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About bigmaho

  • Birthday January 1

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    NY and NM
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    Call Signs WB2MEF and WQOI744

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  1. What Donovan Dear said. Lectros are great, but they are older analog technology. Audio Ltd has always made great gear, but their new digital radios are first generation. Zazcom has been making digital radios since 2002. Their technology is 16 years ahead of the competition. They are on their 5th or 6th generation. You should definitely take a look.
  2. bigmaho

    Dpa lavaliers

    I carry 3 types of lavs, the DPA, Sanken and Countryman. In most cases I use the Countryman B6 because usually I can get a better mic placement with the B6. Often it's in the open in plain sight sticking out of a tie or a button hole (but all but invisible if that makes sense). The DPA does sound the best, but it's larger and when hidden under clothing most of the benefits disappear. BUT, when I know I'll be dealing with high SPLs (singing or screaming) the DPA handles the range better than all others. Billy Sarokin
  3. All our existing Zaxcom radios will work as well as they have always done. So there is nothing in this new product introduction that makes our existing gear unuseable. It's sort of like Jeep just introduced a Cadillac. There's no reason Jeep would take back your Cherokee and upgrade it. I for one will be switching over all my Zaxcom radios for these new ones over time. I'll be selling all my existing radios on the open market and I will price them low enough that they will provide a great entry point for younger mixers who want to discover the joys of zaxnet, recording radios and digital modulation. I only have one question. It seems the Zax xtrs will either cover 500-600 OR 600-700 mHz. Since the 600 mHz band has a limited life, if I bought all 600 mHz xtrs (to match my existing block 26) are they easily convertible to 500 mHz if and when the time comes? Very excited about these new radios! Billy Sarokin
  4. Seconded! I've had the very rare request to open a mic of an actor off set and it won't happen on my watch. Even my crew knows if I leave a pot open (usually when a 'going again' turns into a new set up), If I'm at crafties they'll pot everything down. Seconded! Even my crew knows if I accidentally leave a pot open (usually when a 'going again' mysteriously becomes a new set up, they'll pot down my board if I have stepped away. I've had the extremely rare request to keep a pot open when an actor is off set and it won't happen on my watch. As Jan said, the one exception is a car rig where I keep a plant mic open for communication. Billy
  5. Great post John. Thanks Billy Sarokin
  6. Not only the ambience of the location but the emotion of live acting/singing. Imagine if actors had to lipsync their dialog to lines they recorded in a studio months prior without any of the other actors present. I've been hearing that the studio in Black Nativity was fighting hard against using the live recordings. Makes no sense. They missed a great promotional opportunity aside from the great dramatic opportunities! My thanks to the director, Kasi Lemmons and re-recording mixer, Lewis Goldstein for fighting them as much as possible! lol, 'Occupy Live Vocals!'
  7. but Peter Kurland on the other hand :-) .....
  8. The funniest thing is that the camera has a mag barney. That must have been one squeaky mag!!!
  9. lol, wish I could oblige Glenn but that would take its own Christmas miracle :-)
  10. And I second what Jeff said. For instance, I use Countryman B6 mics all the time for dialog but no way I was going to use them for the singing. They just can't handle the range required. When Jennifer really hit her highs the B6 would just squish her voice down. The DPA can handle those high SPL's and so can the Zaxcom radios without any companding or compression. It's important to know what your gear can and cannot do and use it to its utmost. I use the B6 as an example because of it's small size I can often mount it right out in the open, so in the end, for normal dialog, it will sound better than a much finer mic (like the DPA) which has to be hidden. My cart is based around Zaxcom. These days there are many digital recorders that can record as well as the Deva, but I rely on the powerful digital routing capabilities, Zaxnet control of my radios (and mic pres) and the incredible redundancy of the system to pull off these complex shoots. I have yet to find a situation where the Zaxcom system cannot handle everything I throw at it. And as you know, I am not shy in saying that out loud. On Black Nativity I was often using all 16 tracks available. I had 14 mics working (plus 10 more going to Jody Elfs rig) and was also taking one or 2 playback feeds. One of the more complex things I had to deal with was controlling the level of the playback being fed into the Comteks. With Deva I was able to route the digital playback feed (digital because all my analog inputs were being used) I was getting from Egor's Pro Tools playback to its own tracks (one audio, and the 2nd for playback time code) and then send the output through one of the faders of the Deva (since I was already using all the input and output faders on the mix 12) and into the Comtek output, so I could use a Deva input fader to control the playback gain into the Comteks. All in all, we had 3 Comtek systems, Zaxcom ERX IFBs, and multiple ear wigs. The output mix was as complicated as the input mix!
