Sound Guy

Earlier this summer I attended a music, arts and theater week-long camp as both a student and photography instructor. One class I was excited to attend was a documentary film-making class taught by Jennifer Tennican. The class didn't spend a lot of time on the technical elements of film-making but covered the larger process of finding compelling topics and effectively letting the participants tell their story--exactly what I needed.

As part of her contract, Jen created a short promotional piece for the camp when she wasn't teaching classes. I was honored to capture some of the audio with her gear which included some pretty nice pieces: a Sound Devices 744T field recorder, a Sennheiser MKH416 Shotgun mic, and a nice carbon fiber boom pole and blimp wind cover.

Here's the finished product:

http://youtu.be/d0MXop4c4ek

It was interesting to get a little more hands-on experience working with a director/DP and get some good practical experience on how to capture run-and-gun audio as part of a two-person crew. One lesson learned included how to figure out whether the DP wants to capture a wide vs. close shot in real-time so that you know where to boom without getting the mic in the shot. I found that in most cases, I could get in closer to the talent than I originally assumed. Sometimes I had to ask for a frameline to work with so I knew where to boom.

I also found that since I was dedicated to sound, I could spend more time fine-tuning the input levels and in fact, found that I had to since we were moving quickly from African dance classes with amazingly loud drums to situations with dialogue, to situations with music ensembles.

Oh, and I must confess, I fell in love with the Sound Devices recorder. What a dream to use! And the quality of sound, amount of clean gain and the quality of the unit's build were to die for. I am such a nerd...