GE AR . AUDIO
According to co-founder of Sound Devices, Jon Tatooles, immersive in production is still a rarity. “Immersive mixes for drama/narrative are typically constructed in post from stems, including dialogue and effects stems,” he says. “Sometimes the effects are recorded on-set, sometimes in post. When recorded on-set, we are seeing some use of single-point, multichannel surround microphones. But just as often it will be classic techniques, including Decca trees [a three- mic array originally designed for orchestral recordings] and double-MS set-ups.” RECORDING Sound Devices is a relative newcomer on the location recording scene. Founded in 1998, it has established itself alongside Zaxcom, which produces the Deva 24, Nomad and Nova; Zoom with its F8n and F6; Sonosax’s SX-R4+; Nagra, the leading brand in the days
“High-end, stand-alone recorders are still the industry standard on professional film sets”
of quarter-inch tape and the early digital age, which now markets the Nagra Seven; and Aaton Digital. Lee-Headman describes herself as “a Sound Devices person”, having used the brand ever since the older 788 model, up to the current Scorpio unit. Bishop and Chamberlain are both users of the Aaton Cantar X3, who also produce the smaller Mini version. Chamberlain says high-end, stand-alone recorders are still the industry standard on professional film sets. Although, instead of once-prevalent analogue mixers, recordists now use control surfaces – such as the Aaton Cantaress – to route inputs, gain control, equalisation and outputs. “We still deliver our sound files via drives and cards,” Chamberlain
details. “Usually to the on-set DIT, who downloads them periodically throughout the day. The DIT has become a bit like a de facto assistant editor, in addition to helping the DOP set and maintain the look of the film.” The cloud, Chamberlain adds, is a much-discussed, but little used factor. In Bishop’s experience, delivery can be cloud-based when data is small enough to be managed in a reasonable time. But, delivery is mostly in the form of some kind of removable media. Lee-Headman agrees – while people are aware of the cloud and Wi-Fi, she still 0delivers rushes on SD card. Sound Devices recommends its own brand of SD card: the SAM-64SD and SAM-128SD. As for file type, Tatooles says WAV is still king, whether on physical media or a cloud server. “WAV files are now either polyphonic or monophonic, though poly is more common,” he comments. “We are seeing a move to floating point WAV, such as 32- bit floating point versus 24-bit fixed point. This, with a small penalty in file size, allows for recording with gain decision made later in post, rather than when recording.” As in any field of film and TV production, these tools offer the chance to capture great sound. But the key to making it happen is the skill and experience of the recordists – on-set and on location.
AMBIENT Sound recordist Ivo Repčík on location with the Sound Devices Scorpio 32-channel recorder (top right); the Aaton Cantar X3 (below)
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