Removing Background Noise

We’ve all dealt with unwanted sounds when shooting on-location.  We’re recording dialog and an air conditioner kicks on or there is a noisy freezer running in the background that ruins an otherwise good take. Exterior sounds can cause the same problem.  In an ideal situation, we would turn off or unplug the offending sound and record another take.  Unfortunately, that is not always an option.

Record at least 30 seconds of room tone or location ambience whenever you’re on a shoot. Getting the sound of the space where you are will be valuable later.  Have everyone be quiet, leave the mic in the same position where you were set up for the dialog and then record. If you’re inside, record room tone with the air conditioner off and then on in the background.  And then there’s the noisy refrigerator or freezer too.  Get that background sound as well but leave the mic in the same location.

Capturing Noise Print
Captured noise print is now going to be removed

Continue reading “Removing Background Noise”

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Lavalier Mic Etiquette

On-set it’s the sound guy or gal’s responsibility to mic the talent. Many location sound recordists use both a lav and boom mic at the same time as a backup. If you’re not using a boom then you will definitely need to wire the talent with a lavaliere mic, lav for short.  If you’re only using a boom mic, the type of shots your director of photography will be getting, such as wide shots, may show the boom mic on camera. Depending on the type of productions you do, many of you will be dealing with a professional actor or actress. Otherwise, it may be someone who has never before worn a wireless microphone.

Feed the mic down the front of the shirt
Tell the talent exactly what you’re doing at all times

Putting a lav mic on someone can be uncomfortable. Think about it, you walk up to a person you probably don’t know and have to put a wire under their clothing, around their body, clip a transmitter pack to their waist and tuck in the cable so you don’t see it. Sometimes the transmitter pack has to be clipped to a bra strap and sometimes it’s hidden in their undergarments. It can be a little invasive so try to make it as comfortable as possible. Continue reading “Lavalier Mic Etiquette”

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Using the Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder On-Location

Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder
The Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder

Recently, we were filming on-location at a lake.  I needed to get natural sound ambience for the edit so I got out my Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder.  It was a little breezy and I could hear wind noise in the mics so I put the furry cat windscreen on and was able to record great sound. You can use the H5 in a variety of situations including second system sound, sound effects, recording ambience and more. Continue reading “Using the Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder On-Location”

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Protecting Your Hearing

How Loud Is Too Loud?
Protecting Your Hearing

Even if your job doesn’t require critical listening like an audio engineer, it’s extremely important to take care of your hearing. For those of us in the audio industry who need our hearing to make a living, it’s imperative to care for it.

earbuds in an ear
Keep volume low when wearing earbuds

I’m not an ear doctor but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Actually, I didn’t but I have seen their commercials on TV.  They explained that everyone is born with a limited number of sensory hearing cells in their ears.  As we age, these nerves gradually die off.  You’ve probably noticed every now and then that little “ping” sound and then the ringing in your ears.  It slowly appears to return to normal.  Congratulations, you just lost some hearing! Once these sensory cells are gone, they do not grow back and ultimately we notice it as hearing loss. It’s just a fact of life. Continue reading “Protecting Your Hearing”

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