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I've been doing a few corpo shoots lately, mostly for tech cos., mostly in Silicon V.  I've been noticing that the newest buildings seem to have HVAC systems that are astonishingly loud--like not just a problem for me as a location soundie, but loud enough that being in there would be tiring, like living next to a waterfall.  In general, I'm finding that the newer the building the louder the air.  In one case the company had renovated an older building then joined it to a new one--the difference in the loudness of the air system was very audible as you walked from the old section into the new.  No one cares much about my problems with this high BG audio (until they get to post), but I would seriously hate working 8+ hrs a day every day in these places.  These were not cheap buildings: expensive Silicon Valley land, heavy interior decoration in the linear psuedo mid-century style, full tech biz snackatoriums and free cafeteria, gym and etc.  And terrifically noisy AC.

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Yes, I agree... And invariably, if I manage to somehow turn it all off for a shoot, everyone marvels at the wonderful quiet.  It's a very rare architect/builder/owner who accounts for the sonic signature of a building when it's being built or purchased...

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

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Amazingly enough, there were what appeared to be pink noise generators hung from the ceilings as well, but they were not making any sound--the HVAC duct

work was tremendously noisy on its own.  In some buildings there is an ebb and flow to the noise as the sun moves around the building, but not in this case: full Niagara all the time.  I went perhaps one step beyond polite advice in the direction of rudeness on this subject, and got the signal from the producer that this battle was already lost in pre-pro so we just kind of had to tough it out. 

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Ya, I get that a lot. At least the coffee and lunches are extra good. My worst was a few years ago where the CEO was sitting directly under one of the jet-engine HVAC vents. Why there? Because the reclaimed-brick & open-workspace background looked great from that position. So hyper & lav & prayers. Crew was WTF? But the agency client insisted... After, my half-assed RX monkeying got things kinda passible. The some serious post guy or gal (wasn't my job...don't recall... Stuart Dubey maybe?) made things actually good. And that just got the camera and producer (both good guys) all excited about sticking people just anywhere. I was able to impress upon them that we got lucky; they bought it. The producer and client? It's like they got RX implanted in their brains and stopped hearing all sorts of noise (the implant's battery eventually wore out).

 

And ya, the full-on employees... At a certain point, they realize the free food functions as a tasty prison; do not leave the building. As Al suggests, the white noise muffles the realization that they're in the well-appointed second circle of hell. #beentheredonethatkeptthestockoptionsbutthestockdidntdomuch

 

Here's an article with a headline that unsells the problems with open office plans:

 

Open-plan offices were devised by Satan in the deepest caverns of hell

They’re bad for concentration, motivation, stress – and they don’t even make it easier for employees to communicate, new research indicates

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2013/nov/18/open-plan-offices-bad-harvard-business-review

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Yeah, seems like this has gotten a lot worse over the years. And I thought it was just the stages I worked on...

 

Have shot in some unbelievably noisy buildings. It’s like the guys that designed the systems had never heard of the concept of high volume/low velocity HVAC. Really don’t know how people can stand to work in such an environment.

 

-S

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7 hours ago, pindrop said:

Get a Schoeps Super CMIT?
That's what I use, also very effective at reducing reverb......

 

Or turn off the freakin' noisy air con!  Grr!

 

D.

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Yea, in addition to HVAC I've worked some corporates where they have a white noise generator blasting in all the rooms of the building. Huge difference when we turned it off. Apparently its for the employees to be less distracted with other conversations/BG noise etc...

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On 8/9/2018 at 11:58 AM, al mcguire said:

The wash of white noise might be intended as it covers other, might be annoying sounds.

Al

 

... like the sound of your cubicle neighbor sobbing. 

 

 

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