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Jan McL

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Everything posted by Jan McL

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. It's the Little Things...

    @Rachel Cameron: nothing like a little out-of-the-box thinking to make your day a good one!
  6. It's the little things like a bit of red nail polish on the lock side that add up to make the day go faster: Whatchoo got? -- Jan
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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)
  10. 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.
  11. Creeky Floor

    Just read the most recent page of this but...guffaws.
  12. 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.
  13. Running the Set

    A little note on running the set. Set belongs to the boom operator. It's their domain. When I place a mic they notify operators, set dressing and/or props at the right times. Boom operators of note keep the boom mic away from the mouths. They protect everyone, including me by being conscious of where the mic is pointed 100% of the time. They know who to ask for what and where these people are all the time: operators, set dressers, on-set props, AD, the sound-friendly electric / grip. What else?
  14. The use of compressors in location sound

    Lightbulbs going off in mixers' brains all over the planet. Of course!
  15. Headphone

    My DT48's were first pro purchase along with that Nagra III and a used 416. I bought what my mentor used/wore. It was easy.
  16. ISO's vs. Mix Track

    Don't mind starting fresh on the subject. In the original thread, Mark Hensley strongly presented his case for ISO's > Mix Track; the PSM's in the room went wild. It sure raised my hackles as one who also came from mono tracks --> two track --> 6 ISOS --> 12 ISOS. My hackles have since been tamed by a period project re-mixed by the same Mark Hensley and the estimable Bob Bronow, arguably the best fingers/ears for background noise on the planet. There were many constraints not least of which #1 often not willing/able to be wired. My mix evolved to create a track sufficient for #1 to ADR it. She did. There it is. Some setups, the mix could only be a tool for the picture and dialog editors to survive the edit and know what was missing right away. I had to be of value and losing the mix forced me to find other ways to achieve value. Do not underestimate the value of comms. I often bring full up the off screen / plant mics at the beginning of the first take to confirm that they are there for me, producers and for post, then let 'em roll thereafter in ISO only. Was scared to have Mark use my tracks given that other thread but I had done what I thought was right. Gave 'em in the mix what my ear thought good relative to mixing lavs to boom for what Brendan, Joe and I call "beef": fattening the bottom @-12 for intelligibility, else boom. But I sort of gave up on a useable mix given the wire situation and many 1920's automobiles. You guys did a GREAT job given the raw material you were given; this project caused me to put the mix into a different frame of reference. No less precious mostly. A paradigm shift of some magnitude. Like a director, it's my mission to collect all the elements that can make it work later. I am a collector of options. Just some prep time ruminations about the landscape. Furthermore, it's Sounderday. https://zoom.us/j/817979726 https://www.amazon.com/Pilot/dp/B017APVDEO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511004914&sr=8-1&keywords=z+the+beginning+of+everything
  17. 600 MHz gear

    Following along since a bunch of my 600Mhz stuff can't be re-freq'd. Sigh.
  18. Sony MDR 7506 coiled cable

    That video was made at my request by the estimable PSM Paul Pouthier who thanks NYC PSM Tom Varga for the idea. Glad it's getting around.
  19. #metoo and sexism in general

    Yes, weirdness happens from all directions. My first time wiring #2 in her green room, arrived with costumer who knocked and we entered whereupon #2 ceremoniously turned to us and dropped the sleeveless dress to the floor revealing that the dress was all she had on. I think I just went on as normal, not remarking upon her condition. IIRC we went with a waist belt. I'm certain my hands were shaking as I did the work. As I type this, my face is flushed. Wow. I didn't stay more than three weeks on that long-form job. Told no one until now. Have not really had any issues with male actors but rather with (male) crew who pass by and make some remark about my kneeling to attach an ankle strap on a fellow or with my hand in a woman's costume somewhere. I'm quick to respond with a verbal bitch slap with enough force that commenters think thrice about ever coming near the sound cart again. Last show, I had my hand under a knee-length dress up to the bra. We'd done the move before and I was confident the skirt was draped to modestly cover her but she remarked "Hey!" in such a way that I became aware someone was looking at her backside. Without turning, I said, "Get outta here, you!" with just enough bite and humor. Shit. It was #2. Didn't matter. He walked away. I assured the lady that she'd been covered and all was well. I have no trouble pushing back / setting boundaries in a professional setting. The boundaries seem always pretty clear. Thing is, I set the boundaries very early since one of the first bits of advice about the biz' came from Dennis Maitland (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0537946/) who told me (among other things): "Never sleep around." That's a different subject but worthy of mention since there's a different energy I put out if I'm not open to a romantic relationship with anyone. Kind of like saying, "Don't wear low-cut blouses and short skirts," but that was part of my solution dating from the 70's when I started college and soon thereafter was date-raped. For a long time in the face of someone aggressive I would be like a deer in the headlights: frozen. Having been raped as a little girl, I carried signs of victimhood around like flashing neon that predators could read from miles away. I was as a result preyed upon a lot the first 45 years of my life and as a result have become a reluctant expert. Ha. Did a lot of work and found a warrior self inside that tolerates none of that bullshit: a much better place. Here's to warriors.
  20. Boom Stand

    Best, most fun part of our job: making it work. You sure have made it work!
  21. How often do you get clean lines on lavs?

