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David Waelder

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About David Waelder

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  • Birthday January 1

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    Los Angeles
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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    Production Mixer

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  1. David Waelder

    Film Camera Noise

    The Arri SR is a “self-blimped” camera. That is, it is designed to run quietly (but not noiselessly) without an actual blimp enclosure. This was accomplished primarily through careful attention to a smooth gate, tight manufacturing tolerances and, especially, by engineering the intermittent movement for quiet operation. The claw was polished smooth and designed to slide onto the film perforation rather than just punching into the perf and then yanking down. It’s a design approach pioneered by Eclair and adopted by Arriflex and Aaton. When all is right, the result is a quiet camera that is smaller and much lighter than anything in a blimp. There are a couple of elements that are necessary for quiet operation. First, tune is important in this type of camera. A bench technician can align the intermittent movement, especially the pitch, for quiet operation. It’s akin to adjusting valves, plugs and timing on cars prior to computer engine control. And, secondly, for best results the tune should be optimized for the particular film stock used. By the way, fresh film stock is also essential as the base tends to shrink slightly with moisture loss. When everything is in tune, an Eclair NPR will run at 29db measured 3-feet from the film plane. Aaton claimed noise measurements as low as 26 or 25db, an astonishing accomplishment. And a Panaflex was even a bit quieter. I would expect an Arri SR to be somewhere in that range, probably closer to the NPR than the Aaton. It sometimes helps to fit felt, or something of the sort, in the series filter holder. Mount a filter, clear or haze if no filtration is needed, and screw the holder onto the lens. After attaching, back off the threads about a quarter turn and secure the filter holder with a piece of tape so it doesn’t unscrew further. Noise is projected through the lens and you are trying to make an acoustic break. But this helps only a little; for good results the camera needs to be tuned to the film stock. David p.s. So far as I know, there is no such animal as an actual blimp for the Arri SR. Padded magazine covers are all that is available.
  2. David Waelder

    Car as "wild lines" booth

    I agree with others that wild lines are best recorded in the same, or closely similar, environment but farther from the noise source. A serviceable track can be recorded by walking inland a bit, away from the surf. My best results came when I positioned the person speaking with their back to the surf. Then I would use a directional microphone, a shotgun or short shotgun, aimed up from the waist. The body of the person speaking acts as a buffer blocking some of the direct surf sound. If there are two or three people having a dialog, I would array them in a semicircle so each could be recorded the same way. It's probably best to stay on the sand as the soft surface absorbs much of the reflected sound that might otherwise hit the microphone. That benefit is greater than anything gained by an additional ten or twenty feet of distance to work in the parking area. Of course, each circumstance is a bit different but that's how I would first approach the task. Moving inland just enough to get some distance also has the benefit of being relatively easy, improving the chances that the AD and Production will be cooperative. David
  3. David Waelder

    Question for the Nagra aficionados...

    The Halliburton cases are elegant. They are typically clear anodized aluminum, a silver-color finish, but they are also available painted black and some sizes offer (or used to) a gold-tone anodized finish. There is a caveat - beyond a price considerably higher than Pelican cases. My experience is that the larger sizes are easily deformed by the weight of the contents. It’s not such an acute problem that the case would look odd but it can flex enough that latches don’t easily line up. A Nagra isn’t so large but people often purchase a case large enough to also fit an AC power supply or other accessories. With a Halliburton, I would advise purchasing a case just large enough to fit the recorder plus, of course, an inch or inch-and-half for the foam. One real positive - they have a lifetime warranty. If a latch fails, they’ll send a replacement without question. David
  4. David Waelder

    Question for the Nagra aficionados...

