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What Is Production Sound?
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What Is Production Sound?



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  • 1. What is Production Sound? The forgotten half of filmmaking.
  • 2. Production Sound defined
    • Complex craft of recording live dialogue and sound effects on the set during principal photography (production).
    • Craft = Mix of technical & artistic
    • On the set = not a recording studio
    • Live = not the control of post
  • 3. Requires a blend of
    • Creative judgement
    • Technical expertise
    • Acceptable compromise
  • 4. Art of Problem Solving
    • Spot potential noise problems before shooting
    • Control environmental sounds
    • Good mic placement is critical
    • Equipment failure
    • Changes in blocking & performance
  • 5. Mixer is part engineer
    • Operation of audio recorders
    • Operation of mixing consoles
    • Familiarity with mics
    • On-set communications
  • 6. Mixer is part Sound Editor
    • Quality of recorded dialogue
    • Consistency of levels
    • Ability to intercut between scenes
    • Perspective
    • Usable sound effects & backgrounds
    • Alternate material for soundtrack
  • 7. Mixer is part Director
    • Story telling thru dialogue
    • Story telling thru sound design
    • How can the soundtrack serve to advance the storyline or add a new dimension to the visual element?
  • 8. Filmmaking is a team effort
    • Not shooting an “audio”
    • Picture and Sound both convey the story
    • Not a contest to see if Camera or Sound Departments will “reign supreme”
    • Sometimes Camera must yield to good dialogue and sometimes Sound needs to back off for picture
  • 9. Mixing is creative
    • Don’t have to be an electronics whiz
    • Just need to know how to use the gear; not how to service it!
    • More important to understand post-production so you know WHAT to record on the set for the editors to use later.
  • 10. Sound stages are not quiet
    • Film sets are not conducive to sound
    • Deal with background noise
    • Echo and reverb; bad acoustics
    • Camera angles & lighting hinder mic placement
    • Blocking and performance can make sound mixing difficult