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Audio for Single Camera Operation

Book Description

In the last decade a greater demand has been placed on cameramen to record sound as well as pictures on location. For anyone wanting to learn about the basics of recording sound, specific to single camera location work this book provides an ideal grounding. It covers the equipment a single operator would use, methods and examples of how to learn sound techniques and ways of successfully working alone. While it offers an account of audio theory, including post-production it also explains the essential audio technology basics. Covering typical techniques including live broadcasting, it teaches practical everyday instruction on what microphones to rig, how to sound balance everyday news, magazine and current affairs etc.

Techniques are explained and laid out in an accessible format supported by diagrams and are organised in easy to browse topics for quick reference. The author's approach is clear yet comprehensive, offering real hands-on experience of the skills involved in broadcast audio. This manual is seen as a basic, practical introduction to tackling the problems of recording sound on location as a cameraman, thus providing the necessary experience and knowledge required of everyday operation.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. About the author
  7. Acknowledgements
  8. Introduction
  9. 1 I’m all ears – theoretically!
    1. Sound – the executive explanation
    2. I hear you knocking
    3. Hearing test
    4. In sickness and in health
  10. 2 Sound measurement
    1. Frequency
    2. Velocity and wavelength
    3. Doppler effect
    4. Sound reflection and absorption
    5. Phase
    6. Moving mics
    7. Thinking aloud
    8. Inverse square law
    9. Acoustics
    10. Intelligibility
  11. 3 Camcorder: power and audio facilities
    1. Power
    2. Inputs
    3. Sound output
    4. Phantom power
    5. Batteries and run time
  12. 4 Camcorder: track selection and magnetic recording
    1. Track selection
    2. Mic and line level
    3. On camera mic
    4. Magnetic recording:
      1. Cassette
      2. Head cleaning
  13. 5 Camcorder: sound levels
    1. Manual or auto
    2. Level control and dynamic range
    3. Post-production
    4. Limiter
    5. Dolby encoding
  14. 6 Camcorder: sound metering
    1. Meter summary
    2. Viewfinder indication
    3. Auto tone
    4. Line-up
  15. 7 Camcorder: external facilities
    1. Sound monitoring
    2. Noise on monitoring circuit
    3. Playback or E to E
    4. Headphone monitoring volume control
    5. Alarm
    6. Tape/alarm warnings
    7. LCD display
    8. Camcorder recording operation
      1. Eject
    9. Playback adapter
  16. 8 Mics: types in common location usage
    1. Polar response
    2. Frequency response
    3. Gun mic: directional
    4. Reporter’s hand-held (stick) mic: omni-directional
    5. Clip (personal) mic: omnidirectional
      1. M/S
    6. Phantom powering
    7. T-power
  17. 9 Mics: cables and radio
    1. Balanced line
    2. Unbalanced line
    3. Direct inject box
    4. Straight or curly?
    5. Plugging
    6. Colours
    7. Radio mics
    8. Radio mic rules
  18. 10 Mics: placement with regard to speech
    1. The seated indoor interview
    2. Mic choice
    3. Position
    4. Mic stand
  19. 11 Mics: use of clip mic for seated interview
    1. Fabrics and fashions
    2. Making the interviewee comfortable:
      1. Experienced interviewees
      2. Inexperienced interviewees
    3. Last word on clip mics
    4. Last word on cable concealment
    5. Last word!
  20. 12 Mics: practical listening exercise (a) mic quality
    1. Listening to mics
      1. Practical exercises
    2. Omni
    3. Directional
    4. The recording
  21. 13 Mics: practical listening exercise (b) mic placement and sound discrimination
    1. One ear
    2. The recording
    3. Once more, with pictures
    4. Further listening
  22. 14 Sound balance and location acoustics
    1. Sound balance
    2. Open-plan office example
    3. Location acoustics
    4. Voice-over
  23. 15 Recording for the edit
    1. Murphy’s Law
    2. Run to record … and cut!
    3. Wildtrack
    4. Copyright
  24. 16 Safety
    1. First aid
    2. High sound levels
    3. Accident
    4. Pre-location planning
    5. On location:
      1. Rigging
      2. Handling and carrying
      3. Electrical
      4. Cables
      5. Shooting
        1. Clean/disinfect earpieces
      6. It’s a wrap
      7. Personal comfort
    6. Problems
