R4 – RECORDING SOUND ON LOCATION

Being a Film student, I always had a bad feeling towards recording sound on location. Yet due to the fact that I could not accommodate any audio person, I had to do it on my own.

 “Burp” was my first short film for this trimester that contains only Foley sound effects with no dialogues. There were two options I had in mind on how to produce these Foley sound effects on screen. I browsed through as many templates of stock Foley libraries online. I was only contented to a little extent with the various effects I downloaded. I simply felt these sounds did not have any life to them.

 Hence I decided to record most of the sound on location. To do this I had to keep in mind a few constraints like limited crew, very little proficiency on sound, and also the fact that there wasn’t too much time available to experiment. Rhode NTG 2 was the only shotgun microphone I was capable of operating at my best level. I hence planned on wrapping up the entire shoot with just one microphone.

 Some Specifications:

Polar pattern    : Supercardioid (picks up sound from front and sides and rejects sound coming form 150 degrees to the rear)

Weight            : 161 grams (reasonably light)

Power option   : AA size batteries or P48 phantom power

Output             : XLR

 These specifications would convince any independent filmmaker just as it did to me. As I was the “only” crew on the set, I couldn’t record sound from the shotgun together with the actual takes. I instead recoded the track that came from the in-built microphone on the camera during the actual shoot. This track would also act as a guide track when I am doing the Foley.

 Once the shoot completed, I had the same set up of props ready to do the Foley. Since I had very simple everyday sounds present in my film, creating Foley was as simple as just redoing the same actions as the actors and catching the sound from it. I was glad that I did not have to cheat on any sound. The guide track and the footage helped me a lot.

 With most of my film happening at the dinning table, I was thankful to the fact that the location had a wooden dinning table. As wood absorbs and does not repel sound, I held the shotgun microphone attached to a boom pole from a top angle to record all the sounds. As mine was an interior location with all the windows and doors shut, I did not have to us a wind filter on my microphone. Moreover, to avoid any sound reverberation, I opened just one of the windows that were not directly located in line with the dinning area. To enhance more noise reduction, I put up a carpet on the floor right under the whole dinning table set up.

 Hence with just a few adjustments I was able to achieve a decent output. The NTG 2 was indeed the hero of my short film.

 Reference

Topakustik.ch,. (2015). Acoustic wood panels naturally absorb unwanted noise – http://www.topakustik.ch. Retrieved 27 April 2015, from http://www.topakustik.ch/wood-panels.html

YouTube,. (2015). RØDE University – Indoor Location Sound Recording. Retrieved 27 April 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYIGjLKJ0EM

 RØDE Microphones,. (2015). RØDE Microphones – NTG2 Multi-Powered Shotgun Microphone. Retrieved 27 April 2015, from http://www.rode.com/microphones/ntg-2

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