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Matthew Sonnenfeld

What Car Do You Drive?

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On August 25, 2016 at 4:48 PM, al mcguire said:

I went from a Ford van to an Honda Element - I also downsized how much stuff I haul around. Love the Element.

 

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Another vote for the Element here! Excellent production car, but yes a bit tricky to find these days. I lucked out and found an '07 with under 50k miles back in 2012, but it's tough. If you find one with higher mileage, but can get it thoroughly checked out, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. A Honda of that age, properly taken care of, should easily last 200k miles! Plus they're pretty easy to work on, have many durable aspects (timing chain among them) and share tons of mechanical parts with Civics and Accords. And the storage space, amazing - fold up the back seats, take them out... I've even removed the passenger seat before, just 4 bolts and a cable for the airbag, like driving a mini cargo van! Can't say enough good things about them!

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I'd been using a Toyota Prius for a number of years, which is what I was driving before diving into production sound. With the back seats folded forward, you can fit a surprising amount of gear in there, and the gas mileage can't be beat. Alas I outgrew it, and being so low to the ground was getting to me because it is difficult to read street signs if you get stuck behind anything bigger than a sedan. So I got a Rav4, which has been great. The gas mileage is not nearly as good, but more comfortable to drive, more power, and more space for the ever growing gear collection. 

I will note that since I am not a homeowner with a garage, I did not want to own a work van and personal car. Until I can store my vehicles in my own garage I want to be able to drive something that is good for work and personal use, and I know other mixers with Rav4's who really like them, so I decided to go with that. No regrets!

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11 hours ago, JonG said:

I will note that since I am not a homeowner with a garage, I did not want to own a work van and personal car. Until I can store my vehicles in my own garage I want to be able to drive something that is good for work and personal use, and I know other mixers with Rav4's who really like them, so I decided to go with that. No regrets!

This was my exact same reasoning.

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I'm about 3.5 yrs down the road with a 2010 Ford TC I bought used, one of the old "tall" types, in an empty-back delivery van config, 118k.  It has worked out quite well for how I work now--my cart(s) are light enough and the side door sill is low enough that I can not bother with ramps, it has been big enough inside that with some judicious packing even the largest jobs I've done (using a large console in a case, snakes, cable, equipment racks, a big mic stand case, etc etc etc) have been able to fit along with a magliner or even two.  The height allows a magliner junior to be stowed folded up and upright, which saves a lot of room.  Other than a failed water pump, no real mechano issues at all.  But this is a bare-bones vehicle, not many creature comforts.  People who are tall might find it a little cramped (esp if you add a safety barrier between the driver's area and the cargo area), and there is some little road noise when driving @ freeway speeds, noticeably more than in a normal passenger car.  This can be a little wearying, esp after a long day.  These vans should be pretty cheap now used, if you are on a budget.  The "new" version of the FTC is more like the Nissan NV or the smaller new Rams etc--much quieter, better mileage, not so tall re some parking garages, but not so cheap.

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Chevrolet HHR.  The rear seats fold forward and the cart slides in lying on its back.  Pelicans, other gear cases, and rolled furnie pads fit in around it.   Highway MPG in the 30s.  A Rock-N-Roller follow cart can easily fit in the front seat if I'm not transporting an A2.

 

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I'm more than familiar with the 50-60's MGs, Triumphs, Austin-Healeys.. you need a follow cart just for the spare car parts... carburetors, brake & clutch cylinders, ect. ect, Fun car to drive though and for car shows.

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I use to cruise the older 2004 Scion XB, aka the "toaster". It got about 30mpg and had plenty of room for my crap when the seats were folded down. It was also a smaller car so I was able to maneuver in/out of tight spaces fairly quickly. I picked one up on craigslist for $3k. They'll last forever if you keep them maintained.

 

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I looked really hard at those "bread-truck" Scions--I really wanted it to work for me, but in the end it was just a little too small for what I needed to bring to bigger jobs.  I really liked the non-movie-vehicle "stealth" aspect of it, and found some mods online where people had removed seats and altered the floor to make it more workable (some to make it into a mini RV).  I was really sorry when they changed the design, the newer ones seem to have smaller doors and a less case friendly interior than the more boxy version.  Yeah, they are Toyotas at heart and I've had good luck with them.

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+1 for Toyota sound trucks.  1986 turboed diesel Landcruiser.  Only problem is that directors invariably want to put it in a few scenes of the movie, which while flattering and fun, is usually a pain in the ass...

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

IMG_3176 334kb landcruiser.jpg

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I have a Volvo C30 and with both back seats folded down, it's like a mini station wagon.  Plenty of space for all things sound related.  I can fit a cart, 2 full apples, and all my sound gear, PLUS, I even double up and fit all my partners camera gear.  But that's loading it to the top.  Not great visibility out the back if you do this however.  

Image result for 2009 volvo C30 T

 

This is without the back seats folded down but you get the idea.

Image result for 2009 volvo C30 T

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I just did a 2-day commercial job with RAM and their new ProMaster and ProMaster City vans. I was VERY impressed with them, and think they are worth a look. The ProMaster City was particularly great for NYC dwellers like myself, because it is no bigger than an SUV in terms of footprint (easy parking, maneuvering, etc), but as a cargo van, it has enough space to put in a cart and follow cart without having to break them down, pelican cases, etc.

The regular ProMaster was very cool because it had a indoor standing height of about 6 and a half feet (I'm 6'4" and stood in there comfortably with a few inches to spare). That was awesome, but maybe too big for what I do and for going around in NYC.

