Hello everyone!

I'll be soon recording a dialogue between 3 persons w/ NO budget so we only have one NTG2. I watched a recording in these conditions with the same actors and it was horrible. I understand it is very difficult to record the 3 voices properly, being an animated and long conversation. What should be the approach? That time the operator had a hard time trying to place the mic above each actor while they were speaking but it was impossible to track them at time and with many overlapped lines... awful. I spent weeks in post to make it less terrible.

We will have at least one rehearsal. What advises can you have for me?

Thank you very much.

  • Give me a shout if you want, i'm in lisbon, maybe i can help depending on the dates. Filipe.chagas@gmail.com Feb 24 '12 at 18:08

One of the techniques recommended is to trail off to the next character who speaks during the last moments of the subjects line. This gives you time to catch the next actors line while simulating the natural way that some people drop in volume as they finish a sentence.

This isn't a switch to next actor during the first bit of the last sentence. When I say last bit, its like, the very last bit haha. It just gives you that jump on that moment that determines a weak beginning delivery and a strong one.

I used this quite a bit when doing production audio in LA, and was fortunate for it to work out the majority of the time.

  • AH, that was some nice advice! But why would placing the boom more or less equally between the actors not an option? I've never seen such thing and it must have its reasons, but if it is a clean room wouldn't this compensate for differences created by the mic running around? I'm just wondering... Feb 23 '12 at 17:58
  • @MelissaPons You would be surprised how "off axis" audio can sound if the mic is not directly pointed down at the actors face/nose/forehead. I once did a narration over a video with another friend and we only had a shotgun mic. Thats where we put it - in between us. We were a foot away from the thing and we sounded very thin. Remember, its a directional mic! The sides are designed to cancel out sound. You can move a mic fast without catching noise as long as you don't bounce the boom or shake it. Position your hands to where you can turn the angle of the mic without having to re-adjust.
    – C3Sound
    Feb 23 '12 at 18:30
  • @MelissaPons No problem - hit me up anytime!
    – C3Sound
    Feb 23 '12 at 18:39

Something that will help in this situation tremendously is getting a hold of the script, becoming familiar with the actors' lines and using the rehearsal to determine the speech rhythms of their delivery.

This should hopefully allow you to move the boom more naturally with the conversation. Fluidity will be the most important thing to achieve.

  • Yes, for sure. But would this be the best option? They actors overlap a LOT and sometimes there is only one or two words in one line... Feb 23 '12 at 17:40

If you feel that a line is totally cut off (off mic) pull the actors a side directly after a take and do wild tracks. Just make sure that you slate them as such. This is very helpful for sound editors down the line.



Be a ninja! Like C3 Sound said, learn the lines, learn the flow of the scene, so that if they improve, you feel it out also. Make sure you work with camera and gaffer to give you the ability to swing the boom. Boom ops are very active on set, not just hold it up over people for the length of the shot.

If you get lit out of the scene, then get wild lines.

  • Wow, this guy was amazing! I'll need to train my arms and back. Ahah! Thank you! Feb 25 '12 at 1:34

Wild lines and multiple takes. Your dialogue editor will thank you. Don't know how many times some 1-2 wild takes and/or 3-4 regular takes (instead of 1-take wonders) have saved a complete trainwreck scene in the OMF from going into ADR at all - and how much money that's saved. I agree with others about learning the flow of the scene, always good to have a copy of the sides of the day in your pocket for a reference.

Another thing to keep in mind: the energy of the voice itself isn't at the mouth. It sits in a "sphere" about 8-10 inches in front of the mouth, so if you mic for that area, it should cut down the distance you have to swing the boom. This is why boom ops tend to angle their termination at the chest slightly. The chest serves as a baffle for extraneous noise, but this angled line-of-sight intersects conveniently at a point about 8-10 inches in front of the mouth before terminating at the chest. Actually, that crazy video Michael posted shows the boom op doing pretty exactly this, but with pinpoint precision.

Good luck!


there's already a lot of good advice here, so i'll just ditto what they said and add this:

if the scene is indoors maybe try to find a different mic. The NTG2 has a very tight pickup pattern and will sound funky off axis very quickly. If you can find a hypercardiod mic instead (or at worst a cardioid like the NT5) you'll have a lot more off axis latitude - though this will come at the expense of also having more room verb in the pickup pattern.

Also, if you are inside don't use a blimp. just have the mic with a good foam cover. you'll be more nimble.

Stavarosound has one of the best techniques, which is the multiple takes and wild lines thing. If the plan on the set is to shoot isos, (running the scene three times with the camera trained on only one actor for the entirety of each run) then use that opporunity to have the mic trained on just the isolated actor when that happens. don't jump from actor to actor if the camera isn't doing so, and the coverage will help the scene as its cut together.

then when its done, get the entire scene from each actor individually, while standing in the same place as a wild line, but with no voice overlap. that should cover it.


Is this specific scene going to be just one shot? If not, then the closeups are going to be your chance to get all the dialogue. If the closeup is on character A, keep your boom on character A; if it's on B, then focus on capturing B's lines.

  • Probably I'll have that chance; so later if needed I can pick up some lines here and there... Feb 24 '12 at 12:18

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