November 15, 2010

Getting Better Sound

Opening Items

Film Featurette:

  • Casablanca 
  • #3 AFI Top 100
  • Best Picture Oscar, 1942
  • Best Screenplay Oscar, 1942
  • Best Director Oscar, 1942
  • Cinematographer Arthur Edeson also shot Frankenstein and Maltese Falcon
  • For a great homage, see Woody Allen's Play it Again, Sam 
  • Many memorable catch phrases:
    • Here's looking at you, kid.
    • We'll always have Paris.
    • ...shocked, SHOCKED...
    • Round up the usual suspects.
    • Of all the gin joints in all the world...
    • Play it again, Sam. (although those words were never in the original)


You are going to be shooting the same scene 4 times (as detailed below). The point is to see what impact the placement and microphone has on a project, so keep the visuals as consistent as possible. Materials needed:
  1. Camera with mic port and headphone jack (use a Newbie-cam, if available); tripod
  2. Headphones; hope you brought good ones
  3. Boom mic/pole (we'll supply it); also called a "shotgun" mic; point it at the talent as though it were
  4. Lapel mic (we'll supply it); also known as a lavalier mic; place it about mid-sternum
  5. XLR Adapter (we'll supply it) to bring pro mics into a consumer level camcorder
    1. $20-30 good-enough solution: Hosa MIT 156 Mic Transformer (no longer at B&H) or Pearstone LMT 100 (B&H has this)
    2. $200 better solution: BeachtekDXA-2T
      1. Dual input
      2. Higher quality components
      3. Stereo/Mono switch
      4. Line/Mic switch
      5. Volume controls
      6. Mounts on camera
  6. Laptop for editing

Work Teams

Note: If you aren't on the table, we'll count off 1-2-3 before dispersing
Team 1 (Todd's Room 215)
  1. Todd Mattox
  2. Terri Price
  3. Robyn Somolich
  4. Mike Tillyer
  5. Tim Pfeiler
  6. Mary Lou Jenkinson
Team 2 (Next to Todd's Room)
  1. Tom Borer
  2. Shawnda Allen (don't forget to take Mic Kit)
  3. Courtney Simson
  4. Nicole Koncur
  5. Elizabeth Lopez
  6. Paul Kwiatkowski
Team 3 (Mitchell's Room 219)
  1. Mitchell deNeve
  2. Brad Pascoe
  3. Tali Collier
  4. Patty Anderson
  5. Wade Lemaster
  6. Albert Ngo
Team FCP (Next to Mitchell's Room)
  1. Gerald Lake
  2. Larissa Parrott
  3. Suzanne Catalanotto
  4. Tamara Whitney (won't be here)
  5. Shannon Svensen
  6. Christy Stringfield
  7. Scott Soucy

Plan it Out
  1. Choose two actors.
  2. One says "We'll always have Paris"; the other replies, "Here's looking at you, kid". Feel free to claim as much artistic license as you want. How creative can you be on the fly?
  3. Decide an effective framing for the location at hand; keep it close; maintain that look for all 4 scenes (How would you expect it to look with Bogart and Bergman in the frame?).
  4. Be sure to monitor with headphones.
Shoot the Scene
  1. Shoot the scene from 10-12 feet back with camera mic. Frame closely by using zoom.
  2. Shoot the scene from about 3 feet with camera mic; zoom out to approximate the framing from the first scene.
  3. Shoot the scene from anywhere (but approximately the same framing) using boom mic/pole. Keep the mic as close to the talent as possible [because of the Inverse Square Law], pointing straight at them.
  4. Shoot the same scene from anywhere (but approximately the same framing) using lapel mic on person with the smallest voice.
Publish your Work
  1. Bring video into your editor and lay the clips out on the timeline.
  2. Place them in the same order as above.
  3. Superimpose text on each clip identifying conditions (e.g. Camera mic, 12 feet away).
  4. Preview sound using good headphones, if time allows.
  5. Export finished product
    1. Export from iMovie '09 (use Medium for the size).
    2. If you're using FCP, export this way. Use 640x360 for widescreen (16x9)
    3. Post to one member's blog.
  6. Be ready to share with the rest of us by 5:15 pm.