James Louis

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About James Louis

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    New York City
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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  1. K-Tek BOOMBOX Treat Yo'self

    Well the Boom Caddy is collapsable, but they are going to weigh about the same. The hexagonal shape might avoid more wobbles, but the base isn't wide enough for using as an apple box. They are both designed to accommodate right angle connectors; K-tek intentionally introduced this along with the Sidekick, which goes one further by freeing up the butt end of a pole when you are using a wireless transmitter. And I didn't mention anything about folks using this for the studio lot. I think there it makes even more sense. I wouldn't use this for on the street day playing. But if you have exteriors in varying locations, and the box can be packed up in the truck, it's worthwhile.
  2. K-Tek BOOMBOX Treat Yo'self

    Tucking my gear away this morning, and thought I'd relay my experiences thus far with the boombox. I don't get as much soundstage work as I do EXT, on-location. When I saw it in the showroom I was a bit on the fence. It's a sturdier piece of wood than something you'd tuck under one arm and yell "wait up guys!" But I came around to it. And the price might throw people off, compared to just buying an apple box. Not to mention, a nesting storage box or something of that nature might be more in the spirit of what you need. All those reservations aside. I picked one up in the spirit of Treat Yo'Self day (Parks and Recreation reference). My justification primarily had to do with curbside shooting, where the drainage slope already chips away at my height and where there are few options for putting down the boom. There someone might head up a stoop, walk into the frame, etc, and limit where you can boom. That and the fact that I now need to patch or toss out my 5th pair of jeans for tearing out the ass just behind the same pocket. That comes at a price too! I have a standing desk in my work studio, but the same apple box I've been using is splintered and sharp along the edges and serves as stand in for kitchen stool, etc. I think a lot of unfinished apple boxes with a fine edge could cause that problem. So how does the boombox stand up? Like a charm. It's certainly deep and heavy enough to handle an extended 14'/16' poll without a windjammer. I haven't discovered it's tipping point in terms of fulcrum or wind vector, but honestly I wasn't looking for it either. And naturally by eliminating the "Los Angeles" dimension of the box, the "New York" is certainly more stable. On that point, however, if you're on a gravely sidewalk for example, or the surface is not flat, this box can be every bit as wobbly and risky as a standard apple box. So the same common sense which served you thus far still applies here. And keep in mind that the cylinder for the boom is straight down the middle of the box, big enough for the full heel of your shoe to sink (I often use moccasin/driving shoes for interiors or anything that lets me feel the surface, but still.) That could lead to a nasty fall/strain, so get your bearings up there and stay put. As for sitting, it is certainly boss to have a chair as you migrate around the set. And I get to keep all the new jeans I sprung for recently! If you have good posture, or still think the old seats at Shay were enough, your butt and the boom can share the space (see picture). The handles are convenient and comfortable. And the cylinder is deep enough to carry your shotgun in it's case to set, or less critical gear, at least so long as the weather holds. It's a pretty convenient place for a trash receptacle, or loose ends until you have a moment to address them. Thought I'd use my butane to etch my name on one side, but there's little risk to anyone thinking that's their apple box. Not to mention, the lovely finish on the box would burn and cause my contact info to blur. For those who think "it's such a nice box, and you're certainly paying for it. I'd feel bad when it got it's first scratch." Well beyond the normal scratches from a flat cement ground, you're typically going to use the bottom side down (unless you adhered to my safety note, and flipped it over when you boom full height.) You won't see the wear.
  3. Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

