An Introduction to Production Sound for Film | Gabby Haley | Skillshare

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An Introduction to Production Sound for Film

teacher avatar Gabby Haley, Sound Designer & Sound Recordist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Intro

      2:11
    • 2. Production Basics

      2:18
    • 3. How to Boom

      9:21
    • 4. How to Mic

      14:41
    • 5. Recording Devices

      4:42
    • 6. Sound Sync

      3:09
    • 7. Sound Reports

      1:07
    • 8. Sound Crew

      1:46
    • 9. Final Round Up

      0:48
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About This Class

This class covers the basics of film production sound. Sound is 50% of a film, yet most creatives who aren't in the audio department know very little about how it works and the importance of capturing great quality sound on set. 

If you are shooting on a tight budget, knowing and understanding how sound can be the "make it" or "break it" of your production will help you achieve the best possible results. One of the biggest give-aways that a film is low budget is the quality of the sound, so keep it high on your priority list. 

"An Introduction to Production Sound for Film" is for anyone interested in filmmaking whether you have a background in sound or not. You will learn everything you should know in order to communicate effectively with sound professionals and get the best possible results during production.

We will cover:

  • Production sound basics
  • Boom techniques and equipment
  • Mic techniques and equipment
  • Recording devices
  • Sound syncing
  • Sound reports/logs
  • How to get the best sound crew?

If you wish to undertake sound work for yourself, having access to the basic pieces of sound equipment shown in the class is ideal, this will ensure you can practice constantly. However, this is not compulsory; you can still gain very valuable knowledge without the equipment and even practice some of the elements I teach without it. If you simply want to improve your audio knowledge so you can discuss the production with sound professionals, no equipment is required.

Understanding the sound department in film is crucial, as a good quality audio makes a whole difference in your project, I hope you enjoy the class and that these tools help you navigate sound with no fear and even with a bit of fun!

Meet Your Teacher

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Gabby Haley

Sound Designer & Sound Recordist

Teacher

Hi everyone!

My name is Gabby, I am co-founder of Black Goblin, an audio production and post-production company based in the UK. I have been part of the creative industries for over 8 years now, having recently celebrated my company's third anniversary.

I think it's vital for all creatives, whether they are sound professionals or not, to have a basic understanding of how sound works as well as its best practices. Having this knowledge, allows creatives, like filmmakers, to make more informed decisions about how they will take sound into account for their work, be it production, postproduction, etc.

