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I just booked a gig as a sound recordist for a very short doco that I have been advised is being shot on 16mm. While I have had a moderate amount of experience with digital formats, working with film is actually new to me.

My kit will be 1 Lav & 1 boom into a field mixer and then recorded into a Zoom H4n. We are just following one guy around for 2 days with some sit down interviews and some footage of him with his work. Nothing that would normally be hard, but I must admit I am feeling that I could be missing something.

I have a standard slate (non smart) for the camera assistant. Obviously no timecode, but I have looked at using an iPad smart slate (any advantages in this?).

So any tips or things I should look out for?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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The main issue i can think of is camera noise. If you're shooting out doors it's less of an issue, but if you're shooting indoors, it can be bad. Try to convince the director/DOP to rent a "blimp" or "barney" to block out the noise. There is an underwhelming amount of info online about this, but i'll try to update with a link when i get to work.

Also, it might help for you to attend the camera tests to check if they have any squeaky mags.

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    And of course record the squeaky mags! – Filipe Chagas Feb 22 '11 at 15:33
  • I was wondering about the noise issue. I don't think I can be around for camera checks as I am the only local crew hired and everyone else is flying in the night before the shoot. I'll ask about the blimp though. – Bruce Feb 22 '11 at 22:45
  • @Filipe Haha, way to make the best of bad situation! @Bruce Squeaky mags can be removed with Izotope RX, it's just a bit of a pain. – Roger Middenway Feb 23 '11 at 6:18
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If all you're using the iPad slate for is time code, I'd just skip it and use the standard slate.

Since I assume you'll be using a digital audio medium, you should confirm with whoever is supervising post what "frame rate" they want the audio recorded/delivered at. It's especially important when you get to telecine transfers and syncing. Using something other than they're planning for could cause sync headaches in post. Better to ask them (and let them make the mistake if it's going to occur), than assume they can work with whatever you give them.

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  • @Shaun Yeah, I didn't think the iPad slate would be a good idea, but I figured I would mention it. The recorder I am using doesn't have timecode, so I cannot set framerates or anything. I'll get the post house's number and call them to see what they want me to do. – Bruce Feb 22 '11 at 22:46
  • @Bruce - well you definitely won't have to worry about frame rate, but they maybe looking for a film production sample rate like 48.048. So, never hurts to ask. – Shaun Farley Feb 22 '11 at 23:01
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When all else fails, have the person slating clap his hands. This is the best audio sync-up I can think of and it's free!

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  • Got to love the old fashioned way :-) That being said I have a standard slate which will do the job fine. – Bruce Feb 22 '11 at 22:47
  • Ah, great. I can't tell you how many times friends have asked me to help them sync something up they shot the day before that didn't have a simple clap or clapper recorded on the tape. – Utopia Feb 22 '11 at 22:48

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