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Hello. Another newbie questions from me. Been working on a 45 mins film, take place in an apartment. Most of the dialogue's quality turn out fine. (It's a shortfilm about a conversation between 3 teens and a drug dealer, in his small new york apartment)

However, when we did a master shot, since I couldn't get close to actors, the shotgun mic captured a lot of reverb reflected from the wall. When juxtaposing the master clip with close up shots, there's a different in the sound of the dialogue. What can I do to fix this problem in DAW? And incase for next shooting, what could have I done differently to fix this? THank you in advance

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3 Answers 3

This is why a really good boom operator is so important.

There are a few things you can do to try to lower the noise floor in the recordings, such as multiband expanding, noise reduction, etc... but as far as reverb goes, there's not a whole lot you can do. As far as the recordings sounding different, do you mean the timbre of the sound? The frequency content? The reverb? If it's the frequency response and timbre, you can work with that a bit with compression, eq, and similar tools. With the reverb, again, you can't really take any out, you can only add reverb. You could try dirtying up your closer shots a little bit to make them match a bit more.

Also, remember that perspective sounds for something too. If you have a wide shot with a little bit of reverb, then a close up with a lot less, that can be ok, as long as the difference is within reason, because it's how we actually perceive things in real life.

But again, I stress that this is where an experienced boom op comes in handy. A good boom op will be able to work with the room and grab a good angle and get the best sound possible out of a situation. He can also recommend when wires are absolutely necessary.

In the future, try to grab a boom op that has at least some decent experience. If you can't get one for whatever reason, there are a few things to know about boom placement:

  1. Ride the frame line as close as possible.

  2. With a good boom mic, even rotating it an inch can change the sound. Listen to the sound you're getting to make sure you're getting mostly dialogue, and little room noise. If you're getting reflection from a wall, articulate the mic so that the wall is at the side of the mic instead of in front of it.

  3. ALWAYS aim the mic at the solarplexis. NOT in the general direction of the actor. NOT at the actor's mouth, head, face, etc... ONLY the solarplexis. FYI, the solarplexis is basically the sternum.

  4. Avoid booming from below if at all possible. If you aim up, you open yourself up to a world of problems.

Let me know if you'd like me to expand on anything or explain anything differently.

Good luck!

Oh, and as the other guys said, ADR is always an option, but unless you have VERY talented actors, it's probably not going to work out well. ADR lacks the emotion and conviction of the moment. All of the concentration of the actor goes into the timing.

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How does a boom op look out for shadows and if he wants a certain angle, is he bold enough to move to it and risk getting a shadow or is this something he should do beforehand? –  Utopia Jul 28 '10 at 2:53
    
And why the solarplexis? I've never heard of that maxim. !!! –  Utopia Jul 28 '10 at 3:06
    
@Ryan Shadows: A boom op should be present for blocking and all rehearsals. He will be able to find where the lighting will fall during blocking, and can request from the DP flags if needed (politely please! You want to remain friends with the DP!) Also, the boom op will work with the cam op during blocking and rehearsal to find out where the frame lines and shadows fall. The cam op is the boom op's best friend on set. –  Colin Hart Jul 28 '10 at 3:53
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@Ryan - Solarplexis. The human voice has many components and emenates from different parts of the body. The deep part of the voice comes from the chest and throat. The mids and some highs come from the mouth and nose, and the high highs come from the skull. Aiming at the solarplexis grabs all of these. –  Colin Hart Jul 28 '10 at 3:56
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@Ryan - Solarplexis cont': Also, it's a bigger target. If you aim at the mouth, you have to move the boom with every head movement in order to keep the same frequency response. If you aim at the solarplexis, you have a much larger target, allowing the talent a much larger range of motion without having to follow without having to move the boom as much, all while maintaining a consistent frequency response and overall sound. –  Colin Hart Jul 28 '10 at 3:59

There's very little you can do to remove reverb from your audio. I'm hoping for the sake of your sanity that the master shot at least sounds reasonable quality-wise, because your best bet here is probably to do what you can to make the close up shots sound like the master shot. I would argue that they don't have to sound exactly the same, because of the change in perspectives, but adding in some matching reverb to the dry shots to cement that they all occupy the same acoustic space will help a lot.

Beyond that, you're moving into the realm of ADR. Unless someone can think of another trick that's escaping my mind right now...I am very tired. lol

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Wow...joining this site is the best decision I'd make in a long time. Thank for all your suggestions, everybody!

This is what I did, thru trial and errors. I used only one channel( it's a streo track) of the reverb track, compressed, and used eq to cut out the bass (theoretically reverb reflects mostly on low freq..i read somewhere..). It helps a little bit.

ah...i wish i could upload some sounds too. What's the best soundweb you guys use? Is Soundcloud the best option?

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you should add this to the original question or make it a comment, not an answer –  endolith Jul 28 '10 at 17:36
    
mmm...like this? thanks for the tips –  plum Aug 3 '10 at 0:59
    
Sometimes notching the dialogues resonance frequency (usually close to 200 hz) works better than applying a high-pass filter. –  Leyland Oct 26 '10 at 17:37

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