GJD

VTR jobs/gear rental

12 posts in this topic

Hey everyone

Evidently it's common for members of the sound department to be cleared for VTR (video playback) positions on lower tier films. I'm about to do my second.

Usually a convergent design odyssey 7q or a video devices pix e5 suffices.

 

My questions: is it ideal/expected for me to provide monitor screens as well? As to not tie in with camera department's monitors?

 

Are lower tier productions willing to pay so much for an extensive kit? They've already given a kit fee quote and it definitely only covers the recorder.

 

Any insight and shared experiences are more than welcome.

 

Thanks!

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Prepare the can of worms for opening...

Video Assist is a union position on union films. It's its own job. 

A non-union film has no business using video assist. But if they must, I'd steer as far away from that responsibility as possible, and leave it to the camera department. 

On "low tier" films, you'll have a tough enough time doing your own job. 

They can rent a Pix that'll auto roll and cut with SDI feed from a pro camera. You can run XLR to Pix, or charge for wireless hop. If you're already running sound to camera for some reason, they can play off the camera. SDI feed will send audio too (I think).

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I have to disagree with some of what you're saying, Robert. Maybe it's my lack of understanding what "low tier" jobs are. If it's a union job covered by a contract, aren't there still job classifications and jurisdictions? If so, video engineering work should be done by the sound/video department shouldn't it? 

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Jeff, definitely. The classification is specific and jurisdiction borders on the play button. Camera, sound and script supervisor can all have playback monitors - but if anyone's going to watch it, there must be a video assist on the payroll.

The problem that comes up though, is that the budget rarely calls for anything more than a video recorder with a 7 inch screen and bnc cable. Tensions rise when actors want a better picture and camera department has 4 monitor screens.

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I'm confused. On a union job there's a video person. In LA they're 695, so technically part of "our" department. This is not the case anywhere else in the world. 

I thought the OP was saying that on low budget films they want to assign the task of video assist to a person in the sound department. Not hiring additional staff, but expecting what is likely a 2-person department to handle the task. 

Considering the modern demands on both sound and video departments, these jobs should very much be separate. 

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IME on lower budgeted films (union and non), if they don't want to hire VTR, video monitoring is given to the camera department, who usually doesn't want to be responsible for it.  Then they want to do playback off of camera.  600 and 695 both fight this, especially focusing on the playback from camera part, but I still see it happen on union films.

I personally would not take on the responsibility of video playback as a sound mixer.  I don't see how I could still be an effective mixer while tied to video playback when I should be addressing noise issues and working toward the next scene.

They can ask, but you don't have to say yes (and to this you shouldn't)

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1 hour ago, RPSharman said:

I thought the OP was saying that on low budget films they want to assign the task of video assist to a person in the sound department. Not hiring additional staff, but expecting what is likely a 2-person department to handle the task. 

Considering the modern demands on both sound and video departments, these jobs should very much be separate. 

I agree with this completely --- even being limited to a two person sound crew, the sound work potentially is going to be seriously compromised and it is ridiculous to think that the sound crew could do the video engineering job as well.

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In Australia, if there is no VTR on set and playback or monitors are required, the Camera Dept looks after it.

 

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I appreciate everyone's feedback, but maybe I was unclear. 

I was hired on this job as VTR. I have seen producers expect sound mixer to run playback but obviously the mixer said "no that's Not how it works, according to contract." but that's not the case here.

My question is more about the gray area between video ( local 52) and camera (local 600) and who can touch/use what in regards to bnc cable and monitors.

Also about whether or not it's kosher for a VTR to show up with just an odyssey 7q (for example) on a film with a relatively low budget.

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Oh!

There's a video assist forum on Yahoo Groups. You'd be better off asking people who do that work.

My experiece these days is that there's some sort of camera utility or data wrangler (who often likes to call himself a DIT). They set up monitors for DP. Video assist then taps off that. 

What you show up with as a package is between you and the UPM. They get what they pay for. 

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The VTR guys that I know around NYC do provide client monitors and directors monitors, but they are well compensated for them. If production is renting a camera package I'm sure they can get a couple monitors thrown in for peanuts.

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