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    12+ years of video production experience.
  • Interested in Sound for Picture

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  1. Do you have a recommendation for a good breakaway cable? Is this something I can do or do I need to send them in somewhere? Is this something you are paid extra for or is it just part of the gig? In other words, would I be better off selling the U87 and putting the money towards a good wireless kit or will the rental fee be more advantageous? I have looked into a few of the portable "isolation chambers" for this exact reason but wasn't sure how often the request would come up.
  2. Thank you all for the great advice! It truly helps paint a better picture of what quality productions are looking for. I am not interested in working on low budget productions and would rather show up with gear that will help produce exceptional audio. I understand I have a lot to learn but am a pretty quick study. My only experience with the AVX was for scratch audio to produce VO for and my client paid for it so it worked out in that regard.
  3. Jon, Thank you for your advice. I most certainly don't want to undercut anyone. My time is quite valuable to me so I will only take jobs that pay professional industry rates. That said, It seems a bit hard to find information on what others charge for a day rate in my specific area. I figured I would start at $600/10hr day plus $350 basic Kit. Does that seem reasonable? Are there any mixers in the Washington DC area that would be willing to have a conversation (perhaps over a pint) about their day rates and any advice about finding work in the area?
  4. Allen, Thank you for the link! To show my wireless ignorance, I will need to look into what the difference between whitespace and available frequencies are.
  5. Noted. Based on previous posts on the same topic, one train of thought was to look at what other rental houses charge and base your rental fee around that. I know most rental houses offer discounts for multiple day rentals and was trying to figure out how to easily incorporate a discounted rate in a similar fashion. I have no interest, at this time, in shooting a TV series or feature film so hopefully I wont have to deal with long term rates any time soon. Perhaps I am looking too far into this.
  6. Thank you for the block 28 information. I knew there were certain blocks that were okay in different areas but couldn't tell you which ones work where. How do you deal with travel if you lock yourself into a certain block that works in your main area of operation? I also figured asking for advice on which wireless system to purchase was a bit redundant since I am sure it has been discussed many times on this forum.
  7. Do the producers expect a drop in rental cost in a similar fashion to what the rental houses offer? Perhaps it would be better for me to figure out what equipment is needed then apply it to the formula and present the figure as a total cost.
  8. Coming from a previous job where everything had to be wired, the AVX was amazing to work with for a newcomer to the wireless world. You just turned it on and the thing worked. That said, I figured there was a reason I was unable to find a single post on this forum about it. Every review I read was from an external site and seemed from a prosumer point of view. I guess I better start searching for the Lectrosonic vs Zaxcom posts and start doing my homework. I know there is a lot more to consider than just the brand/model of wireless to purchase but it is all greek to me.
  9. I hear that! I ran a one man band for years and always welcomed an experienced hand. Unfortunately they were a bit hard to come by in my previous employment. I would only consider wearing two hats on a small job like a corporate interview in a controlled environment. That said, I am ready to move on and focus on one area of production and get as good at it as I possibly can.
  10. I truly appreciate the insight and am feeling better about letting it go. I need a few key items in my sound gear and hopefully selling these items off will help me gain the items I need. Do you think Ebay is the best place to list the items for sale?
  11. I initially purchased the U87 to record VO and vocals and hoped to invest in a sound booth. I also had an interest in recording acoustics for music thus the 184s joined my kit. Other than pulling them out of the box to look at them, they have never been used. As plans have changed, you are probably right in selling those off. Thank you for the information on the other items. The wired lavs all have an xlr connection and figured trying to adapt them would just cause bulk. If you are recording a sit down interview, perhaps with multiple people, would you use wireless lavs or hardwire them in? My thought was to sell them off and put that money towards a wireless set if I wouldn't run into needing them.
