Wednesday 25 May 2016

In camera sound recording

With the rise of DSLRs people have been recording sound and video separately so that the clapperboard became fashionable again. However, this makes it virtually impossible to view rushes and do a rough edit overnight.

To be able to have a rough edit every morning we recorded the sound both in camera and on a separate sound recorder. That has the huge advantage that rushes can instantly be checked and we did every night rough edits which was only possible because we had the sound in place.
In 99% of the cases we used the in camera sound in the final edit. Only a few times the external recording was used. Mainly when the audio was very faint or had a high dynamic range. The external recorder ran at 24bits/sample against the 16bits/sample in camera which allowed recording at higher dynamic range externally.

This was the simple setup which allowed Mat to watch/control the mic sensitivity via the TASCM recorder so that at the camera nothing had to be changed:

We used the line out of the recorder and set the camera gain to line in. This TASCAM recorder didn't have an XLR out but a simple RCA to XLR adapter did the trick:
GND -> XLR pins 1+3 and the signal to XLR pin 2 which gives a semi balanced signal which produces perfect results at line out levels.

We still used a clapperboard!
Just in case we needed the external recording from the TASCAM recorder.
However, to save time we just said the take number and clapped it off camera. So, no nose of any actor got chopped off. ;)

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Self shooting / Rehearsals

I've been a shooting director on Anna Unbound. This means I was DOP and director at the same time. In Glasgow I worked with Jessica McDermott in a team (see above!) and in Athens with Alex Kapidakis as ACs. Usually I operated the camera and the AC did focus pull. However on a 12hr shift we also swapped and changed roles.

This of course takes away the attention from the acting. However on a low budget film shooting is done on a tight schedule where changes can rarely be done during the shoot. In order to have time with the actors I did an extended rehearsal weekend from Friday till Monday one week before the shoot started with no technology there. Just the actors, the AD and myself. We hired a community centre for that purpose and we rehearsed all scenes without any camera / lighting equipment around. Other companies do table reads but we went straight into the action and had enormous fun. Especially the more improvised scenes (pub, team building exercise) benefited from this kind of rehearsal.

Meeting up with the cast also allows to get to know each other. It takes away the initial fear of the first couple of takes on the actual shoot. We had certainly enormous fun during the relearsals.
I'm Bernd Porr, the director, DOP, editor and creator of Anna Unbound. In this blog I'll share what I've learned in the process.