Jump to content
rcoronado

a dialogue editing roundtable with some big names

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

We recently recorded a dialogue editing episode of our podcast, tonebenders, with some pretty big names in the biz.  We talk a bit about what these editors wish the production sound folks knew about their workflows, and got into the weeds with what happens with your tracks once they come to the edit room.  I figured that would be of interest here.

 

tonebenders ep 75

 

thanks!

-Rene

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow what a listen!

I roughly understood what they did but without any contact with with post

it was so interesting to hear about their techniques using current technology.

On the other hand they had pity for us location workers and did not seem

to fully understand the technology we use.

 

mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Mike,

 

i'd love to hear some specific feedback about the tech and challenges you face that I can send back in their direction.  I'm of the opinion that we don't get to have enough cross-discipline conversations, and we'd all benefit from knowing more about what's happening both upstream and downstream in the production process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi RC

 

I agree totally!

 

Do you want to email me direct??

 

mike

www.mikewestgatesound.co.nz

New Zealand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No real surprises besides a few strange assumptions about microphones and digital audio recording, and that a PSM on a dramatic project could get away with not recording a lot of iso'ed lavs anymore and be able to work booms all the time on every film.   I think they understand that time pressures end up dictating how current production sound is recorded just as much as they dictate how they edit that sound.  It sucks for everyone other than the investors, for whom it's all great!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very true Philip

 

Less rehearsals, multi cameras, wide/roving and tight

Hence the need for lavs and maybe one boom for c/ups/2 shots or acoustic

Just look at any UK or US series on Netflix, quality stuff but lavs a plenty!

Oh well with 600mHz being overtaken here I may end my 40 year business sadly!

 

mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone with a foot in both production and post I was not surprised about what they said about how recording dialog on the set is done anymore. But I was depressed to hear that even at the level these folks work at the time allotted for their work is shrinking fast, they almost never get to go to mixes anymore, they mostly work at home and thus don't interact much with the rest of the post team except by email, and what time they still have to do their work is much taken up with such quixotic and soul-destroying tasks as syncing boom tracks to lav tracks.   I understood completely the feelings of the cutter who mentioned the dismay she feels at the start of projects when presented with giant stacks o'tracks to sort through etc, the product of full-spread lav iso recordings of every shot in a show.  There was a little tinge of resentment towards PSMs for loading them up with so many tracks....   I understand this but would counter that they don't have to A: own, maintain, setup and operate all that gear, B: deal with the wardrobe of all those actors again and again and  C do all the secretarial and IT work of  logging, dubbing and backing up all that data.  Going full-iso is not EASIER for the production soundies, at all, right?  I think they were receptive to the notion of using a PSM's mix when possible, but also understood that in The World Of Wide And Tight often that mix will be unrehearsed and thus a bit rough, and that the booms will be stratospheric, so the mix is mostly lavs anyhow.   As to the business of plant mics....well folks, yes, those are a vestige of the time when scenes were rehearsed and actors hit their marks consistently.   If that doesn't happen then they don't buy you much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing this! Love hearing what post people have to say about what works and doesn't for them. Do wish we had more contact with them from the beginning of the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/1/2018 at 12:15 PM, rcoronado said:

Hey Mike,

 

i'd love to hear some specific feedback about the tech and challenges you face that I can send back in their direction.  I'm of the opinion that we don't get to have enough cross-discipline conversations, and we'd all benefit from knowing more about what's happening both upstream and downstream in the production process.

 

So maybe in a future podcast, have two PSMs and to post people? With the right people (i.e., experienced, opinion-filled, but not combative), that could be really interesting. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah it sounds like there’s a lot of misunderstanding as to what goes on on set vs what’s happening in post. Creating a dialogue between both worlds would be a good idea. 

 

Hearing these guys guys complain about having too many tracks delivered, microphone phasing, and useless boom tracks, makes me think that they don’t understand that we are dealing with unreasonable time constraints, and more and more cameras, not to mention all kinds of other obstacles that are becoming more common. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they assume that a PSM has more control over how things get shot than is the case anymore.  Often it seems like communication to the sound dept is so poor that PSMs "shotgun" coverage--ie mic everyone and everything since everything is in the shot of at least one of the cameras, there are no or minimal rehearsals and not many takes.  A typical dismissive AD answer to questions about what is happening in a shot: "just wire everybody" kind of tells the story.  Since the creatives don't want to share detailed info about their shots (and may not have a well-defined plan anyhow) everyone goes for everything all the time: lots of cameras, lots of mics and thus lots of tracks.  I don't see this changing anytime soon, and if has forced even small post operators like me to get a lot more shirty about the parameters of sound cutting jobs before agreeing to do them.   I also think that the first maker of audio post-capable apps that can figure out how to automate a lot of the track/mic etc selection and post sync work (with user-settable parameters) is going to end up owning that business, because the current method of doing all this work is far too time-and-labor intensive.   Someone needs to look at how filmmakers want to work now and start from scratch with an app that addresses those concerns, w/o having to bring along a boatload of old code and inefficient functions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

I also think that the first maker of audio post-capable apps that can figure out how to automate a lot of the track/mic etc selection and post sync work (with user-settable parameters) is going to end up owning that business, because the current method of doing all this work is far too time-and-labor intensive.  

