1. Budget in a third sound person and the proper amount of audio equipment.
A third person provides invaluable support so that the other two can keep rehearsing
or shooting. The impact is penny-wise and pound foolish. Time saved on set at
the moment when every department is ready to shoot are dollars well spent. When
blocking changes necessitate adding a second moving microphone operator, it
can be done in a jiffy without stopping production to show someone else how
to perform this skilled job. Would you ask a PA to pull focus on a second camera?
Lots of other problems can be solved more quickly, from killing an errant fan
to fixing a director's headset on the fly. In a pinch, the third person can
keep production shooting in the event of a sudden emergency or sickness befalling
a sound person.
2. Consider the post budget when making financial decisions on production.
3. Book and check that stages are quiet. Even the newest and most modern stages
often have dimmer banks located on or so close to the stage that they are a
4. When you must call a warehouse a stage, please sound proof it so we can
record clean sound.
1. When (not if) there is camera noise, make all reasonable efforts to contain
it by using barneys, glass, blankets, tweaking, etc.
2. Don't turn the slate on and off as time code will then be wrong. Let the
mixer know as soon as a slate shows any problems.
3. Let the sound mixer know what frequencies are being transmitted in case
a frequency steps on wireless mics or comteks. Be prepared to kill the Panatape
when it causes microphone interference.
1. Hold only the frame size to be used and no more.
2. Communicate and work out any problems with the boom operator before the
first team is called in.
3. Be willing to operate in a pinch with a cover or blanket over a particularly
Directors of Photography:
1. There is almost never a good reason to light a boom operator off of the
set. An overhead mic in capable hands should be able to dodge your lights if
there was a little collaboration working out the boom shadows during the lighting
process. It is important to give the boom operator the space above the frame
as the sound is never as good with wireless as it is with an open boom mic.
2. Don't use Xenon lights unless the director was informed ahead of time that
the whole scene will have to be looped.
3. Don't ever say "loop it"! It's not the DP's prerogative! If the
DP conveys to the crew that sound matters to the film, they will follow that
lead and be more attentive to potential sound problems.
When shooting practical car scenes, try to consider sound problems. Try to
light so that windows can be closed where possible.