Thanks to Dave Sluberski, a lecturer at RIT’s School of Film and Animation, who specializes in sound design and technology, and who is President of Rochester AV Association, for a presentation he gave to Rochester Movie Makers and RCTV Producers. His presentation included the following tips and best practices in audio production, geared specifically toward documentary productions:
- When using shotgun mics, it is best to use a shock mount and windscreen; a rycote or other type of “dead cat” windscreen offers the best protection against wind noise when recording.
- It pays to invest in a good, stable microphone stand.
- When attaching a microphone to an interviewee, by running the wire up over the person’s back and taping it down on the back and shoulder, you avoid the risk of it being detached accidentally.
- For most interviews, a boom or shotgun mic, plus a lavaliere (using separate channels), run to the camera or a mixer offer good options to ensure the best sound quality.
- Always listen to audio while shooting. Most cameras, especially DSLRs, have poor metering and playback levels.
- The sounds of the great outdoors always changes (time of day/season, etc). Record B roll audio (stereo) separately onsite to enhance production and integrity of interview which can help make editing easier too.
- While recording indoors, record two minutes of room tone as a “baseline” sound.
- In editing, dialog, music and sound should all be placed in their own distinct tracks. They are then exported from the video editing tool to Pro Tools for sound editing.
- PluralEyes is a recommended tool to synch video and sound.
- A video that begins with 8 tracks of audio may be expanded to 40 or 50 tracks by the time it’s completed.
- As a rule of thumb, estimate that it will take an average of 3 hours of sound editing per minute of video.
- A work should be in Picture Lock stage (no timing changes) before it is delivered for sound editing.
Dave can be reached at:
West Rush Productions
Thanks to Dave Sluberski and to Rochester Movie Makers for allowing us to summarize Dave’s presentation.