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Old April 25th, 2008, 10:33 AM   #16
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The Kit Cool looks interesting. I wonder how well you could cover a scene with a lot of movement though. Doesn't K-Tek make a similar product?

I'm doing more solo gigs, and it's a bloody pain. When possible (about 40 percent of the time) I balance the pole with one hand in the middle and mix with the other hand. Splitting the track is a must in these situations. Adding wireless gets risky fast. There are a lot of situations where having a double boom would be best, but as mentioned, nobody wants to pay for it anymore. As Wayne mentions, I'm hearing about a lot of situations where they want camera to do the audio as well. People seem to think that wireless is the answer to everything. It's quite annoying.

Anyway, when I can't actively mix I split the track wider than usual and keep an eye on the safety track. You really need about three takes to feel confident that you've got the levels set correctly. You have to fess up on the set if you don't get it on the take they like. You WILL hear about it if post doesn't like your levels.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 11:11 AM   #17
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Have not used one but looks very interesting a Sonosax SX-BD1 which mounts on the boom pole.


http://www.sonosax.com/BD1/SX-BD_InfosheetE.html
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Old April 25th, 2008, 11:23 AM   #18
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That's a neat product, although I almost hate to give producers another excuse to cut the audio department. I wonder how much it weighs? That would be my biggest concern. Holding that thing on a really long take could be excruciating.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #19
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I guess scaling down crew is inevitable as things like autofocus, facial recognition, white balance and AGC get better and better and better. Sound is always the first to go, followed by picture as bandwidth allows. If you want to know what picture people will be dealing with wholesale in 5 - 10 years time, look at sound today. (eg, look at the history behind tape, digitisation, downloading, solid state media, crew shrinking etc). Everything below the line is a commodity cog that can be replaced by a cheaper, sometimes better, cog. The cog that is "good enough" (automated or manual) gets the job. In the words of Jack Trout, differentiate or die.

(Hmmm.... this post isn't meant to be as downbeat as it reads ... we are all capable of being great differentiators!)
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Old April 27th, 2008, 04:49 AM   #20
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.

To be honest if you are mixing and booming then never underestimate the rather large power you have with the boom itself, it's the best damn fader in your control when you only have 2 hands, I can't really ever think of needing a fader attached to the boom, just move the mic, yes it's subtle sometimes but you have that control with it, be fluid with it, it's an art form what we all do, treat it as such.

It's easy to really forget what we all know about mic placement using a boom, I grew up as a boom op (quite literally) and having taken over my late fathers role as location mixer on a drama last year it was so hard to explain things to a trainee boom op that I just always seem to have known, the guy did so well though, took in all the info he could but after 2 weeks was visible tired from the mental side of all the information, this was a guy who had worked a couple months as a 3rd assistant on a drama with me before so it wasn't like he had never been on set in his life.

I think my point to some of the above is that there are ways to try and sort the problem of modern productions, try the local colleges, see if you can find some people who just plain want to learn, you may actually find some talented kids who will help out, I think this is a business so I don't like free labour but then again I grew up helping out as a kid and it's how I learnt, our knowledge is actually valuable to others and if the production tell you something that may be a bit tricky without a boom op then tell them, it may be a surprise that they are actually ok about getting someone in for that specific day on a shoot, or failing that point out before hand exactly how tricky it's going to be, calm, collected and up front about it all helps so many productions, and if it's one of those productions that just won't listen then at least you know you tried the best anyone could have and that there are others out there somewhere in the world facing exactly the same problem as you, we are not alone :-)
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Old April 27th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #21
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i do not understand why you want to have mix on location for thing that are not live. It is so easy/cheap to record multitrack, get the mix for monitoring and camera feed, and keep the separate tracks to redo the mix in case of problem. This is not requiring more hands, just a bit more equipment (a multitrack recorder). and with wireless, you do not even need a cable.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #22
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That's basically saying, we'll fix it in post.

The more you do right in production, the less you have to do in post.

That can be slight corrections that post certainly can accomplish, but also changes that are major that absolutely need to be corrected in the field in order to sound good.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old April 27th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #23
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Along with what Ty has already mentioned, I will state my real beef with what tends to happen in indie film productions. That is, you're usually it. No boom, so you're doing both. So usually the scenario is you have a couple of wireless and the boom. Usually your at 4 channels, sometimes 3 channels of audio. OK, generally the rule is to do a mix and send this to the camera. You tell everybody this is the guide track, and I'll provide you the ISO tracks which you can use later for the picture.

Everybody agrees upon it, and things look good. You do a so-so mix considering you can't really do a great mix because you can't play with the levels as much as you want. So you tell yourself that's OK because they have everything on separate channels.

