The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Lesson 10 of 15

Sound Basics: Learning to Hear

 

The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Lesson 10 of 15

Sound Basics: Learning to Hear

 

Lesson Info

Sound Basics: Learning to Hear

Talk about audio I think people are much more forgiving of bad picture then they are bad sound and bad picture you could always do something to it you can take the color out of it you khun turn it grainy you can mess with it and you can turn it into something artistic bad sound you really can't do that sound we really want to understand we want to know what's going on so um you know what is sound they you know they make that thing about if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it didn't make a sound well for our case sound is sound is air that's moving and that is heard by our ears base ultimately heard by our ears it's its sound waves that are moving there's some sound energy that creates the waves and we catch it if we listen to this room if we were sort of I'll be silent moment this room is a very good quiet this is a very good room um it's it's got very little reflected sound in it if this was a reflected room like a like a gym or something would be very tiring for us who cou...

ld be trying to hear what I'm saying all the time and trying to reject the other sound the room has a very faint air conditioner hiss but it's very faint um but uh in general what what do we want? What we want for good sound is we want this we don't want the indirect sound if I were to stand over here there's this they're standing there do you hear the reflection here? You hear the echo here? Can you hear it from where you are? I can hear it more than you probably can you hear it? You can hear it. So if I were to give the whole classroom here, everybody would be very tired because you'd be having a hard time, so we want to we want to avoid that reflected sound right? Can you hear the sound shot? Yeah, we wanted I guess it's just coming sound is coming back and forth between these two walls. That was that while those walls they treated so you don't hear it, but it's this door in here so we want to get rid of that we won't want reflected sound and we don't want indirect sound we don't want indirect on, we don't want noise, right signal is what we want. We want this and we don't want the noise. We we can, um we can always add noise later, but we can't take it out right it's like, if you guys cook, if you put salt in your food, you cannot take it out later you can't keep putting potatoes in the soup and keep making more and more soup until there's less salt all around but you can't take the salt out so this is it's like salt um so let's uh let's let's jump into this the kind of stuff that we're going to do so we want the signal the signal is the audio that we want the noises the audio we don't want whether it's noise or not whether it's someone else might consider a noise somewhere else might hear music but it's not what we want then it's noise all right? The direct sound is the audio that we want the indirect sound reflected sound let me give you just a little bit of ah just to show you how sound kind of works and uh the things were up against I'd like everybody to close their eyes all right and I'm gonna well before you close your eyes this wall behind me is twelve o'clock ok the wall behind you is six o'clock this wall is nine o'clock this is three o'clock all right? What I want you to do now is I want you to close your eyes I'm going to go turn and turn and we keep talking and then I'm going to stop and then I want you guys with your eyes closed to tell me what what we're on the clock I'm I'm pointing at okay I'm turning around I'm turning around I'm turning around and where am I pointing out right now where am I pointing out I'm talking where my face england um what were my facing? Eleven o'clock eleven o'clock kind of close let's try it again okay? I'm going around and around and around and around and where am I pointing right now where my pointing now five five o'clock very good I want to go around and it's because of this wall is not very reflective that you got you got thrown off a little bit before but right now right now where am I talking and where am I talking when I'm stopping right now? Where am I talking? Eleven ten eleven so what's happening is your ears are processing the reflected sound reflected off these walls and your process because you've got two ears you're processing the reflected sound is coming to you a little bit later then if this was a live or room and there wasn't a sound deadening in here, you get it so instantly so so but that reflected sound is helping you. Once it's baked into the recording, we can't it's very hard to get it out so that's what we're gonna do, we're gonna we're gonna do all this stuff what we're going to do to help you to get it right so that you don't have that problem microphone placement is the most important part of sound recording the close to the mic is to the source, the more signal and the less noise, the less unwanted audio, the better the sound. So because what happens is this if I'm talking at this level and the microphone is right here, we're going to set the levels so that this is giving me a good a good signal, but because it's so close, all the sound around the outside is going to it's going to be turned there, going to be turned up low enough for this. This other sound is going to die away if I put the microphone out there further out it's going to pick up much more of the outer sounds. All right, so, um, that's what I'd like to give you guys a real little test right now, the choice is of what we generally use our a boom microphone right with which is a directional microphone so that the sound guy that you have for your film have a boom. Mike, just because you could hear while the mariachi guy was playing his music could also hear the people talking in the background, so it wasn't like you. Mic him up or anything? No, we didn't like him, you know, like a lot of time putting that mike on a person takes a little bit of time. Yeah, you know, so you if I'm following somebody like as marella had a mike on her, all right? Because I just wanted to get what she was saying, but generally you so a boom microphone is usually a directional microphone. In other words, it has a pattern that's fairly, it rejects things off to the side, all right? And you point it at people there's usually put some sort of wind screen on it. This is an