Production and Post Audio are different crafts with overlapping skillsets. My goal with production audio is to capture project specific sound, clearly and at a workable volume, distinct enough from any irrelevant background such that it can be used in an edit. My goal with post audio is to help tell a story. That includes modifying qualities of existing audio to match the picture – in terms of volume, character, placement, and so forth – as well as adding or creating ambient sound, effects, and diagetic music.
…requires little emotional or narrative creativity. It does often call for technical or physical creativity, as well as emotional stability and physical stamina. Core technical know-how is a given, and people skills can never hurt.
I follow three basic mantras:
GET GOOD RECORDINGS
CONTRIBUTE TO A POSITIVE SET
Safety precedes anything else I think about on a set. If God forbid, someone is injured or worse because of my neglect, it doesn’t matter how good the sound is. Even if the crew and cast is small, the requirements are basic, and everything is running smoothly, accidents can happen, and frequently do precisely when people are relaxed enough to forget about their possibility. This possibility can never go to zero, but can be minimized with good behaviors and practices. Vigilance is part of the job and one of the reasons we get paid.
Getting good audio recordings is a matter of the equipment you have and knowing how to use it. But that “knowing how to use it” part in itself is a huge subject! Besides being familiar with all the dials and digital readouts, it also encompasses things like differences in settings, mic choice and placement from one environment to the next… maybe an intimate romantic dinner scene one day, and a screaming crowd of fans the next.
Productions take many hours and involve many people, all with many things to do and worry about. The more you can reassure your fellow crewmembers and cast that you know your shit and are here to help them, the more they will be willing to help you in turn do your job, and the better off the project will turn out overall. Good projects with good sound are good for your career! A production is never about the soundperson. For good or bad, as important as it is, sound is frequently the last thing others think about. Just know this going in, prepare the best you can beforehand, solve problems calmly as they come up, address and communicate what’s necessary, and go with the flow. Or, roll with the roll.
is coming soon…