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Daniel Ignacio

Boom op-less

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I’m mixing a pilot for a web TV drama at the moment, as well as booming. While I’ve known for a fact that it’s always preferable to have a boom operator, I’m really feeling how it pushes my mental and physical abilities to my limits as a soundie. I’ll try to limit bag and boom jobs from here on out, for anything that takes more than a week to shoot.

 

Which brings me to a question: Production didn’t have a boom op in the cards, and of course being a low-budget shoot, they were reluctant to pay more people. How do you usually ask for a boom op? Do you provide a lowered rate if they agree to hiring a boom op?

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22 minutes ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

 How do you usually ask for a boom op? Do you provide a lowered rate if they agree to hiring a boom op?

 

I usually try to go the opposite way: I ask for more, because there is no boom-op, and I'll be essentially working two jobs, so they should pay me for it.

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3 hours ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

I’m mixing a pilot for a web TV drama at the moment, as well as booming. While I’ve known for a fact that it’s always preferable to have a boom operator, I’m really feeling how it pushes my mental and physical abilities to my limits as a soundie. I’ll try to limit bag and boom jobs from here on out, for anything that takes more than a week to shoot.

 

Which brings me to a question: Production didn’t have a boom op in the cards, and of course being a low-budget shoot, they were reluctant to pay more people. How do you usually ask for a boom op? Do you provide a lowered rate if they agree to hiring a boom op?

Don't lower your rate because you have a boom op. you're now in charge of a department of 2 and therefore a bigger economic resource. Typically, if you're working with a genuine boom op then the budget is bigger, the overall crew is bigger, the whole thing should be more professional and therefore less excuse for paying below union rate.

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If you're not getting union rate and don't have a boom op, ask for more (if the refusal wont offend you), iso all inputs, sum the tracks needed for picture editorial, and keep both hands on the boom pole. Take it from me, from someone who's been in a similar place, the shooting pains in the forearm you'll eventually get from trying to boom and mix a scene with anything other than a short pole are just not worth it for the type of production which will have 2 or more people in the camera department (often working with cameras and lenses way above their station :-), but wont 'pony up' for production sound usually because they've never taken a serious project through a proper audio post production process. Of course, you're also trying to catch a break and get on interesting projects, so this all needs to be done with a smile and not a hint of antagonism, quite a balancing act. You could go down the wireless only route (which will put a smile on faces of some camera departments) and keep all you fingers for a production mix but don't underestimate how hard you'll be working to get clean wires on all cast while doing all the other stuff as well. Catch 22 every time. Sadly the thing that'll look best to them, is if you can source someone keen enough to be you're (low paid) trainee and put them on the pole, you may not be able to use everything they do but it'll 'look the part' and give you a bit more latitude, eg less of an either/or (hopefully).

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6 hours ago, daniel said:

TSadly the thing that'll look best to them, is if you can source someone keen enough to be you're (low paid) trainee and put them on the pole, you may not be able to use everything they do but it'll 'look the part' and give you a bit more latitude, eg less of an either/or (hopefully).

 

I would strongly advise against this. "Looking the part" is not relevant. 

After your "boom-op" has been in the frame for the third time in one day everyone will know (at the latest) that you got an inexperienced boom-op and this will make you look inexperienced and it feeds into the narrative of "do we really need a boom-op? Can't this pa do it?" or "I have this friend who held a boom 5 years ago, can't he do it?"

No! Only an experienced boom-op can do it, everything else is a bad compromise reflecting badly on you, plus I would strongly consider this as a disservice to your sound community. 

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16 hours ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

I’m mixing a pilot for a web TV drama at the moment, as well as booming. While I’ve known for a fact that it’s always preferable to have a boom operator, I’m really feeling how it pushes my mental and physical abilities to my limits as a soundie. I’ll try to limit bag and boom jobs from here on out, for anything that takes more than a week to shoot.

 

Which brings me to a question: Production didn’t have a boom op in the cards, and of course being a low-budget shoot, they were reluctant to pay more people. How do you usually ask for a boom op? Do you provide a lowered rate if they agree to hiring a boom op?

