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David Waelder

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About David Waelder

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

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3,315 profile views
  1. When Production doesn’t rent your kit

    It used to be the case - and probably still is; I don't know - that work for Warner Bros. required use of equipment from the Warner Sound Department. A number of mixers refused work assignments there because of the restriction. After all, a production mixer needs to have an equipment kit for most assignments. But Warners is major studio with a lot of work, especially TV series work, and they pay wages per the union contract. Not many can afford to shun those assignments. On the few occasions when I was asked to work for Warners, I would always clarify the equipment issue by saying that I would show up with a ball point pen to fill out the report form and nothing else. That provided clarity and an opportunity if the UPM wished to request anything. And they always did provide every necessary component and it all worked or could be exchanged at the WB shop. it wasn't always what I might have selected for, say, plant mike situations but it was always serviceable. David
  2. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    I believe that the first film recorded with a Nagra was “Black Orpheus” by Marcel Camus in 1959. (Open to correction on this point.) Scenes with musicians playing are customarily done to playback and have been for a long time - well before “Help!” was filmed. However, the function switch in the photos posted here seem to show the Nagra III in record mode. Perhaps there was a separate playback operator (a standard practice) and the mixer might have been recording a guide track for dailies or to catch ad-libs between verses. But I’m guessing. Nice photos; thanks for the post. David And, come to think of it, sync playback with a Nagra III would require the use of an SLO resolver not seen in these photos. Internal resolving circuitry didn’t become available until the Nagra IV-L and the 4.2.
  3. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    Gee, just when it was getting kind of fun. I expect that Lucas probably makes good quality components today and I wouldn’t be uncomfortable driving a car with Lucas electrics. However, the reputation for iffy devices is well earned. I purchased an MG in 1973 and had many occasions to curse the electrics. I had batteries actually freeze in the winter; replacement with lower cost Delco cells corrected the problem. Failing point sets were the worst. The hard fiber block that rides the distributor cam was so soft that it would wear away in fewer than 1000 miles causing the points to close. Only a month after a tuneup, the car would fail to start. Things are better now and all is forgiven (but not forgotten). Let me close with a few Lucas sayings: • The Lucas corporate motto: “Get home before dark.” • Lucas holds the patent for the short circuit. • Lucas – Inventor of the intermittent wiper. • Lucas – Inventor of the self-dimming headlamp. • The three position Lucas switch – Dim, Flicker and Off. David
  4. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    According to Moss Motors, the changeover occurred in 1968. All the '68 MG'S (and all British-Leland vehicles going forward) were negative earth. David
  5. Signing out comteks

    We've probably all experienced the late night Comtek search, rummaging through the pockets of all the chairs by flashlight. There's no magic remedy. But I have had relative success with a combination of techniques. Like others, I leave a box for Comtek return in a prominent place at Video Village. I have a sign attached to the box identifying it as the place to leave headsets and packs. I also label the receivers - DIR, PROD, SCRIPT, AUX-1, etc. Ideally, one might personally hand the appropriate unit to each recipient but, in use, I find the practice is self-leveling. They sort it out by themselves. This provides a handy reference when a pack goes missing - one can identify the likely culprit and work accordingly. One can't really label an unlimited number of units so the plan has its limits. But my own practice helps keep things manageable. I reason that only a limited number of people need to hear the track at high quality levels. One could argue that the number really needing this mathematically approaches zero but I think it's good practice to provide the best I can to a key handful. So, I have about a half dozen Lectro R1a receivers (plus a set on another frequency for boom and utility) and I handle the overflow with a bunch of the old Comtek PR72 units. Losing an older Comtek is much less painful than one of the expensive Lectros. David
  6. Comtek Questions - 72 vs 216 - Old vs New

