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Den Nic

Sound Reports and Reference Tone

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Hey guys,

Just wondering which among you do sound reports manually with pen and paper or do them electronically with a laptop, iOS device, etc. (or who doesn't do them at all? I.E. OMB? Reality Shows? etc.)

 

Also wondering how often you put a reference tone file (-20dBFS) in the daily folder for post? Is this still needed usually?

 

Thanks Guys!

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I write out a sound report every day. I voice slate the 1st entry of my folder and it ends with a -20 db line up tone. At the end of the day I use the Deva option to write a sound report which is the last thing in my folder. I plan on using Movie Slate in the future but old habits die hard and I may continue to write out an old school sound report. Why not? I have 1000's left.

CrewC

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"I may continue to write out an old school sound report. Why not?"

 

It is only fitting that old school should continue to do hand written old school sound reports. I do to. Just about everybody I know has gone to some sort of electronic sound report. I will use MovieSlate on the next movie (primarily to expedite generating a really nice electronic sound report) and I may even do a hand written report right along side. I still do exactly what old school does --- first segment (recording) is the Sound Roll ID voice slated followed by a -20db reference tone. There are lots of different opinions about the value of this reference tone. The tone certainly does not serve the same vital purpose that it used to in the old analog transfer days but I feel that it still has value as a predictable and repeatable reference for the overall recording (tracks) you will be turning in to post.

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I still have a foot in each century. Vo slate each take "101 take 58" and a  single beep. Then 2 beeps and a tail ID before I cut. I must like the sound of my own voice.;~)

CrewC

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I have abandoned the voice slate at the beginning of the roll. No media requires identification. File names and metadata do the work. And nobody listens any more. I still do a tone file, but really as a spacer, since the file screen on 788T lists all files on hard drive. It separates each roll's files visually. Of course I could go into the folders, etc., but a quick glance is easier to find a file.

I will probably keep doing paper reports. I found out that all the electronic ones are printed and copied, and they actually generate more paper due to the fewer number of takes that fit on the page. My sound reports are 1/2 page and hold 25 takes per report. They combine two together on a single page before copying, so typically it's only one page per sound roll.

I did convince the production office to scan/photograph the reports and keep them electronically. They used to photocopy them too.

I am also a bad multitasker, so the paper reports allow me to catch up at my own pace.

Robert

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I have abandoned the voice slate at the beginning of the roll. No media requires identification. File names and metadata do the work.

 

I do it so my boom op can yell "sound speed" at the AD. The other reason is in the event of catastrophic failure, like clients who can't read the metadata, or situations where the timecode turns out to be bad. I have been in dailies situations where a take got skipped or the timecode went bad, and we had to painstakingly go through and listen to the first few seconds of every take to find the missing one. Having an audible slate, even something short like "Twenty-nine Apple Take two," is better than silence and a clap. This is particularly helpful on wild tracks, sound rolled during MOS takes, and wild lines. 

 

I also still do two beeps at the end of the take because I think it's a good tradition. I can also recall film dailies situations where technically the AD yelled cut, but the camera kept going so we let the dailies scene continue to roll, and they got some good moments purely by accident. The assistant editor likes to hear the two beeps, because they know for a fact that the crew has really cut and moved on. 

 

Bear in mind that the only people who want the audible slate, camera slate, sound reports, and beeps are the post sound crew and the assistant editor. Some of the new ones nowadays don't care, but I cling to it just out of respect for the old days, and because it feels like the right thing to do. I don't have a problem with emailed PDF sound reports, and I've been doing that for the last couple of years with no problem.

 

And I do record at least :10 seconds of 1K tone at the beginning of the day, with a head slate of the name of the show, the production company, my name, record format, recorder, timecode, the boom op's name, the name of the location, and so on, just so if there's a question about low levels, I can verify with the editor that this "Slate" take reads at -20dBfs on their timeline. So it's more to tell when something's wrong, and to CYA. 

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I have no idea how the reality world editors I've been working with are doing it. I had a discussion about this recently at Gotham, and the customer who was there said that she had heard that Pluralize doesn't work anywhere near as well as claimed. Not that I'm surprised much about that. Apparently, the camera mic really just sucks for capturing anything that Pluralize can recognize against a quality lav or boom track. Imagine that.

 

For me... The projects I have worked on (when they use a slate at all!) the AC does the voice slate, b/c he/she is closest to the actors and the boom... They also tend to be one of the few that actually knows what the slate should read! Since I'm stuck as a OMB, keeping track as the director or DP randomly pulls a scene number out of some orifice while I'm fixing / batterying / rigging something can be just one more challenge.

 

When they are using scene numbers at all!

 

Marc, I know you are cringing right now. So am I, believe me. Honest now, the first time in about a YEAR that I had a job using both a slate and actual scene numbers... Was about a month ago. Also the first gig in that long that I used MovieSlate to do sound reports, and the first gig in a year where they said the words "cut" and "reset to one, going again" Even as a OMB (first time in 6 months with my cart in use), I was happy to be able to offer the reports and see the slate actually being used. That gig was a blast of fresh air and fun.

