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Philip Perkins

View From The Office:

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Just got back from doing a reality show in the mountains of Guatemala. Spent two months watching sunsets like this from my "office"!

 

City life seems so boring now :(

-Rob


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View From The Office: ENG for MEGA. The other channel is from ERT (National Radio Television). And who is that guy with iPhone? Capture video and sound with iPhone and working for website news.

 

The gates for hell is opened from Rode. I can predict the future here. Only the journalist with iPhone have a job to capture video and sound. No camera operator. No sound mixer.

 

Paranoia it's just start.

 

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My office today was on the back of a horse in the AZ desert. 

Not the most ideal sound cart....

I think the wireless RF was affecting my horse. Or, it was just naturally a jerk. 

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Just got back from doing a reality show in the mountains of Guatemala. Spent two months watching sunsets like this from my "office"!

 

City life seems so boring now :(

-Rob

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How's the Presonus working with Boom Recorder?

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The Presonus works great with Boom Recorder, it's an extremely simple setup. In the bright sunlight though it was extremely hard to see which buttons on the board were lit up and which were dark. I wouldn't use it again for an outdoor show just for this reason alone. The sub-mixes are a bit counter-intuitive for reality setups too (or at least our setup). We were sending up to 4 different mono sub-mixes to 4 different cameras using a Lectro D4 transmitter, and the assignment buttons get a bit convoluted when you're in the thick of things and multiple mixes are changing on the fly. In the future, I think I'll switch to a Yamaha board for multi-cam reality stuff.

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My office a few days ago: A huge anechoic chamber, testing engine sounds at Audi production. Full of measurement microphones, including a dummy head that they said cost 250000 Euros. Interesting to be in such a room for the first time basically. You can hear every whispered conversation 10 or more meters away. When you talk loud or scream the lack of any reflection is really strange. Interesting experience.

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Last week I encountered a funny situation where people usually under-appreciate our department and rants on about how bad sound was compared to their previous "sound guys".  This time, it was beyond any comprehensible reasons I've ever faced.

 

A close director of mine needed help for a high school musical she's directing, okay, so I'm more than willing to come join the team since she's also the Exec Prod of one of the oldest professional theatres here in the US as well as an alumni of this school way backn the 70s.  Asked me if I could simply help with mics, we agreed.  The day of our first tech I was gracefully introduced to the cast, crew, and tech director/professor of the high school noting that I was the sole Sound Designer, supervisor, adviser, as well as our A2 for mics.  Here I thought I was simply doing mics, but the whole department. Without saying a word, he quickly assumed that I was just another one of those sound guys they've been hiring the past 5-6 years in helping them with their biggest shows.  With an unfriendly attitude, "DON'T touch anything, change any settings nor levels, because it's all tuned perfectly by [name] with more than 40+ years of experience in sound."  Well, this kind person who tuned the room was from one of the most recognized sound companies here in NorCal as well as the US, there I went along.  By the time we started sound check of our 40 cast members, there was this awful high fqy feedback coming from both the mains, delay towers, as well as the mics themselves (E6s).  Cut, cut and more cut.  Once we dialed all the volume back down from the system, we proceeded to go for our first run.

 

This is where the ugly begins.  As said and explained by our system tech, the 4 pairs of delay towers are delayed precisely and in phase with the mains on stage.  Great I thought, but one issue that gave me red flags were how "flat" each speakers were no matter where you were sitting.  This flatness must have been tuned with pink and sine at exactly the same distance out from each speaker.  The biggest flaw was hearing the actors through the delays before they even reached us into the house from stage.  Here I am unable to adjust any further delays because of a password lockout in the DSP.  Not only were the delays not delayed correctly, there weren't any EQ compensation to make up the loss of high fqy from stage to back of house.  A no no, especially coming from someone who's been tuning for 15 years and doing sound before the Beatles.  As we continue with our run, I also noticed the orchestra pit was almost completely enclosed.

 

Here's the overall picture of the pit, which had two more sections on both L and R to be removed if ever a need for a larger piece.  They sounded like in a box, no life nor dynamic at all.

