Post-Production : Sound advice... by Breanne Hakes

Breanne Hakes

Sound advice...

I'm working on producing my own work and could use some advice on sound. I find sound to be the most important thing. For now I'm mainly filming sketches and short films. Any advice out there on the apogee mic? Does it work well for dialogue? Can I import the sound into final cut? Is it worth the investment? Is there a better choice?

Samuel Estes

Hi Breanne, could you be a bit more specific. What are you using the mic for? VO / ADR, on-set mixing, field recording, etc? Anything that records audio can be imported into Final Cut. There are HUNDREDS of mics out there ranging from $100-$8000, lots of mic preamps, converters, etc - all with their own purposes and personal preferences. You really have to hone in on what you need it to do and then read reviews and then see if you can rent or borrow a few and test them out before buying. Mic Brand Names to look at: Schoeps, Neumann, Sennheiser, Rode, Blue, AKG, Shure

Doug Gallob

Hi Breanne, I'm not familiar with the apogee specifically, but what Samuel has said is dead on. To add to what he has said, here are a couple of simple rules (like all rules, prone to exceptions): 1. good technique and bad equipment will win hands down, every day, over bad technique and good equipment. Make sure you spend some time understanding how sound works and the best techniques for capturing it. This is absolutely free, except for your time, which you should consider a very safe, very high return investment. 2. Of all your equipment, your mic(s) is(are) the most important piece of equipment. All of the other things you buy will simply be "crap you have to have in order to get your job done". Those other things are entirely necessary, but will eventually become outdated (field recorders) or wear out (wind screens, cables, ...). Think of the mic itself as an investment that will last dang near forever if you treat it right. 3. Budget accordingly. I use a $2000 Schoeps mic as my indoor dialog mic. Is it really that much better than a $200 mic? It depends on how you look at it. On any given piece of dialog the typical listener might not even be able to tell the difference. But I use it everyday and it "just sounds good" far more often, far more consistently, in far more acoustic situations than any $200 mic I have owned. I don't have to question it or fight with it in order to make it sound good. It makes my work easier and because I use it everyday, that makes it worth the investment to me. If you are not using it everyday or don't have that type of budget, you can still capture some really good sound with a $200 mic by using really good technique. 4. Don't underestimate the cost of peripheral necessities (cables, windscreens, headphones, ... ) when you budget. Even though they're not as important as the mic, you still have to have them and because film sound is somewhat specialized, everything you really need is going to be far more expensive than you think it ought to be. 5. The mics and headphone need "to sound good". Just about everything else needs to "make your life easier". Although there are differences in the sonic qualities of field recorders, just about any of them nowadays will record quality sound. Go better if you can afford it, but don't stress if you have to make less expensive equipment work. 6. Go back to rule #1. I said a lot of stuff about choosing gear, but that's just because that's where most people get hung up. Hope this helps, Doug

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