 

The reality TV way of shooting has infected even far-from-reality projects. No slates (not even clapping!) barely ever stop recording except to change discs / cards... And with no timecode (they aren't interested or are using a 5D/7D), I have no clue how they are syncing it all up again. I miss standard filming gigs. A couple of these have even politely declined even a comtek hop. Yep, they are running completely naked - no slate, no clapping, no hop, no sound reports (because I'm bagging it OMB) never telling me if they stop rolling... 

 

Makes me sad that I'm handing off such a product and that some poor shlub in post will be inflicted with this, but what can you do? It is what the client wants, "because it makes the filming more natural and mobile." *twitch*

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I really like hearing take numbers in the recording.  I make a deal with the 2nd AC--I do the slate PTouch for you ahead of time (in my prep) and take care of all that tedious Lockit jamming business, and in return, you don't just say "marker" when you slate, you say "marker 1" or etc.   It makes finding a take for playback check much more foolproof, same for the syncers.   I still do a written report, but it is only for me and the info gets transferred to an electronic report as I go.  No one I work for has a mechanism dealing with a paper report anymore--there isn't anywhere to put it and no one to give it to.   PluralEyes takes some skill and experience to work well, I have clients who base their whole workflow on it and once they establish a single test clap file they basically use my slate as a logging reader--it never goes in front of the cameras again.  PluralEyes 3 is a lot faster than previous versions.  I've found DPs starting to get interested in PluralEyes and promoting it to clients so they can avoid having extra gak on their cameras, esp for handheld shoots.  Works for me.

 

philp

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So you guys who voice-slate every take, do you do that always or only in those cases where the 2nd AC or whoever does the slating isn't calling out the scene/take number? Marc, I wonder with regards to the catastrophic failure of timecode and metadata, wouldn't you still have the name of the file to help you find the right take? And my last question, if I may, what is the actual purpose of the head and tail beeps? Just a leftover from the tape days? What was the purpose in the tape days? Just to mark the end of the take? Unfortunately, I only got into this business when the tape days were already pretty much over...

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I have no idea how the reality world editors I've been working with are doing it. I had a discussion about this recently at Gotham, and the customer who was there said that she had heard that Pluralize doesn't work anywhere near as well as claimed.

 

Yeah, Pluralize works best when it's syncing up sound that sounds somewhat close to the new track. For this reason, a camera hop works a lot better than the on-camera mic. 

 

I agree, all bets are off if it's a one-man-band doing reality-style shooting. All you can do is do your best. I've done these and still tried to do at least a modicum of audible slates, just to help the assistant editor, but I have no doubt it was an effort for them to sync up this mess in post. I sent the post department four days' worth of sound reports over a weekend, before all the footage arrived, so at least they'd have a vague road map of what we shot and the start timecodes.

 

I personally think the AC operating the slate only needs to say "A Camera mark" (or whatever), but that's just old-school film tradition. You figure, if they shoot 120 takes a day and waste ten seconds on each camera take waiting for the AC to precede it with "Scene 27 Baker, Take Thirteen," that's 20 minutes of extraneous material taking up drive space -- more if it's A&B camera. It makes no sense to me to do it, but it's up to the camera crew and AD. 

 

Head and Tail beeps were necessary in the analog days when rapidly cueing up Nagra 1/4" analog tapes in dailies. I still do it because I think some traditions are important and it feels like the right thing to do. When I don't hear somebody yell cut, I'll look up and make sure they're actually stopped down, then I'll say "that's a cut" and add 2 tail beeps, for the benefit of anybody listening on Comteks.

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I prefer that the A.C. call the scene/take numbers for many of the same reasons Jim mentioned. I've worked on numerous productions where mystery numbers (and way too many variations of letter combinations) were conjured up only after we started rolling and someone decided maybe they'd need them later.

<grin> If it takes someone ten seconds to say a take number, they should have their Valium prescription revoked.

The way I learned it was that the A.C. only announces what has changed on the slate. So, with a new reel of film, along with a new scene and take, it would be "Card four, Scene 102A, Take one," after which he/she would just announce, "take two," "take three," etc. which requires very little time (and wastes precious little drive space, or assistant editor's time, when compared to the "creative conferences" that take place while rolling until the director decides three minutes into the discussion to finally cut.)

When working on a cart, I still do paper sound reports. One copy goes with the hard drive that contains the camera files and my sound files, another copy fits into the cover of the DVD case that contains my sound files on DVD-RAM disc (some of my clients seem to want both), and I keep the master so I can make a good photocopy to send to them when they lose things.

How they can lose sound files (and reports), but not video files, seems unlikely, but apparently, they've figured out a way.

For "bag gigs" sending sound to camera, I do not do sound reports. Holding a pole in one hand while mixing with the other means the thought of a sound report doesn't even cross my mind.

