Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Support Acts 17

ATTENTION FREELOADERS! Donations to Acts 17 Apologetics are tax-deductible, so you have no excuse not to be supporting our work (unless you're as poor as we are, in which case you can freeload all you want, but you should at least be praying for us!).

On a different note, some of you might be able to offer some information support. I've got an idea for the greatest video I'll ever make, but I need to record it in two NYC subway stations and on the subway ride in between (long story--you'll see why once it's made). However, I tried a test recording using my lapel mic, and the sound was horrible because of the background noise. I talked to a guy at a sound shop, and he said I should get a Sennheiser mic that's more than $500. Even if I had $500, I can think of better things to spend it on, and at the end of the day I don't even know if it's possible to get good sound in a subway station and on a subway. So here are some questions for anyone who does sound work with bands, church services, news crews, etc. (1) Is it possible to get good sound (clearly picking up my voice while I'm talking) when there's lots of background noise (trains and such)? It can get very loud in the stations, but I know that wrestling announcers are sitting in the middle of 50,000 screaming fans, and I hear them perfectly. (2) What kind of mic is required? I don't want to use a handheld or one of those things that Justin Bieber wears on his head (again, you'll see why if I make the video), so a lapel mic seems like it would work best. But will a lapel mic get good enough sound (the one I have now definitely didn't, but it's a cheap one). (3) If there's a way to get good sound, what's the cheapest way to get it? Would it be better to rent one? (BTW, if you give me bad information, I will make a video about you!)


The SugaRat said...

I'm no expert, but I would guess there is going to be a trade off. If you want to cut out the background noise you'll probably need something highly directional, and with good filters to cut out the background noise. A small mic on your lapel isn't going to be directional enough to pick up your voice among all that noise. Ultimately, you might either need something really 'in your face', or a sound crew with top end gear pointing mic's at you! But I'm no expert.. Good luck with it though David. I really love watching your videos.

Haecceitas said...

I'm probably just as poor as you, plus the tax deductible thing wouldn't apply where I live. So unfortunately I can't support you financially at this time.

As for the audio question, if everything else fails, wouldn't it be possible to just record the subway noises for background and then add separately recorded speech to it? Might require some serious lip syncing if it's essential for the video that your face is visible the whole time. But with some skilled editing, it might be doable.

Luke said...


I contacted a friend who works in editing and I'll see what he says and let you know. :) I know nothing!

Looking forward to more witty videos. Keep 'em coming!

Herakleios said...

As far as i know, there is a recording technique wich involves 2 microphones. One records the voice/band/whatever and one records the audience/backgroundsound. With the correct software you can then filter out the background sound from the voice-soundfile with the "pure-background"-file. I hope you understand a bit what i mean.

The technique works a bit like this: Sound is actually something like a wave and opposite waves are canceling out each other. So when making the background soundfile "negative" and then putting it on top of the voice-soundfile it should cancel out the background sound.
The same technique is used for better signal transmitting for instruments of bands - or in other words to cancel out "static noise" (hope thats the correct word):
this link is how it works for Bands, but the same principle can be used in recording software, as long as there is one recording with the "background" and one with the voice:

Herakleios said...

Basicly its about polarity of the signals - switching one to negative and thus cancelling out the same soundwaves in both recordings... leaving only the voice in the best case :)

Herakleios said...

Sorry for 3rd. post - maybe this link works better. It describes how the technique works within cables, but it functions the same way in editing software with 2 recordings:

Truth Defenders said...

Do a voice over. Write a script, read it on a separate device (audio)then just overlay it on the video. Get the timing right and it should work perfect.

Tom said...

David, made a small contribution .. praying to build on it... Shalom, Keep up the, 'God work' :)

Joe Bradley said...

Just a couple of ideas. Dave, you've got your hands full with a problem which has been plaguing sound folks ever since the talkies began. First the easy (possible) fix. Perhaps a "noise cancelling" lavalier (lapel) mic would help. There are lots of them on the internet for well under $50.00. I'm guessing that you may already have a wireless body pack to plug a lavalier into - just make sure the plugs match. If your mic will be attached directly to the cam, be careful and have lots of cable. By the way, there are much cheaper alternatives than a Sennheiser. Just check out ebay or Amazon under a search for "wireless microphones" and see what you come up with but the noise cancelling lavalier may be the best alternative.

It may not be possible, but perhaps the best way is to have a boom operator handle a boom with a shotgun mic pointing down (always pointing down) as he holds it above your head. These mics are very directional and have greater side rejection than normal handheld mics. By pointing it down it will only pick up background noise from the floor and there isn't much there. This might not be practical and you may run afoul of the Transit Authority (especially if you're drinking a big gulp).

Using a second audio recorder will be an additional expense and a headache in post even if all of your devices are smpte compliant and you're using PluralEyes. Over tracking an off camera script would be virtually impossible to sync. The best solution is a hardware fix during shooting.

Arrow said...

Maybe you could use a green background (chroma key) and then use a video editing software to replace the green background with a video of the subway, or you could record the scenes and then lip-sync later on.

Eddie Roman said...

Unfortunately, getting good sound in an extremely noisy location requires expensive equipment.

Find a professional audio/video rental house, let them know what you want to do, and see if they have what you need. I have never used these guys, but if I were you, I'd call them.

You might be able to rent that $500 mic for $65. Many rental houses have a weekend = day policy, meaning that if you rent on a Friday you can return on a Monday and they consider it / charge you for one day.

Welcome to the world of pro production : )

Joe Bradley said...

Arrow has a plausible idea as long as you didn't need any subway props in the primary scene. You could overlay the primary, studio, scene (in which you would have complete audio control) over a previously shot footage of the subway. The primary would already be synchronized and the background din of the secondary, subway scene, would not have to be synchronized because it is just noise. You could, however, adjust the volume to whatever you wished on either scene.

Most editors already have these capability built in and all you would have to do is make your background green (don't wear anything green when shooting or the background will show through).

Deleting said...

David, if it's not too personal, what is your profession aside from apologist?

Sai Krishna said...

Disgusting is a better word than Deleting?

Deleting said...

@Sai, I'm disgusting because I asked about his profession?
Wow, PC does rear it's ugly head, huh?