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Jeff Wexler

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About Jeff Wexler

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    Santa Monica, CA USA
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    Jeffrey S. Wexler, CAS Host of jwsound Discussion Group
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  1. I wouldn't buy it without listening to the capsule --- some hold up very well over time, some don't. I continued to use really old Schoeps capsules as long as I fdelt they still sounded good (and I was, of course, very familiar with how it should sound).
  2. For my Follow Cart I used mostly 3 RU drawers and one 4 RU. On my main cart (several version, older one pictured here) I used a 2 RU for my stuff on my side and a 3 RU one on the backside of the cart (for easy access by my crew).
  3. It was Richard Lightstone and I that convinced Rackman company to produce aluminum drawers --- prior to them agreeing to build their drawers out of aluminum the only source I had was Star Case. Lots of us bought Rackman drawers but I don't think that's what drove them out of business. As far as I know, Rackman company no longer exists and we're back to having to rely on Star Case for aluminum drawers. LINK for Star Case
  4. My dear friend and fellow worker, Don Coufal, passed away this morning. Don was so much a part of my life having spent over half my life with him over the last 40+ years --- we did 67 movies together, countless commercials, co-founded Northstar Media Sound Services. I owe so much of my career to Don's incredible talent, his unwavering commitment to our work together. So often when I was offered a job or someone was recommending me, they would always say "get Jeff-and-Don" like it was one entity, and in so many ways we were --- so different from eachother, our strengths and weaknesses, but so incredibly complimentary as a team, so much more than either of us individually. Everyone we ever worked for could see this right away and Don truly re-defined what it means to be a Boom Operator. I know it is somewhat of a cliche, but Don was a true filmmaker who just happened to work in sound. It is a terrible loss for all of us, for the industry, he will be missed.
  5. One the first primary things I had to learn (48 years ago) when I started mixing was how what I was hearing in my headphones carried over to the screen. In the beginning I was using Beyer DT-48s since they were unquestionably (there goes that issue about asking questions) THE standard. But the thing I had going for me personally in this whole process was great friendships, primarily through my father, with picture editors, re-recording mixers, composers and just about everyone involved in the movie. It was also bucket the time that we went to dailies (I'm sure someone may ask "what are dailies ?") it was much easier and quite a bit more immediate to know how I was doing (watching and listening to yesterday's scenes). I soon realized that I was learning, quite effectively, how what I was hearing translated to the screen. Many years later, having gotten fed up with the "head clamp" of the DT-48s, switched to Sony headphones (not 7506s yet) snd just had to learn how these new headphones translated. Regarding EQ, in the earliest jobs in my career I was guilty of pretty excessive EQ and processing of the track (andI do mean THE track because everything was mono, single track at that time),buts graduated into proper union job with really talented and experienced people in post-production, I dialed it backbite a bit. Lastly, I do remember one re-recording mixer who thanked me for sending in wonderful flat tracks with no EQ (but of course this was job with a lot of scenes where I actually used a LOT of EQ --- so, go figure, maybe Just got lucky or maybe just did a really good job).
  6. Great review! This is very helpful for so many of us faced with having to use ear pieces ---- even on a good day in the past with the best of them it is often not too pleasant an experience, but necessary for many sorts of jobs. It seems like the 2.4 ghz ones will work quite well as long as you understand the nature of 2.4 ghz and can utilize additional amp and antenna systems.
  7. I am very much aware of this, it has happened to me and to many others more often than it should. I have been working with my host server technical support but have no gotten to any definitive answer or solution to this. Fortunately it can be cleared fairly easily and the site returns to normal operation but there must be a reason it happens (and I would love to find the solution).
  8. Thank you, John B., for the thoughtful and realistic explanation regarding this Neverclip issue. I was wanting to weigh in on the issue as it relates to other technologies, like 32-bit floating point, and point out as you have that sometimes the names and descriptions, and in some instances the marketing hype, can unduly influence some of our less experienced sound professionals.
  9. Lids says: "Lately I and a few other colleagues have encountered some strange distortion issues in the dialogue recordings of recent film jobs (we are in sound post using protools). The one common denominator seems to be that the recordists have used Zaxcom recorders and the "neverclip" function" Question: once determined that the tracks that you have had a distorsion problem came from sound mixers using Zaxcom recorders, did you speak with any of these sound mixers? I'm sure you have had distortion issues on occassion on some films where the sound mixer was using some other recorder (typically a Sound Devices recorder) --- did you ever follow up speaking to those sound mixers to determine the source of the distortion? It is commendable that you wish to understand the inner-workings of Neverclip in Zaxcom recorders, but your assumption that the distorsion you have heard is a result of Neverclip is highly unlikely. It is possible that the sound mixers using the Zaxcom recorders as you state, may not themselves understand Neverclip and are making critical mistakes in their gain staging thinking that whatever they do, Neverclip will save them. As many have stated here, Neverclip when used properly will be highly effective in protecting the ISO tracks but it is still very easy to overload or clip a mix track resulting in distorsion. Of course if the signal coming into the recorder input is distorted or compromised in any way (the source being a wireless transmission for example that is already into limiting or distorsion --- Neverclip on the input will not help out in this case, the recorder will just faithfully record the signal.