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During our 15 break, I sincerely suggested to my high school sound mixer that we needed to put mics on the orchestra, but he insisted that we speak with the tech director before we proceed with any actions.  The director came up to me and mentioned about how flat the music sounded and needed mics, I, too, suggested we needed mics.  Unexpectedly, the tech director with an attitude said, "NO, I won't let you mic the orchestra nor even allow you to suggest what kind of mics to use."  Wow, as the humble person I am, I told that I'm more than willing to mic the whole orchestra with SM58's than nothing because they work wonders even though many people hate the 58s for this type of application.  Again, gave me the cold shoulders and moved on.

 

Once I reached the pit, I noticed how small and boxy the space was compared to even the smallest rehearsal rooms I've been in.  A 7-8 piece horn, full perc kit, pno, keys, cello, tight quarters.  in trying to go for less is more in my common wisdom, I disregarded all my options of section and spot mic'ing the orchestra and went ahead with two spaced DPA 4061s up on the 5-footer ceiling.  With this approach, now I have two LARGE boundary mics covering the entire orchestra with some air to spare without sounding close nor inconsistent.

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After we ran the mics into the mains, I almost teared a bit due to the wash and reflections of the band from the side walls.  When seated in the house, you would hear the perc smearing from the right and the horns from the left walls!  It's a complete opposite mirror image, sigh...  What we did was route the L mic, which is covering perc/cello/pno, into the R mains/delays and vice versa with the R mic of keys/horns.  Backed them off a bit with some hall verbs and voila.  Cut all the cast mics as much as -18db on the highs in chain with a de-esser and GEQ.  I've never cut so much in my life, but all the patience and trust from the prod team really made this the best show ever in the past 5-6 years here at this school.

 

Here's the view from the booth, with my guy poking out his head to check.

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1) Be humble whenever possible and never, ever fight back when the higher ups are giving you notes.  This happened with my padi-won jedi.

2.) Always stick to your intuitions, gut feelings, as well as your big guns.

3.) Use good judgement at all times because many people are judging you on the way you handle situations during the toughest times of the set, especially around minors.

4.) Don't be another one of those "sound guys" and never settle for less, when you know you have the chance to improve and make things better, go DO IT.

5.) When your guys are telling you that it sounds like a Broadway show, you've done your job.

6.) Always good to get enough sleep because your life and career depends on it, not 20 hours over a span of 5 days.

7.) Most importantly, use your ears and trust your team regardless if they're less experienced than you are.

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" I won't let you mic the orchestra nor even allow you to suggest what kind of mics to use."

I won't let you mic the orchestra nor even allow you to suggest what kind of mics you cannot use."

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" I won't let you mic the orchestra nor even allow you to suggest what kind of mics to use."

I won't let you mic the orchestra nor even allow you to suggest what kind of mics you cannot use."

Good catch!  Writing this in the AMs has its downfalls.

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Here is the office from season 1 of Package Deal. This is our biggest set, you see the whole back wall is all windows, we've shoot everwhere on this set, even up an down the stairs which is a lot of fun, It takes two Fisher 7's to work this set, both with 26ft. arms. I think the longest scene we did on this  set is 8 pages 7 actors, and lots of walks and talks and 200 people sitting behind be. I just love doing a scene like that. I think our biggest day was 39 pages. I've been running at go-pro 3 black on my rig at Mr. Young for the past two shows, I haven't had time to cut anything together yet, lots of cool shots even a shot of the colored lines for Mr. Perkins. I promise !  This shot,, I went in on a day of at lunch time and took over the set with a little help from the lighting dept. Just thought some of  you might enjoy this still.

 

Phil "ve7kjr"

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And a video of the Mr. Young rig working a live shoot. Too answer some of your questions?

 

Yes I talk to myself,, it helps

Two Fisher 7's working the set, I play ping-pong with the actors, the other fisher is working a more set position.

 

The audio you hear is the camera mic which is mounted right next to a major pulley system with cord running and doing it's thing, Cords are 2.5 years old and have never broken. You will see me watching the quad split a lot, not just for me but for my other opp who is very new to this game and did a great job.Thanks to Glen Trew for the baseball cap,, keeps them dam lights out of me old eyes. And yes I do like to wear a tie when we have a live show, just like the old days . At the end I have a very fast reset and have to drop right over the other arm to get the line I needed,I have four words to make it there all the way out at the far end of the set for me. This shot is only a test from the go-pro.The video I want to do is more of the mechanics of it working. Just thought you might like to see one in action mode.

