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JBond

Nagra Stories Sound-men won’t ever tell

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This is actually the cart that a lot of soundies used in the '70s, and was available from rental houses.  Pinchy, heavy and awkward, it was why a lot of us started building our own.   I saw sound mixers shooting on the street in Hollywood with these in the '60s as well.

Wheeled-folding-cart-side.jpg

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This is another example of slates used. I ran this one for a year on a current affairs program. We travelled extensively worldwide. (A bit like 60 minutes)

This shot was taken somewhere in Los Angeles. Probably 70% of work was interviews, so I never had the Nagra hanging on my shoulder that often

Slate was a bit heavy, however you can see I am not loaded down with radio mics & other stuff, just 10 D cells inside the Nagra 4.2.

I never used it for documentary style shooting.

Don't even remember where I bought it.

 

Reporters slate - 1982_Rob Stalder.jpg

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4 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

This is actually the cart that a lot of soundies used in the '70s, and was available from rental houses.  Pinchy, heavy and awkward, it was why a lot of us started building our own.   I saw sound mixers shooting on the street in Hollywood with these in the '60s as well.

Wheeled-folding-cart-side.jpg

 

I think it was a company called Skyline that used to sell and rent these pathetic excuse for a sound cart. You are so right, in the early days of independent productions, we pretty much had to build our improvise our own sound carts. 

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JBond   

 I thought I saw a post on sound carts but couldn't find it.
Thank you for posting the link.
Very nice Jeff - I'm impressed you get to play in the garage and be creative.  Top notch work, you could've just picked up a can of  Rustoleum, but you either had them powder coated or anodized, nice.
Very nice write-up on your site about carts. 
It looks like everyone customizes their own.  That 70's stock cart which is what I was looking for a picture of is not too impressive.  Since most have customized their own. I think I'll end up making my own custom cart someday to store my Nagra with accessories and try to have it replicate a sound cart.  Historically that vintage Samuelson would probably be more accurate as an early sound cart.
Thank you for the incentive, and thank you, Phillip, for your help also.  

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That Samuelson cart would be a worthy addition to your collection, Mr Bond--it was really tailored to the Sela Nagra combo and was kind of elegant looking. There must still be a few around in the UK...worth asking about.

 

Skyline may have rented those horrible "pinchy carts" (I think they were made by some av equipment company), but they also commissioned 3-G Welding to make the first sort-of-mass-produced upright carts in the Evje mold, way before ASC et al started making theirs.  The PSC upright cart is more or less a heavier duty better made 3-G cart, painted grey.  (3-G carts were unpainted aluminum.)   3-G also made a few custom-carts for customers to-order.  In the 1980s a friend of mine had them build him a one-off extra deep cart (to accommodate a Sony BVH 500 1" VTR), with extra-heavy reinforced collapsible "wing" shelves strong enough to support his terminal gear (WFM and vectorscope etc).  

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Thanks for pointing it out about Skyline and the good cart they made --- it was quite popular and was the precursor to the Audio Services/PSC style folding cart (I think Audio Services might have actually made some deal with Skyline but probably not --- just ripped the design and made some improvements). I'm trying to remember the name of the person who actually did the original design --- I think it was someone named Tom Carrol possibly?

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14 minutes ago, Jeff Wexler said:

(I think Audio Services might have actually made some deal with Skyline but probably not

 

It's my understanding that Ron Meyer licensed the design from Skyline. I don't know when in the course of development that happened but I'm pretty sure I recall him saying that he had an agreement.

 

For those not familiar with the history (and my own knowledge is spotty), Ron used to work for Audio Services Corporation, the company founded by Richard Topham Sr. While employed at ASC, he worked in repairs and also developed products for the company. In 1986 he amicably split from ASC to start Professional Sound Corporation. And, subsequently, Audio Services was dissolved in the course of a legal dispute between the east coast Audio Services (the original ASC started by Richard Topham Sr's brother, Ron) and the independent west coast company. A new company, Location Sound Services, owned by the employees, was formed from the personnel and resources of west coast Audio Services.

 

David

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I think Ron's version is much heavier duty, esp in the bottom plate etc.  I still have one of the original 3-G Welding carts, and I've had to have the welds on the lower part of the cart remade a few times.  However, it is lighter than the PSC version. 

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JonG   

I used the Skyline folding cart for years. Purchased it from a mixer that had retired and wanted to make space for life :)

 

It does look almost identical to the PSC carts, except that its top shelf is exactly Nagra sized, and does not extend the actual width of the cart, and the whole thing can fold flat. I really liked how light weight it was, and easy to travel with. I slid it into a cardboard box and shipped it to Missouri for a feature about three years ago, and it was great to have out there. Here are a couple of shots that I took of it when I was looking to sell it. image.jpeg

This shot shows a Nagra IV-L with the 7" reel mod on the top shelf. You can see that the shelf does not go all the way to the right side. Below it is my little 633 bag, that just happened to be sitting there. 

image.jpeg

Here's a shot looking down at it. There is a Denecke TS-2sb in a Versaflex case sitting on top of it for no reason. 

image.jpeg

And here it is from the side. I think that's a Sennheiser mkh-70 in a Rycote blimp on the shelf there. You can see a wire cable attached which held pins that would lock the folding joints into place. 