  10. What is certainly true is that there is occasionally a debate on this issue, how do we name/identify a pick-up shot. This has been the case way before anyone was doing file-based recordings with metadata, etc., but of course we had to deal with it as we hand wrote our sound reports. I actually always preferred the method that the majority of the script-continuity people I worked with employed: they woulds call out "make this one a pick-up" and everyone would write "P.U." on the slate and the sound report. So, let's say we had done Scene 32, Take 4 and after the camera cut, the Director or someone says let's do a pick up, we'd out Scene 32, Take 5 P.U. on the slate. Often the camera would roll and right before action the actor(s) might ask "where are we taking this from?" and more often than not the 1st AD would say "take it from the top" and we'd do the whole scene or possibly just as part of the scene, but not actually a pick-up. Then we were faced with labeling Take 5 P.U. as an incomplete (INC --- another thin g we used to write on our sound reports. It got to the point that I often didn't bother to even put the "P.U." designation on my sound report because so often the pick-up just wasn't a pick-up after all (and let the script person make as many notations as he or she wants to about Take 5). In todays world where so much of post is initially tied to timecode and we're no longer doing prints (circled takes) and our entire files are being loaded into Editorial, I think the whole naming up certain takes as pick-ups has become somewhat irrelevant.
  11. I decided to leave this post up even though it loses on several fronts: un-paid advertising and not aimed at our production and post-production sound community, also an abuse of the Work Available - Available For Work section which is primarily for individual workers networking. I imagine this will get very little traction but it is not really deserving of deletion in my opinion. We'll see how it goes --- maybe we have some guitar players who might find it interesting (in spite of its irrelevancy).
  12. Nova/MRX414 FAQ • Why is the TX to RX range (distance) of this system so good? The Nova with the MRX414 is a very special combination. It has a very low noise floor due to the electrical design of Nova that does not spray any undesired RF. This keeps the RF signal to noise at its theoretical best as to allow signals the ability to decode well beyond that of any other digital wireless microphone system. This is combined with Zaxcom's ability to decode the signal with only 9 dB of RF signal above the noise. Zaxcom's different modulations enhance range (XR) and RF reflection dropout protection (ZHD96). These modulations are user selectable depending on the operating environment and are exclusive features of Zaxcom Wireless. • What kind of distance should I expect? With a 125mW Zaxcom transmitter and the Nova with whip antennas you can expect 500 to 1000ft of coverage line of sight. This would double with directional antennas. There are many factors that will determine the distance covered but in a low noise environment this would be a typical distance. • Does the Nova with 2 MRX414s receive 8 separate mono transmitters? Yes, as said on Facebook, “It’s real and its spectacular” • How does the system handle interference from walkies and cell phones? The Nova has Zaxcom's built in Micplexer with filtered RF distribution that eliminates the RF from these interfering devices. Walkies can be used at the sound cart with no effect on the front end of the Nova. One set of high Q filters is shared between all 8 receiver channels in the MRX414s contained in the Nova providing excellent interference elimination to all receivers. The Nova front end is not subject to front end overload as is common to non Zaxcom wide band multicouplers. • Can I use the RF outputs of the Nova to feed other manufacturer wireless? Yes. The RF output of the Nova is filtered and will provide 3 dB of RF gain so that it can feed one, two or even 4 RF receivers with external splitters. Because the RF Signal to Noise is established at the Nova front end even 4 external receivers will be enhanced by the Nova's flux capacitor filter and the elimination of intermodulation in the Nova RF distribution front end. Use of the Nova flux capacitor filter will eliminate walkie and cell phone interference from other brands of wireless microphones connected to the Nova. • Can I overload the front end of the Nova causing interference to multiple channels? No. The front end of the Nova would need to have a transmitter antenna almost physically touch the receiver antenna to cause an overload. If a transmitter is “dirty” it can cause interference by being too close to the Nova but only to very close adjacent channels. • Is there compatibility with other manufacturer’s transmitters? That is not possible with any Zaxcom receiver. • Can I mix and match different receivers in the Nova? Yes QRX212 (2-RX), MRX214 (2-RX) and MRX414 (4-RX) can be used in any combination. • Can I mix modulations types in the MRX receivers? One modulation is chosen for the 2 receivers in the MRX214, In the MRX414 a different modulation can be used for each pair of receivers in the MRX414 so that XR can be used on two receivers and ZHD96 can be used on the others for example. • Can I use amplified antennas or external multicouplers with the Nova and the MRX414? This should never be done as their use will negate the benefits of the Nova internal micplexer and degrade performance. • Can I receive 4 stereo transmitters with the MRX414? Sorry no. Because there are a total of 4 audio outputs from the MRX414 you can receive one stereo transmission and 2 mono transmitters or two stereo transmitters or 4 mono transmitters. • How does the RF auto pick work? Nova uses Zaxnet to