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Dan Brockett

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  • Location
    Los Angeles
  • About
    I'm a Producer who occasionally does location sound.
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
    Yes

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  1. I completely agree with you. As a working DP/Producer, we have to face the reality that on a lot of low end to lower medium end production, especially interviews, events, panel discussions, live streaming, there often is simply not money allocated by the client for a pro sound mixer. I'm also partner in a live streaming company and my partner is a long time professional post sound mixer so we completely get the value equation of hiring a pro sound mixer for any live stream that we shoot on location with more than one or two talent. We budget it into proposals and have a stable of three or four pros that we like to hire. We recently invested in four channels of new Shure digital hybrid wireless systems and bough an Allen & Heath SQ5 specifically for mixing sound on our higher end live streams but we know that we are both way too busy with other tasks to man the audio gear so we like to work with great sound mixers who take care of that for us. It's true, if all that a videographer/DP/camera person is ever going to get is low end work, it's likely they will never hire a sound mixer anyway, they'll bumble their way through and will never end up with great sound but the entire industry, in general, is pivoting away from quality and professionalism, other than in the high end 1-3% of projects for studios/networks/streamers. It's hard to read and hear as a DP also that clients are becoming most focused on self-shot, boring talking heads via Zoom, Teams, etc. where the client can generate their own new content daily or weekly, essentially for free. We are bidding on a pretty big Microsoft project and I was amazed at the amount of user generated content that was integrated into the project, all stuff that pre-Covid, would have been shot on a stage by pros. That content was ALL replaced by user generated, self-shot content via Teams. The main production will still be shot by a production company by pros, but over a week, I would estimate that at least 60% of the content will be remote content shot by presenters themselves. It's just the way of the world now, at least in corporate work. I keep reading and hearing that if we, as content creators and pros are pitching clients to hire us because of "quality and professionalism", our days at being able to even make a living in this business are numbered because especially during Covid, the general audience's perception of what is 'good enough' dropped precipitously since many people were sitting at their computers all day every day. Everything I've been seeing and hearing tells me that the only way clients will still be hiring us moving forward, other than for streamers and the studios, is if we can offer them vision, concept, help them execute and yes, that it will involve lots of relatively bad quality self generated content, but we, as pros, often still have a skillset and mindset that non-pros simply won't have and that's where our value lies in still getting hired. I know that's amorphous but that's what a lot of the industry experts who track trends in media are telling us, selling quality and professionalism to a non-studio/none streamer client base that doesn't really care about it much anymore is a dead end. That part makes sense to me. There will still be opportunity, but it won't be the same opportunity that most of us have faced during our careers, where the goal has been to practice, work hard, learn constantly, network and ascend up the ladder to bigger, higher profile jobs as your skillset and rep grow.
  2. I'm not a professional sound mixer but I know enough to be dangerous as the saying goes. I anticipate that many of you will not agree with my gear recommendations or other parts of my diatribe but this is my small part to try to elevate the art of location sound mixing in 2021. Feedback and comments are welcomed! https://www.hdvideopro.com/blog/a-location-sound-primer-for-camera-ops-videographers-and-dps/ Dan
  3. I've been using the Audix SCX1-HC for a few years now and I have nothing but good things to say about it. For a $500.00 HC mic, IMHO you won't do better. Often referred to as the "poor mans Schoeps", it's not as good obviously but pretty impressive for the money. I second the Okatava, the modded sample I reviewed was very prone to handling noise and pretty microphonic. Not a bad sounding mic but not practical for hand booming I thought.
  4. Thanks for the tips guys. Appreciated.
  5. Gentleman: Pardon my lack of knowledge. How involved is getting the Part 74 license? Is it equivalent to getting the Part 107 Drone License where you need to study and take an exam or is it just filling out paperwork and sending a check? Thanks for any tips. I find the whole 941 Band intriguing, especially since I work in LA where finding anything clear is basically a location by location craps shoot.
  6. For those who have not used a Carnet before, they can be rather expensive and I have always found that getting them signed from departure at LAX and at ingest points to be a huge PITA. Many times in Africa, officials won't even know what a Carnet is and you have to explain it to them and they then regard your suspiciously. I've used Carnets to go to Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa, I have not shot in Kenya. A Carnet, from the U.S. perspective ostensibly, is also to prevent users from going abroad and purchasing black or grey market goods at a steep discount and entering with it back to the U.S. and not paying taxes and duty, something that really isn't worth doing anymore, although people used to do that a lot in the 60s-80s when grey market was more of a thing. You must make sure that EVERY item you leave with is listed accurately on the Carnet along with serial numbers. A production assistant we had in the U.S. once gota few serial numbers wrong and it was a nightmare getting U.S. Customs in LA to sign it as we almost missed our flight to Paris to catch our Air Maroc flight to Rabat. The delays to deal with the Carnet can take hours and if you leave with one and don't get the signatures and stamps at your destination country, that too can play havoc when you get back home. Carnets, for small production, are a nightmare. For large production, the Production Supervisor or other crew, that becomes their sole job for transportation as it's a whole thing in itself. Also, you must build into your schedule extra hours to hunt down the proper office and personnel to sign it, usually, but not always at the airport, both here in the U.S. and in your destination country. Overall, I would not bother with a Carnet for a small sound gear package, it's just not worth the hassle. If you are bringing lots of cases, lights, multiple cameras, grip gear, you have to get a Carnet. If you are bringing one backpack or a couple of small Pelicans, be a tourist, not a pro and don't bother. Carnets have caused me much stress and hassle multiple times on many trips abroad.
