Anyone who works in production knows that when you are on a shoot, there are many details that need to be taken into account to ensure a professional product. Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare, a gremlin shows up in your video or audio, and you will have to deal with it. Hopefully, by sharing my stories with you, and how I recovered from them, you can learn from my mistakes, and prevent them from happening to you.
On a recent video shoot at a local sound stage, somehow, all of our audio tracks were “infected” with the static-like noise of a local radio station. The noise, which clearly had a DJ’s voice, commercials, etc. rendered all our audio tracks useless.
By the time I realized the audio tracks were contaminated (all 5 hours), I was back in my studio importing the footage. My first reaction was sickening terror, realizing we would probably have to re-shoot the entire program. This meant re-hiring the makeup artist, re-booking the studio, and putting the client through another day-long shoot. Many colorful words were uttered as I stared in horror at my monitor.
Camera: Canon GL2
Sennheiser M101 Wireless Lav System (primary - right channel)
Sennheiser ME 66 Shotgun (backup - left channel)
Mixer: Shure FP-33
Cable: 6 Pin to XLR
Beachtek XLR Adapter
How did this happen?
We called the stage the next day, and they confirmed that a local radio station signal did have a tendency to “appear” in audio tracks. Their explanation was that it was usually caused by a faulty wire in the production chain. Translation: “There is no way in hell we are going to comp you studio time to re-shoot your video.”
Why didn’t I hear the distortion on the stage?
I didn’t hear the signal because I monitored the audio via headphones from the mixer, not the camera. The broken link in the chain was between the mixer and the camera, either the 6 pin cable, or the Beachtek unit. Had I monitored from the camera, I would have heard the signal, and we would have been able to correct it on the stage. Lesson learned!
We were left with two choices:
- Re-shoot everything, which required another day full day at the studio, a full day for the makeup artist, as well as a full day for the client. This was a tough pill to swallow, due to the fact that we would have to absorb the extra costs, and the budget was already stretched as far as it could go.
- Fix it somehow
In the end I was able to fix the audio tracks. Click the video link below to see a step by step guide on how I did it.