Todd Weaver

Didn't quite roll for some of a take.. What happens next?!

74 posts in this topic

I hate to admit this, but I had a take not record for the first half on a pretty intensive circled take with a 20 minute background and animal reset and only one or two opportunities to shoot it. I didn't quite push the roll switch all the way up and didn't notice it for about 30 seconds. I mixed the take perfectly and it sounded great, but half of the track wasn't on my machines. A world of pain and cross eyed looks could be on its way to me.. Until I remembered that I have a good hard line signal going to my buddy Dan from Videohawks. I walked over to Dan with my hat in my hand and gave him a thumb drive (with my free hand) and politely asked that he give me the playback .mov copy of the take. I exported the audio to a wav file using QuickTime, I dumped the strange .wav file to the proper sample rate as a mono mix in protools, I used an editing program to discover the first frame of time code from the slate, then wave agent to replace time code stamps and metadata on my new backup audio file. Made a note in the report and added the file to the Deva CF and voila. Took about 5 minutes to cover my ass. Dan consoled me and assured me that mixers don't roll on stuff all the time.. I hope that isn't true! I heard not a peep from the dailies dept, so all is well. Im not in the habit of such magnitude of screwup, but I thought I would share a little bit of a fix for such a situation should it happen to you on a shoot with video assist.

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I appreciate you sharing the experience. Very useful fix for such a scenario.

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Always a nightmare when that happens. At least you had a backup with the Video Assist guys!

 

I think I've had two takes in my life (in six years) where I just zoned out and forgot to hit the big red button. In both cases I owned up to the director but I quickly said, "hey, we still have a usable backup on the camera hop so if you need that take, it's there." And in both cases they said, "nope, that's not a circled take -- we're doing more."  :unsure:

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I've had it happen too. It's soul destroying. Mercifully it didn't matter, but I still have nightmares about forgetting to hit the button.

We are human. Cameras fail to roll, or the operator and 1st both hit the button. One turns it on and the other turns it off. I was on a show this happened all the time. I used to tell my boom op to let them know, but eventually he said, "I have too much to worry about without having to worry if the camera is rolling or not." So we let them get caught a few times before they finally sorted it out.

I've been on shows where the DIT wipes a card by mistake or hands it back to camera before transferring files, and 1st AC wipes it.

Point being, these things happen. Best to own up to it quickly, and say what they say - "We had a technical issue, and that file is no good. We don't have sound for that take."

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I find some solace when reading the transfer reports and see things like no roll on camera several times a week.. I'm sure the operating was fantastic, but you still have to press that little red button.

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I've had my zaxcom transmitters save my ass a few times.

A few more times than I would like.

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I would have have pulled the zaxcom tracks from the packs, but alas, they roll with the machines. The machines don't roll, nothing gets recorded.

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Thats why i have mine roll all the time. Also just in case they are out of range of zaxnet at the start of the scene.

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I've dome it slightly different. I've rolled a take but after cut was called didn't quite hit the stop button and have rolled quite a big file with nothing of use. And yes have also failed to role but always run a backup trx900 wireless always recording. So that has saved me a few times.

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I keep my pre-record set to 10 seconds. Hearing these stories makes me want to power up my Nomad and see if it will go to 15 seconds...maybe 30! :)

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Or buy a second nomad and keep it always rolling.

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Thank heavens for digital! At least you can rescue things with a copy from the video or elsewhere, without having to worry about a generation loss...

 

and the same thing happens in post.  Back in analog days, there was at least one time* when I record-enabled the wrong track to record a pickup line on a network show, and wiped an important piece of production audio. Like others have advised, best bet is to own up to the mistake, take your lumps, and move on.

 

(* Precisely one time. You don't make a mistake like that twice.)

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I think we have all experienced some version of this at some point, especially those of us who have more years in this industry than anyone wants to admit. You're in good company, Todd, utilizing Video Assist recording as your backup and savior. This is one of the reasons I always strive to have a rock solid connection with Video Assist and make sure that I am connected to a system that can make a bonafide decent recording that could be used if absolutely necessary. The first time I had to do this was on "Spaceballs" when MGM transfer department just flat out lost a roll of ¼" tape. The next day I went to the Video Assist person, Lindsay Hill, and asked him to play back those takes to my cart and I recorded everything to a new roll of tape. The quality was surprisingly good even coming off the Super VHS cassette he was using. This sound, incidentally, did wind up in the movie, no ADR was necessary.

