This is a request for camera operators…and a request to directors and producers as well. I ask this on behalf of all the editors out there…
If you are shooting footage of a bunch of British Soldiers rowing across a swamp, and they land on the beach and climb out of the boat and onto the shore…Please refrain from talking.
If you are shooting footage of a doctor readying for the day…taking a shower, getting dressed, walking out the door…please refrain from talking.
If you are shooting ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING where there is audio occurring…even b-roll of a sunset where there is wind blowing thru the trees…please refrain from talking.
We need the audio from this footage. You may not think so…you may think “well, there’ll be narration or music playing under this, so it doesn’t matter to have the audio.” Sorry, but you are mistaken. If I show footage of guys getting out of a boat, it would be very helpful to have audio to accompany that. If it is quiet…silent except for music and narration, it will still strike the viewer as odd that they cannot hear the guys getting out of the boat. And if you record the action AS IT HAPPENS on location, it saves the audio engineer from having to find sound effects for that, or to foley it. Saves man hours as well as money.
You may think that in a documentary about a trauma surgeons, when we show b-roll of a doctor getting up at the crack of dawn and getting ready for work, that you will just have music playing under, or him talkling about how he readies himself for the day, and that you don’t need the audio. Well, again, if I see the doctor in the shower, but don’t hear the shower, then I as the viewer will unconsciously feel that something is missing. And that will be a distraction that takes away from the story…and we don’t want that.
It might be a $100 Million dollar feature…it might be a network TV show…it might be a small cable documentary…shouldn’t matter. Please please PLEASE refrain from talking when filming. I WANT to hear the wind blowing thru the grass when I see it on screen during the sunset. Audio is MORE that 50% of the viewing experience. Sounds convey so much that they eyes don’t pick up. Audio will tell you something about a scene that your eyes don’t see. And if there is NO audio to accompany the video, your brain gets distracted by this.
So please refrain from talking. You can talk ALL YOU WANT when you stop recording.