 

seems like that would take some degree of machine - learning to get it actually happening.  IOW, the algorithm would have to be able to identify on-mic vs incidental by some combination of loudness, reverberation and frequency content, but it would clearly not be as simple as just setting thresholds because it would require context to discern what's what.  I know iZotope has some machine learning programmed into their dialogue isolate and de-rustle modules these days.  Seems like it could eventually be do-able, but it also seems like technologically its a pretty tough nut to crack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn’t want to pass track/mic selection and others to an algorithm, and I don’t think that would even be that beneficial. 

A good start could be an app that automatically aligns phase between a number of tracks. Perhaps looking for non speach parts where it could splice and align everything to a chosen master track. 

Considering we already have had things like VocAlign and PluralEyes for some years now, I just can’t imagine that to be too tricky. 

But I think that could save a lot of time in post

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Constantin said:

I wouldn’t want to pass track/mic selection and others to an algorithm, and I don’t think that would even be that beneficial. 

A good start could be an app that automatically aligns phase between a number of tracks. Perhaps looking for non speach parts where it could splice and align everything to a chosen master track. 

Considering we already have had things like VocAlign and PluralEyes for some years now, I just can’t imagine that to be too tricky. 

But I think that could save a lot of time in post

I don't want to pass that off either, but I also don't like producers wanting me to deal with stacks o' tracks for the same money they used to pay me to take in 2 or 4 per shot.  I also prefer recording scenes with one or two booms and a single camera after some serious rehearsing instead of "50-50" and everything prefade iso to "n" number of tracks.  The world has changed, and everyone appears to think that the solutions to newer problems will be more DSP+computer use, not reverting to how we used to work.  I'd put money on there being more than one company trying to figure this out right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting comments. Can't wait to hear the podcast. Sounds like a lot of complaining about iso tracks. Odd. It's my understanding iso's are post driven/requested/demanded thing. I know "wire em all" is an AD thing and I have zero issue telling a AD no. Hard to argue with a producer who gets a chain email from post wanting an explanation why we didn't wire em all. 

CrewC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I get out of this, post would rather have a well placed boom than a bunch of ISOs. Since we are in agreement, can we gang up on camera and take over?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JonG said:

From what I get out of this, post would rather have a well placed boom than a bunch of ISOs. Since we are in agreement, can we gang up on camera and take over?

 

But Producers always ask to wire everyone and they are the ones paying the bills... More often than not it feels like a producer would rather have another wire than another boom.... and if you say anything regarding boom placement their response is “aren’t they wired?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think sometimes for the AD and maybe director too having everyone wired becomes a sort of cop-out like.. Well now it’s ok if we shoot wide and tight... they’re all wired. Crew is talking during the take well whatever they’re all wired. Why is Sound asking for things? Aren’t they all wired already? Why should we wait or slow down to correct X issue aren’t they wired?

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KGraham045 said:

 

But Producers always ask to wire everyone and they are the ones paying the bills... More often than not it feels like a producer would rather have another wire than another boom.... and if you say anything regarding boom placement their response is “aren’t they wired?”

 

Maybe I've been fortunate... maybe it's just the work I get, but I've literally only had this requested of me once (and I told them that maybe I wasn't the right person for their job).

 

In terms of beating w&t's

I wonder whether its a self fulfilling prophecy, born of asserting our expectations early on... or if it's just dumb luck, but I've really only had one DP give me a headache about this.

I feel like, in my experience, once people see that there is a reason behind what you're doing/asking, they are willing to work together toward the same end. After all... its a collaborative medium.

 

Generally speaking, It's my approach to try to cover a scene with as few sources as I can get away with. A mentor once phrased it to me: "it's our goal to sell the illusion that the entire scene was recorded with a single microphone". While he was talking more specifically about the production mix (and keeping bg levels and tone consistent), It's something I always strive for (and It's my taste to arrive there through the booms, first and foremost)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One ask I took away from this podcast is the request to get clean slates instead of room tone.  I have all but given up on trying to get complete quiet for slates, as they are often seen as a burden to the workflow on set and everyone just wants to get them in as quickly as possible.  I think it would also take asking the 2nd AC to pause for a couple seconds before running out of the shot after the slate claps.  I could see a very reasonable bargain made with the AD - If I can capture clean slates we don't have to take time for room tone.  Not sure how well that will continue to work as soon as the time pressure starts to add up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry but I don't think the clean-clap thing is ever going to get built in to any but the nerdiest director's set workflow.  First of all, there is an increasing hostility to doing slates at all, and 2nd, if they are done everyone else on the crew is madly trying finish up their work before the scene starts.   If this is really important to post then they have to make a formal request through channels, and not expect a PSM to do all the explaining about why it should be done.  There are other things I want to ask for that are WAY more important to me than that clap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How clean of a recording is necessary an impulse response to be effective? That would be my follow up to the editor that mentioned the idea. 

 

Does it or have to be dead quiet for a few seconds to get the entire tail? How loud does it need to be? If there’s anything overlapping is it useless or is there some margin for error?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×