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David Waelder

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About David Waelder

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    Hero Member
  • Birthday January 1

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  • Location
    Los Angeles
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
  • About
    Production Mixer

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  1. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    I’m not a service technician so i can only respond in a general way but the problem you describe is common to the portable Nagras. I’ve experienced it with the IV-L, the 4.2 and the IV-S. The good news is that, once stabilized with your finger, the operation is good. Of course, it’s a nuisance. I think that service instructions for any portable Nagra ought to be applicable to your machine. Regrettably, I don’t have those manuals but they are likely to be more easily sourced. David
  2. Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

    I haven’t actually investigated this issue so the following suggestion is just speculation - Wouldn’t it be possible to make interconnecting cables that would pass signal to the recorder while not passing phantom power back to your Cooper mixer? Perhaps an in-line isolation transformer? Apologies if you have already considered this and there is a reason unseen by me that makes this solution impractical. David
  3. How to hide a Sennheiser ME 2 on talent

    This has been an interesting discussion but, I think, largely irrelevant to making movies. Probably you (the OP) and everyone making suggestions has seen the movie Bull Durham. As you will recall, the characters played by Kevin Kostner and Susan Sarandon both took active roles in preparing Tim Robbins' talented but erratic pitcher for better things in the majors. Sarandon has him wearing ladies' underwear beneath his team uniform. Of course, frilly underwear doesn't confer any advantage but it does distract an overactive mind so the pitcher can work from muscle memory. Trying to find strategies to conceal a clumsy microphone choice may serve the same end. One is engaged in making active preparation to perform sound recording responsibilities in a situation where real preparation, given the limits of equipment and budget, is probably impossible. A single radio transmitter/receiver set is only minimally useful on a dramatic film. Except for the occasional Shakespearean soliloquy, dialog in films involves at least two players. A single radio set is not really useful to record two or three people. It may have some utility as a plant mike but that's a different concealment issue and the present microphone may be entirely fine. I think you need to tell the director that, except for a few special situations, you will be working only with the boom microphone. If sound cannot be successfully recorded with that rig, he will need to cover the scene in close-ups or medium shots. If that doesn't work for him, he will need to resign himself (herself?) to the necessity of looping. This is not something to lament or be anxious about. Many fine films have been recorded with a single boom microphone. Moreover, by focusing attention on that approach and not wasting time and energy on halfway radio measures, production can proceed efficiently. With limited resources, it is a perfectly reasonable way to make a movie. David
  4. Production Mix Structure

    I would like to address the matter of working for consistency so that the material can be edited smoothly. This is a concern and a good mixer will be mindful of the need to record lines that can be intercut shot to shot. However, I think consistency should be a secondary goal, not a primary focus. I believe a successful location mixer will attempt to get the best results possible in each shot and not degrade results, at least not significantly, in an effort to maintain consistency. Just because the master was lousy is no reason to do second rate work on all the close-ups. (And, I'm sure that the advice from experienced contributors like Crew and Tom Visser and the others doesn't intend that you do anything of that sort. But it's easy to take good advice and follow it too rigidly.) So, to restate, try for the best sound possible in each set-up but be aware, as you work, that consistent tone is also important. But don't hesitate to jettison an iffy miking approach if you have a chance to make a significant improvement. (The editor may throw away the sound from the compromised shots and make the assembly with the better material.) David
  5. Necessities For Every Soundbag

    Kit necessities will vary a bit according to the assignment. The one constant in my life has been a Swiss Army knife. I used to carry their "classic" model, a small knife that fits in the watch pocket of jeans and features scissors and a small screwdriver. Recently I've changed to the "Rambler." It's the same length but just a bit fatter to accommodate a functional Phillips-head screwdriver (as well as the other tools). Of course, my kit also includes Leatherman and Gerber folding tools but the little Swiss knife is always in my pocket (unless flying). David
  6. Traveling With Cart Overseas

