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Jeff Wexler

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About Jeff Wexler

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    Santa Monica, CA USA
  • About
    Jeffrey S. Wexler, CAS Host of jwsound Discussion Group
  • Interested in Sound for Picture

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  1. Jeff Wexler


    We are celebrating the 16th anniversary of the JWSOUND site which continues to be a vibrant and highly popular resource for our sound community. I have seldom asked for donations to support this site , over the years there have been so many spontaneous and generous unsolicited donations it has been a real help in running the site. At this time I am asking for donations if you are able to as the expense of running the site has increased (hasn't everything except our wages!) I have never strived to monetize this site as many other sites have and there has been over the years substantial support from the paid advertising banners running on the site. Many of the companies that did advertise on the site in the past however have made the decisions that their ad budgets can be spent elsewhere more effectively. A few companies pulled their paid advertising and just used the site, regular postings, to run full advertising, promotion and customer support from the site. I have worked to minimize this as it is not fair to the companies that pay for advertising. Donations of any size will be greatly appreciated and will help with the expense of running the site. Thank you in advance for your continuing support. LINK to Donation
  2. Great story, Philip! I remember as a kid thumbing through my father's American Cinematographer's Handbook just because I was fascinated by all that stuff. That book as well as numerous questions I used to ask Pop (which he always answered so perfectly and completely) formed the basis for my learning how movies are made, how sound is recorded. When I got my first job doing sound (because I wasn't going to try and do camera), I read the Kudelski Nagra manual cover to cover, spending as much time with each section to really understand the machine. It was a very well written manual, not just a simple "push this button to record) type of manual. There was actually a lot of theory behind the difference between High Pass and Low Frequency Attenuation when describing the filter setting (HP1, LF1, etc).
  3. I agree with Constantin here but would add that I feel it is vital that the sound mixer already has some feeling for the art of listening, something which aspect of which can be taught once there is a fundamental love for our ability to listen. For me personally, I can remember so many indicators even back to about the age of two, of the joy and interest I had experiencing the world around me using sound. Not to say I am not a visual person but I think it is safe to say that I often favor the listening experience.
  4. I don't know who coined the phrase and though I understand the spirit of that phrase I really do not like it. I cringe a little bit when I hear it said by sound people because I don't think it is useful or actually instructive. So many times the words "boom is in shot" is spoken by other crew members who are not qualified to even comment or by operators who have screwed up and are trying to cover their mistake. A more useful phrase, one to say to oneself is: I feel really good about the work, I found the ideal line for my boom mic without even getting any "help" from anyone else.
  5. Rob is a great guy and has developed very durable and solid designs --- hopefully someone will pick up there line and continue to produce.
  6. I do remember people saying that Google searches like you have indicated worked very well in the past. There have not been any changes to there site so I don't have an answer as to why the search routine you had been using is no longer working well. Could it possibly be that what you were searching for just did not have as many posts as some of the other topics you had searched for in the past? I will try and duo some gtersting to see if I can discover what's going on.
  7. Interesting that all the accessories, external storage, drawers and compartments tend to over-shadow the working gear (recorder, mixer, etc.). Maybe it's just that I am so used to having so much of that stuff on a follow cart -- but of course if you need to use a small cart too work off of and carry all the extras, you've done a great job accomplishing that.
