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About mainstreetprod

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    Middle TN
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
  • About
    Indy film producer

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  1. I'm not a soundie, I'm an indy filmmaker who cares about sound as well as picture. Prior to the project (a period feature, "Summer of '67") I got on here and asked a few questions about why I should not record straight into camera as on previous projects (and naturally got some flack).At that time I felt that the 24 bit audio of the FS7 was suitable, however, after the advice given here, ultlmately decided to record externally and hire a boom op and mixer as opposed to our usual film student with a boom and no mixer (our film students in the past were fairly good with a boom and we've gotten decent sound). Not having the budget for SD equipment, I decided on a Zoom F8 field recorder and also purchased an MKH50. The experienced boom op I hired abandoned the MKH for his own Sanken CS3 after the first day. Listening back to the sound we recorded that day, I think the problem was not necessarily the mic, but my internally cabled K-tek pole producing a constant rumble . His own, much longer boom pole was less noisy, and everything boomed after that sounded better. I had the mixer set up the F8 for a "safety track" recorded 6db lower. As it turned out, that was only needed twice in the whole film. Ambient noise was a much bigger problem than audio spikes. On one occasion we walked into a diner (still doing business as we couldn't get it any other time) and the exhaust fan along with A/C noise was huge. Boom op warned me about the level, but we had no choice but to shoot. Owner agreed to turn off the fan for a few minutes, but that was all the help we got. Ended up with ADR for the whole scene. Looking at the scene now, I don't think you would ever guess it was ADR though. I didn't want to have to depend on boom audio, especially for wider shots where the boom would get too "roomy". After consulting with the boom op, we decided to use lavaliers along with the boom whenever practical, so that in post I would have the choice of boom or lav, depending on which worked best for the scene. That ended up being an excellent choice and I think contributed to the overall sound quality. We did run into some clothing noise here and there but nothing insurmountable. I think we ended up using the lavs over the boom in many cases, they just plain sounded better. These were mainly Sennheiser G2's with Countryman E3's that myself and the mixer owned. The boom guy had a Sony lav that we used when we needed to mic several actors at once. One scene was a "one shot wonder" shot with a Movi gimbal that would have been impossible to boom. The multiple lavs worked out great with that one. Our location mixer is a 20 post veteran and will be doing our audio post. I felt that hiring a location mixer who would also be doing the post gave him a vested interest in capturing good audio. My overall experience was that hiring professionals contributed greatly to the overall sound and probably outweighed the fact that we were using semi pro level equipment at times. And after hearing the F8 sound compared to in camera sound, there is no going back. My appreciation goes out to the JW sound community for giving valuable advice in how to approach the sound for this project.
  2. mainstreetprod

    DIY sound for micro budget film

    Yep, that's me. Just finished wrapping the latest film, "Summer of '67" about 3 hours ago.Now on to editing and post. Love my FS7!
  3. mainstreetprod

    Your first sound setup or kit ever

    SInce I'm a filmmaker rather than a soundie, my list will be a bit different. Made my first feature in 2000 using a Sony C-76 shotgun and ECM-50 lavalier. Around 2006 got an AT 4053A and 4073A, along with two Sennheiser G2 wireless with Countryman B3 mics and an Oktava MK-012 for boom mic #2. A few months ago, decided to go with pro sound crew rather than students and got them the mic I thought they would want, an MKH50. They preferred their own Sanken CS3E, so the MKH goes up for sale. We are recording into a Zoom F8, using a Mixpre as preamp.
  4. mainstreetprod

    DIY sound for micro budget film

    Distributed films included "Flowers for Fannie", "The Good Book" and "Providence", which got a limited AMC theater release. Former films were faith based, but the current one is a Vietnam war era drama. We will release it Veterans Day 2018, with the goal being a wide theater release.
  5. mainstreetprod

    DIY sound for micro budget film

    Thought I would post an update since I in the middle of filming...with my first professional sound crew. Very happy with the results so far, using a Zoom F8 to record and a Mixpre (which the mixer happened to own) as preamp and way for the boom op to monitor his boom mic only. Each track recorded on the F8 has a safety track recorded at lower db. Listening to the sound files, so far no need for the safety track. We are using wireless G2's when necessary for the complexity of a scene, but still booming as an alternative sound source. Plenty of tracks to work with, maximum so far 7 tracks. I had purchased an MKH50 for the project, but the boom op preferred his CS3E and is using it on every shot, indoors or outdoors. So far I have no complaint with the result. Looks like I will have an MKH50 for sale soon, along with most of my other location sound gear as I prefer to let the pros handle it.
  6. I have a set of "Arri" lights of the same brand name. They serve my purposes well because I don't use them everyday to make a living- I shoot a feature every two years. The light weight sheet metal they are made from doesn't affect me. The bulbs they came with, which blew in less than two hours, were replaced with brand names. If I did depend on them day to day, I would spring for the real thing, which costs 4x the money. I suspect the mic is similar- spec wise as close as they can get it, but inferior in materials and build quality. I certainly wouldn't try to hammer a nail with it. Or try to make a living with it.
  7. mainstreetprod

    MKH 40 or 50?