  12. Thank you all for your responses. I felt like getting rid of the camera gear was going to be the way to go but wanted to get a pulse on production needs. I planned on doing some personal projects but they keep getting pushed to the side. It's a bit hard for me to get out of the hoarding mentality because I think if ever need it, it is always there. That said, I am sure the money can be better put to use to help round out my sound kit. Phantompwr, I was mainly thinking about the lights as you had mentioned. I have a good deal of experience with lighting but don't want to make it a main focus. I would welcome a small gig where I could wear two hats as sound and gaffer at the same time. Do you find yourself in this position often? Philip, I hadn't thought of looking at this from the view point of the shooter and you make a very valid point. My main consideration was on projects where the production crew consisted of the main shooter and a sound guy. By no means do I want to become a rental house or reinvest in camera gear. I just know the camera gear's street value is so low, I thought perhaps I could make more off of it by renting it out a few times than selling it outright. Chris, thank you for the reminder to keep investing in myself to develop my skill set. In fact, the reason I became interested in location sound was because I was attending a Main Media Workshop a few years back and took a location sound course given by Mic Fowler.
  13. Over the past several years, I have collected a plethora of video production equipment that doesn’t have anything to do with sound. At one point in time, I had fantasized about running a full on production company, but alas those days have passed. It is all quality gear that has been well taken of. As I mentioned in a separate post, I am trying to break into the freelance market so I have no idea what production crews may or may not be looking for. Moving forward, I don’t plan to try and find freelance work other than within the location sound department so my intuition says it would be best to sell it off. I’m sure most producers wouldn’t think to ask a sound guy if he has any camera equipment and probably already has that taken care of. Has anyone ever ran into a situation where the production crew was lacking in gear not related to sound? My thought is, I may be able to get more out of renting my camera gear than selling it on the used market. Is it worth my time, or is this just crazy talk? My Excel spreadsheet has 212 lines of camera gear, but most of it is preferials. The main items I am considering holding onto are the following: (4) KinoFlo Diva lights, (2) KinoFlo barfly lights, and (2) KinoFlo Parabeam lights. I own a Sony FS100 (although it is nearly obsolete.) I also have an 8’x8’ diffusion frame with translucent, black, and white screens, an 8’x16’ portable green screen, flag kits, a slider dolly, zacuto camera shoulder rig with follow focus and other accessories, a motorized jib head (but no jib to mount it on), a small chest mounted stedicam kit, a few small fluid head tripods, a cartoni D600 fluid head, and a bunch of other peripherals. My wife asks you to, “Talk me out of keeping it”. Is she right?
  14. I searched through the forums looking for information on the Sennheiser AVX wireless system and didn't find a single post. Did I miss something? What is your take on using the Sennheiser AVX Wireless transmitter/receiver on set? I purchased one for a run and gun project where I was a one man band for both camera and sound and it worked great for that purpose. I have read through a number of reviews that list the pros/cons of the AVX system and am curious if any of you within the professional community use the AVX on a regular basis. Being completely new to wireless, it worked like a dream for my shoot but have never used it in a larger production. Do you think it would it be worthwhile for me to purchase another AVX system and a couple of good lav mics for the time being instead of waiting until I can put together the money for lectros or zaxcoms? I understand that money put towards an AVX is money not going towards a better system, but it would give me two wireless sets until that time comes. BTW, I have a SD 664 mixer they would run into.
