Audiovisual Montage

1.2 Basic principles of dealing with sound on set

During a shoot, the visual information is, to put it simply, recorded by the camera. The sound recordings can be made synchronically with the images on set, inside the camera using an appropriate module, however they are usually recorded separately using a sound recorder, which ensures that the image and sound are synchronized when original sounds from the location are played back.

In the case of sound recording for reproduction at a later stage, different auditive aspects are differentiated, which will be listed in the next section in the form of a glossary:[1]

The term original soundtrack refers to the sound that is recorded separately or live while the camera is running — using audio tape, a DAT (digital audio tape) recorder or the sound recording module integrated into the digital camera (camcorder) — regardless of whether the sounds are made up of speech, noises, music, or atmospheric background. Later, this sound can be fed into the image using a shutter or another sync-signal, synchronized, in other words exactly in the right place, or according to the timecode (the electronic image number).

The primary soundtrack, although also sync-recorded on location, differs from the high quality original sound and in comparison appears unclean and non-elaborated. It is needed to gain an impression of the original acoustic situation on the set. It is recorded by the sound editor in order to create an auditive point of reference for the sound editing and mix.

The terms wild track or wild sound are used to speak about separate sounds recorded on set without the camera running. These can replace distorted or too distant original sounds or can be added to a scene later.

Respeaks are dialogue sentences or speech passages that are recorded on set without a camera recording the image (or in the case of a documenting digital camera or camcorder when the microphone is switched on although no image is being recorded). This method is used in the case of unclean recordings, for example in rooms with too much echo, car journeys, or slips of the tongue, and the result is often more natural and spatially closer to the scene than later dubbing in the studio.

In the case of the so-called atmos, we are dealing less with the sounds in the foreground and much more with harmonious background noises that can be recorded without a camera running. In order to later supplement the mood of the scene, they provide for example the rushing sound of cars on a highway, the sound of a forest, or the sea.

In the case of playback, audio recordings that already exist, for example, existing sound recordings or previously compiled music are added on set via loudspeakers. They help to create an emotional and rhythmic mood on set or to synchronize movements to be recorded, such as dance. The original sounds that are recorded here however cannot be used for the final cut and must be replaced.


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