My hope is to create powerful and informative content that can clarify some areas of confusion and shed light into the sound professionals' workflow, while hopefully, ins... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Intro: Hi. I'm Gabby. I am the co-founder and director of Black Goblin, which is a sound services and technology company based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Collectively, my co-founder, Andrew and I have over 17 years of experience working in production and post-production sound. This class is aimed at filmmakers and those of you who have an interest in production sound, and want to get the best possible results for your work. Taking an interest in sounds for your films already puts you 10 steps ahead of the majority of filmmakers. That's what will make your projects the best. Our hope in creating this content is to relieve some of the fears and misinformation that a lot of creators have with sound and to help you feel more confident when communicating with some professionals, and when you're undertaking sound work for yourself. Sound is something that should not be left into the last minute to think about. But unfortunately, this is so often the case in filmmaking. It's something that I've experienced firsthand as a sound designer working in post, as well as countless colleagues around me who've experienced the exact same thing. It ultimately leads to bad sound as an end results and that drags the overall quality of your projects down. Remember, sound is 50 percent of the film, so it needs to be done right. If you enroll in this class, I'll be taking you through sound for film production, and by the end, you'll have far more knowledge and understanding of how sound works through this process and why it's always best to do it right the first time. I'll be showing you techniques for sound capture and how best to utilize the equipment you should have available when filming. Using sound for your projects will always make your films, YouTube videos, and any audiovisual content you create, so much more professional and just better overall. It's a lot easier than you might think. I want you to know how it's a lot of fun too. For the class project, I want you to share the results of the techniques that you practice. This can be with video, picture, or just audio. I'll be here to answer any questions that you may have throughout the course. I'll show you examples and give you exercises so can practice and build confidence, and by the end of the class, you'll have gained valuable knowledge that you can utilize to make your work stand out. Thanks for watching. I'll see you soon. 2. Production Basics: The person in charge of sound unit production is called the sound mixer and it is their job to capture clean and intelligible audio throughout. The audience should never have to strain to hear what was being said and it can make it very difficult for them to understand the story and the in the end feel disconnected from the film. If you do end up with bad dialogue as a result of improper use of equipment or not having the right professional in order to do the job, you may have to consider doing ADR in post, which is additional dialogue recording or additional dialogue replacement. That is only if you have the funds and time to do so. It would require hiring some professional, renting out studios and paying for the actors' and actresses' time in order to get the dialogue up to the standard that you need. If you don't have the funds to do that, there's not a lot you can do in post. There's this misconception that everything can just be fixed in post when it comes to audio but it's really not the case. If the quality of the dialogue was not there originally, there's not a lot you can do. Things can be removed and cleaned out, but quality of dialogue captured cannot be improved. So it's why it's so important to make sure it's done right during the production phase. It will save you a lot of hassle, a lot of money, and a lot of heartache overall. There are five main elements for film sound. Those are dialogue, foley, sound effects, music, and room tone and ambiances. For production though, we're going to focus on the dialogue and the ambiances and room tone. We know what dialogue is, but what is room tone ambiances and what are they used for? Room tone is the sound of an interior room in which the dialogue was recorded in. This is captured when there's nobody speaking, no one moving around. It's just the ambient sound of the room. The reason it's so important is that it is used to create a consistent background and to fill in any gaps in the sound in post-production to create a smooth soundtrack. The same applies for outdoor locations, but these are referred to as ambiances on natural sound, but they serve the same purpose. In order to capture room tone, you need to get the same microphone in the same position that it was in during the shot. This is to make sure that you capture the same sound that was captured during the dialogue take. It needs to be at least 30 seconds to a minute in length without any interruptions. That should be enough for the editor to make changes in post. 3. How to Boom: I want to take you through some of the boom techniques involved during film production. It's the boom operator's job to get as close to the action as possible, and this may entail getting into some quite uncomfortable positions. You always want to be as close to the mouth of the actor or actress as you can, within six to 12 inches if possible, to make sure you capture the cleanest dialogue throughout. As a boom operator, you want to make sure that you're avoiding hitting any light fixtures, props, getting in the way of mirrors that may cause reflections that are caught on camera, or causing shadows to be cast during the scene. These are all things you need keep in mind whilst ensuring that the mic is in perfect position throughout. I want to keep this section as simple as possible, because it's probably most important of them all. I'm going to show you some of the equipment that I use and how to use them as well as some of the boom positions that you might find useful when working on set. First off, we have the standard hedge position. Your arms are bent at the elbow, and your feet should be firmly planted for support. In this position, your arms are able to move a couple of feet in either direction, giving you some extra reach and