What's a soundie...?   It's actually a Sound Mixer..

   You sound like a green PA standing in on some work in the production motorhome calling people with call times..;). Call yourself a "soundie" and expect no boom op...  Well, not really, but probably doesn't help...

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7 minutes ago, afewmoreyears said:

What's a soundie...?   It's actually a Sound Mixer..

   You sound like a green PA standing in on some work in the production motorhome calling people with call times..;). Call yourself a "soundie" and expect no boom op...

 

I agree...calling yourself a soundie is pretty faggy...  Please have some respect for yourself.

 

...and for all you snowflakes, I don't mean faggy in the gay way... it's meant in the douche' way.  You know, like in South Park.

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5 hours ago, Constantin said:

 

I would strongly advise against this. "Looking the part" is not relevant. 

After your "boom-op" has been in the frame for the third time in one day everyone will know (at the latest) that you got an inexperienced boom-op and this will make you look inexperienced and it feeds into the narrative of "do we really need a boom-op? Can't this pa do it?" or "I have this friend who held a boom 5 years ago, can't he do it?"

No! Only an experienced boom-op can do it, everything else is a bad compromise reflecting badly on you, plus I would strongly consider this as a disservice to your sound community. 

totally agree with you, but boom in shot will give the guy doing focus another chance to get it sharp. 

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I call myself and all of the rest of you "soundies".  It's not a pejorative, it's just a slang-name that doesn't sound a little pretentious when, like the OP, you are working alone, by choice or not.   It has nothing to do with the OP's real problem, which is that he's being overworked while being expected to over-deliver.  It may be that the production is inexperienced or has low standards for production sound, it could also be that they have great audio aesthetics and no money.  In any case, as was said, in this situation YOU (the "soundie") have to decide how much "sound" you can afford to give them given the circumstances.   Unless the show is extremely simple, you will not get to 100%.  When I was younger and more energetic I used to tell directors of indie dramas that I'd get them 85% for sure when working alone, and they'd need to fix the rest in post.  A whole lot of wireless mics is not a great way to approach an low-budg drama, esp if there are many characters.  Booming will work better overall, usually, and that is something that everyone will have to get used to if the sound dept. is an Army Of One.    I'm all for giving newbs a chance to be in the sound dept. by trying them out on a boom, but only if they seem to get what that job is really about and have observed me or some other soundie working for awhile.  Otherwise--no sale.  They get what I working alone can do for them.

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Isn't it is inevitable for people who are established in a market/industry to want to protect pay, terms and conditions of good working practice for everyones benefit but people looking for a break and experience will find themselves in compromised conditions on their way to hopefully better things? What gets compromised is going to vary, try to learn what you can. On the low budget stuff, this will be true for most of those involved. Not having a proper boom op is a situation no one wants  (and is always a terrible decision by production, even if you can't use the boom in the scene) but in the context, using the situation to develop your wireless techniques is not a sin and may serve you in good stead later on. There are plenty of proper paid jobs in parts of this industry where using a boom is not an option but you'd be right expect a boom op or assistant to help with the other things (eg a lot of wireless).

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20 hours ago, daniel said:

you're now in charge of a department of 2 and therefore a bigger economic resource.

 

I should really take some business courses! Thanks for this and your extended explanation.

 

Wait, people have boomed and actively mixed at the same time during takes? That’s beyond crazy. I just press record and boom, then ask/fight for another take if I hear the levels clip. This also happens to be the production that let me only have one ME 2 lav with a G3 (sigh), which I posted about and you previously gave me some wisdom on.

 

6 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

In any case, as was said, in this situation YOU (the "soundie") have to decide how much "sound" you can afford to give them given the circumstances.   Unless the show is extremely simple, you will not get to 100%.


I’m willing to give them my 100%, with the director understanding that my 100% effort will only be a 75% net gain at the end of the day. (Especially with no reliable wireless.)

 

The production is the inexperienced kind, but relaxed and not terribly rushed. It’s all shot on gimbal (they’ve decided they don’t have time for tripod setups), but they are completely understanding of the situation whenever camera tags my mic. The DP never gives me attitude and it’s good working with him. The director is laidback and fully prepared for the inevitability of ADR. We keep shooting near roads and under flight paths, and if I ask him to wait and he doesn’t want to, I make it clear they have to resort to ADR.

