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Old April 17th, 2008, 12:50 AM   #1
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Do I need a four track recorder?

This is a question for working pros. I've decided to get a timecode recorder, and figure, heck, as long as your taking the trouble to do double system sound, why stop at two tracks? I've wished I had more at some point on practically every shoot I've ever worked on. I'm just not sure it would pay for itself. So, the question is, would a four track recorder get me more jobs than a two track recorder? I know there are a lot more factors in getting paying work than just having fancy gear. What do you all think? Would this investment be worth the money in the long term?
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Old April 17th, 2008, 02:42 AM   #2
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Depends what sort of work you do. I've been working on low/micro budget indie shorts and features for 10+ years (starting with a Nagra 4.2) and can't remember the last time I needed more than one channel. I counter the need for multi-channel with microphone selection and placement (most of the time). In fact, I have a M/S mic on order so I can start to make use of my second channel on the 702T. You may have guessed I pretty much exclusively boom the mic, and the productions I work on do close-ups and reverses and use a single camera. I have a three channel 302 for special occasions, but it gets quite dusty.

If the work I did demanded isolated tracks and cared about wiring talent I could probably justify getting something more fancy like something from Zaxcom or Sonosax and a whole bunch of radio mics.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 04:52 AM   #3
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Here is my take on it. If you're using wireless and you're booming too (which I think you should always do by the way), you want to keep those tracks on separate channels. Unless you've only got one person talking, then you need more than two channels.

Now, will it get you more jobs? I don't think so, nearly all of my work these days comes word of mouth, where somebody I worked with previously recommends me to somebody else. I'm sure it's helpful that I have a full multi-channel kit, but I don't think that's the only reason. In fact, I could have easily gotten away with a two channel setup on a commercial I did on Friday. I think sometimes, I make it more complex than it has to be because I have the option of doing that. However, that doesn't always mean that's the best way to do it.

Wayne
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Old April 17th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Brissette View Post
Here is my take on it. If you're using wireless and you're booming too (which I think you should always do by the way), you want to keep those tracks on separate channels. Unless you've only got one person talking, then you need more than two channels.

Now, will it get you more jobs? I don't think so, nearly all of my work these days comes word of mouth, where somebody I worked with previously recommends me to somebody else. I'm sure it's helpful that I have a full multi-channel kit, but I don't think that's the only reason. In fact, I could have easily gotten away with a two channel setup on a commercial I did on Friday. I think sometimes, I make it more complex than it has to be because I have the option of doing that. However, that doesn't always mean that's the best way to do it.

Wayne
Wayne, I completely agree with your logic on making things more complicated than they need to be.

It feels like sometimes I buy gear I don't even really need at the moment, but feel that I should have, because it has all these features I might one-day use.

I have to keep reminding myself that I need to spend more time using the equipment, than we do shopping for it (though I do love me some new toys).

-Dmitry
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