remotely control the Zaxcom transmitters to select the best operating frequencies in any environment. When a scan is initiated on the Nova it will find the best frequencies to operate on using the Zaxcom modulation selected to determine frequency spacing. Nova will disable all transmitters remotely, scan the available spectrum, then if enabled each wireless channel (transmitter and receiver) will be given a new clear frequency to operate on. This procedure takes a few seconds and can be done with the transmitters on the talent without any interaction with them and from 100s of feet away through Zaxnet remote control. • How much power does this system consume? The total power draw of the system (Nova and 8 receiver channels) is approximately 1.1 amps. The new generation MRX414 receiver design breaks new ground by offering extraordinary RF performance while consuming about 75mA per RF channel. This is ½ to ¼ the power consumption of wireless from other manufacturers. • Are the MRX414s compatible with the RX12 and RX12R? Yes but it will require a software update on the RX12 to allow them to work as 24 separate receivers. When this happens AES3 will be the interface that must be used to get 24 channels of audio from the receiver. • How does the MRX214 and MRX414 compare to the QRX212? These new receivers consume half the power of the QRX212 per receiver and have 15 dB better RF dynamic range. This RF difference will only come into play in very high or low RF environments. Overall the Nova itself with its ultra-low noise floor and excellent RF circuitry will make the biggest positive difference in the range. • Does the MRX414 now have a “Quad” receiver mode to enhance transmission reliability? No, it still has "Single" (True Diversity) and "Dual" (Antenna) diversity modes. A Quad mode would not be helpful and would require 4 separate antennas. Dual mode is crazy reliable and there is never any switching artifacts like that of other systems in the market. The range is effectively the same in single and dual modes. • Should I buy 2 MRX214s or one MRX414? It depends. The 2 MRX214s separate the receivers into two separate boxes. If there was a problem then only one of the 2 would need to go into service. With a MRX414 the sound bag would be 7oz or so lighter than with the 2 MRX214s. The RF performance will be the same either way. • Is putting all of my eggs in one basket a good Idea? With Nova and MRX414 receivers there is never one basket. Without a Zaxcom system a recorder problem can always stop a production. Since each Zaxcom transmitter has internal recording, audio can never be lost as it is backed up on each transmitter in the system and is available as a virtual multi track recording for re-play, re-mix and re-record. This is true even if the bag recorder does not roll or if RF interference causes audio reception loss. The Nova with the internal receivers is much better to work with than separate mixer/recorders and wireless from other companies. Nova and the MRX receivers are faster to physically change and the frequencies and settings stay with the Nova so a receiver exchange takes less time and effort in the case of a problem. With 8 receivers in Nova there is enough redundancy to stay in production if a receiver problem were to surface. It is more likely that a bad cable will cause a problem with a non Zaxcom product and stop production. The Nova has no external cables to break or wear out or radiate stray RF that can effect receiver range. • Can I upgrade the MRX214 into a MRX414? Yes you can do it yourself if you are handy with a screw driver and a nut driver. The cost is only the difference between the MRX214 and MRX414 at the time the upgrade is purchased. If we do it at the factory there is a minimal labor charge as well. • Can 2 MRX214s be combined to form 1 MRX414 That is not possible. The boards are different and cannot be combined. The MRX414 board can be ordered as an upgrade and an enable code must be entered for it to operate. • Can I shut down the receivers independently to save power? Each slot can be independently disabled. Shutting down a MRX214 will save 150ma. Shutting down an MRX414 will save 300mA. If no receivers are enabled an extra 100mA will be saved as the internal Micplexer will shut off as well. • Does the MRX214 and MRX414 support all Zaxcom modulations? At this time all modulations are supported with the exception of ZHD48.
  13. LINK to video showing Nova now with 8 channels of wireless receivers
  14. Jeff Wexler

    HHB Dat

    Thanks for the memories, Mike! When I first used DAT in production, we were very concerned that the DAT cassettes would get lost and there was no room for sound report forms. We designed and had made a box (later named the "D-Box") that was the same physical dimensions as the long running ¼" 5 inch tape white boxes --- slightly thicker with an insert to hold the DAT tape and room for sound report folded up. This D-Box became very popular and solved the problem of the small DAT cassette. Later when I started the use of the original Deva I, we were turning in Jazz discs so I had inserts made for the D-Box that would hold the Jazz disc. Then on to the Orb disc, very briefly, and again, an insert for the D-Box to fit that disc. With DVD-RAM, many of us used the various commercially available DVD cases which could hold one or two DVD-RAM discs and room for sound reports. Moving on to CF cards and SD, there were lots of carriers available to transport this sort of media. I had a few of those but I adopted the procedure of using a plastic zip-lock style pouch that would hold the media (CF or SD) in its little case along with the sound report. The outside of the pouch had a label, often something like "Deliver sound dailies to Technicolor".
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