Good sound matters. It beats good picture when shooting a dialogue heavy scene or film. Unless you have access to post dubbing stages for ADR (automated dialogue replacement) – you will be stuck with what you shot LIVE on the floor.
STAY AWAY FROM TRAFFIC and TRAINS when shooting your dialogue scenes. STAY AWAY FROM HVAC, TRUCKS, KIDS, PARKS and ELECTRICAL STUFF at all times. For peace of mind, stay away from just about everything that can impede your dialogue tracks.
In big budget films, up to eighty percent of location sound can be replaced and in Europe for many years post dubbing was the only option – but now, in the digital age we’ve got some sweet audio options for you to consider. Here are FIVE key sound concerns to remember. Make sure that you have a dedicated sound Recordist (mixer) PLUS a boom operator to get the microphone as close as possible to the actors speaking. If you can’t afford one or are short crewmembers, have a quality RODE microphone plugged into your camera. #goodsoundmatters
Spend some money and pickup some tiny Sony digital voice recorders ($50) plus lavaliere microphones you can hide on your actors for better dialogue. These little marvels can save your butt. Proximity of the microphone counts more than the name brand and with these little sound recorders in the actor’s pocket and a lavaliere microphone hidden under their clothing, you can record a strong signal without the cost of expensive digital transmitters and radio microphone units. #savinggrace
2. Wild Lines
Record WILD LINES at the scene if marred by noise. Just pickup the dialogue spoken after the noise has quieted down for better chance of your sound designer placing it after the fact. #wildlinesrock
3. Room Tone
Record room tone (30 seconds minimum) of the sound of the set immediately after the scene is wrapped. Hell, if you can do it after every setup, it will save your butt later on. I always regret not getting enough room tone.
4. Fight for your rights
Fight for your rights as a Sound Recordist to be given equal parity as picture. Half of cinema experience is aural and if it sounds like Hell, you will lose your audience faster than if it looks like crap. For too long, the Sound Dept. has been treated like some red-haired stepchild and it’s complete bullshit. Protect your sound and save your film. #protectyoursound
5. Listen to your sound recordist
Cinema 2.0 acolytes KNOW that sound is important and LISTEN to the Recordist when she or he asks for another one due to bad sound. Chances are you will NOT be able to fix it in the mix on your friend’s laptop or home studio. #goagainforsound
Sound problems will be magnified tenfold if projected on a large screen. Spend time learning to listen on set and while location scouting so you don’t pick a great location where you will have to dub all of the lines later on.
You can learn to think with your ears as well as your eyes when working and pay attention to camera noise, computer hard drives and phones that really should be OFF on set. It’s a lot to remember but it’s worth it for smooth and clean audio.
Remember to enforce a $$$$ fine for anyone who ruins a take due to his or her cellphone going off during a take. It works.