control. Next is the flagpole or lazy hedge position. In this position, you drop your arms so that your elbows are by your sides, this is great to give your arms a little break, as well as when working in confined spaces that may restrict your movements. Here we have the crucifix position. In this position, the boom pole rest behind your neck with both arms draped over the sides of the pole. This position is not optimal for accuracy, but can be used for lengthy scenes with minimal movement when the pole is fully extended. If you're a sound mixer who is also a boomer, then this one-hand position is very useful. Keeping one hand on the boom pole allows you to have one hand free to operate the mixer. There is also an underhanded version of the one-hand position, called the joust position. This works in the same way but allows you to mic from below if needs be. Depending on the shot, the one-hand position is ideal for a sound mixer, who's also operating the boom. This position is not always possible, and it is likely you will have to switch to the hedge position in order to get closer to the action. Which position you choose will come down to your best judgment during the filming. The first piece of kit you will need as a boom operator is a boom pole. It is absolutely crucial and I would recommend getting the longest one you can. The minimum length shouldn't be any less than three meters, as I have found this length just about works for most situations, they can also leave you struggling to reach and cause a lot of fatigue after a long day. If you can get a longer one please do. This one here is just a standard rod boom pole. Next is a windshield. Now, this is only really important if you're going to be filming outdoors or anywhere particularly windy. This one here is made by Rycote and is the super shield large kit. Inside, it will house a shotgun microphone, engineered to use a shotgun microphone for dialogue with a boom pole. As you can see, they're named the shotgun mic, due to their appearance, but they're meant for very directional sound capture. All microphones are different, but you want to use one that has a polar or pick-up button that is either supercardioid or hypercardiod. This means that the microphone will pick up sound directly in front of it, and reject most of the sound coming from the side and behind. This means you can pick out the dialogue in potentially noisy environments, and if you do a lot of dialogue capture then a really good quality shotgun mic is worth the investment. This one here is a rode NTG2, but the one that I like to use is a Schoeps CMIT 5U. To go with the windshield, you should also use a windjammer. This is especially made fluffy cover that fits over your windshield. This further reduces wind noise and using both the windshield and windjammer together, allows you to record outdoors in stronger winds. It can also be used in very light rain, but if the rain become stronger, you will have to cover it and resume filming once the rain has eased if possible. Many of the brands work in the same way as Rycote, and simply slide over the windshield. This makes assembly quick and your gear very easy to put together on shoot. Having a good quality windshield and windjammer will make your life so much easier when shooting outdoors. When you have equipment you can rely on, you can focus on capturing the best audio you can. A good quality mic and wind protection is always a priority. One of the most basic pieces of kit is an XLR cable or microphone cable. This allows you to connect all your gear together and get a good signal flow. Make sure to invest in a good quality cable, as this will reduce noise and interference in the cable. Next, another option that we have available is a wireless transmitter. This one here is by Sennheiser and is used with a boom mic. Instead of using the cable, you can use this wireless transmitter, and just connect it in the same way you would an XLR cable. This one here is made by Sennheiser and allows you to be wireless and not have to worry about XLR cables. If you work in as a pair and have a separate sound mixer and boom operative, this gives the boom operator freedom to move around without having to worry about the cables being connected to the sound mixer all times. Next we have a lavalier microphone or lav mic? These are designed to be placed directly onto your talent. They have a very small capsule and thin cable, which makes them easy to hide amongst clothing and other props. You will also need a wireless receiver, and a wireless transmitter to go with your lav. I will go into more detail on how to place and hide the types of mics, and know how to make section of this class. However, you never want to only rely on one source of audio if possible. Having a lav is a great backup, and it can also be the best option for certain situations, that do not allow a boom to be present. They pose a lot of their own challenges, but should always be a part of a sound person's kit. This is a foam windshield, and they work in very much the same way as the windshield and windjammer I showed earlier. But these are usually used within indoor settings to reduce any potential wind noise that could be created when moving the boom. It simply slides over the shotgun mic like so, and this should give you enough protection indoors, whilst allowing you to get as close to the talent as possible with the end of the shotgun mic. Now, you can't possibly be a sound person without a pair of good-quality headphones. These ones are made by Audio-Technica, but any good-quality headphones will do the job. Finally, one of the most important pieces of kit is a multi-track recorder. This is the Zoom F8. It is currently fitted into my audio bag, but it can be used on its own as long as it is protected from damage. I will go into more detail about recording devices further in the class. A really good way to practice your position as a boom operator, is if you don't have the equipment available at hand, you can get something that has quite a long handle, and fasten a torch to the end, and you can practice your positions with that, making sure that the light that's projected from the end of the torch, is pointing at the mouth of whoever you're pointing at. That will give you a good general idea of how all the position is working, and it's always good to practice beforehand anyway. As a boom op you want to be making sure that your hook