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Dan Brockett

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Everything posted by Dan Brockett

  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?
  16. Any opinions on used Lectro 400 set versus a new Sennheiser G4 EW512? FWIW, I am almost always within 20' of the transmitter so I don't think the extra power is all that important for how I will use them.
  17. As some members here who I have recently hired to sound mix will attest, I MUCH prefer to hire pros to mix sound. But for those low end projects where there simply isn't the budget for a sound mixer on set, I am looking to buy one or two bargain Lectro 400 sets. Lately I work mostly in LA, which blocks should I look for? Seems like block 19 commands a used premium but not sure about if those are people in LA snapping them up? According to the Lectro chart, I should be looking at block 21 and 22 for LA, but I know there is no perfect block to get and that no matter which I have, it may not work well in a particular area. I found a used UMR411A receiver with an SM, both look to be in decent shape, for $1,200.00. It is block 21. If you are an LA sound mixer, what blocks would you buy, in 2020 if you were getting used Lectro 400 sets? Is $1,200.00 decent for that or should I be patient and wait for a bargain? I've had some real scores this year, got a $900.00 brand new set of small LED lights from someone hard up for cash who only wanted $300.00. I plan on getting RF Explorer too. Or would you save some money and get a pair of new EW512 sets and have the SMA antenna mod done instead? I know Lectro is better built and more power but the EW512 G4s aren't bad either, I've used them and with the SMA antenna mod, not a bad set too for a casual no f/t sound mixer (who keep in mind, will always hire a pro whenever possible). Am I correct that the wide band block on the EW512 might give me more choices about where I can use them even though they aren't as powerful? Keep in mind that 98% of my use is with transmitter and receiver in line of sight within 20' of each other, I'm not doing car stuff or high end stuff going through walls. Usually walk and talk or presenter stuff on a stage. I only use wired mics for sit down interviews. Thanks for the recommendations!
  18. Great discussion gents, really appreciate the engagement and hearing the solutions everyone is using. I hadn't heard about the Overcover Advanced, I'll have to check that out and I've never tried the BubbleBee stuff, but I am curious to try that too. Those Countryman B6 mounts Jim posted look mighty interesting too. I did an all day shoot with talent on a stage last week and used the B6 on talent with just an Overcover, inside on a tight polo shirt and it was flawless, I didn't pick up any rubbing. I wish the Overcovers themselves were available in larger sizes. The stock one is perfect for a tiny mic like the B6 but when I break out the OST 801s, the sticky is almost too small to cover up the OST and have enough sticky area not on the mic to grab onto the furry. The thickness of the 801 uses up more of the overall surface area on the capsule so there isn't much left to grip the fur. I suppose I should try two of the stickies together?
  19. I was offered a deal on 100 Rycote Undercovers so I picked them up. I've been a fan of the Overcovers for years and thought the Undercovers might be handy for placing lavs inside wardrobe. Am I doing something wrong, these things sound terrible, so much clothing noise and scratching. The Overcovers, I've used under wardrobe with decent to great results but the Undercovers seem useless. Anyone here use them and get a good result? If so, am I rigging them incorrectly, I am using the Countryman B6 and the OST 801s and 802s and place the back on the mic on the sticky pad and apply the undercover over the microphone element. Just on the off chance I got it backward, I tried placing the sticky on the mic face but it sounded even worse. Obviously the B6 doesn't have a back like a flat faced mic like an 801 or a Tram, but boy do these sound terrible. Anyone have any tips for making these usable or are they just subpar? Thank you, Dan Brockett
  20. Hi all: Looking for a good, flexible, positive attitude boom op for a run & gun shoot on September 24th, 2020 and October 9th, 2020. For a pro, this will be an easy gig. We will be visiting four employee's homes/office places of work with their boss and presenting them with an award on camera. Each shoot will be very brief, perhaps 3-5 minutes. No recorder, wired boom straight into camera, these recipients are all immune compromised so hand booming them is the only option, no lavs. No rehearsal, no setup, the award will be a surprise to the employee so it will be a single shoulder mounted camera and the boom plugged into camera. We will have an on camera monitor so boom op can see edge of frame. These segments will be recorded roll ins for the client's live stream (they are a worthy charity). I have $400.00 per day, it will be less than 8 hour days I have been told. Day one: Palmdale, Canyon Country, Northridge (four subjects) Day two: Granada Hills, Northridge (two subjects) - short day for sure. Canon EOS C200 camera, I have Ktek 7' internally cabled Aluminum travel pole or older Gitzo 11' carbon externally cabled pole and Røde NTG5 package or Audux SCX1-HC with Rycote or boom op can use their own gear if they would rather. These will be straight to camera, cabled but not a ton of camera moving around. No external audio recorder, not needed for this client and project. Only catch is we stay at least 6' from subjects and we should try to stay 6' away from each other, wearing masks obviously. Please contact me at dan@webcastandbeyond.com with your CV/qualifications/reel. Need to hire this asap since first shoot day is in 7 days. Thanks!