    Some years back I conducted a series of range tests of antennas for the 695 Quarterly (now Production Sound & Video). Covering all the ground of transmitting and receiving antennas required several articles starting in the Spring of 2010 and ending with tests of the Mini-Mite and Miracle Whip antennas in the Summer of 2011. In the very first article, Spring 2010, I reviewed how the tests would be conducted, measurements made and results interpreted. We made some initial tests to establish base-line expectations. At that time, I made some tests of the performance of a Lectrosonics SMQV at different power settings and with different antenna configurations. We made range tests with whip antennas with the receivers at different heights and with SNA600 antennas at varying heights and diversity spacing. Just to make things interesting, I also checked performance with antennas cut to half the recommended length mounted on the transmitter. The half-length antennas worked fine but they consistently had a penalty loss of about 1/3 range. That is, in one test a range of 562-feet at 50mW output dropped to 358-feet with the half-length whip. (The numbers are a precise measurement of measured range in that test but, as the copy explains, range experienced in a series of tests is a bit more spongy.) The Quarterly magazine can be found online at: http://www.local695.com/Quarterly/ The particular issue with the half-length test is available here: http://www.local695.com/Quarterly/695QuarterlyPDFs/695-Quarterly-2010-Spring.pdf (Those early issues, regrettably, are archived only as complete issues rather than as individual articles. But all the material is available.) David
  7. 2 in, Multiple outs

    It was exactly the ambiguity that made me choose the picture. It was taken on a location shoot in Texas about ten years ago. David
  8. 2 in, Multiple outs

    I believe you are looking for a "press bridge." That is a piece of gear designed to accomplish distribution of audio signals to multiple recipients. PSC makes a press bridge: http://www.professionalsound.com/specs/pr_bridge.htm David
  9. Sony MDR 7506 coiled cable

    Bruce Bisenz employed, I think, the best solution to the unruly cable problem. He rewired all of his headsets to incorporate a permanent yoke that "Y-d" down to a connector. He had a number of cables that he might attach to that Y-connector - straight, coiled, mono and stereo. The connector provided a weak point that could pop before a cable would be stressed to the breaking point and aging or compromised cables could be easily replaced in the field. Of course, he is handier than I with a soldering gun - an essential skill as the Sony cables employ Litz wire (or something very similar). My own solution is less elegant but has worked well for me. I simply thread a length of nylon climbing line through the coils to limit the expansion of the coiled cable. By affixing the nylon line with O-rings at each end, I provide some slack to prevent damage when coming to the end of the line. This is similar to the clever rerouting employed by Dave Pulmer and others but may be easier to undo. David
  10. Looking Into Buying Zaxcom IFB

    I ran a series of tests of transmitting antennas for the 695 Quarterly (now Production Sound & Video) a few years ago. We compared the standard telescoping antenna with the Comtek Phase Right, Comtek Mini Mite and Remote Audio Miracle Whip. Measuring distance to drop-outs and interference with clear line of sight, our experience was similar to A Few's; the antennas all had about the same range. However, the Comtek and Remote Audio units were all complete antenna systems while the telescoping whip relies on the chassis of the transmitter for ground plane. This means that the transmitter must be used on the top shelf of the cart for enough headroom to extend the whip. Because the other antennas are deployed remotely, the transmitter can be anywhere convenient. The tests were published in the Summer 2011 edition available here: http://www.local695.com/Quarterly/3-3/ A direct link to the tests: http://www.local695.com/Quarterly/3-3/3-3-testing-the-transmitting-antennas/ David
  11. BDS Battery + AC

    Yes, of course, a 220-volt circuit feeding a standard Edison outlet. Good catch. (Fat fingers) David
  12. Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

    I assume you mean that you are using the jumper plug on the Pilot-in tuchel connector. The crystal sync signal is routed from the crystal circuit board to the pilot record head through pins in the Pilot-in connector. This is an elegant way to activate the crystal function by plugging in the jumper or deactivating it be removing the jumper. your copy seems to indicate that you are doing all this appropriately but it’s worth asking to be sure. David
  13. BDS Battery + AC

    I’ve not heard of a problem in New Mexico (You’re from NM, aren’t you?) but I was working in San Francisco once and we fried a light because some random outlets were wired 120-volt. I understand this is an occupational hazard in old San Francisco buildings. David
  14. 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
  15. 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