Producer seeks experienced filmmmaker/vidoemaker's opinions.

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Deal Maker, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. Deal Maker

    Deal Maker Guest

    Question for the Experienced filmmmaker/vidoemaker.

    I have been pitched an idea for a genre blending filmmaking project
    and have given the filmmaker the green light on a low budget feature
    (to be shot on mini-dv).

    For story/aesthetic/logistic reasons the microphone HAS to stay on the
    camera. I am experienced enough to know that the BANE of indie/low
    budget film is poor audio.

    What camera/audio set-up would people recommend. I have done extensive
    google research and have read the sound on a lot of mini-dv units is
    poor. The VX-2000/PD-150 hiss issue, cameras with undefeatable audio
    gain, etc., etc.,

    It seems the picture quality will be in the same ballpark for the
    majority of pro-sumer cameras but the audio won't. Keep in mind this
    feature will have a budget of less than 3K so saying hire a sound guy
    to follow your director/cameraman (the same person) around will not

    The 3K is coming out of my pocket so I want to give the filmmaker (and
    myself) the best chance of doing it right given the limitations.

    The mic has to stay on the camera issue is integral part of the style
    of shooting the filmmaker will be doing and helps the story

    I want good sound. What is the consensus?

    Deal Maker, Jan 15, 2004
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  2. Deal Maker

    Jack Perry Guest

    Quit spamming this newsgroup ASSHOLE
    instead of wasting everyone's bandwidth trying to promote your AMATEUR
    "films" which all sucked balls by the way

    grow up and LEARN how to be a filmmaker the old fashioned way:

    by actually WORKING on a few, non-high school level productions

    If you're such the big reaction-getter, dealmaker, usenet manipulator, then
    you'd know what a F****** stupid question it was that you'd just asked...
    Jack Perry, Jan 15, 2004
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  3. You can't have everything you want.
    Make the lousy sound "part of the style".
    Dub it. Subtitle it.

    People with lots more $$$ than you haven't found any way
    to break the laws of physics. There is no magic bullet.

    Assuming you aren't shooting inside an anechoic chamber.
    We can't read your mind at this distance.
    Richard Crowley, Jan 15, 2004
  4. Deal Maker

    Steve Guidry Guest

    Gee Jack.

    Maybe you're over-caffiened. You should see my friend Bob Young.
    Steve Guidry, Jan 15, 2004
  5. Deal Maker

    Ed Guest

    I have some understanding of logistics, however, how will the audience know
    from a story or aesthetic point of view, whether the microphone is on the
    camera or not? If a view of the microphone is in the shot, I guess I would
    assume it's not on the camera but if it's out of view, I wouldn't have any
    Ed, Jan 15, 2004
  6. Hire a sound person.

    Short of that, get a pair of wireless lavs (companies like Azden make
    'em, for relatively cheap) and wire up the two main actors in a scene.

    Be prepared to dub the entire movie in post (it's cheap and easy, and
    will at least be inelligible, if not authentic-sounding).

    If there truly was a way to get what you're asking for - good sound
    without a sound person and/or extra gear- don't you suppose people
    would have been doing it for years?
    Steven J. Weller, Jan 15, 2004
  7. make that 'intelligible'
    Steven J. Weller, Jan 15, 2004
  8. Deal Maker

    Jack Perry Guest


    the original poster is none other than EJN
    using an alias... waiting for the chance to spell his name in caps again...

    he spams these ng's so often that he doesn't
    DESERVE any replies...

    do a google search and you'll see that his
    email address links to ejn lame promo web sites

    death to spammers
    Jack Perry, Jan 15, 2004
  9. Deal Maker

    Alec Guest

    I want good sound. What is the consensus?

    For on-camera mic to get an OK sound from farther away, there isn't a
    good alternative to a shotgun mic. Some budget shotgun mics could
    actually easily be worse than a multi-capsule built-in pickup of many
    of the 1/3" 3CCD class prosumer camcorders like Pana AG-DVX100A or
    Canon GL2 or Sony DCR-VX2100, which, AFAIK analytically (sometimes
    depending on the zoom settnig) combine the sounds of the front and
    rear left and right capsules in ways to try to cancel out the sounds
    from the rear and bring in the sounds from the front.

    You could, however, improve on the directionality with a quality
    shotgun mic, but you'd also give up some of the surround cues that an
    on-camera mic would pick up. Perhaps it would be best to pick a camera
    with a separate L/R (balanced) mic inputs and if possible use the
    external shotgun mic on one channel and a built-in mic (or a decent
    omni mic if impossible to mix&match e.g. internal R & external L) on
    the other audio channel.

