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Jeff Wexler

Zaxcom Deva announcement

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20 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

a confirmation of what Jeff said above: that a change like this will encounter resistance until the benefits are demo'ed and buy-in is gotten from folks farther up the food chain, but that is certainly possible because it's happened before.  

I don't want to sound like I'm blowing my own horn and what I am saying does not relate directly to any sort of endorsement of MixAhead (since it does not exist, yet), rather it is a comment about adopting change: I take exception to Philip talking about "folks farther up the food chain" if that statement intends to put us lower, as in subservient and less important, than those "higher up." I am reminded that file-based production recording is the one big change in the whole food chain that was initiated and promoted by PRODUCTION, not post. The people in post were very much settled into the way they wanted to work and were very resistant (that's putting mildly) to ANY change that some producton sound mixer "low down on the food chain" wanted to make. We had to convince post that there would be big advantages to adopting a file-based workflow, even if it meant that they might have to start doing things differently. Regarding MixAhead, again, I will say that as production sound mixers and for post people, we are not going to know the value of MixAhead until we start using it. That said, if the resistance from post people is so strong, unreasonable and inflexible, then we will never know the value of MixAhead. Fortunately, the majority of post people I work with, many of the same people who were very excited to get on board with the new way of production sound mixing (file-based), they will be more than happy to partner with the production sound mixer (me) to discover the value of MixAhead. 

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40 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

Meanwhile re MixAhead: the responses from post mixers to my request for input on the GS Post forum were decidely cool ( no surprise there).  Some thought it might be a good thing for making better temp mixes for editorial, but didn't think they'd use it themselves.  I see these responses as both confirmation of what I thought (the use-of-isos as a starting point in post is very entrenched) and a confirmation of what Jeff said above: that a change like this will encounter resistance until the benefits are demo'ed and buy-in is gotten from folks farther up the food chain, but that is certainly possible because it's happened before.  

That will also depend on the show you are working for. Some shows have less post time/budget and rely less on isos and more on the mix.

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Question to Philip: I'm wondering what types of projects you have been discussing with post people who say they always go right to the isos to mix the project, the mix track being only a guide or useful for the picture editor, etc. I have only done 27 feature films (out of a career total of 86) where I have been delivering isos and to this day the majority of those projects the sound editors have rarely used ANY of the isos. What's going on here? I do understand why there are some projects where post finds the mix track to be totally useless (I also am fully aware WHY the mix track is so bad on some projects) but most projects that I am aware of rely heavily on the mix, particularly when the mix is really good!

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4 minutes ago, Jeff Wexler said:

Question to Philip: I'm wondering what types of projects you have been discussing with post people who say they always go right to the isos to mix the project, the mix track being only a guide or useful for the picture editor, etc. I have only done 27 feature films (out of a career total of 86) where I have been delivering isos and to this day the majority of those projects the sound editors have rarely used ANY of the isos. What's going on here? I do understand why there are some projects where post finds the mix track to be totally useless (I also am fully aware WHY the mix track is so bad on some projects) but most projects that I am aware of rely heavily on the mix, particularly when the mix is really good!

I put the MA thing out there in general terms, as a potential feature of a new recorder that I think might be popular with drama PSMs.  The answers were from people that either I know do drama all the time (like Mark "Henchman" Hensley) or that I surmise to be working on shows of that sort from their previous posts.   Not a scientific survey at all, but of interest to me anyhow as a guage of how much pushback there might be for such an innovation as MA.  I know that some senior mixers like you have an incredible track record re: delivering great mixes (and are probably hired because of this), so I guess most of these rerecording mixers have not been fortunate enough to work with PSMs like you, or they have their workflow dictated by those "farther up the food chain" folks I mentioned.  The people who make the job calls and sign the checks, so to speak.  Ultimately it is they who have to be convinced of an innovation's utility and worth, either way.

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Thanks for the reply (and the complimentary words regarding my work). Interesting that you should mention Mark Hensley since he is specifically the one who started the whole "we never use your mix" MYTH (and it IS a myth, and Mark has been put in his place, wherever that place actually is, by many other production AND post people). I think it best to just wait and see, let MixAhead come out, the few of us brave enough to try it and those with a good collaborative relationship with our post fellow workers (wherever they may have landed in the food chain), we will be the ones who discover whether it is a value or a waste of time.

