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Dear All,

Do any of you tend to place the mic for perspective? Like if the person's feet are off screen, would you place the mic high or further away to make it less "in your face"?

In my experience, trying to record something "close so there are no room reflections" so that you can "fix perspective in the mix" doesn't ever work. Like if you want to make a close-miced dialogue line sound distant, I find that a low-pass filter just makes it sound dull and doesn't sound realistically farther away at all.

I'm curious to what you sound designers do and if you constantly change perspective of the mic based on what you see on screen.

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Mic placement techniques vary depending on the context. Sometimes it makes sense to mic for perspective, say if you are recording a car set to match a filmed chase scene (distant swerving, MCU in & skid stop) or weapons (distant battlefield, OS skirmish, etc). When you make the decision to mic this way you are locking yourself in to the resulting colored sound and there's not much you can do to change it later. But ultimately you'll be saving time by not having to process dry sounds, and the authentic recording will most likely fit the sequence better.

Regarding foley or hard fx, most of the time I'll record things close and process them later, say for footsteps, doors, gun handling, buttons, etc. If you need to sell perspective later on it's easy to achieve with filtering, reverbs and delays. But this is not always the case; sometimes you want the sound of the room (or other environment) - that's part of what makes the sound unique. For instance, if you know you're going to want the sound of exterior footsteps in a forest, it may behoove you to just get outside and record in a forest, rather than trying to dress up a foley stage and add some exterior Altiverb in post.

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I sometimes do a mixture.

Recently a collegue asked me to help him recreate someone running down some stairs in a normal house. He was going to record them and fake the perspective.

I suggested that we watch the clip on an iPod, place the mic at the top of the stairs and run down them and try to match the rhythm of the steps. Now we were a bit out as far as sync was concerned but the change in perspective and the reverb of the stairwell at work matched perfectly. A clean recording that needed no further work or processing.

It won't work every time as I agree that it can be a creative issue. In our case there wasn't so we just needed the realism for an M&E of a live action show.

  • Cool. I guess it's a judgment thing. – Utopia May 17 '10 at 21:55

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