 

Question to Todd: "I didn't quite push the roll switch all the way up and didn't notice it for about 30 seconds" is this the new fancy remote roll switch you are now using? I was puzzled when you said you didn't push the rolls switch "all the way up" since the Deva does not have an "up" on the record button.

 

Lastly, I used to have my Zaxcom transmitters set to follow Deva transport but when realizing that this procedure would not provide the backup I might need if for some reason I failed to hit record. I now keep them all in record mode from power up but thankfully I have never needed the card recording,

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Feeling your pain, if we were together in a bar we'd be buying you a Big Drink.  I too have had my ass saved by VA in a similar manner, both when I went momentarily brain dead and years ago when a DAT machine ate its tape.  On many of today's jobs the save would be via the camera audio track that I'm sending a ref mix to.  This is all better than the 1/4" +film days where if you didn't roll the audio was gone forever.  This happened to me too, and profuse apologies and the knowledge that I'd never work for these people again was all I had to offer.  

 

philp

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Question to Todd: "I didn't quite push the roll switch all the way up and didn't notice it for about 30 seconds" is this the new fancy remote roll switch you are now using? I was puzzled when you said you didn't push the rolls switch "all the way up" since the Deva does not have an "up" on the record button.

It's the same physical switch I've been using for remote roll for about two years. It has some different wiring and circuitry added now. It's a simple toggle switch that works great, I just failed to activate it properly.

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Interesting use of the SVHS, Jeff. Years ago, I had a similar save on a multicam switching job I directed. It was a truck situation and when I began digitizing the Betacams, learned audio wasn't routed properly at all. In some cases, a slow speed but "H-Fi" VHS for quad split TC window logging wound up having the best audio! 

 

If a missed roll can happen in a narrative situation, have to wonder how often this happens in a chaotic reality/doco bag mix situation.

I assume I'm missing a drawback but..

Wouldn't it make sense to have an established record triggering protocol in pro dual system situations? I mean beyond following time-code start..which won't help in continuous TOD use.

I'm thinking something akin to the wireless (w/hardwired option) sync ports used in flash still photography.

http://www.slrlounge.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Pocket-Wizard-Plus-3-on-Nikon.jpg

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I have a couple jobs that I do regularly that want record run. I use a G2 to auto trigger my Nomad. Love it, but I have to be careful when I have to go back to free run :)

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Shit, just happened to me - at least was covered with a good production quality camera hop (SRb).

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I keep my pre-record set to 10 seconds. Hearing these stories makes me want to power up my Nomad and see if it will go to 15 seconds...maybe 30! :)

I keep my cantar at a 30sec preroll,  and it has come in handy a couple of times on drama.  it has been invaluable for documentary work, catching sound bites otherwise lost.   I also like the mechanical style of the cantar controller (homage to nagra) that prevents the kind of electronic "double-pump" that you can get with other styles of controllers

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In "chaotic doco" situations nowadays with file recorders I just roll roll roll and let TC be post's friend re syncing. In the Nagra days on docs you were in constant terror of a rollout at a crucial moment, since although you could get pretty fast at reel changes they were far from instant.  Worse than that was live concerts on multitrack decks, when the producer would only pay for one.  Will the band remember that we need at least a minute between songs 6 and 7?  (And so on?)  Staggered starts on 2 multitracks made for some ticklish edits later when a song spanned two tapes….

 

philp

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Did you use a mic to monitor system to remind the band? ;)

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Hey wasn't, there a recent post in another thread around here about sending purposely-compromised scratch tracks to cameras? Seems like that would be a bummer when forgetting to roll sound.  ::)

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The feed that I send to the video assist is right off my console through his apogee preamp into his software. Way better quality that the audio sections of most cameras. I don't often send scratch tracks, but when I do.. I make em scratchy!

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