    Alec, Jan 15, 2004
  10. Deal Maker

    Sam Longoria Guest

    I can't explain the angry responses,
    but you certainly asked a civil question.
    Perhaps it's on the wrong board, several
    of them I see. Whoops, you're cross-posting,
    which you shouldn't do. Well, I'll answer you
    here, which is where I am.

    Maybe they're mad because you have $3k
    to spend making a movie, and they don't.
    That's about typical.

    While not a lot, $3k should get it shot,
    if it's all the moving hand-held
    camera type style, or lack of same.

    You say you want good sound.

    A feature-length project will cost you
    about $50k to re-record dialogue and
    mix the sound properly, and basically
    replace all your production sound with
    really good sound.

    So if your budget is $3k, you just can't
    afford all that replacement. You must
    capture the best production sound you can.

    There's a problem. You can't make a bad mic
    with bad mic placement sound good, and that's
    what putting the mic on the camera is - and it's
    just barely adequate for production recording.

    Whichever camera you choose, any of the better
    cameras will work about as well, for picture.
    It's not hard to get hold of one of those for
    a month or so, see link below.
    Yes, that's true.
    Well, that IS what I'm saying. If the mic must be on the camera,
    leave it there, but IN ADDITION, you MUST have a sound person to
    capture the production sound (which we already know is your
    only shot at a good track.) I don't know how good a Producer
    you are, but sweet-talking folks to get 'em to work for very
    little or nothing is part of the job description.

    I would have a good boom operator holding a mic over the actors'
    heads, and a wireless lavalier mic, like a Sennheiser EW 112P
    microphone and receiver, on each principal actor, feeding a mixer
    and connected to a production recorder, whether DAT, MiniDisc,
    whatever you can afford. (The wireless rents for about $30/day.)
    Sure, sure. After you record this opus,
    you cut it all together, so it fits, using
    sound from the camera mic, and the mixer's

    And you put stamps on it, and mail it
    away, and it gets into Sundance, and
    Telluride, and wins the Academy Award.
    That's how it works. Well, sometimes.

    Best to you,

    Sam Longoria

    FREE Report: Get a camera FREE for 30 Days!
    Sam Longoria, Jan 15, 2004
  11. Deal Maker

    dooda Guest

    go jack.. now go respond to the (((BLOW OUT SALE))) post!
    dooda, Jan 16, 2004
  12. Deal Maker

    Kinda Guest

    Keep in mind that the mechanical noises of the camera itself will show
    up in your sound. Be prepared to muffle the camera and insulate the
    mike from it with duct tape and lots of cloth. That isn't a good
    solution, but it might work.

    You may also be able to find the camera noise and isolate it in post.
    That wouldn't be too hard, and if you recorded in good sound locations
    (see my comments below) you can probably make a good compromise.

    Find a local musician to help you with miking and sound. A low-scale
    local musician and engineer will more about miking with bad equipment
    under bad circumstances than I could begin to tell you.

    Can you choose your locations? Stone rooms do not sound at all like
    wood rooms, nor do square rooms do not sound like irregular rooms.
    Keep this in mind. Take the camera and the mike out and run a few
    tests, find someplace where the voice really pops over the camera
    noise, and record there.

    You can also get a couple lavs and mike the actors, record the camera
    mike seperately, and then mix them together later. That way you're
    covered no matter what goes wrong. I guess that's really obvious, but
    that's definitely what I'd do. Just think of the camera noise as room
    tone, record it, loop it, and play it as a sound effect over my
    flawlessly recorded dialogue.

    Kinda, Jan 16, 2004
  13. Deal Maker

    Steve S. Guest

    I would question the major premise. Even within your stated budget, you can
    buy or rent a good shotgun and if necessary you can train a volunteer to use
    it (if you use a volunteer, be sure to monitor what they're doing on
    headsets and don't assume they're not doing something like tapping on the
    cord, etc.).

    I have shot the VX1000 and VX2000 using the camera mic (I authored a popular
    online tutorial on the 1000 when it first came out, for, and I had pretty good results. I used this method
    for a clip in a documentary I produced which aired on PBS, and with some
    EQing it works fine (because of picking up noise from the camera, not
    because of any artifact noise). In fact I'd say the VX2000 mic is a very
    good mic. People who have had reported problems have simply had a lemon, is
    my conclusion about that. It's just that any mic on the camera is going to
    pick up the camera.