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Interesting about the beeps, I know when I use the 744T or 788T (renting) I always have the beeps on for my own purposes to audibly verify that the machine is running but I didn't realize that would be put on tape in some situations/workflows, would that be over the mix track or all tracks (isos)?

Also, every set I've been on here in Toronto (Small Indie stuff to Large Union shows) the 2nd AC (Or trainee) who is slating reads the slate, the Operator says Mark it, and they clap it, Usually on the larger shows it's a slate number and then a take number, ie 1 take 3, 3 take 4, etc. so the sound file needs to have the scene that the slate is displaying, but on medium to small stuff it's always 'scene 1 take 2' etc.

 

I enjoy doing paper reports when I'm not OMBing but might look into an electronic option. Thing about electronic on iphone or whatehaveyou is you look like your texting and not doing work (Which I AM guilty of, but would want to avoid looking like I'm doing it EVERY shot lol).

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" I always have the beeps on for my own purposes to audibly verify that
the machine is running but I didn't realize that would be put on tape in
some situations/workflows, would that be over the mix track or all
tracks (isos)?
"

 

RTFM

those beeps are typically only in your cans!

 

the head and tail beeps are deliberately sent to the recordings.

traditionally, there was a 30 Hz tone under the slate mic for head of take, and 2 x 1k "beeps" to signal the cut.

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Yes, Senator and Jim, I understand what I am talking about is the record and cut indicators on the Sound Devices products for audible indication into my headphones. What I was saying is that I didn't know some people (who have just said so on this thread) put beeps at the top and end of their FILE.

 

I.E.: Simply a statement of something I had not considered doing/knew of anybody doing.

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The head and tail beeps, as my fellow-oldsters know, were so that the tape-transfer people could hear where the heads and tails of takes were while in (relatively) fast wind mode, ie without listening to every take at sound speed.   This was important all the time with tape, especially so in an unstructured type of shoot like a verite doc.  In that case it was also important to "talk to the Nagra" frequently and verbally describe to the transfer person what was going on, esp with multiple cameras.   We also sometimes used to use a bloop light that had two freqs of bloop tone to identify which of two cams was being marked.

 

I don't need the guys slating to read the whole scene number etc, saying "marker 10" doesn't take any more time than just saying "marker" really.

 

philp

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Speaking of sound reports,  I've just stopped having to get prints from the Script super.  Why do it these days now that everything we record is transferred over anyway.  

 

I spend most of my energy just trying to get the correct scene # from the script super before we roll these days.  She always seems to be the last person to know when the shot has changed.  It gets harder and harder to get them out of their chair at video village and go on set to find out what's going on.   Since I'm mirroring as I record, I hate it when the scripty comes to her senses and shouts out the newly changed # after we've started to roll.  Going back to change the meta-data after the fact only changes it on the hard drive and not on the mirrored media.  I guess another reason to keep a hand written log.

 

I still lay down 2 beeps after each take - it's my way of saying to the editors that I haven't fallen asleep after listening to all this boring dialogue. :)

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So, without meaning to step on anyone's toes (which I seem to be doing enough of in other threads), what's the point of doing the head/tail beeping today? I am like Den, having found out about the beeping just prior to this thread and wondering about its purpose. So aside from the reason of holding over from the tape days, why do it today? Should I start doing it?

Going back to change the meta-data after the fact only changes it on the hard drive and not on the mirrored media.

On the 788T at least it changes on all attached drives. I rename after the fact frequently.

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" what's the point of doing the head/tail beeping today? "

" I still lay down 2 beeps after each take - it's my way of saying to the
editors that I haven't fallen asleep after listening to all this
boring dialogue. :) 

I still do it because I think some traditions are important and it feels like the right thing to do

I also still do two beeps at the end of the take because I think it's a good tradition.

I still have a foot in each century. Vo slate each take "101 take 58" and a  single beep. Then 2 beeps and a tail ID before I cut. I must like the sound of my own voice.

I continue to do two end beeps before a cut - just for old time sake.

The tone certainly does not serve the same vital purpose that it used to in the old analog transfer days but I feel that it still has value "

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There is no reason to do it if your not inclined to do it Constantin. In Hollywood when working on stage when it is time to roll camera and sound we lock up the stage/set or go on bells. One ring means we are rolling. Two rings means we have cut. Same with our recorders really. Even if the reasons we used to do this have changed, the meaning is really the same. One beep means we are mixing. The boom op knows we are rolling and says so on the front line. Two beeps means I'm shutting down the take/mix and he or she knows this and is able to communicate that fact. For me it is just communication to my boom op and post of my action. To each there own. Every market is different. 

CrewC

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I was on one show that asked for the two beeps because they liked to hear it on the gag reel. I offered to give them a recording of two beeps, so that the editor could add onto any clip at will. They preferred that idea. I saw the gag reel at the wrap party. No beeps.

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Ah yes, I have heard those rings on behind-the-scenes shows. While I could imagine what they were for, I never related it to the beeps. Thanks guys, for the explanation

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