indoor windscreen is very light in its foam, but if you were out in the wind outside, this wouldn't do it for the wind outside. You need something a lot bigger, you need something like this. All right, it will live in the microphone will go inside here we'll go inside here, and then this whole thing will go on your on your boom, you're boom, also known as a fish bowl. Um, if it's really, when do you put this on it? And this really stops the wind. Okay, um, but the ideal distance on a microphone like this, you can't get too close, but of course, you also don't want to be as as I don't know if you can see this, but as I'm getting close to you, I'm starting to get shadows from these lights that can be a problem if you get too close all this is going to intimidate somebody but a good working distance for most things is about like this and if two people talking to each other one of the techniques is rather than moving over like this, I could put the mic in the middle and just kind of roll it between them it's much easier to do that than to do this with shadows move less and it's a lot ok, so this is going to be now if I were doing an interview when I was in sierra leone, I did this might cause this I needed this might cause I knew that the stories we're telling we are also going to be used for they're also going to be used for for radio I needed really good sound I had a holder for the microphone, the microphone, I would hold it, it was on the stand and have a seat and I would just do it like that and I didn't have to worry about that head is the right distance um another reason I used a microphone like this even though the people hours interviewing we're survivors of ebola they had had the disease and they survived and supposedly they're not contagious but who knows? Maybe they were with someone else who had about I didn't really want to touch them I wanted teo once you go to a place like about you really learn howto wash your hands all the time and be very people don't shake hands anymore so you know, just to keep everything cool this is a much better microphone then a lava lear microphone like the one I'm wearing here. Okay, so this is this is generally the way to go. The other microphone that we would use would be a would be a lot earlier. All right, lava where it comes from, the french we call them a lot we still call them loves, but they're also called the radio mike a personal mike um as opposed to a boom mike love level air means means, uh, necklace originally, lava lear microphones were regular microphones that were just on a rope you'd see if you see old television shows from the fifties, you see people with like, you know, a piece of cord around their neck and a microphone hanging there. So who wants to read today where it's only a small piece of reading, um we're going to do a little bit of a test here, okay, um then you've got a microphone already on you we're going to put another one on you okay but we're going we're not going on this one because we don't really can't we're going to keep it on the outside all right well just keep this on the outside so that so what okay let's do that okay and we'll turn you on okay let's just have a seat and um who wants to hold this microphone so this is a radio mic right? The idea of this lava lear microphone is it's so close to you that's that's what it hears it doesn't hear the rest if you're in a really noisy environment this is what you want to use all right it's going to reject everything and in fact if I'm filming you and there's a car there's seat if I'm filming you with the radio mike and we're at the beach or where there's cars behind you what I want to do is I want to turn you so I can see the beach behind you see the cars behind you whatever the noise I'm trying to avoid your body is going to block it this whole big bodies going to block it but also the camera's going to see it and so out so when I hear it I'll know oh that's what that's from a supposed to wear those cars coming from and you're showing a picture of um you know, you showing a picture of a meadow or something okay, so um now someone else if someone else would be so kind as to hold this boom okay, what we're gonna do is we're going to record this three times we're going to record it twice one time we're going to record the boom in the right place one time the boom in the wrong place and one of those time both those times we're going to record the lava lear lovelier really only has one place to bay now, um, before I set this up, let me just show you let me just show you uh what we're going for here um this is the meters in a camera typical camera um this is wait, we're recording digitally. We have to be careful that we don't over over modulate put too much sound on the recording. If we do, we can't get it back. It says that you've heard it's got kind of sound that we will try to will try to make today we'll make a little bit of it too just for the heck of it uh, these meters this and the camera, the meter's air very simple, they don't have numbers on them, but just so roughly that, you know, this is too low you want to be peeking around in here, notice what happens when we really peak here, the overload that that little red dot turn into a big red dot we don't want to get anywhere near that we don't want to see that. Um so this is pretty good here? Um, yeah, the red dot is that indicating distortion? Yeah, if it gets big like that if you get close to you, you're going here's the problem these meters are not perfect there's certain sounds that they don't really here they listen to the high end so I've done things where I've looked I've been really safe here, but there's based music in it that has distorted so you have to you have to give yourself a little bit of comfort room. Okay, so this is this same camera. When I get into the inner status menus, I can do this and it can show me now we know what the dvd that we are. We're looking for it zero d b and digital is basically overloaded. You want to be peaking at around minus ten d b that gives you some more room for things. So this is overloaded. You see how the little red ones turned big? This is this is good. This is a good level and one of the things that I will generally do is if I'm using one input, I will put one input into both channels and I will make this one higher and this one lower this is the normal thing, but if someone gets really excited this might overload but this one will allow me a safety room so I've got it good ok, this is the recorder that we're