    Hi Coolwing, I think in part you are priming yourself and the responses to be a bit defensive with that lead in. Don't listen to all the swag, pedantic answers, and hazing folks throw about here. You can almost always hone in on folks who just want to address your question. Historically, I think zoom got the most heat with their initial field recorders when their input gain representation had no meaning in reference to line level, but more resembled a mic gain on a commercial camera. Forget how they sounded for a second. You and I can get over that so long as they've since course corrected. That said, here are the trade-offs with the F4 that I've gathered: Pros: I'll only present the ones that aren't staring us in the face. There are MANY pros. For example, more output, routing, and monitoring options, right? 1) Solid and steady timecode crystal, even in a wide range of barometric, temperature, and humid conditions 2) Timecode in and out Cons: 1) digital input limiters 2) USB for interfacing only, and if I see it correctly it's a mini (which is already being phased out), not micro connector? 3) remote app and bluetooth capacity not an option on the F4 4) perhaps the comparative weight after adding batteries We'd have to put it to the test to see if the noise floor on both devices even came into play when presented with the dynamic range of 32-bit internal busing on the SD devices. But potentially ergonomics might be a consideration on the F4: not only the feeling and space for the encoders and the screen, but the placement for input connectors if you front end this with another preamp.
  4. Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

    Thanks Chris. Well sure, I was setting aside the other bullet points, but that does confirm my conclusions. The *-button on the MP-6, just for example, might have been a necessary design addition in order to access tracks 5-6, but I could see how this could be an additional selling point. Does anyone know the list of things it can be assigned to? And do you have the option to use it to step through a number of views? Particularly if it could be used to toggle mix levels and input gain with the encoders, that's been raised a number of times on this thread as well. And in a separate comparison, the bus powering through a cell phone charger is not an option for the zoom F4.
  5. Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

    So if I understand this correctly, the difference between the two models when running MP-3 and MP-6 with LTC through the aux input comes down to one iso. Is that correct? With the MP-6, you are forfeiting inputs for tracks 5-6, whereas with the MP-3 you still have available the 3rd xlr connector. So it's 4 iso vs 3 in this case. Just for some mental gymnastics, this mic-aux is stereo in both models. You have the option to send LTC to either side. Therefore, with a y-cable wouldn't it be possible to salvage track 5 on the MP-6?
  6. Depending on your industry and it's nefarious customs (and costumes) often starched clothing, including flame retardation on work clothes, much of which is synthetic to boot, will end up being returned by a wardrobe stylist. So the fabric softener back home won't be an option. To treat and mount these materials is part of the craft, and I will respect the tone of the thread thus far; there's plenty of research material here on the boards.
  7. definitely don't start with a butane. But if you are into heroics, like touring, fixing stage malfunctions, or shooting without that country's power adapters, then have at it. You've got a flash of a moment where these heat up and won't burn your circuitry, and if you miss that window you'll have more to toss out. +1 on dewick gauze. Braid. Better to use the cohesive properties of the solder. Those pumps just frustrate the situation in places where you don't have a proper seal. This has been a great thread, now that I just ordered a half-dozen custom cables from pro-sound! Part of trying it yourself is realizing that no one is getting rich off making cables for you. Plus hand-made only means quality if that person's hands are better than mine. Which in the case of custom cables is unequivocally true. Cables are exponentially more challenging than circuit boards. Right angles, lemo, you name it, if you don't have the right tools and enough hands, the DIY approach will choke you with humble pie. But it's nice to see that we have a good collection of accessories to add to this decision all of which could make someone like myself jump back in the ring and at least try repairs. Another aspect to this training I think that would be essential is to understand and to mock-up circuit diagrams. Someone hands you a back-of-the-envelope sketch and the assumption is that this abstraction is something you can construct if you already know soldering. Not necessarily the case.
  8. Evaluating Neumann KM185 vs Schoeps CMC6/MK41

    Good snag with those 184's, Bash! So those need to go directly into a digital interface, is that right? How are people using these in the field? And why is Neumann harping on the limitations of the analog signal, in general, if they're still promoting the "A" counterpart to these series? We're just talking "on paper", but for those hearing the base roll-off on the 185's, have you noticed how closely the 184's correlates to the CMC6 MK41 combination? Then you look at the polar pattern, and the off-axis attenuation clearly is a trade-off with the two patterns. Which do you think is a better comparison then to the schoeps, the 185 or the 184? If the diagram doesn't lie on the 185, I'd definitely be able to hear -4db by 200hz. And, yes, I think that would bite into the body of a rounded, well-trained voice. Whereas the schoeps is more impartial, even in the range of hard consonants.
  9. TASCAM DR-70

