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Corrado

Car as "wild lines" booth

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Hi fellow sound men. I'm Corrado from Italy and I've been lurking around here for a while, always finding helpful suggestions and a big deal of shared knowledge for which I thank you all !

I'm about to start a job that will include a lot of dialogues on a shore , extremely close to the sea  . There's a chance that some days we gonna have bigger, noisier, waves. I'm planning to use the old mkh70 for the majority of the time but, being this a low budget job with no enough resources for ADR sessions,  I was wondering if it would be of any help ,during the worst days,  to use a fairly big car ( "treated" with carpets and blankets ) to record wild lines just after the scene . Anyone has tried out this method ? Would this be just a waste of energies ?

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from a post perspective, wild lines are always welcome - especially if you KNOW your production sound was cut in challenging situations.  the hardest part is generally just getting access to the actors for long enough to do the actual recording, but if you can do that you'll very likely save someone's ass down the line.

 

that said, best practice is to NOT cut wild lines in a dramatically different environment from the set.  IOW, if they're outside but near the sea, move over to a different spot far enough away from the surf noise that the takes are going to be usable and cut the lines there.  the point is not to get a 'booth' sound, but instead to get a sound that can be intercut seamlessly with actual production sound.

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+1 

 

Post can add more waves if they need to, so listen to the environment and the timbre of the voice and try to match these somewhere with less waves.  A small enclosed space will sound like a small enclosed space. 

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Have done this a lot.   A large vehicle (like a pass van or the interior of a moho) is way better than a small car re "hearing the walls".  Obviously drive away from the set if you can--pick your spot.  Mic as close as you can get away with to minimize BG.  The results are not usually perfect but much more usable that something recorded on the set unless your production is unusually cooperative re: sound.

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If you must record in a car, give us two imultaneous tracks: one with a mic where you think it sounds good, and one very tight. While a close mic will never sound like a properly distanced one, in this case it might be easier to treat the close track and add the seashore waves, than to try to "un-car" this distant one that's been polluted by boxy acoustics. 

 

Ideally, talk to production and audio post about it before shooting. Since this is a low-budget film, it might actually be easier to get the team together... and post might consist of one person who's both editing and dubbing.

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I agree with rcoronado and John Blankenship, wild lines recorded outside are likely to match better. I have post experience with a scene taking place next to what amounts to a waterfall which sounds like constant, heavy white noise. Having the wild lines recorded close to the waterfall, but farther away than the actual location in picture was sounded great.

In my limited experience, a car can work for voiceover-type content, but I would hate to try matching stuff recorded in a car to stuff that's recorded outside. Even when you can't hear the boxy acoustics of the car, there's a clearly different quality to the sound that's frustratingly hard to pin down for the right kind of processing to make a car match outdoor recordings, but there might be something I don't know.

You could also try having a fig.8 on hand for closeups and point the null towards the surf.

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I agree with others that wild lines are best recorded in the same, or closely similar, environment but farther from the noise source. A serviceable track can be recorded by walking inland a bit, away from the surf.

 

My best results came when I positioned the person speaking with their back to the surf. Then I would use a directional microphone, a shotgun or short shotgun, aimed up from the waist. The body of the person speaking acts as a buffer blocking some of the direct surf sound. If there are two or three people having a dialog, I would array them in a semicircle so each could be recorded the same way. It's probably best to stay on the sand as the soft surface absorbs much of the reflected sound that might otherwise hit the microphone. That benefit is greater than anything gained by an additional ten or twenty feet of distance to work in the parking area.

 

Of course, each circumstance is a bit different but that's how I would first approach the task. Moving inland just enough to get some distance also has the benefit of being relatively easy, improving the chances that the AD and Production will be cooperative.

 

David

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The "record in a car" thing came up because in recent decades I have had almost zero luck getting anything more than a single line recorded wild on a working set, and often not even that (or roomtone).  So the car recording is a Hail Mary, often the least bad solution at hand.  Sure, if you can rig a up a quiet room nearby with furni pads or bass traps etc, go for it.  I find that time available with principal talent is generally so short and the need to keep the G+E and art folks working so great that the car (or van) is what I have to work with.

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Thank you very much for the valuable inputs and suggestions ! Surely recording wild tracks in a "treated" car is not an orthodox procedure and I was thinking about it as  last resort . Glad that Philip had some success with this method, if if worse came to worst I know that I can try it .

Hopefully with a bit of help from production I'll be able to "steal the actors" long enough to get some wilds as far as possible from the sea. I'll keep you posted

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Done so many!

 

Close miked and you would not tell if it's not been done in a voice booth

 

Mike

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