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While working on my first small budget feature I encountered a problem I was unsure how to handle as the Audio Mixer. We were shooting inside a warehouse and one morning there was a heavy rainstorm that could not be muffled or worked around.

Because we had a very tight production schedule we couldn't wait for the rainstorm to pass and had to shoot through it. I still miced the actors as usual but I feel the lack of usable audio affected the performance of the actors detracting from the film (beyond just the audio which will be covered in ADR). I am not sure if i could have handled the situation from an audio perspective in a way that would have encouraged a better performance. I was curious as to what would be the best way to handle a situation where you know the audio is not going to be usable and if you guys had any tips on micing actors when that much white noise is present.

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Did you or the director tell the actors that the audio wouldn't be usable? If so, I wouldn't do that. Actors generally have enough to worry about and telling them things that don't really concern them will just pull them out of the experience. I'm not a production mixer, I only do post production but I do have lots of experience directing actors of all levels and abilities for all types of projects. I'm not sure where you could have better mounted the mics but for actors in general psychology plays a huge roll in getting the best performances. They need to know that your on their side and that they can trust you (and the rest of the cast and crew). Part of that is knowing when you need to dive into details with them and part is knowing when it's best to just quickly move on to the next thing on the agenda and grab another take.

Sorry if my answer is a little rambling, I'm not sure if I exactly answered your question......

  • not rambling at all, that's the type of answer I was hoping for. I didn't tell the actors directly but I think they overheard me talking to the AD. I definitely need to learn when not to over explain things but i suppose that partially just comes with experience. – user3841 Aug 19 '14 at 17:27
  • I don't think its your fault or anything for the performances. Its great that you voiced your concerns to the AD. You can't really help if people overhear you in that situation. At the end if the day the acting performance isnt really your concern or what your paid to ensure is good. Do the best possible job when they come in for thr ADR and maybe you can help the on camera performance improve. – coaxmw Aug 19 '14 at 19:31
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Its always a hard situation and while I do agree with coaxmw that though the actors do not need to know that sound is going to be looped, when I am the recordist, I do make it a point to cover my ass and let the director and producer understand that they are the ones making the call to continue shooting in the circumstances against my advise. Its not uncommon for them to turn against the recordist when they go to post and realise how bad the recordings are and how much ADR will cost them.

When you are going for a loop session though, I would for a change be more focused on their delivery on screen, so I would watch the monitors a lot more closely. I would watch out for fumbles and weird mouth movements. These things would be hard for the actors to replicate and match during ADR.

Mic'ing wise I would move the lavs close to their mouths and aim for acquiring the dialogue as coherent as possible. The hypercardiods would be pretty useless at this time, picking up way too much ambient noise. Depending on the space, you could possibly try a Sanken CS3e or even a Sennheiser MKH70 for a possibly cleaner sound.

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You were hired as a sound recordist- not a miracle worker. This is a location problem and the scene shouldn't have been shot there unless they were willing to do ADR. The best you can do in these situations is radio mic everyone, cover up offending noises as best as possible (carpets and sound blankets) and get the best guide track possible.

Unfortunately the actors on this job suffer as much as you-and it's productions fault they are back in for ADR for shooting at a bad location! Sorry if this sounds like a rant but all too often sound is not thought about at location-only with experience do good crews work together to find a location that works for everyone-even if that means a compromise for the camera dept.

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I've just stumbled upon this so take it with a grain of salt but there's a piece of software called Revoice Pro which would allow you to overdub and sync perfectly with the source. Maybe you could try this out?

http://www.synchroarts.com/products2/RevoicePro

Sorry for not going more in depth but I'm "new" to the scene. I'm coming from an almost exclusively musical background with very little sound design. I'll definintely update if I find anything else that might be practically more relevant.

  • hi Thery, this is not a an answer but a product placement. could you elaborate more on the question? – Arnoud Traa Aug 28 '14 at 8:25
  • Hi Arnoud, sorry if my previous statement came through as product placement, but it wasn't. I don't own the product and I don't work with or for that company. It was actually a friend on facebook (also a sound designer and composer) who gave praise for that app. I've never tried it either, hence the reason why I said that I stumbled upon it. I just thought that from what the product description explained, it might be interesting for the OP in his specific predicament. – Thery Aug 28 '14 at 14:08
  • Hi Thery, thanks for responding to my comment. I understand what you tried to do, but it's bit minimal as an answer. We try to get answers that are detailed and not just a tip for a certain product, because in most cases that's a matter of budget/taste. If you have more practical advice, please update your answer. Cheers – Arnoud Traa Aug 28 '14 at 14:15

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