I am being asked to do production sound for a low budget indie film. The movie is going to be filmed with 35mm film camera and they are only going to use the slate sync for audio. So instead of renting out a deva or sound devices, can I use nuendo on a laptop with a 8 in 8 out audio interface? Has anyone ever used nuendo or any DAW on a laptop for production sound? Please give me your thoughts and potential problems I may face if any.
Although it should be very possible, I think that using a DAW/Computer in the field is a good idea.
For location recording, you need a lot of flexibility. You need to move around, change levels at any time, at any place, etc … Unless this is a studio setup with fixed booms, I would not use a computer.
Also know that location recorders like the Sound Devices are wonderful machines, they have excellent limiters, backup solutions, they are robust, small, easy to handle, etc … And not to forget, they have better preamps than most of the gear you find in a regular studio.
Laptop is not the best choice for recording field sound. It is good for soundstage but not for location but… We did it once. We choose panasonic “water-dust protection” model laptop and MOTU fire-wire 828 as far as I remember. Also we rent UPS as a battery (now I think it was not the best way). We understood that all stuff should be crewed in one box for to be mobile. Also we had SHURE rack-mixer as mixer and pre-amp and NUENDO 4 as DAW.
it is very convenient because you can be sure that you record sound observing it on screen. You can name and rename recorded takes quicker than in AATON or DEVA or SOUND DEVICE. You can put any markers you want.You have all you tracks in NUENDO already and you can make some premix if necessary.
laptot with preamp and sound card is not so mobile as AATON or DEVA or SOUND DEVICE. Laptop is not so protected from rain, snow or dust as AATON. Some time it can just does not work (fortunately we did’t not have such experience).
That movie was drama and we was shooting it with good budget and good crew. No rush, no overwork (just few). I know that it quiet rare. So I don’t know what was happened if there was some hurry or very bad wether. Anyway we record twice in rain with tent and one day we spend in steel works with tons of iron dust falling from the sky.
So if you going to shoot fast and in unpredictable location better to use AATON ( I think it is best but expensive) or DEVA. SOUND DEVICE is good too but not so protected from wether and impacts.
If you don’t have possibilities choose protected laptop, small sound card, good and small preamp if the sound card has bad one or does not have it at all, get external battery and crew it in one box with wheels.
Thank you very much for your comments guys. The film company that I am about to work with has informed me that there will be a “silent” power generator at all times in all locations. So there shouldnt be any problems for power. And I have access to presonus 24.4.2 which I am thinking of using it in location as an interface as well as mixer. I do have a good mobile carrying box custom made for this in which I can crew in all my equipment. In my opinion the presonus mic pres are quite good. But I have never done production sound with this set up.
I normally hire a DEVA for production sound. But there are only two places which rent out production sound recorders in or near my city and hence they are quite expensive to hire. The film crew has already told me the budget they want to spend on production sound and it is impossible to work within that budget if I hire DEVA. So I am trying to prepare myself for all the potential problems I might face with the above mentioned set up. Any more suggestions and ideas would be much appreciated.
Location recording I do (portable) I use cubase 5 loaded on a macbook (older white one) that is bootcamped to XP. I use lynx aurora via the firewire connection and an external usb drive.
The XP installation is bare bones and optimized. I have a few plugins installed and that’s it.
I did extensive testing before I committed to using it live (arming the maximum of incoming tracks) and inserted some plugins. I usually use the included Cubase plugins though. If you are bench testing, there is a setting to notify you of an audio drop out. This can aid you in finding the most stable sample buffer setting for your rig.