The shoot is over and everybody feels good about what they have done. You turn in the audio and sound report. Life is good. A day, week, and month pass by. Then you get that dreaded phone call. "Hi, this is XXX. I'm editing that project you worked on with xxx." When these calls come, trust me they are rarely 'fun'. Usually what has happened is the workflow is totally screwed up (my opinion) and they went in spliced it all up and now think the audio isn't up to what they felt it should be. They have gone in and monkeyed around with it, but usually need some additional "cleanning up help".

The problem is either they don't use the ISO tracks or don't have them because somebody didn't give them the discs. But now it's a bit late in the game. They've used pieces from 3 or 4 takes to make the perfect take of a scene and don't want to go back in try to work backwards and figure out where things came from and bring in outside audio.

So why do I think the workflow is partly at fault? Because if it was done correctly, they would have matched the audio with the video before they started editing. Now, on longer pictures this is an issue because it's time consuming, but guess what? If they had hired a boom op, they probably would have an easier time of it because the mixer could have focused on making sure the audio being sent to the camera(s) was a great mix. Now they are paying for it in post production. But you're not off the hook either. Because you're only as good as your last job and now you look you don't know what you're doing.

The reality is the better job you can do mixing and providing audio in the field even with multi-track ISO tracks, the better off you are...

If this post sounds like a rant, in a way it is. This "problem" has happened to me more than once and I have tried to warn producers, but it's all about money. The problem is they don't see past the dollars, and they start adding up in post production fast when things didn't go so well on-location.

Wayne
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Old April 27th, 2008, 03:08 PM   #24
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I don't know what you guys are having problems with! I can easily boom and handle a mulit-track recorder with a mixer velcro'd on the top in my bag at the same time. With batteries to run a 16 hour day and everything else included in bag, I've got the weight down to 45lbs.
I set the gain "and forget it." If I want the dialog softer because a preamp is breaking up or it's hitting the limiter, I just pull back a bit, SN ratio is of no concern to me, they can take ambient noise out in post very easily. We can shoot faster this way because blocking time is reduced and I don't need a boom check for framing.
I'm completely wireless too including wireless TC and monitor back to bag. Wireless boom to mixer and then wireless to camera. Sounds much better than using cables, and today can be purchased at a cheap price point. Looks cool too. Even though I work for the love of it on Craigslist, someday I'll be able to pay off the equipment.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 04:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks Harrington View Post
I don't know what you guys are having problems with! Even though I work for the love of it on Craigslist, someday I'll be able to pay off the equipment.
Brooks Harrington, ladies and gentlemen, he'll be here all week. Thanks, good night and don't forget to tip your waitstaff."


Regards,

Ty Ford

PS: Wayne, if I weren't already happily married and straight and you were cute and a gal, I'd propose.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 04:14 PM   #26
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Brooks, I agree with you and also practice pulling back the boom (If it started at the talent 3' away from the mouth, I'll keep it that way as he/she walks towards me)

However, what about the lavs..I guess you leave them at set levels and multitrack record right?
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Old April 28th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #27
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Brooks,

Thanks you for making me laugh! That was excellent!

- Martin
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Old April 28th, 2008, 10:48 AM   #28
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Ian,
It sounds like you have lots of experience, but I'm skeptical of using extra distance to soften loud passages. Don't you get too much reverb? Loud passages are when echo is the biggest problem for me. Also, wouldn't doing that raise the background noise relative to the dialog?
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Old April 28th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #29
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Wayne,
Can you describe how you are sending that mix back to camera? I'm planning to go to a four track set-up as well, and have been mulling over the best way to send a scratch track to camera. Do you give them a mix of all four tracks? How? I can't think of a way to do that without carrying a separate four channel mixer (Ouch!). I was thinking I'd just give them the boom track. That way it would force them to go back to the original files and I could easily explain to the producer exactly how post screwed it up.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
Wayne,
Can you describe how you are sending that mix back to camera?
There are multiple ways you can do it. One way is to put the wireless on one channel and the boom on the other. The reason for this is the delay in wireless vs. wired (about 2 ms). However, you can also pick one and give them that same mix on both channels. On a recent commercial, I gave them timecode on one channel and wireless on the other. The boom went on the ISO tracks and they got that only on the DVD-RAM disc at the end of the day. Because I use the Deva over-the-shoulder/in a bag, I can give them any number of combinations, but if I'm doing both, as this topic states, I would stick with either one channel wireless and one wired, or just pick one and run that to both channels on the camera.

Wayne
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