in the frame line of the shot as much as possible. A good way to do this is if you get your boom, lower into the shot like so, then ask the camera operator to let you know once you're clear. Once you're at that point, if you look at the wall behind you or a spot in line with the boom, and make note of where it is, and during the shot, just make sure that your boom lines up with that spot that you found earlier, and that will ensure that you're always in the right place during the shot. A boom operator has to become quite good at concealing themselves whilst in shot as well. They have to get into the most uncomfortable positions whilst making sure they capture the dialogue. This may mean getting into crump positions, on tables, or behind cupboards, and just making sure that you don't pop into frame during the scene, but it's all worth it to make sure you get the best dialogue that you possibly can. If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to try and avoid overstretching your arms as much as possible. If you're having to stand at full extension, with your arms at the longest that they can go, you're going to be coming quite fatigued quite quickly. Like I said previously, if you can get a longer boom pole to allow you to have a more relaxed position in your shoulders and arms, that will save you a lot of pain in the long run. If you're doing a 12 hour day, trust me it will add up. 4. How to Mic: I want to talk to you about concealing lav mics. Lav mics are a crucial part of film making as it allows you to have a secondary source of dialogue recording. You never want to be in a situation where you only have the boom as your one source of dialogue capture. If that boom recording becomes compromised with background noise, handling noise, or anything that interferes with the quality of the dialogue and you don't have lav as a backup, there's not a lot you can do about it and pulls apart from attempt ADR. Always make sure you have a lav and a boom during your productions and at least then always have two options. When considering microphones it's not just a case of finding the first place to put the microphone and leaving it there throughout the shot. You need to make considerations for the location. The best place to place a microphone is on the middle chest towards the sternum area of the actors. But bear in mind that you want to have as few layers of clothing between the microphone and the person talking. If you're unable to place the microphone in this middle position, you may have to be more creative about your positioning, such as going for the collar, the glasses inside pocket, or taking into account any props that someone may be wearing. If they have pens in their shirts, sometimes it's possible to hide them inside these. You need to be really creative about your positioning and would find out what's the best option for you during that shoot. This is the lav mic that I'll be using to demonstrate mic mounting and placements. This one is made by Sennheiser and has a relatively small capsule. There are small capsules on the market which will make concealment even easier, but they tend to be on the more expensive end of the scale. This is my small lav mounting materials box that I keep in my audio bag. It contains various things that I can use to conceal and mount mics on to [inaudible] during a shoot. On this side there is a microfiber tape, double-sided tape, lav concealers, clips, and safety pins. This is a lav concealer specifically for the Sennheiser mic that I'll be using. It's made of a smooth material that reduces clothing noise, it won't get rid of it completely, but because it is smooth material, it makes it a lot harder for friction. The mic capsule simply fits into the cota on the back. This literally takes around three seconds to fit and then your lav mic is protected from any direct contact from clothing, which will cause noise. Depending on where you want to mount the mic will dictate what materials you use, but generally, some good double-sided tape will do the trick. Once the tape is fitted, you can stick the concealer onto either skin or clothing. Remember to use skin safety for mounting directly to skin. I will now demonstrate how easy it is to mountain these concealers. Get your double-sided tape and secure it to the back of the concealer. Remove the second strip to expose the sticky layer, and I will mount this directly to my chest, which is the go-to position for most lav mic if possible. You can either ask whoever you are miking if they would prefer you to place the mic or if they're happy to do it themselves with your instruction on where it should go. Once fitted unless there is some hard friction against the mic, it should stay in place. Make sure the mic cannot be seen either through the clothes or as the actor moves around. I also have universal concealers. These ones will fit my capsules between five to seven millimeters comfortably and the one I have here also has a vampire clip fitted to the back of it. These are just very thin pins that can be slipped through fabric to secure the concealer. These work in very much the same way as custom concealers that might capsule just slides through and if you pinch the sides, it will make it a little easier to get it through. The universal concealers are a bit chunkier and not low profile as custom ones, but they are very useful in generally work just as well. Just to show you how easy these are two mount, I will fit this concealer to my sleeve. Once the vampire eclipse are in, they're surprisingly strong and shouldn't move out of place. They can be moved around easily by unhooking and hooking the clips into the fabric. Here I will show you how easy these can be mounted to a shirt. Aiming for that center chest position again, by mounting the clip in-between the buttons. If in-between the buttons is not an option, then you could also mount it to the inside of the opening on the front of a shirt, in exactly the same way you did before. To simply slide the vampire clips through the material until it is secure. Another option you may have to conceal the lav is under the collar of the shirt or blouse. This can be done with double-sided tape or using vampire clips. Fit the cable down the back of the shirt, or if possible, you can create a small hole in the back of the collar so the Y is hidden under the shirt and will not be seen from any angle. Next, we're going to look at one