  21. Cool discussion guys, I grew on on V1.0 Star Trek and always thought the same. When I was at film school, we had an old school Fisher platform boom in our studio and I had a few chances to actually work with and boom scenes with it, what a great piece of equipment that just like Fisher dollies, was a well made, perfectly crafted piece of gear.
  22. I have the Deity Connect system. It's perfect for this and the stereo capacity can come in handy for certain situations. It's well built and in a pinch, if one of your main Lectros went down, it could pull double duty and step in for one or two of your Lectros. It won't have the range obviously and will be noisier but with some gain staging, they sound good for the money at short working distances. The built-in batteries last all day and TX and RX can be charged as they are in use via USB C or on a break if you are shooting a long day.
  23. I own some Deity products. Makes me feel good that Andrew is taking care of his customers in a way that few others would. Props to Deity!
  24. Thanks for sharing that Constantin, I have not seen nor heard of that one. The specs look pretty good. What are you using for a monitor? High brightness or just a regular monitor? Do you work outdoor much?
  25. https://www.amazon.com/Accsoon-Transmitter-Wireless-Transmission-Incredibly/dp/B07Y8W3MC7/ref=sr_1_3?crid=15WJ9080VFSGS&dchild=1&keywords=accsoon+cineeye&qid=1592321372&sprefix=Accsoon%2Caps%2C200&sr=8-3 You guys will laugh, but I've been using the Accsoon CineEye for almost a year. It's cheap and the output is surprisingly decent. It's built really nicely for cheap Chinese. Downsides are that the internal battery is soon depleted (I used hook and loop fastener to fasten a small Anker candy bar battery to the rear of it and it goes all day now, no problem), the range is limited to about 200-300 feet line of site and less with walls or glass in between, and it's HDMI only, not SDI and it doesn't transmit audio, video only. It's far from a Teradek or the others mentioned here but it's so cheap as to almost be free and it actually works. All of those limitations aside, the plus side is, it's 5G, so you don't need a receiver and a monitor, you can use up to four phones or tablets at once so your director, producer, ad agency person, scripty, boom op, whoever, can download the Accsoon app on their phones to see what's happening. I rigged up a spare iPad Mini I had laying around, fastened another Anker battery to the rear of it, attached a Hoodman and it becomes my director monitor for sit down interviews, works great. It's not as good as a Teradek, Vaxis or Hollyland, but it's almost free and is surprisingly good for the money. For $200.00, it's worth ordering one off of Amazon and TRYING it in your situation to see what it does. If you need something better, return it, then you will know. I shoot a lot of BTS and EPK content and these clients won't give me budget for a Teradek or a good system so I bought this really so my producer could see what my camera was seeing when I was in tight places in set and there was literally no room for her to be on set but she wanted to see what I was shooting. I also use it to get a tap from video village when I am sound mixing. It's insanely handy. I've used when shooting with a camera mounted overhead on a jib, camera mounted up high in a corner. The unit is small and light enough to fit onto a hot shoe on a mirrorless camera or you can Velcro it to an arm or Mafer clamp close by. Really a useful and amazing tool IMHO. Not a high end pro tool but how else are you going to get usable wireless for $200.00? It does have too much latency to pull focus from but that's to be expected and all camera HDMI outputs have varying latency anyway.
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