Small Production Footprint: Audio

My approach to audio is where I would make the biggest changes. Largely because the show I produced was not the one I set out to produce, and because I think the radio mics on board were overkill.

With the thought of much of our shooting being on board the boat, I planned radio mics on all six of the crew, recording constantly via Motu 8pre to the Mac Mini server onto the G-Tech RAID. We have software in development that would – based on the logged metadata from the day – pull out the person (track) and time(s) of interest as separate media files. The logging system we’re working on would ultimately add them to an Event with the metadata.

I now think this would be overkill and the radio mics in the very cramped quarters would just get in the way. They would also have necessitated recharging 9v batteries every day. I had the chargers and batteries on hand, but don’t think it necessary.  From the audio we recorded, I now think two PZM microphones  in the cabin – one forward, one aft, and another on the back deck would probably give me the same coverage. I wouldn’t have the advantage of being able to pull out audio for each person but I wonder if the trade-off would be good enough. The recording would still be tagged with whoever was logged as being in the shot in the logging system.

I’d have got better directional microphones for the NEX7 and FS100, with better wind protection. Not surprisingly you pick up a lot of wind being out on the water. There would have been a downside at A&M Pontoons, which is located right on a State Highway. Whenever the camera was pointed towards the bow of the boat, it was picking up traffic noise better thanks to the directional microphones! That’s a trade-off from not having a boom operator who can make sure the subject is tracked without distant noise.

Double system sound, with an Audio-Technica lavaliere microphone into a Zoom H1, was a good combination. Synching up the double system was fine. My primary issues are, with the microphones just running, there are long recordings without matching video, but starting and stopping recording meant reaching into people’s pockets! There were times that mulicam groups made more sense for matching up long audio with many different video angles. (Alternatively the same audio file could be matched to each video file, with a Favorite applied to the overlap.)

Overall, the quality of audio has been acceptable, but in hindsight I’d make changes.

2 replies on “Small Production Footprint: Audio”

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  1. iPad, USB multichannel I/O, with Auria?

  2. The problem with iPad audio is getting it to the NLE – I couldn’t find a workflow that seemed comfortable.

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