of the most budget-friendly options, which is still widely used by professionals, and that is moleskin. Moleskin can be found in most supermarkets or pharmacies and is used mostly on feet to protect against blisters. It is usually safe for most skin types unless they have an allergy. We're going to make something called a moleskin sandwich. To do that, we need two smallish square pieces. You will need to take one piece and remove the backing and secure the mic like so. Get your second piece of moleskin and with the fluffy side to the mic, secure them like this. Once that's done, you are ready to mount the mic. Remember this technique uses consumables, so you'll have to use a new piece of moleskin every time. So, make sure you have enough with you if this is all you have available. When you are ready to mount, simply remove the last piece of the backing and secure it either to the clothing or directly to the skin, depending on your options at the time. If done correctly, the mic should be secure and not easily pulled from its mounting. Like I showed earlier, you can also secure the mic with the moleskin submerged in the same way as the consillers. It can either go directly onto skin or to clothing. Remember, you want as little friction against the mic as possible, so keep that in mind when thinking about your placement. The center chest location is good as the pectoral muscles usually create a little air gap between the clothing. Having this little air gap means that there is no risk of clothes rubbing against the mic directly. Once you are done, just remove the moleskin and throw it away. The next part of miking is attached in the wireless transmitted to the mic cable. Transmitters can be fairly big, so we need to find a way to hide it securely to the person who is being miked up. I like to use transmitter pouches. This one here is made by URSA, and its name suggests it is a flexible pouch that the transmitter can be slid into. These are designed to fit tightly. When you first use them, it can take some stretching in order to get the transmitter to fit, but once it is in, it will not fall out. There are two belt loops, one on either side, so that you can mount the pouch either vertically or horizontally. You can also use these loops to attach the pouch directly to a bra strap so that it sits higher up on the backhoe of whoever is wearing it. To go with the pouch, I also use in URSA belt, but you could also use a bandage in a similar way to secure the pouch. You can get different sizes depending on your needs, but they simply slide through the loops and then the Velcro tips will stick to any part of the belt, and its nice and stretchy so you shouldn't feel uncomfortable when it is being worn. These can be used more than once. You just need to make sure that they are sufficiently cleaned in-between using them on different people. I will show you how easy it is to secure the transmitter to myself. Doing this onto yourself is a lot harder than doing it to somebody else. If you can do this, then it shouldn't be a problem. Simply wrap it around the waist and secure the Velcro to the belt. On most occasions, the best place for the transmitter is in the middle to lower back. As I mentioned earlier, another option is to use a bandage, and this works in the same way as the belt. It's simply feed through the loops and then wraps around the person that is being miked. The only difference at this point is that you'd have to use something like a safety pin to secure the bandage and to stop it from unraveling. This is why I keep some of these things in my materials box just in case this is something that needs to be done. Having some of these custom made materials from URSA can be expensive. Having the option to use bandages makes cost a lot lower, and sometimes it's something that you may need to do if there are a lot of people that need to be miked at once. Having a few extra pouches and some bandages will make everything a lot easier in the long run. Fit in the transmitter to the person's waist or back isn't always an option. This could be due to the type of clothing they're wearing or the actions in which they need to perform. In this case, you can use smaller pieces of the URSA belt or bandages, which can be caught and the transmitter can be fitted to the thigh or ankle of the actor. Just make sure that it won't impede their performance as much as possible. Next we're going to look at connecting the mic to the transmitter and keeping the cable tidy. The reason I didn't connect the mic to the transmitter before fitting the belt is that is a lot easier to do it this way as the belt and cable do not get tangled. Once the mic is connected to the transmitter, you can call up the loose cable and keep it tidy. Use the belt to feed the cable to the transmitter. This stops it from getting caught on anything. Then you can place the called up cable on the inside of the belt to stop it from hanging freely. If there's any cable sticking out, use a microfiber tip to secure it to the actor. Try to keep your cable as tidy as possible as this will make your life easier. Another mounting option is to use clips. These will usually come with the Lav mic that you buy. They can be used on the outside of clothing for things like interviews, but they can also be hidden for filming purposes. The technique I'm going to show you here works with anyone wearing a bra or cropped top underneath their top layer of cloth, and is my go-to mounting option if possible. As I mentioned earlier, the pectoral muscles or anyone with a fuller chest, creates a perfect air pocket between their skin and clothing, which is the ideal place for a mic not to be at risk of direct clothing noise. Keep in mind that this only works if there are not a lot of layers of cloth between the mic and the person who's speaking, so always keep that in mind when mounting. Assemble the clip like this so that the clip and mic are facing upwards. This means the clip can be fitted up and onto the sensitive bite on the bra or cropped top, and the mic will also remain pointing up towards the mouth. If needs be, you can also turn the clip horizontally so that it can be secured to the side. When using this technique, you want to secure the clip so that the mic cable and capture towards the skin, and the clip fits over the middle of the bra or cropped top. For extra security, you could also use a consiller or moleskin submerge