    Tom, or anyone with the new tascam line of recorders: have you noticed if the digital input level adjustment knobs have more precise dialing than on the original dr-60d? What about the updated dr-60d-did that improve things on this matter? With a field mixer in front of this, I found that for all practical purposes I couldn't calibrate it. Furthermore, the knobs protrude, and short of the input gain levels being a menu-based adjustment, there really is no way to tape them off. Even popping off the caps will change the values that you may have spent 5-10 minutes of crucial set-up time trying to dial in, and tape won't blanket over the shape of the dials. Furthermore "10 o'clock" on the dial does not communicate any meaning to the technician or to the device. The same mark on the dial can represent something else the next day-think "signed bit" increment/decrement relative control, recognizing acceleration and value scaling etc. (Otherwise, I would have marked it with nail polish). I've also tested the accuracy of this 16db carrot, and it's not something you can swear by. I can turn on the limiters for the recorder, sure. While we are at it, I'll give this idea away for free: if recorders like this have the option of Auto Record and are not actually using potentiometers why not create a noise-gated level adjustment delay? Reach for the gain control and instead of making the ramp while someone is speaking (whoops!), have the recorder delay the jump (or curve) to the new value when it detects a natural pause in the dialog...
  10. We went with cue cards and a comtek neck-loop, everything's aces. Strange set of circumstances, NewEdition. I know these small receivers work with small diversity, but it sounds like you are describing something else... Hi bud! Battery oxidation has been suggested as well, and I'd love to agree with you, although there is no way to control for it and rule everything else out. Only I can mention that we've tried batteries which we've bought, photek's batteries, batteries that came with 4 separate kits, batteries swapped out every time the earpiece cops out. They are peeled off the packaging as we apply them. And no other batteries show signs of corrosion. The units themselves have remained in jars with silicon packages in their pouches. I'll also reiterate that the batteries are spec'd to last over 13 hours of continuous use. Where we were using them for 5-20 minutes. Of course after all this, you could still be correct, but the environment that we are using them in-a dusty stage in winter-is really the only constraint.
  11. This has all been invaluably useful. Google has already indexed this thread to the first search page, and I doubt this sort of issue has been documented or rung out. Would be nice if the FAQ's were revised on the photek website. Cue cards are going to win out if I can help it in this next go. But I would love love love it if anyone here inferred that this was my first time creating an induction loop, and talked me through it like I was a 5 year old. We have a neck loop model arriving tomorrow, and looking forward to trying it. For awhile, I had set aside my materials for making one, despite knowing I'd hit a wall: Btw, thanks to your help, I think I have the explanation that accounts for all the conditions I've mentioned, and it makes for a great story! Yesterday, the earwigs, now treated with moleskin copped out again in wardrobe, so we didn't need to explore the avenue further. I had hoped that the moleskin would also dampen sympathetic frequencies in the vocal range. And I suspect that the stage, with metal ribbing and cables running in circles, may already be acting as an induction loop, propagating frequencies not in our favor and EMI-although it would be nice to confirm that EMI does indeed have these particular tonal characteristics. I matched the impedance of the earwig-10ohms, found Ethernet cable and alternatively copper wire of a rather thick gauge which I can harvest from an old rack mount power unit(not sure what I'm looking at). I can send current through a variable regulated dc power supply. Or just use the run of antenna cable which we already have-which is already measured to match the output of the antenna signal and is already literally set up to fit the only signal we have going out. We have the bst-25 transmitter which does not have a house output. If I was to create an induction loop around a modular section of the set with the antenna cable itself, how would I fit the plus and minus of the loop if I only had a pin (what do you call a "cable" box connection) into an antenna port? I know you mentioned the neck loop-is some infomercial tv booster kit from walmart going to do the trick, because I'm no where near requesting a real one. Sure would have been