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Jan McL

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About Jan McL

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    Sound. Motion. Stillness.
  • Birthday January 1

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  • Location
    NY Metro
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
  • About
    Indie film and television production sound mixer.

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  1. Jan McL

    Advice for a novice

    Yup. The 416 is for sure my microphone binkie. I have two. Got used a bunch on the expiration of a CMIT5U this year.
  2. Jan McL

    Advice for a novice

    For some perspective Luke8 I've been doing sound for film/TV for 26 years and I still suck at it most of the time.
  3. Having agreed on the money etc., tabled negotiating prep days. Tech scout (there will be five days) and a day to confab with production designer / prop master / costume designer since period piece with possibility of period mics. I want to be well armed when the discussion resumes. The scout is sound's introduction to all the people able to make the difference between 'OK' and 'great' sound. If sound’s not on the scout the message is clear: our work doesn’t matter. Sound matters. Sound is subtle (unconscious) but here's a fact: 100% close ‘artificial’ sound breaks suspension of belief. Significant percentages of stories are told with words re-told by professional liars. It production’s duty to capture your expensive artists’ best performances for the project to achieve deep believability. $: knowing in advance where the carts may live saves production money in time and chaos reduction. Relative to cart placement, much depends on architecture. This is something no one but an RF SME (subject matter expert) can do. That teeny, tiny apartment may require the teeny tiny recording kit that wants attention the day before. Another SME situation. I begin real estate negotiations with locations and set dressers. There are questions to be answered: It's helpful to plan where actors may be privately / comfortably wired on set. Clap my hands and plan for the reverberant space. Ingress/egress addressed. Helpful to observe the relationship between director and DP, how they communicate. Essential to see the sketching out of coverage. What will not be seen. Knowing the equipment grips and electrics plan to bring tells me a lot about our work and how sound may need to adapt and/or form an alliance. I remain hopeful, especially with this estimable crowd to fill in the blanks. What else say you?
  4. Jan McL

    Social skills of the Sound Mixer

    To the DP who ran back onto the dark INT set we'd just vacated thinking he was alone and bashed a 4-bank Kino near me I whispered, "I'm going to walk around the block now. When I get back please let me know if this is an aberration or a character flaw." Haven't worked with him since because his not answering my question was the answer. To the dirty old man who deliberately and repeatedly brushed his arm against my breast while wiring him as I held his hand ever more tightly, "Do that again and I'll break your f'ing finger." To the gaffer whose rigging team placed the genny tractor right out of frame of our EXT NIGHT dialog set, "If I was a guy, I'd punch you in the nose for that." To the director after it was clear he was going wide and tight on a very sensitive scene, I galloomphed across the big front lawn waving this white flag. Showed the flag, placed it in his hand and galloomphed back to the cart. Like that. Dunno how these sentences arrive in my brain or more curiously come out of my mouth. Suspect those many years trying and failing to be a successful professional poet serve me somehow.
  5. It's been a while since I had to place lav mics in the heinously noisey professional uniform. Last time, it was B6 through the buttonhole with less-than-stellar results. This time, there will be mostly uniforms and I want to use the DPA's I've come to favor. Their "snoot" through the buttonhole seems to be a likely answer, but I'm thinking that it might be better to go through a hole made through a pocket or behind an insignia/medal and leave the mic more exposed than hidden. Let's talk military / police / EMT uniform mic hiding techniques, shall we?
  6. I told the first UPM that inquired within 48 hours of having wrapped a little movie that my kit had gone up 1/1 and that I needed $500/week kit for my team. Crickets. Told the next one a month later 1) I wasn't hungry and 2) about the 1/1 raise thinking she'd also disappear after flying it up the same flagpole. Crap. The answer was, "Yes." I was so surprised and paralyzed I couldn't get to the above contract or anything else after she told me what there wasn't for expendables. Lessons? Keep notes on the next deal you want near for emergency consultation; and It's OK and even a good strategy to buy time. I should have asked to call her back once it became clear that the conversation was going to go my way so I could get centered and collect my thoughts. A FB thread written by José Frias caused me to think seriously about what I should do to grow in 2018 so the numbers were fresh on my mind having also consulted with my regular team about what they thought they'd be happy with kit-wise. I was ready-ready for the first call and not in the right mood for the 2nd. Always be ready.
  7. Jan McL