  15. I know the topic of equipment rentals has come up before but haven’t seen the following formula pop up and wanted to see what y'all think of it. I have looked at a wide range of rental house prices, and while they all seem to be in the same ballpark, there is still a wide range of pricing for equipment, especially when it comes to multiple day rental discounts. I wanted to come up with a fee structure where I didn’t have to put a specific dollar amount to individual items but rather a basic percentage fee as others have suggested doing. What I was struggling with (and didn’t see addressed) was how to discount the equipment for multiple day rentals that fell in line with the rental houses. This was a bit tricky because some places offered a discount only for a weekly rental where others had a break after 3 or so days. Something I noticed most rental houses had in common was, they all seemed to average somewhere around the 3% of original purchase cost for a daily rental package and fell somewhere near the 10-12% of purchase cost for a weekly rental. Individual items may be slightly above or below those numbers but as an average they seemed to hold up. This got me thinking, what if I charged an initial 3% of purchase price (which I have seen suggested on this forum) for the first two days, drop to 2% for the third day, and 1% for the following three days (a total of 12% for the week). This would allow for higher rental costs for the shorter shoots but bring in a discount for the longer productions that somewhat resembles the rental house rates. Here are the daily percentage rates: 1 Day = 3%, 2 Days = 6%, 3 Days = 8%, 4 Days = 9%, 5 Days = 10%, 6 Days = 11%, 7 Days = 12% When I put together a very basic package using Location Sound Corp’s (LSC’s) rental brochure vs the formula above for a daily and weekly rental, they were quite similar. I used LSC's pricing because they are well known in the industry and apparently are successful in charging those rates. I chose to price the items below simply because it is what I have in my kit (all except the Lectro's). I used current pricing based off of B&H’s website to come up with the initial purchase price of $12,825 for the components listed below. I am sure there are other items that would/could be charged but this kit is mostly used as a basis for comparison. (1) Sound Devices 664 Audio Mixer with Bag and Battery (1) Neumann KMR81 Shotgun Microphone (1) K-Tek Carbon Fiber Boom Pole (1) Rycote Zeppelin with wind screen (2) Lectrosonic UCR100 Receivers, SMV Transmitters, & M152 Lavs. Here is the breakdown to compare LSC’s rental rate vs the percentage formula (It’s also important to note that there are no shipping costs calculated in the LSC rates, just the price of the equipment.). The percentage you see next to LSC’s rental rate is also calculated based on the $12,825 purchase amount and is purely meant for comparison. (The percent has nothing to do with their rental rates or structure in any way and would change based on the specific gear rented.) LSC’s rental rate (3%) for a daily rental is: $375/day Using the formula’s 3% of the initial purchase price ($12,825) is: $385/day LSC’s rental rate (5.8%) for a two day rental is: $750 Using the formula’s 6% of the initial purchase price ($12,825) is: $770 LSC’s rental rate (8.8%) for a three day rental is: $1,125 Using the formula’s 8% of the initial purchase price ($12,825) is: $1,026 LSC’s rental rate (11.7%) for a four day rental is: $1,500 Using the formula’s 9% of the initial purchase price ($12,825) is: $1,154 LSC does not charge for the remainder of the week. Days 5-7 remain at $1,500 Using the formula’s 10% of the purchase price-Day 5 ($12,825) is: $1,283 Using the formula’s 11% of the purchase price-Day 6 ($12,825) is: $1,410 Using the formula’s 12% of the purchase price-Day 7 ($12,825) is: $1,539 Of course the formula can be altered to fit your specific clients, level of gear, or area in which you live. For instance, perhaps you have someone you shoot with on a regular basis and enjoy the repeat business, you may want to do a 3% for the first day, two days at 2%, and 4 days at 1%. For a week shoot, the rental cost would be the same, but a two or three day shoot, your client would save a little bit of money. I know it isn’t perfect but seems to offer a basic rental structure that keeps me away from having to price items individually, allows for a meaningful rental rate discount for longer shoots, and is easy to alter depending on the job. What do you think? Is this way off base or does it make sense? A couple of additional questions: -Do you discount your gear for longer shoots or is your day rate, your day rate? -How do you handle rental fees that go longer than a week? -Do you think $375 is a fair daily gear rental fee for the items listed above in a major market? It is amazing how fast things add up. Do productions find value in quality gear or would they rather save a few bucks and hire someone with a less expensive gear package? -I calculated the cost of my 664 with the bag and batteries included. Is this normal or should I not include the bag/batteries in the initial cost?
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