Thursday night, just a few days ago , was the night of the shoot. Was it stressful and extremely tiring or was it pleasant and a great experience in the end? Well, a bit of everything, really. Everyone worked well as a group, in order to prepare everything for the shoot. Our director, Sam, started to explain the actors their roles and give them directions right from the beginning, so that she didn’t have to spend too much time with this, during the actual filming. Me and the rest of the group started to set up all the equipment shortly after we got there, making sure that everything was ready by the time the shop closed. Meantime, I was making sure that the refreshments for the actors and crew were ‘on the plate’.
A small technical problem came up right from the beginning, when trying to set up one of the sound recorders, which didn’t work . Luckily, I had two of them booked out, so the problem has been sorted it out quickly. As I have explained in some of my previous posts, the reason I have decided to record all the sound on a Marantz and not use external mics attached to the cameras, is that basically we had two video cameras, which were filming in the same time , from different angles and I was the only sound operator, so holding two different microphones in the same time wouldn’t have been that easy. Moreover, as I found out from my research into sound, multiple mics can interfere with each other when positioned too closely to each other (which would have been in our case, as the distance between cameras has always been quite small). Also, I preferred to use an external recorder, because I think this would really improve the ability to monitor sound afterwards. The difficult part will be when syncing up the sound in the editing stage. However, I have already done some research about this and there are programs I can use that will do it for me, like PlurelEyes.
As a sound operator, my job was to accompany the camera operators, on location. My job was to capture and record audio and to do this I have decided to use a combination of both cameras’ internal microphones and an external riffle microphone connected to a recorder as well. My audio kit included : a Marantz recorder, a shotgun riffle microphone , headphones, an XLR cable and a boom pole for the microphone.
My responsibilities as a sound operator included:
- Setting up mics (both internal mics of the cameras and external ones) and ensuring they are correctly used
- Positioning mics
- Holding a boom mic
- Monitoring audio levels and quality
- Ensuring the audio is being correctly recorded
My activities during the production proccess included:
- assessing the acoustics of the area and assembling and operating the necessary equipment;
- consulting with producer/director to determine the sound requirements;
- selecting, positioning, adjusting and operating the equipment used for amplification and recording;
- applying technical knowledge of sound recording equipment (Riffle Mic, Marantz recording device)
- recording sound onto Marantz recorder;
- monitoring audio signals to detect sound-quality deviations or background noise
- maintaining and repairing sound equipment
Since we were in a large open space and the ceiling was quite high, I decided to put the microphone above the actors and pointed it down rather than have place it lower and pointed up, because I didn’t want the speaker to sound as if she or he is in a vast space with echoes. By directing the sound downward, I have tried to make it sound “warmer,” or less hollow.
In my view , getting good audio is just as important as good video and good sound will definitely increase the production value of our video. To make sure I was getting good audio, I have always used a pair of headphones. Even though they were quite comfortable, it was a bit of a pain to wear during the whole night. However, they were essential to make sure that I was getting quality sound. The only way to know if the sound was distorted or if I was receiving any interference was to listen through them headphones.