to secure the mic capture to the skin of the person being miked up. Remember, you are still aiming for the mic to be in the center chest position if possible. Make sure that the tip of the microphone is not obstructed by any of the materials. Lastly, you can also secure a mic to the inside of a pair of glasses with tip and feed the cable down the back of the actor. This is rare but sometimes the situation may call for this technique. When considering Lav mics, one of the main things that you have to try and combat is noise being transferred to the microphone. This can come from movement of the actors, the clothes they're wearing, or any jury or props that they may have. It's also worth mentioning that you should speak to the actors beforehand just to make them aware that they should try and avoid bringing props or their hands too close to the chest or anything that may obstruct the dialogue being recorded clearly. You should also speak toward or beforehand, so you can get an idea of the types of clothing that they might be wearing or any jewelry or props that may cause unnecessary noise. If this is the case, you can make considerations to secure these beforehand. You should do this before every production, and of course wear a lot less hassle in the long run. 5. Recording Devices: The types of recording devices can vary a lot depending on your budget or who you hired as your sound crew. If you plan on tackling sound for yourself, there are a couple of basics to keep in mind when recording sound for your project. For film, you want to be used in a multi-track recorder. A multi-track recorder allows you to record individual mic inputs at the same time so that you can have isolated tracks for each of the mics on set. This will make the dialogue editor's life so much easier and post and they will definitely thank you for it, so this should be the minimum standard in any film production. A multi-track recorder that we like to use is the Zoom F8 or the Zoom F8N. It has eight inputs and super quiet gain controls, which allows you to record crisp and clear dialogue and it's overall a very robust piece of kit. Of course, you can spend thousands on recorders like the sound devices, but if you were in a really good start and of a multi-track recorder, you can't go wrong with the Zoom F8. There are other cheaper options like hand recorder and zoom offers one under the name Zoom H8, and that also has eight inputs. But you need to remember that hand recorders have limited functionality. The majority of them don't have time called capabilities, which in filmmaking can be very problematic. You need to weigh up your options and see what's the best investment for you. I will take you through the components of the Zoom F8 and many other multitrack recorders work in the same way and have very similar features. On the front of the device are the controls you will use whilst recording. Each track has its own input and gain control. On the right side, you will see the first four inputs, which you can use XLR or jack connectors with, and there are also two SD card slots. Having two SD cards is very important as it allows you to record onto two SD cards at the same time. This means you'll always have a backup of your audio in case one SD card is damaged or becomes corrupt. On the other side, you will mainly use the other four audio inputs, as well as the sup out and headphone out. On the back, you will see a compartment for the batteries, a DC power input, and the in and out for time code. There are many other brands available, but we have had no issues with this make of model to date. I will now show you how easy it is to connect to a wireless receiver and a Boom mic via XLR connectors. At this stage, the most important thing you should do is to label your receivers so you know exactly which one is being used in which input. This makes solving any issues and troubleshooting a lot easier. I will now power on the recorder so you can see how the digital interface looks. As I'm using the first two inputs, I would only need to have 1 and 2 selected in order to record those tracks. Listen to each on their own, and set the correct level with the gain controls at the front. When setting up your recorder, one of the main things you need to get right is the sample rate and bit depth. You do not want to record anything for a film at 44.1 and 16-bit depth. This will not give you enough headroom if you need to process the audio imposed. As a minimum, we like to use 96 kilohertz and 24-bit, so we know we can process the audio imposed without any worries of causing artifacts in the sound. Finally, you want to make sure you're setting your gain levels to the correct amount. You do not want your inputs to be peaking at 0 dB. This can cause digital clips and distortion in your audio, and that is not what you want. Ideally, you want to be in between minus 20 dB to minus 16, depending on the dynamic range. If you know in the shot that the dialogue is going to becoming increasingly loud, you may need to write the gain controls just to compensate to make sure that you don't get any clips or distortion throughout the tech. I would highly recommend practicing these skills and trying them out before you go on to the film production set. Get the recorders that you have available, and practice setting the levels in the environment that you feel comfortable in and monitor how these change as the dynamic range changes through a conversation, and then you can become more aware of what you need to look out for when recording on set. 6. Sound Sync: There are two types of sync, a single system, and a double system. A single system is where a camera captures both the audio and the image in which case the camera is acting as the audio recorder. This system should be avoided as much as possible in film production as you cannot access the audio controls during a shot. A double system is where image is captured on a camera and the sound is captured on an audio recorder. The audio recorder functions entirely separately from the camera. You need to keep in mind however, that is very important to capture a referenced audio track from the camera to use as reference in post. This is only usable though if the boom and the camera are not a significant distance away from each other. If they are, this may result in a delay in the sound and cause syncing issues in post. To avoid this, you may need to send a signal from