    From the photo, the lid looks pretty good as it is. But if you seek improvement, you can use the same plastic polishing technique you would employ on headlamp covers. Griots Garage has plastic polish that can be used with a microfiber cloth. For best results, get one of their small random orbit polishers and a pad (they Velcro attach) designated for plastic. The polisher will set you back about $100 but you’ll find other applications. David
  5. David Waelder

    Zoom F8

    Thank you all (Glen, Mono, Constantine, Larry F) for the education. It would seem that the issue is a bit more complex than I had realized. My take away from all of this is that: 1. Damage to a microphone (as distinct from damage to other components) from connection to phantom power is most unlikely because there is protection built into the circuit. 2. Notwithstanding this precaution, the real world sometimes presents unwelcome surprises. 3. The use of XLR connectors may reduce the likelihood of a momentary short but it is not an absolute protection. Momentary shorts can happen even with XLR connections. Is this a fair summary? David
  6. David Waelder

    Broken gear on a shoot, production won't pay!

    Be very careful with this approach. I was advised that another party is bound by proposed terms and conditions only if they explicitly accept. If they just do not respond, the offer of a contract is deemed refused. In other words. you are actually legally in a weaker position than if you had said nothing. With no contract, you might argue that the work is subject to the conditions customarily attached. That's a weak argument but it might get some traction. A rejected contract is just that, rejected. These circumstances may not apply in every state so there may be some places it might work. But I understand that the presumption of rejection on no reply is the default in most states of the United States. David (Apologies for practicing law without any training. Please do check my advice for accuracy before acting on it.)
  7. David Waelder

    Broken gear on a shoot, production won't pay!

    And there's the rub. Producers are often unwilling to sign four-page rental agreements. They may go along with complex contracts to secure a camera but balk at signing similar documents from others. One may persuade compliance on larger productions where legal consultation is readily available but getting agreement on smaller projects is often difficult. I had fairly extensive discussions with my attorney to address exactly this challenge. (It helps to be closely related to the attorney, advice that I pass along in the same humor as suggesting that being born to rich parents is a career advantage.) The primary reason for the four pages of boilerplate, according to my counsel, is to articulate exactly how disagreements are to be settled. For instance, if the agreement declares that the producer is to pay for loss or damage, the contract may specify the exact timeframe for a proper settlement. These stipulations are very helpful if one actually must press a legal claim. But, the primary reason for the contract is to establish that a rental agreement is in force and the producer bears responsibility for safe return of gear. That relationship is established in the one paragraph document I posted. As IronFilm wisely stated, a large part of the purpose of the agreement is to encourage responsible behavior and discourage "ghosting" a claim. Since these claims rarely involve a large sum (e.g. $50,000 or more) it can be difficult to compel compliance even with a valid contract if the other side is determined to be obstreperous and dishonorable. The simple contract should be sufficient to force settlement from an insurance company, even without producer cooperation, if there is a policy in force. David
  8. David Waelder

    Broken gear on a shoot, production won't pay!

    A signed rental agreement is the most important element establishing reciprocal responsibilities. (Sorry rub salt as you are now past that point but I state it for the benefit of others who may negotiate insurance certificates but fail to get the more important agreement.) I have been using a very simple, one paragraph rental agreement in negotiations with producers: Letterhead [Name of Production Company] Address Date [Name of Production Company] is renting motion picture sound equipment from [Your Name] for the production of “Show.” [Name of Production Company] acknowledges receipt of an inventory of the supplied equipment and pledges to assume responsibility for its safety and to provide insurance coverage at replacement value. Rental is expected to commence on [Date] and conclude on or about [Date]. Signed and agreed to by: Position: ******* I have had good luck in getting cooperation using this form. I wrote it after consultation with an attorney but it is not an attorney drafted agreement. That is, use with discretion and at your own risk. The agreement states that the company acknowledges receipt of an inventory of gear. It is very important that you fulfill this part by sending an equipment inventory - a pdf attachment should be OK - prior to the job. More directly to your predicament - if you do have an insurance certificate you may be able to press a claim directly with the insurance company, bypassing the production company. States in the U.S. generally permit this kind of claim but it may not be the case everywhere. David
  9. David Waelder