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I think we have misleading and misunderstanding something, when we talk about "Mix Track Pro" (production mix) and "Mix Track Post" (aka final mix by post production). Here my thoughts:

1. Sound does not have perspective like image in production stage. Close up frame - close up sound. Wide frame (normal wide frame) both close up and wide sound (aka lavalier & boom). The decision takes place at post production, about wide frame and how will be sounded. This it depends by frame, tempo and creativity. The main goal is to leave the audience to enjoy what they see. If you give only wide sound in wide frame; there is no undo situation. "In your face" dialogue in wide frame is "no bueno". "Like a church" dialogue in wide frame is "no bueno". The secret word is "smooth transition" between wide and close up. That's why we need the booms closer. It's your job to secure this by:

2. Here comes the "Mix Track Pro" and why it's important the "Mix Track". Both director and producer hear, what you do. When you have "Like a church" sound in wide frame; you don't want to have another problem in your head. And the most important: Reliability. In this tough business - world the guys who give money; need from you to show reliability. Second skills. Third trust. When you are doing "Mix Track" (doesn't matter if you have small errors during mix; they know how hard it is) you give the director a perspective; leave the director to direct, like give the audience to enjoy what they see. Maybe the "Mix Track Pro" will be usable in final mix. You don't know.

3. If the MixAheadTMcan reduce the small or big errors in "Mix Track Pro" it is welcome. Let us give a time in Zaxcom to introduce this workflow and explain further without sale points what the MixAheadTM can do for us.

We need to remember: There is no undo situation. "Undo" is not the ADR. Yes, you can cause ADR; not only because the location was a crap. Reliability. Skills. Trust.

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I can't help but think that any resistance that the announcement of MixAhead has encountered is borne of either ignorance (and most people here are not ignorant), or personal bias toward a competing system.  Otherwise, why are some so quick to energetically criticize a system that 1) isn't even available yet so there is no empirical evidence, pro or con, as to how well it works , and 2) is totally optional in use -- you decide it's a tool you don't wish to use, you don't have to -- and if post balks at even considering using a track that was thus recorded, they don't have to (although, how would they know -- perhaps if the mix timing was too well accomplished they'd suspect and throw it out?

Like a lot of similar threads that seem to discount or heavily criticize a system that has not even been brought to market yet, this avenue of negativity is, well... just plain silly.

These things are tools, folks, not a religion.  If it's a tool that works well for the task at hand, use it -- If not, don't -- pretty simple really.

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In regards to using mix track vs. isos in post:

In my time cutting dialogue for reality shows (admittedly not a ton of time, but some), I was taught to work from the iso tracks as much as possible. I ended up using a mixture of isos or the mix depending on what sounded best. The nice thing about working from iso tracks is it is MUCH easier to grab fill from those if you need to as opposed to a mix track. It's also easier (at least it was for me) on the little bit of dramatic dialogue work I did, to grab alts from iso tracks or maybe grab a single word from an alt on an iso track if it's all labeled properly and organized. 

Some people like to only work from iso tracks for whatever reason...and even then, a re-recording mixer may prefer only isos and the dialogue editor may not. I'm not a re-recording mixer, but the person mixing the stuff I cut never complained about how I handed dialogue tracks over, which by the time I was done cutting, wasn't isos on each track for each talent. That creates more work on the mix stage. 


I don't like to rely solely on the isos  because a really solid mix track can make my life a LOT easier, but as the Senator says, "It Depends". Mix ahead will be nice in the reality world. I know it would have really helped me. 

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I got a good reply to my post about MixAhead on the GS post forum that I wanted to pass along.   A mixer with lots of experience on both sides of the prod/post fence pointed out that many PSMs are judged by what the director hears in their headphones and what the editor hears in dailies viewing in the edit room, as well as producers who may be viewing raw dailies on an iPad.  Putting aside the discussion of whether or in what fashion a location mix would make it into the final mix of the show, the auditioning of the PSM's work described above are all great uses for a technology like MixAhead, and I hope Zax is able to deliver it with the new machine (if not also retro it to their older recorders).  Rock on.

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Philip- that's cool to hear. I rarely hear anything from post. On doc/reality I'll hear if there's some workflow (sync) problems. That's about it.

On scripted work I rarely hear anything. I've worked with one producer a few times that keeps me informed to a degree, but bits and pieces of info. I recently got a text about something we did in October/November just telling me that the dialog recorded from a specific free driving scene is staying.

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On 17/06/2016 at 4:05 AM, Manel said:

Any pricing guide yet? 

Maybe between $9.000 to $13.000

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On 2.6.2017 at 5:10 PM, Constantin said:

Don't worry, because they'll never release it. (Or so it feels)

 

 

July is gone a while now. Hope to see this mighty recorder including mix 16 on my cart next year.....

 

Is there any hint on a realistic release date?

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