  8. That is a beautiful setup, John. I put the images of your compact Zuca cart on the Gallery of Sound Carts.
  9. Aaron ‘Cujo’ Cooley, C.A.S. has posted an incredibly thorough review of the Zaxcom RX-8. I am re-publishing this here for our JWSOUND members. It is a long read but well worth it. Cujo has a lot to say about the RX-8 because there is so much it can do in a really small package. Test Driving the Zaxcom RX-8 By a Non-Zaxcom User… Aaron ‘Cujo’ Cooley, C.A.S. March, 2022 Back in 2020, during the early days of Covid, my colleague, fellow sound mixer, and good friend, Scott Beatty and I made a couple of videos where we talked about Dante integration in the modern set-sound workflow. These two videos seemed to jump start conversation about remote deployment of modern sound recording equipment and inspired many to take a fresh look at those possibilities. Remote RF box with Dante - Better range on a post Covid film set https://youtu.be/I3novhRZC3E WHAT'S IN THE BAG ?! - Dante audio in a drop bag https://youtu.be/iaSxvdhpDH0 In these videos, we discussed the merits of creating a workflow and system that helped us remain socially distant from set, secluded in a safe work space, and able to still receive pristine audio. To be sure, this was a project that I have been working on since sometime in 2015, but Covid pushed the accelerator to the firewall and things have been rocketing forward ever since. In that video, Scott and I showed a very rudimentary, but very effective, method to get “Dante in a Bag” that would deliver lightning fast and very compact deployment of receivers to a distant set. The idea was to introduce an alternative deployment method for bag mixer, cart mixer, news teams, or almost any other team that had a need for a micro-footprint with nearly all the power and reliability of a full sized system. We made an open challenge to manufacturers that basically said, “If you are not chasing this technology, you are leaving the table open.” – The challenge was boldly laid for a multi channel, battery powered, Dante capable, audio interface with remote command and control that could be stuffed in a bag and land almost anywhere with near-zero effort and at record setting speed. A significant challenge, no doubt. Well, one manufacturer apparently took this challenge personally and proceeded to get the design team in full-tilt-boogie mode. Enter the Zaxcom RX-8. A pint sized package with mind-blowing horsepower… First, I need to mention that while I have been a Zaxcom user in the past, I am not currently running any Zaxcom gear in my audio packages. It’s not that I dislike Zaxcom or am not a Zaxcom fan, it’s more that I sold all my Zax gear before the FCC change and replaced it all with Lectro. This was, in large part, due to the Dante and digital networking capabilities the Lectrosonics gear included. So..this is not a fanboy review or sales pitch. It is an honest and open look at new technology and gear from the perspective of: “Can this help me do my job better?” The RX-8 actually creates its own new class of device with this receiver/interface combo. It does not exist, to my knowledge, anywhere else in the world except at Zaxcom. Sure, it’s a digital audio receiver that will take up to 8 channels of Zaxcom transmitted audio and send it to wherever destination that you want via AES, or over a Dante network. But wait…there’s more.. SO MUCH MORE. Straight away, the sound is exactly what it should be. Decades of field performance, awards, and accolades from the finest mixers around the globe still stand true, and the RX-8 delivers perfectly on all fronts with audio quality. The digital transmission and lack of perceivable audio noise floor is exactly what one would and should expect from pro gear. Radio range is on par with my Lectro gear. For my test I compared the ZMT4 directly to my SMWB digital transmitter from Lectrosonics. The ZMT4 patched in with the RX-8 and the SMWB patched in through a Lectrosonics D2. Both receivers tied in the network over Dante, both fully digital, both tuned to clean and coordinated frequencies, and both on the same walk at the same time. Range was dead equal to +/- a few footsteps going all over the stage, off stage, outside, inside, in front of the antenna, behind the antenna, buried in the armpit and exposed to the air. Mind you, this was not setup to be a range test shoot-out, this was simply a “take these for a walk” test like any mixer would do on the day at any filming location. I did not try to crush them with 5G (600-700MHz) bands or any other hard-core test. Just the real world, plug it in and walk. Results were near enough to equal so as to say there is no practical difference in range from either brand. A shootout under rigorous tests may show otherwise. The RX-8 is a TRUE multi-channel Dante converter and audio interface. It is not simply another radio receiver with functionality exclusive to a single brand. It is Dante I/O native. It has AES I/O. It runs on direct battery power or PoE. It slots in 8 channels of Zaxcom digital receivers. But wait, there's more? Yeppers.. A Lot more. Up to 16 channels of AES3 input can be converted and sent to Dante and AES output simultaneously in various configurations, and filtered RF distro with loop out for expansion with additional outboard gear. TWO RX-8 units can be stacked and run on the same Dante line with PoE for double the performance. Staggeringly, it’s only a third the size of a box of tissues. Somebody paid attention and this is what came of it. On the face, the Zaxcom RX-8 starts life as a premium, 8 channel capable, digital receiver for Zaxcom Digital radio transmitters. When loaded with two MRX-414 receiver modules, it operates in antenna diversity mode to receive 8 wireless channels, or in receiver diversity mode for a total of up to 4 True Diversity channels. This mode is optimal in severe RF environments, when signal dropout is an absolute no-go. Zaxcom transmitters include the capability to simultaneously transmit, while also recording onboard audio with timecode, so that if there were a dropout, accurate tracks can be delivered. The unit is, well, small. 