  11. Not co-incidental, well deserved. Along with Schoeps, DPA and my crew.
  12. It was funny, in pre-pro, Forest Whitaker insisted on signing live. He was preaching and singing in front of a choir and in some of the numbers was joined by Angela Basset, Jennifer, Jacob Latimore, Tyrese Gibson, Luke James, Grace Gibson and more, so if he was live, everybody was live. And it grew from there, if those numbers were live, why not do all of it live. When I interviewed for the job they asked me how I would do it and gave them a number of options and said we'd probably use all of them. These included ear wigs (which would have to be tinted because they only make 'caucasian' ones) and a good pro-tools playback guy because everyone would want a different feed, live keyboard playback through a PA and full PA playback of pre-records. The only thing I suggested that shouldn't be done live was the church band. I felt I could get all the vocals clean even with keyboards or music coming through a PA system but felt that a full band would complicate matters too much. My thanks to Simon Hayes who did Les Miserables for the tip on using DPA lavs. I always had one in Jennifer's hair and it held her range beautifully. And of course thanks to my crew, Timothea Sellars for her great wiring and add'l booming, George Leong on boom, Egor Panchenko on playback and ear wigs and Jody Elf and his crew. The studio insisted on bringing in a remote concert recording company for the big church scenes. There was no real need for it and and it cost production a mint, but they did make my job easier. Jody and his guys handled recording the choir (with a combination of Schoeps wide cardiods on 'Pavoratti' stands and some smaller DPA's) and also set up stereo pairs for wide perspectives. I gave them a rack of Zaxcom receivers so they could also get my main mics. Also have to thank Zaxcom. The routing on this was incredible. Everyone who had a feed wanted something different. I also had to feed some of the mics through a live PA so the congregation could hear and interact. I don't know how I could have done it without the digital routing capabilities of the Deva/Mix 12 combo. Of course, all the mics were going through Zaxcom transmitters. With the right mics they held the range. One funny note. For the climactic scene, Forest starts on stage preaching through his hand held when he is confronted by his daughter (Jennifer). I knew he'd put down the handheld but he was still on the stage which was hard lit so I couldn't get a boom on him. His frock was very thick so a body mic wasn't an option either, so I asked the producer if I could use a pin mic through the frock. It would be visible, would sound great, but would have to be painted out in post. He agreed. The frock was black and gold, so I put the black mic on the black but the wardrobe people asked me to put it on the gold because if it was on the black (and nearly invisible) it would be ignored in post and never painted out. So it went on the gold and was clearly visible. It still is to this day. Guess no one (except you guys now) noticed it. It sounded great and saved a key part of a scene from looping.
  13. Hope you get to see it. It's a great twist on New York. How many directors can pull off turning Times Square into a version of ancient Bethlehem (complete with camels). It was a fun shoot to work on and amazed that it was pulled off so calmly in relatively short shooting days (often 10 hours). All the numbers except one were recorded so it would be possible to use live vocals. The director and the re-recording mixer (Lew Goldstein) pushed for as much live as possible. From what I hear the studio wanted the pre-records. Not sure why. In the end, many numbers were skillful combinations of both,
  14. Ok, have to toot my own horn. Black Nativity opens today. Lots of live singing (though not as much as I hoped) all recorded on New York locations. Nice review in the NY Times today with a video clip from the director talking about one scene in particular. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/movies/black-nativity-with-angela-bassett-and-jennifer-hudson.html?ref=arts&_r=0 Here's the gloating part. Jennifer Hudson was in a funny mood the day we filmed the scene Kasi talks about in the clip and didn't want to sing live, so we were playing the pre-record through loud speakers. I still had her mic'd though (DPA in her hair via a Zaxcom xtr) and a Schoeps on a boom when we could). Even singing at 10% she was absolutely incredible so I kept begging the director to let us do it live. Finally I got one take on just 2 of the set ups where we gave her an ear wig for the instrumental and let her sing. She was just incredible. Still gives me shivers. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Billy Sarokin
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