Phil "ve7kjr"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmOkYs-7Qes&list=UUx3Okd-l68COk8xk485eH8w&index=1

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And a video of the Mr. Young rig working a live shoot. Too answer some of your questions?

 

Yes I talk to myself,, it helps

Two Fisher 7's working the set, I play ping-pong with the actors, the other fisher is working a more set position.

 

The audio you hear is the camera mic which is mounted night next to a major pulley system with cord running and doing it's thing, Cords are 2.5 years old and have never broken. You will see me watching the quad split a lot, not just for me but for my other opp who is very new to this game and did a great job.Thanks to Glen Trew for the baseball cap,, keeps them dam lights out of me old eyes. And yes I do like to wear a tie when we have a live show, just like the old days . At the end I have a very fast reset and have to drop right over the other arm to get the line I needed,I have four words to make it there all the way out at the far end of the set for me. This shot is only a test from the go-pro.The video I want to do is more of the mechanics of it working. Just thought you might like to see one in action mode.

Phil "ve7kjr"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmOkYs-7Qes&list=UUx3Okd-l68COk8xk485eH8w&index=1

 

Cool!

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Hi Phil,

Thanks for sharing. You make it look so easy and smooth. I am sure you have spent years perfecting this craft. I like seeing the degree of concentration one has to have. I wish the young green boom ops I run into could see this. To me it is like driving a car, know what's around you at all times, keep your eyes moving and check your mirrors every 5 seconds. Keep the videos coming

The only time I have seen the Fisher up close is at NAB. The tie adds class, back in the day even men wore overalls to work also wore a tie, just adds something.

Tom n Chicago

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Today is day Day 6 of 10. We are shooting an instructional hair cutting vid. Indoor on a converted warehouse stage (meant for animation) that is not sound proofed...

I'm battling:

Crickets (indoor)

Construction

Tow yard neighbors

Fridge

But the models don't speak and the host has barely any lines. My trusty Boom Op, Cee Stan, is never late and never gets tired during the 12min takes.

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Working as A3, the cart was sort of a bag cart, shooting scenes at this "State Fair" set at night. Good fun, and ran into quite a few people in other departments I've worked with before. Best part, 10 minute drive home at 4 AM. (That's the mixer in the shot, not me, BTW).

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This last week's office was the tech table at The Yerba Buena Center in SF, preparing the opening of the Alonzo King LINES Ballet season.  The musical star this year is bassist/composer Edgar Meyer and a small ensemble, but as this is a ballet performance (original works by Alonzo King) the music has to take a back seat on everything.  This back seat turned out to be out on the downstage right apron directly under one of the house mains--just out of the pic above the violinist's head.  In addition, the dancers need to hear everything (loud) via 4 side-fill speakers between the legs and just upstage of the proscenium, and, for situations like you see here where Edgar is playing from out onstage among the dancers, they need the small monitor wedge you see in front of the foreground musicians.  To their credit, the players rolled with this very strange setup (there is also a piano in the pit all the way on the other side of the stage) and worked to keep their ensemble playing together beautifully.  Lots of careful tweaking of mic positions and PA eq, as you might expect.  At least two old-time movie sound tricks came into play w/ the house sound--the first wiring the bass with a TX (and a DPA 4099) in such a way as to A: not damage the bass and B: keep the bassist from freaking out at the idea of something being attached to his beloved instrument (I channeled the wiring of a particularly nervous actress), the second were tried and true furni pads, hung in the tunnel-like hall behind the players leading offstage--a large resonant cavity until the pads calmed it down.   Edgar had very specific mic requests, (incl the 4099,  which he would only allow to be used when he was out on stage--the rest of the time he was on a U89) none of which the hall had (no surprise) and all of which we got from the friendly folks at Audio Rents in LA, who made us a deal an arts org. could go for.  Thanks to Cedric and Dave from the house audio crew.  The music and dancing are wonderful--go see this if you are in SF in the next 2 weeks.

 

philp

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