8.5” x 8.0” x 1” (215.9mm x 203.2 x 25.4mm) Length x Width x Height. Some may even call this tiny..and I’d agree. But it is robust and well constructed in a proper aluminum case, with well thought out protections, connections, and adapters exactly where they belong. Moving to the channel I/O, the RX-8 takes the 8 channels of Dante audio and sends it out to wherever destination it is routed to. AND YET it can take an additional 8 channels of AES audio input from another source through the DB25 connector and inject that into the Dante stream, giving a whopping 16 channel send. It is important to know that some configurations give up other configurations, such as 8 channels AES in gives up 8 channels AES out, and 8 channels of Analog output from receivers uses the entire DB-25 for output, with no AES input. Another thing that separates the RX-8 from anything else on the market is that it can handle Dante I/O on the network and take AES in and out over DB25 —and it can do it at the same time. This is not something currently available from other major players in the marketplace. Further, with the optional AES3 adapter from Zaxcom, the user can swap the receiver modules and turn the RX-8 to a stand alone AES –> Dante audio converter, to take 16 channels of AES3 input into a Dante audio stream and send it anywhere on the network. The RS422 connector on the RX-8 allows for direct connection to a Zaxcom IFB300 or TRXCL4 for IFB and Zaxnet control options. Timecode out from the RX-8 is direct connect with BNC For powering, Zaxcom has a 12vDC Hirose connector on the chassis, but also adds another first by allowing the user utilize PoE from the network to drive the device. For real world deployment, this is a HUGE deal. Users can take a single PoE cable and an antenna and the RX-8 is set to deploy with the smallest footprint ever produced. Now all of this seems pretty cool when you first look at it, but when you REALLY dive deep, the applications and implications are staggering. The RX-8 is a TRUE crossover device and Dante audio interface. You don’t NEED to topple over your whole investment in other brands in order to integrate Zaxcom or Dante into your gear line. You can get Dante and AES in, out, and through, the device – AT THE SAME TIME. Other brands do not offer this. Here, it’s not an either/or situation. You have 2 way audio flow and can take channels from the RX-8 to the cart, while having channels return BACK to the RX-8 over Dante to feed outboard devices. Various configurations will determine ultimate I/O. You have an accurate timecode in the whole stream at all times. You can have remote control of Zaxcom transmitters via Zaxnet with proper accessories. You can integrate non-Zaxcom brands into the RX-8 with no hassle via the AES I/O. You can integrate additional AES3 devices for expanded I/O You have remote control from your laptop/tablet/phone over web-based GUI, or via Dante/Ethernet through the Zaxcom GUI Bridge Let’s take a look at bag vs cart setups and the RX-8. Suppose you are like any average cart based mixer, and you have a full rack of receivers and outboard gear for your cart. For bag work, you have a second recorder, a full set of portable duplicate receivers, and your outboard gear. Soon, you have a remote day coming up with a process trailer. Ordinarily, you’ll take your bag with your second recorder and a rack of duplicate receivers, and hustle over to the process trailer to get setup. With the RX-8 rig, you simply disconnect ONE ethernet cable and the antennas, drop the RX-8 in your bag. Plug the DB25 to your AES3, connect your antennas, and you now have an instant 8 channel duplication of your cart, without having to buy a whole duplicate system. The RX-8 is absolutely a workhorse unit. The flexibility and level of integration into nearly any conceivable system is mind boggling, because of the flexibility and AES signal conversion capabilities, the outboard options are deep. Want to plug in your A-10 Wireless boom receiver..? ? —- Sure. No problem. Want to drop a Lectro D2 / AES in line with the RX-8..? ? —- Yup, can do. Want to add in Lectro SR’s or Shure ADX5D’s on AES..? ? — Yeah mate..Done and dusted. Already have a rack with a previous generation Zaxcom ? Covered. Compatibility is there. Dante, AES3, Audio converter, Timecode, Zaxnet, Web based GUI, 16 channel capacity, Two-way audio, Small, 12vDC power. This little box delivers. The use cases are as vast as the imagination. There are a couple demerits for the RX-8 as tested. There is a GUI Bridge that allows web based command and control via any phone / laptop / tablet with WiFi access that is near release (summer 2022). The current lack of a GUI Bridge limits users because without it, there is no remote control, and the full possibilities can’t be realized. This doesn’t mean don’t buy it…. Overall, the RX-8 is a seriously powerful device. When fully complete with the GUI Bridge, it will answer almost every single challenge thrown in our 2020 video. In its current form, the RX-8 is still a very strong performer and its ability to be a true crossover device capable of such a wide range of signal flow solutions in such a small and portable package is something that has not been delivered by any manufacturer to date. I want to shy away from the term “game changer” because it has been beaten to absolute death. But