going to use we're gonna use the zoom external recorder these air very common and they have the new models of them and all that but this is what we're going to use we're going to record on in flights one and two and this is the meter on here again minus so this is a good this is a good recording level this minus six minus six this is about as high as we want to get on it now these air called xlr connectors and they they have a little um they usually have a lock on them so that they don't come out accidentally. Um okay, here we go. Okay, so um let's let's just practice this is just a practice to practice to read so you want to get remember where you're gonna get on him? Um be careful up phyllis back. Um can you just can you just read a second journey to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back to all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them I am just changing my will keep talking a little bit I'm just setting the levels the journey to the center of the earth bye jules verne looking back to all that has occurred to me on that eventful day great thank you, let's now we talked here about the issue that this room is really quiet and so what we're gonna do is we're going to put some noise in the room all right so that we can hear things more clearly who's got the who's got the noise the ambient sound okay? We're just going to put like, a wave or something something run of rain or something. Yeah, okay. Oh, yeah that's what what is that wind? Okay, okay. All right, well put the wind over here, okay? It's noise that we definitely don't want blowing in the wind yeah ok. So are we ready to record? Yeah. Okay, so let's get in just a tiny touch tighter there we go. Okay. Yeah hope this wind doesn't really screw us. Okay. Okay. This is test one with with the microphone in the correct position go journey to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I'm bewildered when I think of them okay let's stop that and let's go let's come back to a position that might be a little bit let's let some let's go this is this is still fairly close but let's just do this this position and um can you read that exactly the same wait hold on you just go ahead read that journey to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them give it to me one more time same thing journey to the center of the earth bye jules verne looking back to all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered what I think of them okay? Just so you know every time you do it you do it louder which is really interesting but now we're gonna take advantage of that because now we're going to overload get close this is just this is overloading okay, okay go for and this time you're gonna you're gonna talk loud and let's find letter whatever just just the same the same journey to the center of the earth bye jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them okay, I think we're good. Um let's turn this off let's play this back and see what we play can you play back just the lava lear, please. Which is the left channel? Okay, this is a test one with a microphone in the correct position you can turn it up journey to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I'm bewildered when I think of them okay, the boom from the boom please. Okay, so what you just heard was the lava lear all right, I don't know if you you can sit down if you like. Okay, thanks. And maybe you guys want to turn around and listen to that really clearly I don't know if you listen to that mean, I don't know how would you characterize what you just heard chris kind of dull don't that's what I've heard more than chris let's listen to it this time it's the boom in the right corrections because in the right that's at the right level go journey to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them now let's listen to it with the the same this is just the boom again with listen to the boom in the wrong position to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them let's go back to the left channel their need to the center of the earth now this is the by jules verne looking back to all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered what I think of them okay this is test one with correct that's not what I should have heard I want to hear this one to two okay this one should be overloaded let's hear it let's hear this matter I was going alone okay did you hear what happened right away journey to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventure edginess and the electronic they were truly so wonderful this's the boom is even now over module I am bewildered it's not that it's too close I turned up the level here I turned up the recording level remember how we said the red so it s so it was peeking it was it was overloading okay listen this is this's the room where we want it here we go this is the boom where we want it again just the boom please write channel on later of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality on one that's the one words further back I'm sorry the numbers there this's where the boom is where we want it you can hear the instantly journey to the center of the earth by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them and the love please just the love okay this is test one with my love this is the other man you can hear how it's gets dealt day journey to the center of the earth sent by jules verne looking back toe all that has occurred to me on that eventful day I'm scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures they were truly so wonderful all right thank you um can you just stand up a second I just want to show you something here now that was a very dead sound we heard the difference we heard that the boom really did sound the best it sounded like the most and when we had it in the right place even with that wind noise you didn't hear it but one of the reasons the boom this'll ob is dead is it's very high here it's very high up on him you see where it's mounted on him here it's it's mounted very high so it's picking up really throat and it's picking excuse me if I'm sure touch you sorry it's it's picking up throat and not here if you really want to hit a more open sound you'll need to pull it down a little bit more it'll pick up more of era around but it will also pick up more of his head coming off of here but right now when it's this tight in there it sounds like it sounds like throat okay and it's just dead and it's it's losing the higher frequencies so thank you that was good reading

