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How do you manage sound report? (Documentary )


Franctir
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Hi,

 

As i said on another topic, i'm still in the process of learning, and actually i got a real problem with sound report in general.

I'm working on a documentary, and the director/cameraman is in a "real time" shooting style.

The only thing he says is "cut", moving to another point of view and 2 seconds later is already recording.

So i got a lot of files, but never got time to note anything about the shot (bad take, environmental noise...etc)

Anyway german production company ask for those sound reports.

Hell on earth 😅

My question is how do you manage your sound reports on the fly?

Any app that can help, recording a note via your slate mic?

 

Thanks

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I do documentary work as well, and I am working in Germany as well.

Sound reports I sometimes do mainly to inform the editors who failed to import the track names, I do the quick notes about enviromental sounds, wild tracks end so on in hand writing and transfer them later - some people „circle“ those, because it is quicker to do on some machines. Comes with the disadvantage that you have to go through all your circled takes at night.

You can prepare phrases and store them in your machine. Some people use an input stick for SD machines and be quicker with it than with using the SD phrases. (https://www.amazon.de/Rysc-Corp-InputStick/dp/B06ZYK4PR8).

Depends upon the machine (and its menu design) you are recording on, too.

But I think there is a limit what one can note and store during a shooting day.

Interesting question, I am sure there are a lot of methods to fence and store the information.

Jule

 

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If you are working on a verite style shoot where you are moving all the time, the takes are long and unpredictable and you are hefting a bag-rig and a fishpole then whatever info you can give post is what they get.  I think it is still too time consuming and distracting to enter data into the recorder via a keyboard in the fly in that sort of situation, perhaps once in awhile.  I mostly have done a combo of scribbling notes to myself on strips of tape attached to the top of the rig as well as using a small spiral notebook when I can.  Later, on a break or when downloading, I enter that info into a sound report, either on the machine (SD) or (more easily) in Wave Agent.  

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Bag + no boom = no proper sound notes.  If you have the time and wherewithal to put notes in the digital sound report files, that’s great! I do name the tracks.

 

As a fun alternative, you could always voice tail slate all of your files after that dude says cut. Just yell out as much as you can before he starts rolling again!  Or you could put a hardline lav on an extra track, and add voice notes or head slates while rolling.  I’d imagine on a timeline those voice notes would be easy to find.  Obvs not gonna work on a quiet shot.

 

But seriously, if you are in a situation like that, you need a boom op if you are going to make proper notes. And we all know that’s not going to happen, so I say lower your standards on the notes, and focus on recording everything. Then tell the producers that you chose to focus on properly recording rather than documenting, a choice made based on the job conditions.

 

Dan Izen

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Well, I can understand those concerns too, and I unfortunetely know this way of producing quite well ... (based in Germany too).

 

I record in daily folders, and never reset the take during the entire production. For sound report I use WaveAgent. I check "file name", "tape", which is the folder name. And TC Start and TC End. So, with the information of the file name, the daily folder ("tape") and the TC, every file appears clearly and unique. Even when shot in realtime (ToD). The files can easily be found because the TC matches with the video material and the shooting day - if I hit record and stop my recording in the same moments the camera operator does.

I start with Take 100, if there will be no more than 899 takes (meaning 3 digits) or at Take 1000 if there will be up to 8999 (meaning 4 digits), so that there won't be struggle when sorting the files by name on the DAW or editing software.

 

I send the sound report by mail, and if I know the editor, which sometimes is the case, I mail it directly to him / her. No complaints for many years.

 

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16 hours ago, Izen Ears said:

Bag + no boom = no proper sound notes.  If you have the time and wherewithal to put notes in the digital sound report files, that’s great! I do name the tracks.

 

As a fun alternative, you could always voice tail slate all of your files after that dude says cut. Just yell out as much as you can before he starts rolling again!  Or you could put a hardline lav on an extra track, and add voice notes or head slates while rolling.  I’d imagine on a timeline those voice notes would be easy to find.  Obvs not gonna work on a quiet shot.

 

But seriously, if you are in a situation like that, you need a boom op if you are going to make proper notes. And we all know that’s not going to happen, so I say lower your standards on the notes, and focus on recording everything. Then tell the producers that you chose to focus on properly recording rather than documenting, a choice made based on the job conditions.

 

Dan Izen

I use the slate mic on my Mixpre 10T II exactly for that.

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In the Nagra days it used to be very common for both the doco soundie and the shooter to "talk to the Nagra" at the end of a complex sequence, while what they had just done was fresh in their minds.  The shooter could tell the editor who we were shooting and how they expected the sequence could be cut together (because the great doco shooters are editing in their heads as they roll), I could tell the editor and transfer operator who was who and why they needed which wild tracks to make the scene work and so on.  But in those days a transfer operator was going to listen to every inch of what we recorded as it was dubbed to mag-film, and be logging it all as well while reading whatever report we could  manage to make for them.  Now files go straight to editorial, and I feel an obligation to try and not make them spend a lot of time doing "detective work" figuring out the tracks.  Yes--it is easier now since there is probably (hopefully) a ref track attached to the camera files, but with multitrack audio some sort of documentation seems vital.  We used to joke that if we didn't tell the posties what a sound was and where it was (and what it went with) that we might as well have not recorded it!

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In your situation I wouldn’t be taking notes. But sometimes I make a take at the end of the day called “notesT01” and verbally mention whatever needs to be said. That keeps you out of trouble if they suddenly expect a detailed report after the fact, and when it wasn’t possible to do so in the first place. Otherwise, my sound report is usually just so people can see the track names, and have my contact info in case they have any questions. Nobody has ever complained about that system. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A (quick) production meeting beforehand usually clears up all expectations and deliverables (including sound report) and file naming.

 

I simply use the Sound Devices created sound report on my 664 or 633. I usually set up (or the machine does it for me) a daily folder.

I usually fill in job, client name, director, etc. the day before when I get the call sheet.  I do add notes when I can. If it's a VO or wild line, ambience, room tone, etc. I have some common phrases saved in the recorder for quick access. Or just label the file name VO, room tone, etc.

The machine (664/633) saves the sound report with the audio tracks in the daily folder.

If anyone asks for it, I direct them to that daily audio folder, or I will e-mail the sound report file from my backup drive or the SD/CF card.

I find this pretty easy. I suppose the key is to have a chat with prod co., post, etc. as to what they are looking for (aside from great sound).

Sometimes I wonder if anyone even looks at my sound report.

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Yup, just the automatic report that a 633 generates is all they get from me. If I remember to do that much. I’ve written emails explaining complicated setups involving music recording but there’s no time to do it during the work day. I label the tracks and name each scene something sensible if there’s time for that. 

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When i am cart based i still create  paper logs along with the Sound Devices log. When i am bag based they only get the SD track log with a few canned phrases. i also tell them the cameras only get a dirty mix since i am holding a boom as well as the bag.

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