 

Everyone seems to be respectful of me and my limited capabilities, as the one-man sound department. (Though the director did try to persuade me to do a scene in the rain without any waterproofing gear, which I gave a hard no.)

 

Though I’m starting to realize that I’m actually giving 120%, if I’m this stressed despite working with kind people. Perhaps I should take it down a notch for my sake.

 

 

Off topic, but “faggy” is still offensive to me as a gay guy. We aren’t living in South Park. Pretty bummed to see that word on this forum of all places, and this made me feel unwelcome.

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1 hour ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

 

 

Off topic, but “faggy” is still offensive to me as a gay guy. We aren’t living in South Park. Pretty bummed to see that word on this forum of all places, and this made me feel unwelcome.

 

So there can only be one meaning for a word?  I think I can name dozens if not hundreds of examples where that's not true.  I can think of four for that word alone.

You feel unwelcome?  Oh brother.  Where's the eye-rolling emoji when you need one.

BTW, you must not watch South Park because anyone who has will agree that we DO live in South Park.

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5 hours ago, Mirror said:

 

So there can only be one meaning for a word?  I think I can name dozens if not hundreds of examples where that's not true.  I can think of four for that word alone.

You feel unwelcome?  Oh brother.  Where's the eye-rolling emoji when you need one.

BTW, you must not watch South Park because anyone who has will agree that we DO live in South Park.

Thanks for sparing us the wisdom of your insights for as long as you have, shame it had to come to an end. Did you get bored chopping on the 'red meat' your orange friend keeps chucking out there at feeding time or your return to posting OT tropes (on this forum) can be read as an indicator you feel his work is done?

Btw, I looked for an antonym for 'snowflake' but none sufficed. A snowflake is a beautiful, translucent, crystalline structure produced by the weather and has inspired many to contemplate the wonders of natural phenomena. I was thinking the antonym needs to denote/connote some kind of opaque, unwanted, unpleasant, randomly formed debris, possibly an outcome of over consumption and bad waste management. The kind of thing accompanied by an unpleasant smell and is most certainly unsanitary and a potential public health issue. Almost insignificant, yet you might wipe away with a flushable product designed for the purpose. I'll happily be a 'snowflake' and call out your potty mouth, because to me you're like a bum crumb, soiling in this case, a conversation you've offered not a single positive contribution to with a word purposefully deployed to provoke and give you a little frisson, while slowly working your way through the environment to becoming part of just another sedimentary layer.

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Never take less for yourself and your gear in order to get a boom op. It devalues what we do as mixers and makes it hard to make a living. Productions should be educated on what it takes to capture good production sound and that includes decent rates for mixers, boom operators and our gear. It's hard enough working without a utility on a lot of shows. 

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7 hours ago, daniel said:

Thanks for sparing us the wisdom of your insights for as long as you have, shame it had to come to an end. Did you get bored chopping on the 'red meat' your orange friend keeps chucking out there at feeding time or your return to posting OT tropes (on this forum) can be read as an indicator you feel his work is done?

Btw, I looked for an antonym for 'snowflake' but none sufficed. A snowflake is a beautiful, translucent, crystalline structure produced by the weather and has inspired many to contemplate the wonders of natural phenomena. I was thinking the antonym needs to denote/connote some kind of opaque, unwanted, unpleasant, randomly formed debris, possibly an outcome of over consumption and bad waste management. The kind of thing accompanied by an unpleasant smell and is most certainly unsanitary and a potential public health issue. Almost insignificant, yet you might wipe away with a flushable product designed for the purpose. I'll happily be a 'snowflake' and call out your potty mouth, because to me you're like a bum crumb, soiling in this case, a conversation you've offered not a single positive contribution to with a word purposefully deployed to provoke and give you a little frisson, while slowly working your way through the environment to becoming part of just another sedimentary layer.

 

You're overthinking it.

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14 hours ago, Mirror said:

 

You're overthinking it.