the RX-8 is definitely going to decide how future games are played. If you are looking for a really really strong workhorse that has absolutely UNMATCHED versatility, at an affordable price, by an American manufacturer, then you really need to take a look at the RX-8 from Zaxcom. Aaron ‘Cujo’ Cooley, C.A.S. is an Atlanta, Georgia USA based Production Sound Mixer. An active member of IATSE Local 695 in Los Angeles and IATSE Local 479 in Atlanta, Ga. Cujo works television and film projects at all levels, with specialty in music, high track count, and live performance types. Cujo is also the CEO of RF Systems Consultants, an RF services company specializing in RF management and system analysis for film and television. You can reach Cujo directly at AtlantaSoundGuy@Gmail.com or through his Agent, Ivana Savic at GSK Talent. www.GSKTalent.com © Aaron ‘Cujo’ Cooley, 2022
  10. The Gallery of Sound Carts is linked in several places on this site -- if you have trouble finding it, below is a direct link to the Gallery: Gallery of Sound Carts LINK The Gallery is a huge collection of sound carts spanning several decades. All varieties are represented including a large number of custom hand built carts. Over the years there actually has been very few commercially available dedicated sound carts. Most everyone up until fairly recently has had to build, adapt or re-purpose carts from other industries. My first sound cart was built on a Sears television cart. It was part of a package deal at Sears -- I had a heck of a time trying to convince the salesman that I did not want the 19" Silvertone Black & White television sitting on the cart -- I just wanted the cart!
  11. Nice! I always loved doing anything with music -- not too much opportunity for Production Sound Mixers on movies but I was lucky to be on quite a few where we did some really nice live music recordings.
  12. I'm fairly sure that the members of each branch are always upset about the fact that the whole membership votes once the nominations are in. I know from being a member of the Sound Branch, we have had numerous discussions about this but no one has ever come up with any sort of corrective plan. The majority of Academy members are actors -- most are not qualified to weigh in on the more technical awards but I wouldn't go so far as to say that all the voting is meaningless -- many of the actors are able to judge the quality of work in the other crafts.
  13. Looks like this year the Academy has gone to just one category, Best Sound, instead of splitting it between sound mixing and sound editing. Does this mean that sound editing has been dropped altogether? BEST SOUND Belfast (Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri) Dune (Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett) No Time to Die (Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor) The Power of the Dog (Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb) West Side Story (Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy)
  14. Philip, I think I knew you would have had experience with a wide variety of DAT machines but it does not surprise me that the more expensive "professional" machines were far less reliable than the others. When I first used DAT I was using a consumer SONY D-10 (not even the D-10 Pro) which I purchased at the DAT Store in Santa Monica. This was a place that specialized in bringing in DAT machines when they were really not available easily (constrained, in part, by pending litigation in Congress similar to the famous Betamax ordeal). My first machine came with an owners manual all in Japanese but it wasn't too difficult to figure out how to make it work. I did 2 full feature films with that machine, did all the transfers to mag at my facility, Northstar Media Sound Services. No one else in production or editorial even had to know what I was doing with this grand experiment. The early SONY machines worked just fine. I will add that when I started this adventure I ran in parallel my Nagra 4.2 (as a safety in case this new format didn't work). I never had to send in the ¼" tapes.
  15. When I finally wound up with HHB PortaDAT it was rock solid, never really had any significant problems. It was all the other so-called professional machines that made me hate the format (StellaDAT, Foster, etc.). The first movie was the Los Angeles portion of Ed Zwick's movie "The Siege" in 1998. The majority of the movie was shot in New York but Don and I did 4 or 5 weeks in L.A. on the movie. I was determined to use the Deva on the production and the post people were in favor of trying it but the studio, Twentieth Century Fox, was adamantlty against it, refusing at first to do the transfers. My first meeting with the people at Fox was pretty rough, they all said "don't try anything new, just hand in a DAT tape like everyone else does" which is somewhat ironic considering my past history with Fox. In 1990 after having done three movies with DAT and doing the transfers at Northstar Media (a post facility I co-owned), I had a movie at Fox where they were insisting on doing the transfers. When I told them I was using DAT, they literally said "What's DAT?" --- just hand in the ¼" tape like everybody else, don't try anything new. I did convince them they could easily do the transfers off DAT, all they would need is a DAT machine in place of the ¼" tape machine, play it out to mag for delivery to Editorial. They said they didn't have any DAT machines. -- I told them to go over the Music Department and see if you can borrow one of the 6 Panasonic 3900 DAT machines they had there. It all worked out, eventually, and as I was saying, years later they were resistant to doing something new.
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