When shooting a motion picture and recording the actor's dialog, camera noise can be a real issue. Here's a look at how to remove camera noise from an Arriflex 16S camera using a Barney and Noise Reduction Software.
Before we address issues with the camera, let's first look at issues with the way the sound will be recorded. For any kind of audio sweetening software to be added to the live sound recorded during filming, the audio must be recorded in a "loss-less" format. Any compression of the audio when it's originally recorded will result in serious "compression artifacts" after audio post production. Avoid recording audio on MP3 recorders, Mini-Disc recorders, and any other recorders that do some form of audio compression. It is best to stick with a recorder that will record in linear PCM (a "loss-less" audio format).
The next thing to keep in mind when shooting and recording dialog is to make sure the camera is running crystal sync. Here in the States, crystal sync is 24 fps. One of the most accurate ways we've found to shoot crystal sync is with a Tobin crystal sync TXM-22 motor attached to the Arriflex 16S (as shown below).
Now let's look at how to quiet the camera. Custom Upholstery Products makes a barney for the Arriflex 16S and the Tobin crystal sync TXM-22A motor. It doesn't make the camera perfectly silent, but it does cut the noise noticeably. Below are pictures of the barney fitted to an Arriflex 16S.
After the camera is wrapped in the barney, try to use a directional microphone to record the actor's dialog while filming. With a little bit of practice you will learn how to angle the microphone to cut down on the noise coming from the camera. While you are shooting in each location, be sure to record at least sixty seconds of "room tone" with no one talking, moving about or the camera running. You will use this later for layering in with the dialog.
Once you have the dialog recorded make sure to keep it in it’s "loss-less" form as you load it into your computer. Then, using one of the commonly available noise reduction software programs, remove the camera noise from the dialog.
In the sample test we have posted here, we used Bias SoundSoap 2 software on a PowerMac computer.
Unfortunately for this test, we could not get the linear PCM recorder we would usually use, so we were forced to use a digital camcorder (which records in linear PCM) and the non-directional, stereo microphone that came with it.
Below is a sound clip recorded while filming with the Arriflex 16S in the Custom Upholstery Products barney. The beginning of the take has the camera noise, "Four, mark . . . Arriflex 16S camera running in the background with a barney . . ." at which point I used the noise reduction software. The rest of the take has the SoundSoap 2 noise reduction.
Had we been recording for an actual film, we would have used a directional microphone and added sweetening (like room tone, reverb and other effects) to the audio.