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I don't where I heard this, but it seems that big guys tend to get best dialog result out of combining boom track and lav together, so I'm just wondering HOW?

for instance, do you cut the boom's low and add it with lav's low? and how could you avoid the phase problem?

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5 Answers 5

You cant...

So either you spend a lot of time trying your very best to make the phase perfect, to then realize that the mixer promptly chooses the best mic for the job and mutes the other (or uses it pretty low as a room mic). Phase issues sound VERY different in a near field monitoring than it will on a dub stage. So choose your sounds/mics wisely.

Well, it can work in totally static shots but if its a static shot it would probably be less issues with sound quality to begin with.

It can however be used that way if its been recorded as ADR (if you wanted to) as long as you are very careful with the phase matching. But personally I find the best solution is almost always to just go with the best sounding one.

There will OTOH be times when you HAVE to do it to get any usable sound at all. Then you do the best you can and leave it at that :-)

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Amen . –  Utopia Nov 22 '11 at 2:06
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Erik makes a very good point. More and more, mixers schedules don't permit to be choosing between sides. As an editor you should be confident in your tracks to just choose your best sounding side and go with it.

However... There are situations that require boom and lav to make it even acceptable without looping. (Or typically getting it the best it can sound because without fail the producers/directors will want to go with the production over ADR to save the performance.) In this case, I typically use the boom and clean that up best I can. Then pull up the lav underneath and usually mod cut it to avoid any unnecessary lav/cloth noise. You need to turn your nudge value to subframes, zoom right in and nudge your lav track so the waveforms match your boom region (or clip we're calling it these days). Sometimes you'll need to audiosuite invert the lav region if your waveforms don't match. Use your ears. If it sounds phasey, maybe you need to shift it another subframe in one direction of the other. Then I usually volume graph between the two sides to find a good mix between the two.

This can be a bit tedious (especially for a long scene) but it can sometimes save a scene from being looped. If you wanted to take it a step further and were concerned the mixer might drop a side you could always bounce down that shot and lay it in as a mixdown but move the original to tracks a strip track that gets carried along with the mix so the mixer always can go into the original if they need to. Grab handles or whatever.

Everyone is different but that's my 2¢

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I've done this quite often and successfully on shows... it truly has saved some 'lost cause' scenes from having to be looped in my experience. Although as you and Erik noted, the process must not be taken lightly and it requires very exacting precision to pull it off. –  Stavrosound Nov 21 '11 at 20:20
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One simpler method of doing fine phase adjustment such as Tyler describes might be to use a phase adjustment plugin such as Radix's Auto-Alignment plugin. Haven't had a chance to test it out yet but worth a go perhaps? (I think Voxengo do one too)

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Thanks michael, looks pretty cool, will give a try:) –  Zericy Nov 22 '11 at 3:33
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Generally speaking, if I'm doing the dialog editing and I have both tracks, I listen to both of them individually. Then I'll pick the best one and mute the other one.

Most of the time the boom mic wins, but there are cases where the lav comes out better.

I wouldn't really try to mix both of them together simultaneously. Think of it as a primary and an alternate, not something you're going to blend together in the perfect ratio.

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In my opinion you can't combine boom and lav in the same scene at all, it's a HUGE difference in character between 'em. The lavs have a much more "flat" sound, and where you might very well match up two different boom-mics to appear consistent by filtering, you can't really do that between lav and boom as the change in flatness and liveliness gets very obvious when hearing them both at the same time. I rarely work with lavs at all, I don't like them and my employers mostly prefer the shine I can give by using high quality booming, but when I do it's mostly only in extreme wideshots without any closeups, or in long takes with extensive steadycam movement where there are no room to move smoothly.

Sometimes, though, you might get a project or two where there are no budget for ADR, not enough preparations, and no respect for wild-lines. In this case, having a clear take though it will sounds pretty weird in the mix (still ONLY meaning when jigsawed together, everything else is a matter of taste and need), compared to a rich, living sound where you have absolutely no idea what was said, is well worth it! Though the average Joe might deem it amateurish depending on how obvious the transition is, they will buy it. An unintelligible line, however, is not as easily forgiven and might ruin the whole take.

But mostly, if it's that bad, you discard the boom altogether and go with the lavs for that scene.

I was about to compare mixing lavs and boom-mics with Roger Rabbit, but that's very unfair of me. Instead, a great comparison is actually to try combine 35mm film with DV! It can be used either as an effect or by keeping 'em apart with good editing and planning, but it will never be the same, and must be treated carefully.

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