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Ideas for sound on Phantom flights

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by pilsburypie, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. pilsburypie

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    After some "thinking out of the box" ideas. I'm a keen videographer (amateur) and film mainly with my camcorder, family movies. I have my phantom 2 and Gopro with gimbal for extra shots to get a bit of interest and extra perspective into my videos. The sound from the Gopro is not an option. Super loud constant buzz and nothing else doesn't do it for me!

    What I have been doing is taking my Phantom shots, then just letting my camcorder record general ambient sound (once the phantom is grounded) then replace the Gopro audio with this. Thing is, although massively improved over the buzz of the Phantom, it can often seem a little disjointed and uninvolved. What else could I do? Many just put their vid to music, which is great for longer Phantom vids, but when I'm just doing a 5 second cut with the rest of my camcorder shots, it's not an option....

    Thoughts appreciated.
     
  2. DesertFlyer53

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    Download a audio recorder app on your smartphone. Use the smartphone to recorder on the ground while you're flying. Add the audio to your video during post production.
     
  3. damoncooper

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    Ambient audio if leveled VERY carefully can really be the way to go. Imagine you were a bird gliding through the air at the altitude you're flying at (ie no buzzing motors or propellers) then imagine what you would hear from that height. It would be very subtle.

    Your brain expects distance-relative audio and ambient audio tracks added in post will sound surreal and artificial if not leveled very carefully with this in mind.

    I experimented with this making the Maine Coast video and it was terrible on about 10 takes and it seemed either too loud, disjointed or too imperceptible. But I donned the headphones and mixed it down very carefully with the video and I think the result works. It took adding audio track key frames and some painstaking mixing but the results seem natural.

    Check out the result here (turn your audio to a decent level):

    http://vimeo.com/105542012
     
  4. damoncooper

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    Here's another one with music and ambient audio that's very well done (not mine). Listen to the tractor sounds getting louder as it approaches. Very well done.

    https://vimeo.com/107528276
     
  5. witold

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    Even when you record an interview from 8 feet away, people get mic'ed up so that the mic is a few inches from their mouth, and the boom mic is 2 feet from their head or as close as they can get it.

    And, for example, if someone is doing a cooking show and chopping/cutting/dicing/sauteeing/frying stuff on camera, most of those sounds are recorded individually to be mixed in later. They are recorded with microphones being right next to the tools/cooking utensils. Then they mix it.

    There is no substitute for proximity if you want good audio.

    The idea of trying to capture good audio from 100 feet away, while flying, is a non-starter. It will never get you far.

    You might find the following podcast interesting. It's an interview with the sound designer responsible for sound of the Olympics. It gives you an idea of what it takes to capture sound, but more importantly it compares to how things sound in reality, how things sound if only far away mics are used, etc.

    It's a great listen. The takeaway: to get good sound, you need to get as close as possible. The rest is mixing and editing, which is a skill in itself.
     
  6. witold

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    Yup, that's a particularly nice clip that demonstrates these concepts.

    Also check out foley sound.

    The beauty of audio is that it's something everyone takes for granted until they hear crap audio. So the best audio work is the stuff that goes unnoticed. But if you pay attention, you will watch something and then realize that there is no way they could get the X sound with regular camera takes.
     
  7. photographix

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    Very professional video. I liked your comment responses on Vimeo. I think I'll try some of your methods.

    Oh, and the sound mixing was excellent!
     
  8. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    I agree with Damon. Sound is a 3D landscape just like the space you fly through. You need to adjust for distance otherwise your sound will be too immediate and will not sync up with the video. Your brain is well tuned to pick up on these things.

    For my DTLA video, I assembled a wild sound setup using a cheap Sennheiser shotgun mic attached to the little flight case that came with my FPV monitor. Inside I used an Olympus recorder to capture the audio from the mic. I'd put headphones on and walk around the areas that I had previously filmed with the Phantom recording sound.

    Even with it mixed in very subtly and in many places just adding a barely audible white noise background, some of the sound is still too immediate in my opinion. In particular, bird chirps were too close and needed more distance.

    Judge for yourself. Here's the video: https://vimeo.com/101231747
     
  9. damoncooper

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    Using a compressor on the ambient track should quiet the birds or other abnormally loud sounds you want muted. Adobe Audition or Apple Logic Pro can tackle the task.
     
  10. pilsburypie

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    Some excellent suggestions and some excellent videos. I do like the way the tractor vid has the tractor sound come closer to you as the tractor does. Not taking away from the great thought process behind this, but this video really lends itself to doing something like this - that tractor would have been going up and down for ages letting the audio be recorded after the Phantom shots. It also works so well as you see the tractor come closer.

    The other vids are great too, but they all have music which I suppose can camoflage to a certain degree. I don't have this luxury as my Phantom clips are a max of 10 seconds mixed with regular camera clips where the sound is obviously fine as it is close quarter work with audio that matches well to the vid both in sync and levels.

    The Foley sound article is excellent. I bet all movies have so little original sound in apart from the actors voices.

    I think for me Damoncooper has the best suggestion, try and keyframe the audio to have levels increase and decrease as the phantom gets further and closer away...... Sound is hard to get right and done well you don't notice but it sets apart amateur and professional results.

    Here is a short montage of my efforts which sparked my question. Not really satisfied with the results. The clips are not linked and are just to show what I mean - they are all intermixed with regular shots in my finished vid.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChICUqavvVQ
     
  11. damoncooper

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    You can use key frames for audio left/right pan (balance) as well. In the first clip for example you could could pan balance to the right slightly as the drone yaws right and the surf is relocated to the right side of the screen.

    Key frames are a great tool to really nail it.

    Our brains are very good at picking out anomalies. They are tough to trick but it can be done (as Hollywood has proven :) )
     
  12. eagleseye

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    First thing I noticed was the sound of crashing waves, but your shot didn't have any "crashing" waves. Now I'm not from the coast, so maybe that's what they sound like, but for me the sound didn't fit with what I saw. If I were to close my eyes and imagine what the sound I was hearing looked like, I would have imagined a big rock outcropping that was being hit by waves, not just the shore. The second clip fit the sound much better, peaceful forest with birds chirping. I think you're on to something though, because I'm with you, I want natural sounds to go with my vids as well, not just music in the background.

    Keep us posted on your progress!!
     
  13. pilsburypie

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    eagleseye - I do agree the tranquil lake shot sound better, but would you believe the sound from the beach is recorded right there on my camcorder so was the exact sound. On mulling this over, the sound was recorded at beach level so when placed directly over the Phantom footage gives an unrealistic soundstage. I think I need to lower the level to what it would have sounded like from the Phantom up high i.e. much quieter.....