FPFV-585 & FPFV-285: Production Sound

Syllabus for Production Sound Course Number: FPFV-585-01 Semester: Fall 2017
Course Credit: 2.00
Class Meets: Thursdays 9:00 am to 11:50 am Room: E59
Instructor: Craig Smith
Office: E104
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 9 to 5 (by appointment)
Office Phone: 661-291-3084
Email: csmith@calarts.edu
Teaching Assistants: Ruolin Xu
(ruolinxu@alum.calarts.edu)

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).

Recommended 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.


Week 1 (Sept 14):

FPFV-585 Syllabus

Basics of sound;

Audio terminology;

Listening Assignment:

Listening Assignment Booklet

Instructions & Answer Sheet

(MP3) Sound Files

Sound images used in lecture

Big Ol' Film/Video Sound Glossary

Video: The Soundman

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



Week 2 (Sept 21):
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 28):

Review Assignment;

Assignment: Onomatopoeias

Finishing Microphones; Booming

The AM-300 Headphone Amp

Field Mixer Basic Handout

Sound Devices Mix Pre Portable Mixer: Full User Guide

Tips on the Use of the Mic Boompole

The Art of Zen-Boom

Top Ten Sins of the Boom Operator

An Open Letter from Your Sound Department

Production Sound Essentials

Using Professional Mics with Consumer Cameras:

Reading: Chapter 10: SIgnal Flow


Week 4 (October 5):

Class shoot:

Using the Slate


Week 5 (October 12):

Evaluation of Dailies

How's They Do That? – Documentaries



Week 6 (October 19):
Sound Device MixPre-6
Sound Devices MixPre-6 Recorder Quick Start


Week 7 (October 26):

Sound Devices MixPre-6, part 2



Week 8 (November 2):
Stereo Recording & Miking!


Week 9 (November 10):
Wireless Mics & Recording in Cars
Recording Dialogue In a Vehicle

Bradford Craig's PowerPoint slides from the workshop (in a PDF)

TV Stations Within 50 Miles of CalArts


Handy Web Tool for Finding Frequencies (form Sennheiser)

Map of LA TV Transmitters
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

Scanning with a Lectrosonics UCR411a Wireless Receiver
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
Auto Tuning Sennheiser G3 Wireless Mic Systems

Illustration of Multipath Interference  (courtesy Lectrosonics)


Illustration of Companding Technique (courtesy Lectrosonics)

Securing Lavalieres with Tape Triangles

Cub Mic Frequency Response

Cub Mic Directional Characteristics

Cub Mic Owner's Manual


Week 10 (November 19): 

Class Car Shoot!