your mixer into the camera to use as a reference instead. But this is getting on to more advanced sound mixers' capabilities. As a minimum, please just use a mic input on your camera to record a reference track. In a double system there needs to be a clapper board in order to sync the audio with the image. There is a standard protocol for each take, and at the start of each take, the following call will be made. The AD will call for roll sound. The sound mixer will respond with sound rolling or speed. The AD will then call for camera roll. The camera operator will respond with speed or camera rolling, and then the AD will call for a marker, and usually, the second assistant camera operator will hold up the clapper board, read the same number, the take, and close the sticks to create an audible clap, which can then be used to sync in post. Using a double system is highly recommended in order to capture the best sound quality possible. As the audio capabilities and even the most modern cameras like the red one, as simply inferior to standalone recorders. Wherever possible, please try and use a double system Timecode can be produced on the audio recorder via an internal or external timecode generator. Internal timecode is generated by the audio recorder itself. An external timecode is the timecode received from an external device to the audio recorder. Jam sync is the process of telling an internal timecode generator to accept an external timecode source, which is usually from a camera. When using jam sync, make sure that your recorder is set to free run mode. With jam sync, the recorder accepts timecode once, and then the cable can be disconnected and the recorder can continue generating ongoing timecode. You should also be aware that you may need to re-jam your timecode at least once a day or after your recording device has been switched off. Some recordings do not maintain timecode when they are completely powered off. It may also drift out of sync every eight hours or so. You should also make sure that your recording device is set the same frames per second as the camera that has been used during the shot. Timecode is very useful, but as a minimum, always make sure that you have a clapper board on set. 7. Sound Reports: A sound report is a detailed log of every track recorded by the sound mixer. It is a crucial document for post-production, as all the information in regards to the scenes and ticks are kept in this log, as well as any sound notes that you may have. The script supervisor, it gives seen numbers and text. If in doubt, always check these numbers with them. Additional information you may find on a sound report, maybe things like microphone types, sample rate, bit depth, as well as time-code information. The Zoom F8 has the ability to create sound reports itself. You can make notes on good or bad techs as well as anything that the editor might find useful, such as background noise or false texts. You'll need to provide the editor with these after the production has finished filming, or maybe even after every shooting day is completed. Remember to keep a copy for yourself in case the original is lost. Make sure you add notes to your sound reports at anytime there was only sound issues during the shoot and whether an additional tag was allowed by the director or not. This will keep the blame off you during post if any issues arise, but make sure that your notes are always professional, and do not come across in an aggressive or condescending manner. 8. Sound Crew: How do you find a good sound crew? Well, there are many things that you take into account. Experience is very important, but that's not always reflected in the quantity of credit someone may have. Just because someone has 100 credits, doesn't necessarily mean that the quality of their work is good. Make sure you look at the quality of someone's work over the quantity as they're going to give you a far better end result than someone who has poor quality but a lot of credits. Another thing to look out for is whether the sound crew ask any questions. Do they want to speak to the director to understand their vision and take on the script? Do they want to see the script before hand so they can see how each scene is going to play out? Do they ask to speak to other members of the crew, particularly in wardrobe so they can understand the type of things that actors and actresses might be wearing so they can take that into account? Do they request directly to the locations that you'll be filming in? This will show you whether they have an understanding of film production sound. If they're going to do that, then that's really beneficial to you. A good thing to ask the sound crew maybe, what do you need from us? If they're respond with things like, I need time to record room tone. They may say I need time to make the actors, there's a good chance that they'll also know what they need to do on set and that they need the time to do this properly. Asking this question is a really good way of understanding if they know how to do their job. It is also worth asking your sound crew what equipment they will be using and why. If they have command over the equipment and can give you real in-depth knowledge of how to use it, then there's a likely chance that they have used it on many occasions and will give you the best results. Another thing to take into account is if they want to see the script before hand and something that you should always make sure is that you give them materials to your crew. You want to give them the script, the shortlist, and the schedule. These are things they need to have prior to the production date and should not be left until the last minute. 9. Final Round Up: We've come to the end of this class. I truly hope that I've managed to clear up any misinformation and provide you with the knowledge that you need to make your work the best it possibly can be. I've touched upon the basics of each area of sound work for production and shared with you some of the basic kit that you need whilst on set. In the future, we will go into even more detail for more advanced audio learners and people who may see this as a future career. We also will be releasing classes aimed at pre-production and post-production sound so that you can have a well-rounded knowledge of this critical area of film. Please practice and share your techniques and results. Good luck, and I'll see you again very soon.