Maybe. But some throw nasty names around flippantly like a bullies in a playground seeking a bit of attention, then back away chuckling like it was no thing at all. You are typically under thinking it. 

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1 hour ago, daniel said:

Maybe. But some throw nasty names around flippantly like a bullies in a playground seeking a bit of attention, then back away chuckling like it was no thing at all. You are typically under thinking it. 

 

Just ignore that guy. He only does it to get some attention and to temporarily forget about his own sad life

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2 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

Just ignore that guy. He only does it to get some attention and to temporarily forget about his own sad life

In some ways I agree (don't feed the troll etc), but we also see in some recent industry headlines what happens when 'we' don't call out attitudes and behaviours we know are hurtful, abusive and unfair on others. There's a tendency to let the obvious recipient/victim make the 'fuss' (perhaps in the hope others might step in). The truth is, we are all the recipients / victims of this behaviour because it normalises it and then 'green lights' the next thing. It starts with "i should be able to call X person whatever I want - free speech", progresses onto "my verbal abuse of X has nothing to do with their subsequent physical abuse by others", to "Its actually X's fault what happens to them because they are X".

I put this to you, if 1 of your children (or young relatives) stumbles across this forum in 5, 10 or 15 years time, would you want them to see your fine contributions share page space with this guy's BS and see that the BS was ONLY challenged by the perceived recipient / victim and the forum (in a collective sense) was unmoved? If you're going to have 'free speech' and not moderate this stuff away, then people got to step in and speak up. It's not always easy, often quite boring but if we don't do it, we will in someway be indicted (collectively) by our inaction. imho. And I don't care if some particular organic matter (P.O.M.) wants to claim some absurd victory over a 'snowflake' because he got a rise, the point is somebody said something. History will put it in context.

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^ fully agree. Didn't mean: do not engage. I meant: call him out, and then leave him be. Don't fall for his follow-ups the purpose of which is only meant to entangle you in some bizarre logic which will in the end make you look foolish - or so the hope is. 

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So even on the lowest budget project, no boom operator, no boom (well, hanging it on a stand is okay).  Mix all of it on wires (make them rent from you or somewhere else, enough to do the job) and call it a day.  DO NOT HURT YOURSELF PHYSICALLY for a show that doesn't have, or won't pay, enough to hire the proper crew.

 

If they won't rent you the extra wires to cover all the scenes, you have just gotta let one of the actors (or two, or three) go.

 

Hard to say to someone in the "early years" but if they won't protect you from abuse, you need to protect yourself.  It's called self-care and it is important.  Just say "no."  Someone else will give you a job.

 

REALLY!  SERIOUSLY!

 

D.

I wondered why I didn't see the offensive post in question.  Then was reminded that I put that guy on "ignore" long ago.  Good riddance.  All on the forum can do the same and he will, like a he should, disappear.

 

D.

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6 hours ago, Constantin said:

^ fully agree. Didn't mean: do not engage. I meant: call him out, and then leave him be. Don't fall for his follow-ups the purpose of which is only meant to entangle you in some bizarre logic which will in the end make you look foolish - or so the hope is. 

 

Did you just assume my gender?  This is offensive to me. Pretty bummed to see that word on this forum of all places, and this made me feel unwelcome.

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20 hours ago, Mirror said:

 

Dude you certainly don't get to play the South Park card. South Park is a deeply political, thoughtful analysis of modern American society, that has absolutely nothing in common with the unf***able-white-male-trolling you spend your time with.

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34 minutes ago, Christian Spaeth said:

 

Dude you certainly don't get to play the South Park card. South Park is a deeply political, thoughtful analysis of modern American society, that has absolutely nothing in common with the unf***able-white-male-trolling you spend your time with.

 

Why do you hate white males?  You sound like a racist.   Sad.

 

PS. Seeing that you are from Germany, you don't get to judge South Park's deeply political, thoughtful analysis of modern American society.

 

Double PS.  Seeing as I'm gender and racial fluid, your racial slurs are offensive to me. Pretty bummed to see this on this forum of all places, and this made me feel unwelcome

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