, even if the DX and FX had been thrown back at one!

 

What is it useful for then? Well possibly everything else out there with two (or more) channels - certainly broadcast and streaming. Just as MS as a 1920s theory got a new lease of life in the adoption of two channel for stereo, the development of the stereo stylus, tape recording, then again with stereo radio, it continued into ambisonics (which is MS) which itself got a new lease of life in surround broadcasting. And on and on it goes : new uses, advanced development for MS and vector formats with VR, AR ... 

 

And who knows? How will theatrical sound develop beyond Dolby Atmos and its kin? And whilst those old DD, DTS and SDDS mixes needed to be remixed down to home or broadcast-able formats how might format compatibility progress in the future? Probably with some knowledge in post of Blumlein and his maths scribblings!

 

Best all,

 

Jez

Not sure what the point of this all is?  Do you work in post?  Have you had to solve mysteries about why some sfx tracks sound bad or weird  while working on a deadline or with clients sitting on your shoulder or both, and realize that the file was probably MS and not labelled as such?  Which means stopping what we're doing and decoding + bouncing it?   Do you deliver all your MS files to post in a separate and well-marked folder?  If they are sync sound material do you deliver an old fashioned mono or stereo version as well (also labelled and in separate folders)?  I hope you heads-up editorial about where these MS tracks are, and what they contain.

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On 7 January 2018 at 4:57 AM, mikewest said:

I once hear that telling a mixer to record MS was like telling a DP to only use a 50mm lens!

 

mike

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.

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