I think I may seriously look into the ProMaster City for the next business vehicle purchase I do.

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On 8/26/2016 at 1:42 PM, Matthew Sonnenfeld said:

I wish we still had the Passat wagon in the states! That stopped a while ago too. Volkswagen is coming out with the Golf Alltrack, a 4 wheel drive wagon based on the Golf Sportwagen.

Not familiar with this model, but I hope VW Group has at least designed it NOT like some of their AWD cars from yesteryear that used to require that you pretty much dismantle the entire front end of the vehicle to do some basic maintenance work (timing belt etc).

 

I just bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited this last May.  LOVE IT.  It's the perfect size SUV in that it is cavernous inside, especially when you fold the seats flat (which lie truly flat).  I've been averaging 23 mpg driving in mixed (OK, lots of traffic) here in Los Angeles.  I am biased towards Jeeps (I also own a Wrangler) BUT I bought the Grand Cherokee because it's just very pleasant to drive, whether for work purposes or just daily driving.  Insurance is cheap and it's been a great vehicle that I don't feel like I've compromised on in terms of skewing too much towards a "work" vehicle or towards one that's not practical.

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On 8/26/2016 at 5:55 AM, Matthew Sonnenfeld said:

before I got into sound and was still in camera and g&e

What made you shift from that to sound?

On 8/26/2016 at 8:20 AM, S Harber said:

Subaru Forester or a bicycle.

Seriously? So do I quite often, how do you carry the load on a bike?

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

What made you shift from that to sound?

I was working on an indie doc with my older brother (still am working on it) and we both were in camera, both wanted to shoot, but someone had to hold the boom at least. As I am the younger brother, I lost that fight and held the boom recording into an H4n. In the process of doing this I got picky about it, bought some G3's and a used 442 and went from there. Before I knew it I had a bit of money invested in sound gear that would not pay itself back on an indie doc so I started taking small CraigsList and Mandy sound jobs in my spare time and found I really liked it. I found myself advancing in sound faster than I was advancing in camera and eventually made the jump. I still have a little shy of a 1 ton package, Arri and Mole fresnels, Divas, Schneider FF primes, Red Scarlet and O'Connor sticks. All stored at CPT in Long Island City and it all rents independently of me and my sound work so it's still good on the side and I have it when I want it. About to sell the Red though as Scarlets don't rent anymore and probably selling the Divas for Lite Panel Astras. Nowadays when I do shoots for the doc my setup is an A7s with PIX-E7/PIX-LR. That combo along with an Astra is a beautiful one-man-band interview setup when you care about picture and real sound.

And that is how I shifted to sound!!

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On September 8, 2016 at 3:39 AM, IronFilm said:

What made you shift from that to sound?

Seriously? So do I quite often, how do you carry the load on a bike?

Once the gear's there I try to cycle or scooter to work. I always feel so much better when I can ride the bike to work.

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Well, much like the gear we use, I am of the school that I there is no perfect car/van for what we do 100% of the time.  I have a Mini Cooper S Clubman JWC  ( average MPG city/highway 30.9) for small one man jobs and travel/airport for away work, which happens to be 70% of my work these days.  Great car, lots of  flat space with rear seats down and barn doors in the back. I moved down to this after a few years in a large German SUV that had wayyyyyyy too much " presence " pulling up to unload gear on set.  We have a family Mid sized Nissan SUV that I use for my commercial package days of 2 carts  ( follow and upright sound cart ) and then if things get too large for that I move over to our catch all Ford Excursion.  That thing will move a small army of gear without missing a beat although I do avoid using it on 2nd unit days in NYC, it is just a bear to drive/park in the city and @ 12mpg it ain't cheap to drive long distances.  I am a car person so our "fleet" is always changing our here.  I will add that I am not a fan of leaving a gear in a vehicle for lots of reasons, I load/unload for just about every job.  Sure, some days I wish I had something that is sitting back in my storage space but the idea of leaving all my gear unattended in a vehicle is not a path to a pleasant day for me. I am also past the point of feeling the need to have the largest/heaviest cart possible, as seems to be the trend here on the east coast for some reason.  My goals have always been small/light, it just seems to have the added bonus of being easy to move and load. 

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On August 30, 2016 at 7:01 PM, Jose Frias said:

I just did a 2-day commercial job with RAM and their new ProMaster and ProMaster City vans. I was VERY impressed with them, and think they are worth a look. The ProMaster City was particularly great for NYC dwellers like myself, because it is no bigger than an SUV in terms of footprint (easy parking, maneuvering, etc), but as a cargo van, it has enough space to put in a cart and follow cart without having to break them down, pelican cases, etc.

The regular ProMaster was very cool because it had a indoor standing height of about 6 and a half feet (I'm 6'4" and stood in there comfortably with a few inches to spare). That was awesome, but maybe too big for what I do and for going around in NYC.

I think I may seriously look into the ProMaster City for the next business vehicle purchase I do.

José, that's actually in my immediate plans. I've researched all its competition (Nissan NV, Ford Transit, et al) and, at least from the specs point of view, it beats them all hands down. Just FYI, this car is actually a Fiat Dobló, sold throughout Europe. I was there this summer and they were everywhere.

I'll be doing a test drive in the next couple of weeks, and probably purchase one before the end of the year. Currently I have a very capable V10 Ford F350, but it's a gas guzzler and, at 7' high, it can't get into some parking structures…

Cheers,

BK

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