  7. Man, that's a bummer, I'm sorry for you. Please tell us you had good insurance? I just did a shoot in the same area a couple of weeks ago and I had less audio gear but more camera gear in my car. Fortunately I was able to use the BTS parking lot with security at Oracle Park since I was shooting at Oracle Park. I stayed at a hotel up the street and had to leave my grip and lighting in the trunk with valet at the hotel parking the car but I have no idea if they parked it on the street, private lot or what, but everything was intact the next day. Good luck on getting it back but having to buy it all again with your insurance settlement is more likely.
  8. After having numerous small, cheap Tascams stop working right after the warranty expired (two DR40s and a DR60), Tascam wanted more to repair them then I could replace them with so I pretty much gave Tascam the heave-ho as a brand a few years ago. The exception for me have been the DR-10L recorders, which have been excellent, I have three of them as backups for when wireless simply doesn't work. I am not a pro sound mixer and use the SD Mix Pre 3, it's so, so good, a whole other league than the Tascam small recorders.
  9. Cool resource Andrew, thanks for posting it.
  10. Larry: This might be a thread detour or more of a Karl question but since you are talking about it, do you foresee the possibility of a potential 2.4Ghz product for Lectro in the near or far future? I have the Deity system and a Røde Video Wireless, both are sort of prosumer-ish, I get it. but they aren't bad, most of the time although limited obviously. As limited as 2.4Ghz systems seem to be, it would be interesting if a top line product like Lectro threw their hat into that technology ring with a pro product. I am concerned about the FCC's culpability and responsibility to not keep auctioning off the UHF spectrum to the highest bidder, which will never be us wireless mic users. Less spectrum plus more users isn't forecasting a bright future for UHF for wireless mic users. Thoughts?
  11. Regardless of the mask type, most of the cloth, N95 and disposable masks wrap around the ear. I just did a week of live streaming in Colorado, wearing a mask 16 hours per day and the backs of my ears, the elastic banding rubbed the skin off until it was bleeding. I grabbed one of the velcro cable ties off of one of my XLR cables and used it to let me run those elastic supports behind the back of my neck so the area behind my ears could heal, basically at the same angle the illustration above in Dalton's post shows with the young lady. Anyone else have the backs of their ears rubbed raw by the mask? It's different wearing one to duck in and out of Costco for an hour versus working on set for 14-16 hours days.
  12. I've been using the Deity Connect system for about 8 months now. I will say, tremendous value for the money but they don't work everywhere. I did a shoot in a concrete tilt up warehouse with tons of steel girders and the entire box was lined with Aluminum sheeting. Also near an airport and in an industrial area. Transmitter couldn't get farther than 3' without dropouts in this particular situation, but elsewhere, they have worked well. We ended up using a friends Sennheiser G3 which worked perfectly in the same situation. I strongly recommend having both 2.4Ghz AND some UHF systems, even if they are less than state of the art like some old G3s. I also have a Røde Video Wireless, which has less power than the Connect and even it works really well in most situations but not all. For those times when 2.4Ghz just doesn't work, you need UHF and I also carry three of the Tascam DR10 recorders for when no wireless works as my plan C. I prefer to hire sound pros but like you, in this era of reduced budgets and lots of lower budget live streaming work, when I can't have a sound pro there, I have to make sure I can still record usable audio, it falls on me as the DP to make that happen.
  13. I reviewed one years ago. The sample I was sent was a true Russian Okatava set (there were/are evidently a lot of Chinese knock-offs around at the time). I found it to have nice sound but it was extremely microphonic and incredibly susceptible to handling noise. It's the only Okatava I have ever used so I don't know if my experience was atypical. Personally, it was too impractical for me to get excited about but on a mic stand, it was usable but for boom mounted, it wasn't a good choice.
  14. Worked with Sam and his colleague Chris, both excellent sound mixers and pleasure to work with. Thanks guys, you're both true professionals, we will be working together again!
  15. I've mainly been considering the EW512 for cost. I've been patient but locating Block 19 400 sets for a reasonable price has been frustrating. Not being a f/t sound mixer, it seems like it's going to cost me around $2k for a set. Of course, the Lectro will sound better but it's not making much financial sense for a non pro to spend so much when I will often hire a pro who will have Lectros. If you guys have any tips for locating a 400 set in Block 19 for a reasonable cost, LMK. Been watching Ebay and the Marketplace here, am I missing another source for finding a good set at a reasonable cost?
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