Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Backup Sound

Glen Trew suggests not running a backup recorder on set.

I have to agree with him there. I used to run one thinking that at least twice in a movie I was going to not roll on one machine. But the fact is that hitting two record buttons does indeed make it somewhat easier to miss one of them.
The Japanese version of Robot Revolution.

The other thing is that the sound department is the only department that even considers running a backup. There's no "backup camera" running while the regular one is running. And, of course, sound can be replaced in post. And sometimes that's just easier anyway.


Kangas said...

I don't agree. On my last two shoots(segment for Terrortory) I ran a backup and just let it run. Granted, going through the 8 hour audio take and chopping it into individual takes is a LOT of work, but not as much work as foleying/looping later--and we all know looping is NEVER perfect...

Andrew Bellware said...

There at the end of the article he puts forth a caveat about a "failsafe" recorder -- one that's running all the time, as a reasonable backup.

Still, as a production sound mixer, I totally see his point that *rolling* a backup causes more problems than it solves.

That said I'd TOTALLY rather loop. ;-)

Kangas said...

I dunno--this logic makes no sense: "It’s simple math: If two recorders are being used, you are twice as likely to have a recorder failure. "

It's like saying if you have 2 pilots on a plane, your chances of crashing are double. That's ridiculous. Your chances of success are double if you have two recorders. The odds of the SAME problem occurring in 2 separate devices is slim.

And you're nuts--looping is NEVER as good as original sound. Not only does it never perfectly match, but it's nigh impossible to get the same performance as your actors originally gave...

Andrew Bellware said...

He means that if two recorders are used, the odds are twice as likely to have *one* failure. He doesn't mean they'll both fail. And if you're using a system which auto-rolls a backup then yeah, oof, it gets worse.
This is advice primarily for the professional production sound mixer, not really us no-budget guys doing everything on a shoestring.
And big-budget, again, the ADR can sound pretty good. Lots of these movies have about 100% of their dialog replaced. But it is a big ol' pain in the tuchus.

Kangas said...

Still doesn't make any sense. Your success at getting sound is only based on your chances of 1 sound recorder working. If you use 2 recorders, you have DOUBLED your chances at getting a successful recording, not doubled your chances of one failing.

I mean, let's say you MUST have a radio playing at all times. Would you say putting out 2 radios doubles your chances of having no radio playing? That's essentially what he's saying.

I also hear a lot of lip service about big budgets replacing 100% of their dialogue, but I would bet that's mostly bullshit. I'm sure a lot of it is(and I'm sure they DO ADR the whole thing just to have it), but they spend way too much time/money on original recording to not use it.


Andrew Bellware said...

Look, my blog keeps making ME prove I'm not a robot. I think the AI is just trying to get us all inured to the idea that there are robots among us so we don't notice when we're suddenly their servants.

Yeah, he doesn't mean that there won't be one successful recording, he just means you're going to blow one of the rolls. And in the very specific instance he means -- which is where you're using like a Cooper mixer which has a switch to roll recorders on it -- it could, in theory, be catastrophic.

Making DM&E's is so, ever so much easier to do with ADR. So much easier. I think TV uses most of their original dialog. But the lighting people on big-budget movies just don't care and but really obnoxious ballasts and generators everywhere.