Monitoring the Soundtrack

HeadphonesA cameraman would never judge composition and good lighting based on what he or she hears. Likewise, a soundperson would be a fool to record audio based solely on what they see.


Shooting to Sync Playback (aka Music Videos)

Thematic Concerns:
Music Videos consist of picture cut to a song. Simple enough definition, but we can expand on this somewhat.


Practice Makes Perfect


I’m always amazed when I see musicians perform complicated pieces with a look on their face like they don’t have a care in the world. Whether they first chair in an orchestra or play lead guitar for a hair band, they have that simple look of enjoyment as they play their instruments effortlessly.


8 Quick Tips for Better Booming

Booming00Sound is one of the least appreciated, but most important parts of filmmaking. It's as much a part of telling your story as the cinematography, art direction, or acting. And if you screw it up, the audience will not forgive you.


A Crash Course For Mixing Sound – Part II

MixerMeters1There’s a reason why your Grandma’s apple pie tastes so much better than the pie you purchase at the grocery store. The reality is that both the store and Grandma have the same ingredients: sugar, flour, apples, etc. Nevertheless, Grandma’s apple pie seems to melt in your mouth, while the store-bought pie seems stale.


Audio for Television - Mixing the "Basic" Event

I wish that I could say that the life of a professional Production Sound Mixer consisted only of sitting around on a large, Hollywood feature film set while being obscenely overpaid.


Sync Tanks - Part Three

SyncTankImageWith soundtracks much more dense than in the past, the present generation of moviemakers has seen an exponential growth in the number of people who work on the sound after the film has been shot. Last month in the second installment of Elisabeth Weis' articles we explored ADR and beyond.  In this, the final installment we pick up scratch mixes and temp tracks.


Balanced Cables

Audio cables can be the weakest link in the chain of sound recording. When deploying external microphones, videographers need to know the difference between unbalanced and balanced cables.


Sync Tanks - Part Two

SyncTankImageWith soundtracks much more dense than in the past, the present generation of moviemakers has seen an exponential growth in the number of people who work on the sound after the film has been shot. In this, the second installment of Elisabeth Weis' articles we explore ADR and beyond.  Next month in the final installment we pick up scratch mixes and temp tracks.


Cable Conundrum

Separating the S from the XLR, the USB from the VGA or the DVI and giving you the ABCs on choosing the right cable for the right price.


Sync Tanks

SyncTankImageThe credits for John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) include Wyatt Earp as technical consultant but only one person responsible for all of postproduction sound (the composer). The credits for Lawrence Kasdan's Wyatt Earp (1994) list the names of thirty-nine people who worked on postproduction sound. The difference is not simply a matter of expanding egos or credits.


Selection and Use of Lavalier Mics

A brief history:
Originally, the term “lavalier” referred only to the “neck-worn” or “body-worn” class of small microphones.


Our Camcorder Classroom - Part Five - Sound

Let’s put the bad news right up front:

Sound seems simple, but it’s actually one of the most difficult parts of typical video production to understand and get right. This is partly because we so often underestimate its importance in the overall scheme of things.

To underscore this reality I have a simple demonstration I do in every seminar I teach on sound-related topics.
First, I instruct the class to look around and get comfortable that they are in a safe and secure environment. Then I ask them all to close their eyes for a moment.

When all eyes are closed, I loudly announce. “My name is Bill Davis. I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and I’ve been making videos professionally for more than 20 years.”

Next, I ask them to open their eyes, and I SILENTLY mouth the words “I’ve been married to my wife Linda for more than twenty-five years and I have one son named Mike.”

Confronting their puzzled glances I quickly say, “OK, you’ve just experienced the SOUND without the PICTURE—followed by the PICTURE without the SOUND. Which gave YOU more useful information?”

The point of the exercise is to acknowledge that quite often sound is MORE important than the picture.
Sound information might be in the form of dialog, narration, or even the scene-setting background of the location, but make no mistake, SOUND is often doing the communications “heavy lifting” in movies and on TV.


Multi-track Mixing for Location Dialogue

Attention, did you notice that this article is NOT called STEREO sound mixing for film/video. That is because just about everything that you record on the set will be monaural, even though the headphones, mixer, and recorder all use the term “stereo”.


Layers of Sound

The audio part of a video program is usually built up from several different sound tracks. These individual components can vary considerably in both their level of reality and their function in the overall sound track.


Selecting Boompoles and Shotgun Mics

Many articles have been written about the value of a boompole and good shotgun mic when it comes to achieving quality Production Sound. (Well, folks, here’s one more!)


Introduction to Wireless Mics

Wireless microphones have become increasingly popular as their sound quality, reliability, and cost have improved. This article is intended for people who are using a wireless microphone for the first time, or who are trying to decide which model to purchase to suit their particular needs.


Shooting to Sync Playback - Part Two

Technical Aspects of Shooting to Sync Playback:

Non lip sync sequences for Music Videos are relatively easy.