    Zoom F8

    Like others, I've connected and disconnected phantom microphones many times without any harm or concern. But there is an issue I think worth mentioning. With XLR connectors, there is no reason to be concerned. And, ordinarily there is no reason that a phantom microphone would be connected with anything else. However, when I was having a patch panel fabricated for my cart, I was advised to use XLR connections in that panel instead of the more usual phone connections. With the phone connections, it is possible to have a momentary short on the phantom power lines when inserting or removing the connector. That doesn't happen with XLR connectors with pins that keep the connections discrete. David
  10. If there is to be a fire, either in a fireplace or a campfire, request that the pyro technician (or efx technician) include a silencer to minimize gas hiss in the kit. Since the silencer is really just a length of pipe stuffed with steel wool, one would think that any efx technician would pack it whenever they went out on a job but that isn't always the case. I've many times been told, "Oh, I have one of those; it's sitting on my workbench but no one asked for it." David
  11. David Waelder

    How can boom ops be more diplomatic?

    There is a technique for getting a frameline from camera without being obnoxious. This is well known by experienced boom operators so i hesitate a bit to offer it here but i’ll pass it on anyway. When the operator is looking through the lens, drop the microphone we’ll into the shot and jiggle it around a bit. The shaking clues the operator that you are not so dumb as to expect to live in that position. Try to make eye contact and look for hand signals, a finger pointing up. Move the mike until the operator gives you an OK. This procedure is best undertaken with someone other than the DP at the viewfinder. An operator or assistant is best; DP’s are often annoyed at any distraction even when they understand what you’re after. David
  12. David Waelder

    Boom operators - Cool photos

    I think it’s an ElectroVoice 642, a dynamic shotgun. The foam windscreen is an EV accessory. David
  13. Just to give credit where due, and hopefully not hijack the thread, the forum that David Yaffe initiated on USENET was an outgrowth of a bulletin board that had been running for a few years on Courtney Goodin's server. In the early 1990's many sound technicians in the Los Angeles area experienced difficulty booking sufficient work to keep their health plan eligibility. If memory serves, this coincided with more restrictive qualifying requirements. Some of the affected technicians came together as a political force to press for better circumstances both by seeking accommodation from the IATSE and by trying to improve the general circumstances of work in the discipline. The group pressing for change called itself "Sound United." It was a loose collection of individuals; there was never a membership list or anything of that sort. Members contributed in various ways; David Yaffe arranged for a meeting hall on one occasion, others worked on a newsletter. Courtney Goodin contributed a server and hosted a computer forum for networking. With the development of USENET, David Yaffe, with Courtney's blessing, migrated the group to the larger forum. David
  14. David Waelder

    techniques for quieting internally cabled boompoles

    A boom operator with finely honed skills can make an old broomstick work. But, having optimal tools does make the job easier. Internally cabled poles typically have rubber doughnuts on the section of cable running through the last (thinnest) section of pole. These rubber or foam doughnuts are spaced about six inches apart and do a good job of keeping the cable from rattling against the inner walls of that last tube. Obviously, one can't use that sort of cable management on the other sections since the cable needs to compact as the pole is collapsed. If keeping the coiled part of the cable quiet is still a problem, it's possible to replace the internal coiled cable with a cloth-wrapped coil. That would be a bit more forgiving than the rubber/plastic material that is typical for mike cable. David
  15. David Waelder

    L.A. Soundies: Mileage "zone" question

    I'm confused as to how a zone might be "L.A. rules." (I expect I have company in this.) The studio zone in Los Angeles has a precise definition; it is a thirty mile radius from the southeast corner of the intersection of Beverly and LaCienega Boulevards. There are also a couple of agreed upon "bulges" to accommodate Vasquez Rocks Park and one or two other commonly used locations. This is by agreement between the AMPTP producers and the various guilds and unions (IATSE, DGA, etc.). It's applicable in the context of that negotiated agreement. It wouldn't ordinarily be transferable to another location. Of course, many things occur in the world of bootstrap film making. David