The cozy space in the realm of sound

Yesterday I was recording the rain with the Sennheiser 416 Shotgun microphone. My position was in the dining room with the window cracked a little. A guy on a bicycle came into our parking area. I could hear the squeaking of the bicycle as he pulled in. This was at a distance of about 60 feet. Then he also said something that was picked up also. Another person walks by near the window with an umbrella and I could hear the distinct sound of the rain hitting his umbrella. All in all it was a wonderful sensory space to be in. Love the rain… made a 30 minute recording which captured the thunder and also some city traffic.

I plan to listen more. Trying to know the nature of the Mic by experience. One things for sure… it has great focus at distance. I did use a pretty strong high pass filter at the maximum 240 hertz to remove much of the low end rumbling. Fortunately I also had the advanced limiter on… which I could see hit the peak a few times when the thunder rolled in. Took off the wind screen also and immediately noticed the difference with a higher climb in the decibels… probably around a 10db gain.

Delving into sound I think is making me a better cinematographer. Our main sensory realms emotionally are often based on sound. The sounds that make a baby fall to sleep for example. This is often from an emotional point of view an auditory realm rather than visual. So an emotional auditory space is important to be conscious of. I know I sure felt a sense of peace listening to the rain amplified. A little cozy space. Which brings back many memories of childhood.

So the moral of the story is to remember that sound is at least half the picture… and from an emotional point of view way more than half. Respect the sounds… cinematography shouldn’t be about the greatest cameras, lenses and motion control… with no or little regards to sound.

Sound workflow upgrades

So we just ordered the Denecke TS-C Compact Time Code Slate, Comtek FPM-216 Field Program Monitoring Kit and the Tentacle Sync E timecode Generator with Bluetooth. These new additions will be a great addition to our existing workflows. Our Zoom F8n 8 track sound mixer supports Time Code out/in and we want to utilize it with the Tentacle Sync and Denecke Slate.

Comtek FPM-216

The Tentacle sync can be used even on camera systems that don’t have a Time Code sync port… this can be done over the audio channel. So this workflow will be great on our Canon 5D Mark IV as well as RED EPIC Dragon 6K. We also shoot with the Arri Alexa Mini and plan on ordering the time code sync cable for it also.

Denecke TS-C Compact Time Code Slate

The Comtek is mainly for producers and directors to hear the audio from the Zoom F8n sound mixer. The system we ordered supports upto 7 receivers from one transmitter. So on shoots we’ll just bring some extra headsets and hand it to the clients. Previously we were running extra sennheiser wireless packs back into the camera and then the camera operator could monitor also. This will just free it up from the camera operator to anyone that needs to have a listen.

Our focus for many years was just visual quality. Now we are taking a look at the full film production workflow. Audio is 50% of the picture and this long neglected area is very necessary for a successful project. With audio being recorded on separate device and sometimes multiple camera shoots. Synchronizing over time code is becoming necessity for efficiency. We don’t want an editor stuck with all those files and having to manually sync… which can take forever.