Class Description

It is common to "postpone" your filmmaking due to insecurity and doubt: Do I own the right camera? Do I have access to the proper resources? Can I support my vision with a strong artistic/technical point-of-view? Those fears are why so many film and media projects never get off the ground.

In The Lone Wolf Filmmaker with Bill Megalos, you’ll learn camera, sound, and storytelling techniques that will place you on a simple, yet sophisticated path towards completing a moving-media project. Bill will help you:

  • Choose the best camera for your project and budget
  • Use the camera on a technical level, with an artistic intent
  • Develop an aesthetic and technical approach to sound recording

The class will demystify the distance from the first step to the completion of a formidable, marketable piece of media. You’ll learn techniques that will simplify your process, no matter the scope of the project or your experience as a filmmaker.

Reviews

Mulk Raj
 

This was excellent. I’ve been learning filmmaking up until now from watching YouTube videos and from my own practice which has been great. But I found these lessons to complement everything I knew and filled in much of where I was going wrong or wanted to know, and all in one convenient place. The course covering both the technical aspects as well as telling the story. There were lots of great techniques, tips and information from all aspects. Shooting mainly on the Sony Camcorders but I didn't consider this to be an issue, and the course also provided an excellent side by side comparison with the Digital SLRs. You can see from the lesson list that many topics are covered from the different types of lenses (one interesting question Bill asked was “what type of lens was that photograph taken with?” I had never thought you could discern this from the photo). Other great lessons was on sound tests, covering reflective sounds and comparisons with booms and lab mics and the ideal placement. The emphasis was always on telling the story and the reasons why you would choose one over the other. I learned a heck of a lot from the interview section. How to set-up, where to set-up an interview, looking at all the different aspects and backgrounds open to you from a location, how to conduct an interview, how to ask questions, lighting from the far side, the concept of slow disclosure, and the final hour being a fly-on-the wall on getting the shots was really interesting if you’ve never worked on a filmed set before. I personally thought this was an invaluable insight into filmmaking, well worth the investment. Great work.

Josh Moore
 

Great overview of capturing video from a one-man/small production team perspective. And great insight from an expert who's done it all. The Making One Location Look Like Many episode was fascinating to see how Bill spontaneously approaches creating shots in a location.

Don Fraser
 

Very informative. I found the info and examples useful regarding different camera lenses, sensor size, pros and cons of different cameras (e.g. video camera and DSLR) as well as some practical information for lone filmmakers. I only wish we could've viewed the finished footage of the small film they shot at the end.