 

The only thing I didn't really like about these was that the Nagra sized shelf was a little impractical for today's use, and those front castors made it impossible to go over any sort of terrain. If you pulled the cart from the back, you could go over a cable with a big bump (and likely lose anything not velcroed down), but if you tried pushing this cart castors-first, it'll topple over if it hit something as small as a penny!

 

I mostly used this cart with an SKB case that sat on the larger of the top shelves, and the Nagra dish served as a Lav station. 

image.jpeg

Here is a shot on a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles from a movie I was working on a few years back. You can see my Boom Operator prepping lavs or something behind the cart, using that little shelf. I'm standing in front, no doubt in heated conversation about wireless frequencies or the like, talking to the playback operator who was feeding Phonaks to a band that was being filmed in the scene, but not actually performing. The cart is more or less just something to hold my SKB case up, and the lower shelves held other goodies. Not that fun to move around in this configuration, but it could be pulled along and negotiate narrow doorways pretty well. Just as long as it didn't need to be lifted :)

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JBond   

That's a nice looking cart Jon; I like the angled Nagra up top That looks great. Maybe the older cart Pillilip posted would be better with the Nagra III mixer and resolver scope thing.  This type cart would go great with my large 7-inch reel 4.2 or IVS-T

How would this cart be complete say in 1985 with the large reel Nagra on top and what equipment on the shelves below?
Did anybody make a cart the same width of the Nagra straight down?  Or is the other equipment that much wider? 
Can anybody list for me the items that would be needed below the Nagra to fill this type of cart?  To be a perfect example of what the soundman would use on any given movie during that time? 
The reason I say list the items by name and model # so I can start to search for them. 
1
2
3
4
5
It would be nice to find inexpensive outdated equipment that was used in that period so I can afford to put this together.  In other words, if there was a choice between items still used today and Items used back then but no longer used today If you know what I mean to keep the cost down. 
 A cart like this would work excellent showing my large reel Nagras, but without the equipment, on the shelves below, it would be useless for the purpose I'm looking for.
For the Nagra III what I was talking about earlier I would use the Nagra III items I have.  I don't like the fact that my large reel Nagras are hidden within the shelves of my collection. 

 


You guys know what I;m looking for right?  The finished project will be a snapshot in time like what they would have if in the Smithsonian.
In showing my collection, Instead of that puzzled stupid look like I'm making up the fact movies were recorded on these little things.  I wheel over the cart and say this is how it looked back in 19whatever,  the soundman would sit with this cart use these headphones and record the sound with these microphones for that favorite movie you love so much.  Bam!!  Now someone understands exactly what was involved and what was needed back in the day when these Nagras were used.  I think that would make a nice addition.
Hey, I never said I was normal a person.

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That is more or less exactly my cart, made in the early '80s.  Having new 20" rear wheels (with new positions for the axles to accommodate them) and 5" smart wheels with locks on the front make it way easier to move around--I hated the original small front wheels!!   Yes the recorder shelf is exactly Nagra  sized, like you I ended up making some cutouts on the edge for the Nagra IV-SL's meter.

 

One of these carts would suit you fine Mr. Bond, keep searching!.   Jon G and mine have had after-market paint jobs--to be authentic you might want to have a painted one "dipped" to take it back to the natural aluminum finish, which is how they all looked back in the day.    Re gear: if the recorder is a 4.2 then a great many jobs did not have much in the way of outboard gear--as I said, maybe just a KAT-15 to turn the 3rd input into a mic input (or the 2nd input on a III).  Mixers that were a bit later than Sela 2880s might include those from Interface Electronics, early Audio Developments, Nagra BM, PSC's knock off of the 4-pot Sela, the (huge) PSC 6F, the HME 4-input mixer, and bespoke and home-made mixers.  Vega 66/77B type wireless, or the Swintek Mk1s, also HME wireless, with some Audio Limited and Microns too.   Headphone monitoring for directors or scripty was done with wired headphones and lotsa cable, if it was done.  No video of any kind.  Only the cops had walkies.

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cmgoodin   
On 7/13/2017 at 4:50 AM, MarkC said:

Can any Sound-men shed light on what this contraption is like to use? I have never seen one before.

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Nagra-lVL-4-2-lVs-Recorder-Tape-Counter-Sound-Assist/162587364051?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

I think this is something similar to something I built for the Arri BL2 in the late 1980s.  It is a digital Footage counter for the Nagra 4 series.

The Nagra 4.2 & 4S only had an optional clockwork type tape counter that replaced one of the guide rollers and was not very accurate.  This device would take the Sync Out signal (60 HZ) that appeared on the Accessory or Sync Connector whenever the machine was rolling.  That signal would clock a digital counter that calculated footage based on the tape speed selected.  It would also advance a second digital counter every time you rolled so you would have a take number and footage readout for logging.

 

That's my best guess although I have never actually seen one of these.

 

---Courtney

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