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BrianBinning

Advice on music video style upcoming shoot

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I have a shoot coming up where there will be several scenes in a bar with actors miming instruments. I'll have a playback system on stage with them so the actors will be able to accurately 'play along' to their parts. For some of those scenes though, there will be some speaking parts with the principal actors who will be sitting at a table in the bar (a little ways away from the stage where the 'musicians' will be).

 

My plan was to have the music playing at the lowest possible volume - just enough for the musicians to play along to but hopefully not loud enough for there to be any significant bleed into my boom mic. Of course, I'm trying to avoid phasing issues in post when we mix in the bar scene music.

 

I'm on the newer end of location sound and haven't been in this scenario before. Curious if anyone has any advice or has something to add. Thanks.

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Consider one of the various forms of in-ear monitors for the musicians, and if you want people dancing in the shot as well and don't have budget for in-ear monitors for them then consider a "thumper" subwoofer to keep them on beat.  With these tools in use your sync dialog can stay clean.  Or....just let the music rip and ADR all the dialog!

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You CAN leave playback real low providing that the final music will not only be the same, but the music your playing back needs to be the same as the final mix as to where on the track you are...... If that is the case, I have many times used real low playback, or as Philip has mentioned, a thumper, which can be rolled off in post..  Both should be fine.. 

Thump track is good because your not locked to a position in the track, just a beat. The low music works best on a singing deal, no musicians... not so much a band deal...

 

If this is just 4 musicians, the in ear option would not be a bad idea... Also depends on the kind of music.. some quiet jazz is one thing... a heavy metal band is another.. but unless you own them, they can be expensive for production to rent.

 Earwigs for example are functional, but in my opinion, barely...  They can be a bitch... they don't get real loud..For dialog cues, they are OK, but singing to Heavy playback tracks, or in a loud area.. not so good and can be down right distracting for the talent... not to mention tiny and prone to easy loss..

  Trying to deal with more than a few of them at the same time with all your other duties may be difficult... 10 of them... lol... not a good idea at any gear budget unless that budget provides for another human, but I am sure some can handle the extra workload.. (not me). Battery changes, ear wax protector, set up, cleaning, wiping down with alcohol before handing to talent, it all takes time...

 

  You can always as you said have both going at once,  Recording and Playback. Have a laptop or other device, run a line to a track on the recorder, playback and fade down for the dialog portions... ride the volume as you see fit... It many times works better than you think it would..

 

  

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Besides having the volume really low on playback, try rolling off as much of the high end as you can get away with on the playback tracks. If most of the bleed is low frequency, then it seems like that would be a little easier to deal with in post. 

 

-Mike

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Thanks everyone for the advice. I ended up with a playback system on stage consisting of two Behringer 205D monitors (at an extremely low volume) and my KRK subwoofer. I played the music tracks via my iPhone which I had mounted to my bag. The audio out of the phone was split - one signal right back into my recorder for sync in post, and the other signal to a Sony wireless unit which was sent to the system on stage. The music had a 40Hz pulse with the beat so the dancers had something to lock to, and the music out of the Behringers was low enough that it was barely picked up by my mics while recording dialog in the bar. (The reason for this is because the musician actors had to look like they were miming the instrument and voice parts realistically.) It worked great except for an impromptu scene where the director had the main actors (2) dancing together in the crowd. I couldn't boom them and my omni lavs picked up a little too much bleed from the monitors on stage as they got closer.

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Good advice all around. Let us know how it goes for post.

 

I add that I would communicate to the director--often in writing through the 2nd AD for narrative stuff--that should they design the coverage not seeing the band's heads/hands the thump track would be sufficient for background movement if it's just you on the team.

 

Actually, for low-budget world, a thump track may have proved sufficient for most of the scene unless it's actually mostly the physicality of the dancing that tells the story. Always nice to be able to rile 'em up a bit with volume for scene energy though.

 

If the tune's got a regular beat easy to determine the BPM and make a separate thump track. Audacity can generate any BPM thump at 40Hz or 50Hz (it may have a higher-than-standard low freq option threshold: 'cause free?). Could edit in Audacity to drop out L = music track and keep R = thumper because the song's going to always finish before the dialog.

 

Are you OMB'ing this? Curious. This might have been a day when you would benefit from an extra person on the team if only to edit, hit "Play" and cut out the music on cue.

 

P.S. Ask 2nd AD if OK the dummer can fake play well, if not then rubber dampers for the drum heads requested (if you or the Prop Master don't have 'em in your kits). Oh, cc: the Prop Mistress. Don't ask me how I know this.

Edited by Jan McL
For paragraph spacing of merged replies.

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