    Exactly what I'm looking for. The AT 4053a is a good mic, but optimal at 18" or less. Need a bit more reach for wider shots.
  8. mainstreetprod

    MKH 40 or 50?

    Good information Tong, I am leaning towards the MKH50 but wanted to get various opinions on the two.
  9. mainstreetprod

    MKH 40 or 50?

    That would be ideal, but not in the budget. Also, already have an AT 4053 and 4073.
  10. mainstreetprod

    MKH 40 or 50?

    As outlined in another thread, I'm shooting a feature this Spring and have hired a boom op and location sound mixer who will be using my equipment. About 80% of the film will be shot in a Victorian home with 11' ceilings and hardwood floors. However, there are large area rugs , the ceilings are heavily textured, and there is wallpaper everywhere. The rooms do not sound particularly "live" for a house of this type. Generally there will not be a problem with extraneous sounds. The only exception is the upstairs A/C, which is located in the attic. When shooting upstairs I might not always be able to turn it off, due to the high heat level without it. I've narrowed my choice of interior mic down to the MKH 40 and MKH 50. I know the 50 is the go to mic, but if sound rejection is not a big issue, would I be better off with the 40 since it has a wider pattern?
  11. mainstreetprod

    DIY sound for micro budget film

    I did decide to go with a recorder after reading hundreds of reviews, a Zoom F8. Did a quick test when it arrived yesterday and was very pleased with the lack of preamp noise. Also, the second channel "safety" recording at lower DB will be a big plus. And, I've hired a dedicated mixer so the boom guy can do his job. The mixer is just getting into location sound, but has 20+ years post experience. I plugged the Zoom into the FS7 , set it for line level and expected a low signal but was pleasantly surprised. I will only have to boost the Zoom gain in the menu by 20% or so to get it where it needs to be for a solid scratch track.
  12. mainstreetprod

    Sooooo new at this...

    First, a disclaimer: I'm not a pro sound guy. However, I've been a filmmaker since 1999, have always done my own sound and can honestly say that even my very first film had decent sound by indy film standards. That's because I understood, even back then, that one thing trumps everything else: getting the mic as close as possible. A close mic trumps an expensive mic, recorder, etc. At one foot away, your Oktava (IMHO) will sound better than a Schoeps 3 feet away. A good lavalier may not sound like a boom, but the proximity enables it to capture very clean sound as long as there is no contact with clothes or RF hits. A mic that is too far away enables background noise to take over, as you found on the film you were hired to fix. Your equipment package is not that bad for what I suspect is a minimal budget film. You have a good preamp, an $800 mixer with good specs and reviews (edit: I see you sold it) , and a mic that is legendary for it's price range. Just my uneducated opinion, but I think you would be well advised to put priority on technique over equipment. Get that mic close, eliminate sources of background noise and pay attention to room acoustics. That will take you a long way.
  13. mainstreetprod

    DIY sound for micro budget film

    He has an H4N, but also has an F8. I chose the boom op not based on his sound gear, but on the quality of the audio in a feature where he boomed. Saw it in a theater and it sounded great, he's also done major episodic TV. He seldom records, usually booms, that's why I picked him. I'm no longer recording in camera and looking seriously at a Zoom F8. I can buy it new, resell after the project, average cost per day probably $12. If the F4 had broadcast line level out I would buy it instead, will seldom need 8 channels.
  14. mainstreetprod

    DIY sound for micro budget film

    Understand completely. I haven't made up my mind on this and am looking over everything said here, I respect everyone's opinion. But from my side, you have to understand that we have no investors, I'm not spending other people's money. If I hire a mixer and gear at an extra 13K, it comes out of my pocket. And the chances of ever seeing that money again, in the world of indy film, are not good. Over the last few years, through a lot of training and effort in lighting and set design, (and thanks to advances in camera technology) I've managed to make the image on the 40 foot screen look much higher budget than it actually is. So I'm inclined to try to keep costs down in the sound dept. as well, weighing cost vs. performance. The film I shot in 2009 was on an HPX500, which had four channels but reduced to 12bit sound when using all four. The sound was OK but that was a direct to DVD project. The FS7 is 24 bit and has reasonably quiet preamps, but I understand it's not the same as an SD recorder. I'm weighing the options back and forth. My boom op has a Zoom H4n, but I assume that would not be a great improvement over in camera compared to say an SD633, correct?