    My first bit of advice is to use a professional freight expediting company to handle transport rather than trying to deal with the gear as excess baggage. There are a number of companies that provide this specialized service. RockIt Cargo comes well recommended (although I must caution that the last time I traveled internationally with gear was more than 15 years ago): https://www.rockitcargo.com You'll also want to research Customs issues when flying with gear. I would think that the US Virgin Islands would not present Customs issues for a US citizen but, since you may travel on an international flight, I think you would, at least, want to have copies of purchase receipts to establish that your gear was acquired in the States. Better, register the gear with Customs before leaving (you take your cases of gear with a written inventory to a Customs office and they inspect the cases and stamp your inventory). A Carnet might be good if there is any chance you will island hop to another territory. A case for your cart is ideal - I would offer to loan one but you are on the east coast so that's of limited benefit. If a case is difficult to acquire, you can arrange to have your cart crated. That's bit expensive and adds to the weight of your shipment. An alternative might be to have it "palletized." Your freight expediting company lies the cart on a pallet and "cocoon-wraps" the whole business in plastic. Take pictures of each case, both closed and open to show the gear, so you have a record of what was in each case and how it was packed. Time permitting, print a photo of the interior of each case, label the contents, and affix it to the lid or simply lay it in the case. That provides a guide for any customs or TSA official who might open a case and wonder what all those tech (and possibly ominous) devices are. It can also discourage opportunistic shrinkage by establishing what is supposed to be there. Larcenous baggage people sometimes hesitate to grab things if their presence is documented. David
  7. Equipment wishes for 2017

    From The Third Man: "Holly, I'd like to cut you in, old man. There's nobody left in Vienna I can really trust and we've always done everything together. When you make up your mind, send me a message - I'll meet you any place, any time, and when we do meet old man, it's you I want to see, not the police. Remember that, won't ya? Don't be so gloomy.After all it's not that awful. You know what the fellow said– in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly." I understand that Orson Welles improvised the dialog in that second paragraph. In any event, the historical perspective expressed is a little wonky; the Swiss at that time had one of the most formidable armies in Europe and the cuckoo clock was a German product. And I think (but I'd have to check) that both Leonardo and Michelangelo were active before the ascension of the Borgias. But it's a memorable speech and it comes unbidden to the forefront of my mind whenever I hear the words "cuckoo clock." David
  8. Cart building day!!!

    Outstanding! David
  9. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    It's my understanding that Ron Meyer licensed the design from Skyline. I don't know when in the course of development that happened but I'm pretty sure I recall him saying that he had an agreement. For those not familiar with the history (and my own knowledge is spotty), Ron used to work for Audio Services Corporation, the company founded by Richard Topham Sr. While employed at ASC, he worked in repairs and also developed products for the company. In 1986 he amicably split from ASC to start Professional Sound Corporation. And, subsequently, Audio Services was dissolved in the course of a legal dispute between the east coast Audio Services (the original ASC started by Richard Topham Sr's brother, Ron) and the independent west coast company. A new company, Location Sound Services, owned by the employees, was formed from the personnel and resources of west coast Audio Services. David
  10. Purchasing 2 mics for film: 8060 w/MZF 8000 & MKH-50?

    These decisions are rather like choosing between a Porsche and a Jaguar or Maserati. There are differences, to be sure, but no wrong choices. It's an enviable position to be in and, if you later reconsider, you might sell one to purchase the other choice with only a moderate penalty. A few years ago I was faced with a similar choice. I needed to move from the Neumann 140/150 system I was using. They sound great but I had too many difficulties using them with a radio link. I ended up getting a matched set of Sennheiser 8050's and have been very pleased with them. They are sensitive to handling noise and need both a delicate touch from the boom operator and a very good shock mount. But I was working with experienced boom operators so I could rely upon good hands. For a shock mount, I acquired a Rycote Invision with the suitable suspension parts and have not experienced any problems. I understand that the very expensive Cinela is even better but the Invision works very well. If you are doing narrative work, then I think you should not be spooked by the stories of difficult handling. But if you regularly work documentary or reality work, you might be wise to choose the most foolproof rig available. (Always remembering that in a foolproof system, the fool is always bigger than the proof. - Edward Teller) David
  11. DUNKIRK: Too Loud?

