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Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Thursday, June 9

west texas gun recording pt 3-post and lessons learned

In part 1 of this series I talked about prepro and prep for our little gun shoot. Part 2 went through the craziness that happened on the day of the shoot. Now lets get into the post process and lessons learned.

Post on these sounds was actually pretty straightforward.

In a 24bit 96k session I opened all of the files, named them according to my voice slates, and then lined them up in time. It should be noted here that I did not align them hyper-exactly, as I wanted the explosions to spread out a bit and take up some space.

With everything lined up I started soloing out tracks and setting up signal chains per.

Things that surprised me:

- 421 gave me very little. I hadn't recorded guns with that mic before, but didn't get as much punch as I was hoping for.

- Schoeps CMC6 was hitting the limiter a little too hard even with the pre all the way down, which was ruining the moments after the attack. I'm confident I can get a way better recording out of this mic than I did that day.

- AT4050s were amazing. I had a good feeling about what I would get from those mics, but I was really blown away by how much low end and transient response made it out to that position. Having them 100 yards up range was still barely far enough away. Putting them in omni was absolutely the right decision.

-some of the ricochets were amazing. The guys shot down a tree during the process, and some of the shrapnel and debris was really pretty sweet.

- I discovered that my H4n wasn't set to the internal mics on the day, so that's another set of mics I didn't have going.

Things that didn't surprise me:

-416 sounded great

-COS11 was amazing

-NT5 gave me something worthwhile

-with me running all of these mics and having to monitor everything on a one hour timeframe I ended up missing some technical details in the field


Signal chains on each channel reflected my initial concept of miking for punch, mech, and verb.

Punch mics went through the H-comp and got thier heads lopped off.

Mech mics went through a little low end rolloff and a less sever H comp

verb mics went through a c4 set to multiband expansion with a superfast attack and a very slow release that coincided with the decay

Mono mics were all panned slightly off center in order to clear up room there.

Everything summed through another H comp set to give me a little analog feel and some punch, and an L2007 limiter.

Settings were tweaked per gun and printed, but plugs were generally not swapped out or anything.

I output 4 layers per gun - Full mix, distant, mech, and foley

Here's a little sample of what I came up with:

West texas guns by Rcoronado

and here's what my final output and metadata ended up looking like:


So here's a quick list of things I'd do differently:

1) have more time
the time crunch before sunset really put a damper on my ability to test and react to technical issues. I didn't feel free to fix my NT5 that wasn't giving me signal, I ran the H4n and didn't record anything on it, and I have to attribute some of my results with the AT4050s to pure dumb luck because I wasn't able to monitor them as we were shooting.

2) have more help
Even though there were four of us on the shoot, I was the only one not firing and loading weapons. This meant I was responsible for setting up, monitoring, and troubleshooting every channel which added to my time pressures and forced mistakes I didn't have to make.

3) pad that Schoeps CMC6
Much of my disappointment in the sounds I got from the Schoeps were due not to the mic but to the limiter in the 788t. I hadn't set it to go superfast, and the action on the limiter hurt what I had going. In the end I should just pad that mic anyway.

4) shoot the 416 from the right instead of over the shoulder
As a mech mic I put that one in entirely the wrong spot. I liked what I got from it, but I think I left the shell ejects a little uncovered, and I think moving the position of the 416 would remedy that.

5) more verb mics!
NT5s in ORTF should probably be even further away and probably aimed 180 degrees away. more omni mics and further away. roll a D50 out somewhere. verb verb verb!

6) impact and debris mics

I would have loved to have a couple of mics on the tree that the guys were targeting for impact and debris sounds. That will happen next time for sure.


Thats my story and I'm sticking to it. Lots of lessons learned, still got some pretty good recordings, and now I'm amped up for the next one.


H.C. said...

Be careful of trying to get impact, debris and riccos all in the same day. We get really excited about new sounds but as you found you can get pretty swamped pretty fast. It's also hard to find eight more channels for impacts, debris and riccos unless you have another 788 lying around.

Great observations, fantastic video as well. I find that video really helps me keep things together later when I go to master them. One thing you might want to play with is Omni mikes (the AT's are not true omnis) because they don't have a LF roll-off that cardioids do. You may find more punch there. Also just as you found that location was important the first time it would seem that you found mike position to be very important as well. Play with that 421, it will be your friend if you find the right place for it.

Rene said...

thanks H.C.

any suggestions on the 421? I was really surprised at how little I got from that position.

Thomas said...

Great series of articles Rene. Thanks for sharing your hard learned experiences.

H.C. said...

There is a great thread on gearslutz (but I can't find it) which talks about sticking a 421 up against a cabinet, and listening through headphones back at the console, then using your intern to move the microphone slowly around the cabinet until it sounds to be in the best position. I find that I think something is going to sound good in a location so I stick it there and start recording but I really have to setup the mikes, listen to them, move them, listen to them, and keep doing this until it sounds right. This is especially hard with guns and cars because the sound is so short or the system is moving so changing microphone position is hard.

I think you might want to keep any dynamic microphones very close. Think of how guitar cabinets and kick drums are miked.