    If you want to use the on-camera mic, you absolutely must be close to the
    subject. Forget shooting any scenes where the sound source is 10 feet away.
    If you are three feet away--as I was for the footage I used in my doc--it's
    feasible, with EQing afterwards. But I'd still go with the shotgun if at all
    possible. There are other options like mounting the shotgun on the camera,
    etc. which will help cut down on camera noise because it's more directional
    than the camera mic, but it would depend on why exactly you feel you can't
    use external mics in the first place.

    Steve S.
    Steve S., Jan 16, 2004
  14. Deal Maker

    Deal Maker Guest


    In response to an e-mail,

    From the Dogme 95 "Vows of Chastity"

    "2. The sound must never be produced apart from the image or vice
    versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is
    being shot.)

    "3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility
    attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place
    where the camera is standing; shooting must take place where the film
    takes place.)

    "4. The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If
    there is too little light for exposure, the scene must be cut or a
    single lamp [must] be attached to the camera.)

    Yes, these would be the only three "rules" we would be following.

    Deal Maker, Jan 16, 2004
  15. Deal Maker

    Seattle Eric Guest

    Jesus that's stupid.
    Seattle Eric, Jan 16, 2004
  16. Deal Maker

    Deal Maker Guest

    I think some clarification would help:

    From a visual/audio aesthetic standpoint think "Blair Witch" and "The

    Image pumped up a notch over what they got with their single-ccd Hi-8
    and single-ccd Mini-dv cameras, similar audio, at least aesthetically
    similiar but hoping for the best that can be rung out of a possible

    Will rent the equipment:

    The $3k is all I want to risk on the concept.

    $1k of it is going to be spent as a token offering to a low B-level
    name star for their 18 day shooting commitment (they love the script,
    the project wouldn't get through page one with $3k if they didn't!)

    The filmmaker is going to be the director/cameraman/sound and edit the

    So that said:

    VX2100, VX2000, PD-150, DVX-100, XL-1 or GL-2 or ? The list goes on.

    What camera set-up and external mic will deliver the most out of the
    above approach.

    Canon XL-1 and an Audio Technica Shotgun in a shock mount perhaps?

    Lets have some discussion, I am sure others can benefit from this
    topic besides myself.

    Deal Maker, Jan 16, 2004
  17. Deal Maker

    Jack Perry Guest

    Who's the "filmmaker" Eric?

    Jack Perry, Jan 17, 2004
  18. Deal Maker

    Endoukido Guest

    Firstly, if you are using an external mic on set, the sound is still coming
    from the same source as your image (eg your camera is focused on a person,
    the person is talking, the mic is picking up that person talking. Nothing
    more). After all, directionality for sound is a lot different than for
    visual (I hate to be the king of obviousness, but whatever). That should be
    fine for the Dogme 95 rules. If you get a volunteer to hold the mic (as
    Steve S suggested), they'll get some experience and you'll get sound for
    That said, one of the few reasons why I could understand having to use an
    on-camera mic is if your camera is going to be moving around a lot during a
    shot. I was shooting an action sequence once, and the shot was supposed to
    look frenetic, so I basically took my hand-held and circled around the
    action pretty quickly. It would have been impossible to have the sound
    person keeping the mic still overhead, and keep out of view of the camera.
    Hence, the camera-mounted mic. Funny thing was, we ended up dubbing over
    that whole sequence with cheap sound effects (punch sounds and bone
    crunches) so the sound didn't matter in the end anyway.
    Endoukido, Jan 17, 2004
  19. Deal Maker

    Kinda Guest

    I'm a follower of Dogme myself, but I've never interpreted it to mean
    that the microphone must be attached to the camera. The sound must be
    recorded live and in the scene, yes, of course. But, attaching a
    microphone to a camera is suicide. It's not just suicide, it's a bad
    idea. The mechanical noises from the camera and the camera operator
    cannot help but bleed into your sound, and positioning the camera for
    best line of sight is not the same thing as the best sound. Often
    they're opposite. The microphone has to be ridiculously close to
    work. I do sound and boom work for minibudget productions. I've spent
    several productions hanging over the tops of doors and hiding under
    desks. I do yoga, so I'm very popular as a boom op -- I can literally
    roll myself into a ball, hide under a chair, and stay there for twenty
    minutes at a time. Useful.

    I think it's Dogme.

    Kinda, Jan 17, 2004
  20. Deal Maker

    Daniel Haude Guest

    ["Followup-To:" header set to rec.arts.movies.production.]
    On 16 Jan 2004 22:34:25 GMT,
    Yes it is, but Dogme 95 is very tongue-in-cheek. For what it's worth,
    Dogme 95 is a great film marketing device, and an ingenious one.

    Daniel Haude, Jan 17, 2004
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