    I saw Dunkirk a few days ago, in an IMAX theater, and the experience still inhabits my subconscious. It is a relentless and immersive experience that comes as close as I can ever recall to taking me inside the events as if I had lived through them myself. Over about a week the retreating forces of the British Expeditionary Force, pushed onto the beach at Dunkirk, were continually harassed by advancing German soldiers and strafing planes. The peril was incessant and Nolan's movie replicates this as faithfully as he can in a movie theater. The roar of low-flying planes is thunderous and bombs and bullet strikes seem close enough to feel concussive. After watching for nearly two hours one has an acrid, gunpowder taste of the event. It is bravura filmmaking. But, having said that, I also noticed that I struggled to hear some of the dialog, I lost not just the occasional word but often whole phrases and lines. There's not much dialog in the movie and events and action drive the account rather than words. Still something was lost. I don't know if the theater (AMC in Burbank) was 70mm IMAX or the true 15-perf horizontal projection of original IMAX. I suspect the former. It seems there may be substantive differences from theater to theater and format to format. David
  12. Rental Rates

    I think this plan is risky. While it's natural to assume that if you are hired on for a six-month show, you will be with the production until wrap, that's not necessarily the case. Even if you don't have a falling out with production, there are other reasons why you might not see the show through to conclusion. You might have a family emergency that forces you to withdraw or the production might have a funding problem or a key player might have an accident that forces a temporary shut-down. It's an extra complication if you are linked to the show by a not-yet-completed financial transaction. What would happen if you had to withdraw? You would leave the purchased gear behind, of course, but then the production would need to hire someone willing to work with that gear arrangement. I think a savvy Production Manager would be disinclined to become entangled this way and the proposal from you makes you appear weak and needy. David
  13. Rental Rates

    While there is a rule of thumb for pricing rentals it is often ignored and the situation in the field is akin to the Wild Wild West. Companies renting technical equipment (as distinguished from car rentals or vacation homes and the like) will often figure on charging 1% of replacement value per day. So, a $10,000 recorder might be expected to rent for $100 per day. There are several exceptions to this expectation: 1. Anything that is particularly rugged and/or exempt from rapid obsolescence would be rented at considerably less, perhaps only 0.5% daily or even less. A C-stand would be an example of this sort of pricing. 2. Anything either fragile or needing frequent tuning or subject to rapid obsolescence would be rented for more, perhaps 2% of replacement value or even more. Examples would include radio mikes (subject both to tuning needs and to obsolescence forced by transmitting frequencies lost to cell phones) and electronic cameras. The cameras are often hot items for a year or two and are then supplanted by a new model. 3. Anything that is a specialty item rented only occasionally will be priced higher. For example, a production has only occasional use of a 500mm lens or an ultrafast lens, say, f1.1 and those articles go for a premium price. In sound, an earwig rig, while not especially expensive to purchase, might rent for more because there is only occasional call for it. Equipment is usually supplied with the necessary accessories like cables and batteries at no extra charge although rental houses would certainly charge for extras beyond the minimum need. So a recorder would probably be provided with one, maybe two, rechargeable batteries but extras would cost more. Most independent operators provide a fairly extensive inventory of back-up gear at no extra charge although that doesn't necessarily extend to significant pieces of gear. A collection of cable adapters and things of that sort are not usually inventoried and invoiced but a spare recorder or mixing panel might be. And, of course, everything is subject to some negotiation. A TV series, booking personnel for twelve weeks of continuous work, might negotiate a package price for gear a bit less than a commercial with only a one or two-day booking. David
  14. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    I would be happy to scan the booklet for you. It's not that big- only 22 pages, 25 if the cover and list of authorized service centers are included. But it will make a fairly large file that I would hesitate to post here. PM me with an email address that might handle a file of about 7 - 10 MB. David
  15. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    "Is there an audible difference between the NAGRA IV-S stereo and X4S to record music?" I'm a little puzzled by the question. As I understand it (and maybe I'm mistaken about the terminology), we use the letters "X4S" to designate a Harvey-mod time code Nagra. To get a Harvey-mod machine, one started with a Nagra IV-S and installed the Harvey-mod components which were available as a kit. So, an X4S is a Nagra IV-S at heart. The other matter of people doing additional modifications and swapping out heads leads one into a rabbit-warren of possibilities but good to be aware of potential variations. David