This month has also been a month of wraps for larger projects such as my documentary, Battling the Backlog, and the latest narrative film I did sound for, How to DP. This was my last film with QFS (Quinnipiac Film Society) and I'm glad I was able to learn and experiment more on set. One of the bigger challenges we had for sound was how to record the singing. Yes, this was a musical and it was my first musical.
We decided to record the singing before shooting. I was not part of this process but I'm sure it went well. When we did record the singing scenes, instead of using a shotgun I decided to go with a wireless lav for a few reasons: 1- we aren't planning on using that audio so if it's staticy or rustling, it doesn't matter. 2- if we do decide to use the audio, it actually can give a nicer more realistic, inimate feeling than shotgun will give us. Having the intimacy of the lav is very appropriate for singing since it's dreamlike and we are inside that person's head and feelings (people don't usually break out in song in real life). This audio ended up sounding great and luckily there was no dancing with the singing so I don't recall any rustling problems. I am not the Sound Designer on this film, just production Audio Mixer, so I am not editing the sound in post and do not know if they will use that audio, but I thought it sounded great and they could use it if they'd like instead of syncing up with the music and lips.
The singing was actually not that much of a problem for us, the biggest problem for audio was actually a technical problem. I have used the FP Shure 33 on a few other films in the past and never had this issue, but on this film, everyday for some reason, when we calibrated the mixer to the camera, the tone was both set at 0 so it should have been calibrated. Although when the actors actually spoke, their voices would be around -30db to -20db while on the camera, they were around 0. So, the levels on the camera were good but it was hard for me to monitor them and keep them as good as possible. One day we decided to calibrate by using actor's voices instead of the 1kHz tone which worked well, it was just tough to get it perfectly calibrated and it took longer. No one else had patience for it. Other times, me or my sound crew would monitor the levels on the camera while someone else did boom and I watched for peaking and yelling on the mixer.
How to DP has been wrapped and post-production should be completed next Fall at the latest. The subject of this film was a bit unprofessional, but the experience of doing a musical was definitely a good one. I enjoyed doing this film with some familiar faces and some new faces and I hope to work with them again in the future.