F185: Production Sound

Fall 2013
Thursdays 9-Noon (grads);  1-4 (undergrads)
Instructor:  Craig Smith
email:  csmith@calarts.edu
voice mail:  661-291-3084

Production sound is too often presented as "how microphones and recorders work".  I am going to try to convince you that production sound is the most important part of post-production sound.  If we are able to get good production sound, we can concentrate on creating an effective finished soundtrack -- not on fixing mistakes and problems.  In addition to learning the gear, we will work on creative ways to capture sound that supports and improves our images. We will also analyze existing recordings and scenes from several genres of film.

On the first week, there will be a listening lab assignment.  Otherwise, there will be no work outside of class time. We will do some exercises during class time, and we will do two video shoots (also during class time). These shoots will function like tests to see if we are getting the concepts presented in class.  Reference handouts will be given out in class, and can also be downloaded from our website (see above).

Required Textbook:  The Location Sound Bible: How to Record Professional Dialog for Film and TV by Ric Viers (2012)

You will gain access to sound equipment in the cage as we cover it during the semester.

Your grade will be determined by attendance (50%), class participation (25%), and participation in shoots (25%).  A maximum of two absences will be allowed this semester. Additional absences must be pre approved.

Files to Download (in PDF format):

Week 1 (Sept 12):

Basics of sound;

Audio terminology;

Assignment: Listening

F185 Syllabus

CD Listening Assignment Booklet

CD Instructions & Answer Sheet

CD (MP3) Sound Files

Sound images used in lecture

Reading for next week: Chapter 2: Sound Basics; Chapter 3: Microphone Basics

Week 2 (Sept 19):

Review Assignment;

Basics of Microphones

Assignment: Listening List

CalArts Cage Microphone Comparison

Common Audio Connectors

Dynamic Microphone Diagram

Condenser Microphone Diagram

Directional Characteristics

Cardioid Patterns

Interference Tube Diagram

Interference Tube Diagram 2

Video: Finding His Voice (1929)

VIdeo: Rockwell Retro Encabulator

Reading: Chapter 5: Boom Techniques

Week 3 (Sept 26):

Review Assignment;

Finishing Microphones; Booming

The AM-300 Headphone Amp

Week 4 (Oct 3):

Using Professional Mics with Consumer Cameras:

Assignment: Onomatopoeias

Basic Guide to Audio Connectors

Connecting the Field Mixer to Cameras

Script for 1st Class Shoot

Reading: Chapter 10: SIgnal Flow

Week 5 (October 10):

Class shoot:

Week 6 (October 17):

No Class. Craig in New York.

Week 7 (October 24):

Evaluation of Dailies

How's They Do That? – Documentaries

Sound Devices Recorders:

Week 8 (October 31):

Analog & Digital Sound Recording

Sound Devices Recorders, part 2

Recording with a Field Mixer and a Video Camera

Double System Recording with 722 and a Video Camera

File Naming & Numbering

Week 9 (November 7):

Stereo Recording & Miking!

Sennheiser 418S MS Stereo Shotgun Microphone

Stereo Microphone Techniques

XY Stereo Miking

AB Stereo Miking

MS Stereo Miking

Week 10 (November 14):
Wireless Mics & Recording in Cars

Recording Dialogue In a Vehicle

TV Stations Within 50 Miles of CalArts

Lectrosonics Wireless Microphones:

Quick Start for Transmitters

Quick Start for UCR100 Receivers

Quick Start for UCR401 Receivers

Manual for LMa Transmitters

Manual for U400a Transmitters

Manual for UCR100 Receivers

Manual for UCR401 Receivers

Chart showing recommended TV channels for our blocks

Sennheiser Wireless Microphones:

Sennheiser EW100 Basic Menu Instructions

Sennheiser EW100 Simplified Manual

Sennheiser EW100 Full Manual

Sennheiser EW100G2 Simplified Manual

Sennheiser EW100G2 Full Manual

Sennheiser EW100G3 Simplified Manual

Sennheiser EW100G3 Full Manual

Illustration of Multipath Interference  (courtesy Lectrosonics)

Illustration of Companding Technique (courtesy Lectrosonics)

Cub Mic Directional Characteristics

Cub Mic Owner's Manual

Week 11 (November 21): 

Class Car Shoot!   Rained Out -- Recheduled for 12/5

    Hitchin' to Vegas script

Week 12 (November 28): 
Thanksgiving -- No Class

Week 13 (December 5): 

Class Car Shoot Makeup Day

    Hitchin' to Vegas script

Week 14 (December 12): 

Viewing Dailies

Odds, Ends, & Conclusions