    Huge dilemma for me: how often to "go in" to make adjustments. There are a hundred considerations in that decision not least of which the ruination of my day as Chris mentions, but if it's for that one line passing through the door or for overlap protection or the actor's having their own thoroughbred-worthy skittish day...for good or ill I'm likely to let it go, especially if we'll be going in for coverage. Sometimes you've got to know when to fold and get that critical line wild or trust that post will be able to make lemonade. I've literally gotten on my knees and cried joyous tears before a costume designer in gratitude for their excellent sound-friendly choices lest they think we not notice. Sigh.
  22. Netflix teaser "Dark" first German production

    Your work Matthias?
  23. Dont let this happen on your set

    I walked off a shoot after the 1st AD said he was going to light his arm on fire for camera and his unskilled fired-up arm would be between the camera and the only means of egress. Low budget but very experienced and famed director and cast were armed with a bunch of short ends from a just-finished feature and they decided to make a feature film in 5 days. Turns out they finished in 4.5 days. I've not watched any of their films or TV shows since.
  24. Not that I've done much second unit, but part of the reason I no longer make efforts to set up for such things--having done it for a year or three--is I find the whole mess much like pulling teeth with burger tongs no novocain from both sides of the equation. Here's to doing it better. With a moment to contemplate while prepping, I offer mixer <--> mixer communications up for discussion. Worked mostly with the fabulous Daniel McIntosh on second unit for many years. He was my first call--among other things--because he asks a buttload of questions. Good! It's a comfort knowing he's thinking it all through. Same for the playback mixers with whom I work most. Daniel's once again behind the first unit console these days and for good reason. That's also why I'm spending some time on the subject. Long form work is exhausting and free moments are spent palate-cleansing my brain and ears. During at-cart breaks I think about the future: Next scene; Special /equipment lav prep; Lunch/wrap anomalies; Call the office; Tomorrow's first scene / logistics; Production meeting, playback/special equipment dates; Repairs; Feel moved to streamline the mixer <--> mixer process to free up maximum think time and minimize stress. Crafting sentences helps me think it through with higher logic; that's what I get out of writing here along with a spackling and sanding by colleagues. Based on Daniel's good collected questions I present a first draft of Tandem Unit/Playback tick list: 75% of the technical information a 2nd Unit PSM needs is contained in my Sound Workflow Memo that productions have begun to regularly request. I just edit the most recent one before each new show. The rest is contained in the formal Workflow Memo published by the Post Super following the workflow teleconference. I know how to find those memos later because I always call them the same thing in the subject of the email: Workflow Memo. In the email to the 2nd Unit PSM the utility sound is cc'd with a sentence asking that 2nd Unit PSM order expendables and deal with questions/logistics with the utility. I also include a call sheet and crew list so it's easy to get to the UPM to lock down their deal, including the mention of parking. Ask what they use for sound reports. If they use MovieSlate I share my settings via the cloud. If they use paper realize I should note that fact in that day's sound report email. Mixers get parity. If it looks like there will be an unusual (late) call or location I let them know as soon as I know. Separate email of introduction to production secretary (cc: APOC? POC?) asking for script to be sent. 2nd Unit may need help finding a spot to offload gear. Crew list gives them Teamster contact info. Follow up with Utility on this. I ask my utility to gather sufficient start work to add to the box of expendables to be delivered to their set. So two emails: Mixer cc: 1st unit sound utility: crew list, call sheet, workflow memos, delegates expendables and logistics to utility and a couple paragraphs about any actors' particular preferences. Ask about sound reports. The preference paragraphs are honed in subsequent seasons: one of the best things about TV. Paperwork PA, Mixer, APOC or POC?, Production Secretary: email of introduction asking for script. Have kind of run out of thinking gas, but suppose a lot of this preparation applies to other departmental day players too. Hope to hear more on the subject from y'all. Next project, figure out a logical, smoothe way get all my wireless for working mics out of Block 26 gracefully.
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