Your film questions. Our professional answers.
Shawn Bissonnette asks,
“What is the best kind of microphone to use when you are shooting in a location where it is very echoey but you are not able to set up anything to reduce the echo?”
Were assuming you are filming a live event such as a wedding, speech, or in some other venue with a large space.
In this case, use a dynamic microphone over something like a condenser.
Dynamic microphones are less sensitive to those unwanted echoes and will get you that primo sound you’re looking for.
“How do you deal with booming shots with more than 2 cameras? Especially if one of the cameras is a very wide shot and you can’t get a plant mic in.”
Ideally, this is a lavalier situation, but if you must boom.
Take the boom audio from the close-up and overlay it on the wide shot.
Note that this can only be done when the actor’s lips aren’t readable or they say the lines the exact same every time (unlikely).
“What’s the secret for the best room tones?”
Communication, location, file naming
Tell those grips to shut up…jk…not really.
Communicate with the 1st AD between setups to make sure they carve time out for you to capture room tone.
While capturing, record in the same space as the scene with the same amount of bodies in it, this will make sure your room tone matches.
Finally, at the top of this recording say “Room Tone” so the editor knows what this file is.
“Is it better to increase the gain on the microphone or the camera pre-amps when the signal is too low?”
Small body cameras, especially mirrorless, are notorious for their noisy pre-amps. This is because audio on these cameras is often an afterthought behind the sensor and other camera functions.
Trust that your microphone manufacturer has done their due diligence and made sure the pre-amp works for the microphone it’s on.
“What methods are there to make amateurs look/feel relaxed when delivering pieces to camera?”
Rather than telling them what you need, treat it as a conversation. Talk about ideas and the reasons why the person is saying what they’re saying. If they pitch ideas, consider using them.
This will take their focus from remembering what words to say and will hopefully come off more genuine.