nice I comtek even pointed to the t-loop that they recommend as compatible with the earwig on the same product page, or our mixer might have picked a different model entirely. We do have the M216, which only takes line in, and that ain't gonna help I don't think. But what materials would I need to create a neck loop? That would be even more coo coo I think. No one but the sound dept gets off on this stuff, and I'm already sterling time just writing this. I have TelePrompTer feeds as backup and keynote cue cards-run from the remote app-which I think would be even nicer. I'm using a "push down" transition on them which reveals tr next line, and a marker font which looks straight off Saturday night live. And I put in an order for an M99 marker along with their other art supplies-there is clearly a reason why tv workflow doesn't trust computers to this final hour solution. Thing is, practically the whole stage is lit up. But I see this more as a creative challenge. I've been able to place my boom. Now I just need to think of the antithesis of this: where will his site lines be that isn't part of his blocking and put a pigeon on a plate there, or just tuck a laptop on a chair.
  12. I'm going to treat the earwig with tape to make sure it sits further out from his ear. Any recommendations for material? I walked the whole set and surroundings, earwigs in both ears. Touched everything, walked the set, put my hands under water. Flushed the toilets and triggered the pump, touched the earwig to every transmitter and receiver, refreqed the comteks, did a intermodulation test from every walkie, touched all the props, walked 200 yards out of range-I couldn't upset the dragon. We go into rehearsal-mind you the camera is not rolling-and sure enough our actor gets blasted with white noise. I boomed in a crawl space 2 feet from front of camera and our actor. I kept the other unit in my ear the whole time (there was never a pretense of crew cooties) and not one drop out. He hands his to me to say, "see this one's acting up" and yup, I got to hear it. It's intolerable. Not just the static of an open mic. To the contrary, I repeat, it's noise you can no longer speak over in a mic or line sent to the unit. I hand him the other unit. His acts up. Mine-the one he just passed to me to swap out- makes it through all the remaining takes. His ear canals are uniquely deep, a lot of baritone in his voice. I'm also going to put his earwigs on a surface and trigger a similar tonal register-sit it on stuff that vibrates. My voice on the other hand is kind of owen wilson boyish. Just so you know I saw you: I will account for the conditions we are "airing" the batteries. It is admittedly a dusty work space. And there's literally exceptionally fine particulates that are being used for effect-nothing smaller than what is to code. But certainly feel the soot everywhere-on my keyboard as I write this even. Wait a sec, maybe they are full of sh-t. And our mixer reviewed your reply Scott-he'll put it back in the oven. Also, our crane operator wins the MVP for anchoring the antenna with a free sightline above any wiring and paneling. Owe him one.
  13. Back on board-our AD is skipping the SM-58, our first AC stopped pulling focus with a remote, got everyone on airplane mode (lest this was not self evident to people)-and at least for now, we are at peace. Oh wait, yup. Spit at us again. What a sport our principal is. Oh did I mention, we are on an ARRI Alexa, using a TeraLink local network going through a linksys? In the other room is an Airport Express, but that's just about out of range and does have internet.
  14. Phonak batteries? I suspect no. Probably somebody made a run for any ol watch battery. Let's see if greater minds than I can use these new puzzle pieces, and I'll refresh this post as the evening progresses as well as tomorrow...
  15. Bless you for these immediate replies-We have been ill-equipped to try another antenna, and when they sent us another invisity, they have only sent us another of the same whip. (True Audio, Nashville, which I've always respected.) We are shuttling in a new unit, and having a little more to do with it this time, I'm telling them to do it right: get the manufacturer's antenna, and the TX-300v in order to take any brains out of this decision making. It's not a subtle failure, as it would be if you were driving passed a radio station out of range. Could an antenna really chime in to that extent? I know digital signals can fail completely, but I thought if it were a range problem it should be a partial failure, first, no? It's not like if we take a step back in the direction we came from it goes back in range... Anyho, I like how you think, and I'll let the mixer know that we're already getting replies! Best Board Ever!