      1. At all times
      2. Insurance
  25. 17 Single person operation: mic placement overview and static operation
    1. Mic choice and placement
    2. Remain stationary
    3. Piece to camera
    4. One plus one
    5. And the rest …
    6. Stand mic
  26. 18 Single person operation: specific location scenarios
    1. Walking and talking
    2. Press conference
    3. Phone conversation
    4. Wind noise
    5. If wet, in the pavilion
    6. On-camera mic
  27. 19 Single person operation: use of headphones
    1. Confidence replay
    2. Headphone volume control
    3. Emergency spare
  28. 20 Single person operation: tracks, levels and practical exercise (c)
    1. Which track?
    2. Sound level
    3. Practical exercise (c): pre-location
    4. Gain
  29. 21 Single person operation: shooting
    1. At the location
    2. Line-up
    3. Shooting for the edit
    4. ‘Did you get that?’
    5. Cassette handling
    6. Transcription recording
    7. Sync
  30. 22 Sound recordist operation: mixer
    1. Portable location mixer
      1. (a) Channel inputs
      2. (b) Outputs
      3. (c) Powering
      4. (d) Metering and monitoring
      5. (e) Tone
    2. Mixer/recorder
  31. 23 Sound recordist operation: track selection
    1. Camcorder plugging
    2. Working apart
    3. Radio link
  32. 24 Sound recordist operation: mixing mics
    1. Mics
    2. Mixing
    3. Judging shot size
  33. 25 Sound recordist operation: practical exercises (d) and (e)
    1. Practical exercise (d): mixing
    2. Practical exercise (e): mixing and balancing
  34. 26 Sound recordist operation: balancing
    1. The balancing act
    2. Deliberate sound peak
    3. The perfect mix?
    4. Split track
    5. Transcription recording
  35. 27 Sound recordist operation: pole operation
    1. Add-ons
    2. Choice of pole
    3. Me and my shadow
  36. 28 Sound recordist operation: multiple contributors
    1. Multi-channel desk
    2. The sound trolley
    3. Mic stands
    4. Equalization
    5. Face the music
    6. One mic
    7. Shooting from several camera positions
    8. Perspective
    9. Communications
    10. Working with assistants
    11. PA
  37. 29 Stereo: mics and placement
    1. Sound stage
    2. Sound bite
    3. Wildtrack
    4. Don’t move!
      1. On camera mic
    5. Mics
    6. Middle or main and side (M/S)
    7. Pole operation
  38. 30 Stereo: mixer
    1. Ganged controls
    2. Additional mixer stereo facilities
    3. Cabling and identification
    4. Levels
    5. Mono compatibility
  39. 31 Live broadcasting
    1. Links vehicle
    2. Communications
      1. Omni (or open) talkback
      2. Switched talkback
      3. Reverse talkback
      4. Radio talkback
      5. Clean feed
    3. ‘When are we on?’
    4. Circuit check
    5. Cut to ident.
    6. On-air
    7. Standby (hot spare)
    8. Live – from a phone near you!
  40. 32 Digital sound
    1. ‘The greatest invention since sliced bread’
    2. Error handling
  41. 33 Timecode
    1. Control track
    2. Data or U-bit
    3. Timecode
    4. Hold and reset
    5. Timecode feed to ancillary equipment
    6. Radio timecode
    7. Timecode on location
    8. Head cleaning
      1. More information
  42. 34 Pre-location equipment check
    1. Test tape
    2. Equipment list
    3. Single person operation
    4. Sound recordist operation
  43. 35 Fault finding
    1. Power
    2. Sound metering and monitoring
    3. Sound signal chain
    4. Noise
    5. Noisy monitoring
    6. Intermittent noise
  44. 36 Equipment
    1. Headphones
    2. Basic tools
    3. Kit bag
    4. Extra tools
    5. Accessories in extremis
    6. XLR cables
    7. And the rest …
    8. Mixer, pole and mic stands
    9. Hire
    10. Flight cases and packing
    11. Vehicle
    12. Add-ons
  45. 37 Mics: technical information and operational summaries
    1. Moving coil
    2. Condenser
    3. Electret
    4. Figure-of-eight polar diagram
    5. Mics: operational summaries
      1. Stick (omni, dynamic)
      2. Gun
      3. Clip
      4. Radio
  46. 38 Call sheet details
    1. Location planning – recce
    2. Events
    3. Crew call sheet
      1. Call time and R/V
      2. Production details
    4. Shooting
      1. On the day
  47. 39 Insurance
    1. Public liability
    2. Employee liability
    3. Professional indemnity
    4. Equipment
    5. Personal life
    6. Travel
    7. Medical/health
    8. Personal accident/injury
    9. Vehicle
    10. Income protection
  48. Appendix A Industry associations and societies
  49. Appendix B Bibliography
  50. Appendix C Terminology