Session Four: Sound Recording, Design, Mixing
- On your own: Listen to some movie scenes with the audio turned off, then again with the audio turned on.
- Building the world with sound.
- Actors on set use their imagination to to fill in what the story world sounds like (e.g., a crowded street, a loud concert, a busy office, etc.).
- After the shoot, the sound department has the mission to build the sound of that story world for everyone else, using the actors’ dialogue as one of the chief building blocks.
Sound On Set
- The process of recording on set.
- The gear
- Recorder (Robert Altman’s eight-tracks)
- Lavalier microphones
- Audio levels
- Learn to communicate with mixer when you might go unusually loud or soft.
- Be kind to sound recordist -- they have a hell of a time.
- Have each person take a turn at holding the boom, then listening over headphones.
- Technical problems and common things that will mess up the sound for a take.
- Traditionally, the camera operator and the sound recordist are the only people other than the director and AD who are allowed to call cut and stop a take.
- Squeaky floors
- Noisy shoes
- Location issues (Including willful disruptions, like neighbors turning up their stereos to ruin the take until they get paid off by production)
- Airplanes or other noise.
- Ways in which actors can hurt the recordist's efforts
- Actor too quiet or too loud
- Mouth noises
- Stay hydrated
- Eat green apple
- Making noise with props, like rattling papers (on or off camera -- both are a problem).
- Rustling costumes
- Bumping body mics
- On set, it is often necessary to move on, rather than do another take for sound.
- Other microphone techniques
- Microphones mounted in cars
- Performer holds mic
- Performance considerations
Scaling delivery and volume to match background sound levels (and distance) that aren't there yet (for example, a loud concert or a noisy factory)
- Picture editing
- First use of dialogue -- in the picture cut.
- Separate sound (that's why we slate)
- Picture editors will frequently use audio recordings of the person who is off-camera -- sometimes for technical reasons, or sometimes because that line reading is more more natural or gives us something more emotionally.
- The McGurk Effect
- Sound Editing
- A sound editing session in Pro Tools
- Breakdown of a sound design session, using our class scene as an example.
- Production audio, using the picture editor's version.
- Dialogue tracks edited (including room tone)
- Dialogue plus atmosphere and backgrounds
- Reasons for ADR
- Technical problems
- Boom not on the right person at the right time
- Wireless hits
- Lav rubbing
- Story or performance issues
- Sometimes the best take has a technical sound problem.
- Editing reveals a need for different emphasis at that point
- Dropping of scene causes need for new word(s) to be dubbed in
- Singin' in the Rain
- Debbie Reynolds, doubling for Jean Hagen)
- Marni Nixon - Natalie Wood didn't know that her singing in West Side Story was done by Nixon.
- Not done just for singing:Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan
- Why we don’t love ADR, and what we do to avoid it
- Wild lines
- Recording session at the end of the shooting day or week.
Have everyone attempt some ADR for their footage from Tuesday night.
Contrary to what Sidney Lumet claimed, the mix is not boring!
The mix combines tracks we recorded on set, plus ADR, plus hundreds of additional tracks of sound effects, music, ambience, etc., and it's another way for us to affect the way the audience perceives your performance.
To get a proper overview of mixing, we'll also visit the sound facility Digital One on Monday, September 28.
Return to the scene that you storyboarded, and now think about its sound:
- How much dialogue is there?
- What kind of sound effects are there?
- Are there things that you hear but can't see?
- How much music is there, and where does it start and stop?
Optional: Do an overhead schematic of the camera set-ups from your scene.