    Advice on music video style upcoming shoot

    Good advice all around. Let us know how it goes for post. I add that I would communicate to the director--often in writing through the 2nd AD for narrative stuff--that should they design the coverage not seeing the band's heads/hands the thump track would be sufficient for background movement if it's just you on the team. Actually, for low-budget world, a thump track may have proved sufficient for most of the scene unless it's actually mostly the physicality of the dancing that tells the story. Always nice to be able to rile 'em up a bit with volume for scene energy though. If the tune's got a regular beat easy to determine the BPM and make a separate thump track. Audacity can generate any BPM thump at 40Hz or 50Hz (it may have a higher-than-standard low freq option threshold: 'cause free?). Could edit in Audacity to drop out L = music track and keep R = thumper because the song's going to always finish before the dialog. Are you OMB'ing this? Curious. This might have been a day when you would benefit from an extra person on the team if only to edit, hit "Play" and cut out the music on cue. P.S. Ask 2nd AD if OK the dummer can fake play well, if not then rubber dampers for the drum heads requested (if you or the Prop Master don't have 'em in your kits). Oh, cc: the Prop Mistress. Don't ask me how I know this.
  8. Jan McL

    It's the Little Things...

    @Rachel Cameron: nothing like a little out-of-the-box thinking to make your day a good one!
  9. Jan McL

    Is Sounderday still a thing?

    Just googled "sounderday" since this month marks its anniversary and I couldn't recall how many years: five or six. This thread came up first. Last weekend we had a dozen in the "room". Here's how to join: Time: this is a recurring meeting Saturday and Sunday mornings 9A ET. Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/817979726 Or iPhone one-tap : US: +16468769923,,817979726# or +16699006833,,817979726# Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 638 0968 Meeting ID: 817 979 726 International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=qFKgnhwbQmkgXmYi_g71y4jsaj1TVS7K
  10. Jan McL

    Elon's Falcon Heavy Tesla launch

    Been following this man and his various enterprises since the MS and MX started seeing some press. Eventually bought a modest few shares of TSLA and not long after that, Tesla started their CPO program and I netted a low-mileage practically fully-loaded 2014 MS. Had saved for 10 years to buy a house but that chunk of cash wasn't enough even at 50% of purchase price to allow my little company to mortgage the thing so after a look at what I presumed to be my future and the order v. chaos struggle I bet on chaos and got the S. The Musk fellow is one of the most hysterical fellows ever made a joke on top of the visionary thing. Guy knows how to roll out a product. Best marketing stunt of the century perhaps the millenium. A brilliant player and winner if he doesn't get assassinated first. Guess that makes me a gambler. He's the kind of captain I'd sing going down with the ship for. This fella's got an in-depth take on the man: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/05/elon-musk-the-worlds-raddest-man.html I cried both launch and landings and LOL'd at his press conference quote that included that he was, ".....trippin' balls," about the whole thing. Right up my alley. The Boring Company [NOT] Flame Throwers SΞXY Wonder if anyone would pay a small finders fee to jump to the head of the line for a MΞ in their specifications. My email to configure and pay just arrived.
  11. Jan McL

    Burnout, stress, depression: experiences?

    Great discussion everyone. Truly. Philip Perkins, I bow in your general direction, sir. Crew, Eva Rismanforoush's piece is superb. Thanks both. I admit I'm broken and as a result slip right in to this dysfunctional family that is the film business. Am fond of saying, "I'm a recovering sado-masochist and we're the worst." I've been known to publicly call a sadist a sadist. It's gotten me uninvited back more than once but no great loss: to hell with workplace sadists. For me, this industry is the most interesting game: I win when I best myself and get good tracks while not tuning into a monster from stress. Work on it all the time but often fail. I try remember to: breathe consciously horse lips take a brisk walk find something funny about it and only then speak find my heart and only then speak default to hilarious laughter rather than the rage that was my default until after a lot of work forgive myself for slipping (not easy)
  12. The real world includes Director, AD and DP knowing they have X minutes to get the scene and the time it takes expands to fill 'X'. "Check the gate!" comes at 12:59 and at 13:00 the production is looking at meal penalties. Even forewarned that RT is necessary 100 x $7.50 means the AD will say, "Sorry. That's lunch." Happens every time.
  13. Jan McL

    Creeky Floor

    Just read the most recent page of this but...guffaws.
  14. Jan McL

    REVIEW: Schoeps miniCMIT

    Nice review. Meant a lot at the moment. Plan to test a rental unit toward knowing how it does at 12V with ZMT Phantom and a shout. If it holds, might have to get one for the kit and those low ceilings amd battery life.