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David Waelder

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About David Waelder

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    Hero Member
  • Birthday January 1

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  • Location
    Los Angeles
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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    Production Mixer

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  1. Joe D’Augustine and I have been working to clear out items from Chinhda’s old shop and we have available several brackets to hold Sound Devices 744/702 recorders. For anyone not familiar with Chinhda, he was a machinist and engineer of remarkable skill and ingenuity. He began making specialty carts for Mike Denecke and went on to build carts for many of the top sound mixers. A remembrance of him can be found in the Spring 2018 edition of Production Sound and Video: https://magazine.local695.com/magazine/spring-2018/chinhda The bracket holds a 744/702 series recorder securely. Like all of Chinhda’s products, no modification of the recorder is necessary. One simply opens the wings of the bracket, slides in the recorder and clamps the wings closed. Your sound cart could be turned upside down or even, God forbid, be tumbled down a hillside without the recorder coming loose. The bracket features an open structure that gives free access to the flash media card and to all audio and interface connections. It is machined from aluminum and has an anodized finish. Hardware to secure it to a shelf is included. These brackets are offered at $100 each, a fraction of the original price. Funds received benefit Chinhda's daughter, Kathy. Please review the pictures below. Contact us with orders or questions at: chinhda@sbcglobal.net
  2. Jim Webb, Robert Altman's mixer on Nashville and 3 Women, chose his boom operators carefully and well. Once selected, he would often defer to them on microphone selection. He had particular trust in Chris McLaughlin, his boom operator on All The Presidents Men, and Chris tended to favor the Sennheiser 805/815. The Washington Post set was gigantic, consuming two linked stages, and lit naturalistically from overhead fluorescent lights. Fortunately, due to the heat they generated, the ballasts for all those lights were mounted in a shed outside the stage so there wasn’t a serious problem with hum. Director of Photography Gordon Willis favored up-angle shots that showed all the lights in the ceiling. When Jim asked if it would be OK to boom, Willis held out his hand, casting multiple soft shadows and said, “I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t make any shadows on my set.” Chris boomed the show using his preferred long shotgun for most shots, working primarily from below and flitting in and out of the performers' legs. Jim won the Academy Award for All The Presidents Men. It's remarkable what can be accomplished with skill and command of one's instrument. A profile of Jim Webb can be found on the 695 Quarterly (now Production Sound and Video😞 https://magazine.local695.com/magazine/winter-2014/jim-webb-a-profile David
  3. Hi Izen (Dan?) i’m glad I could contribute a new perspective. I’m a little uncertain where you want to go. At the risk of stating the obvious, liability for damage turns on functionality. An item in active use may suffer blemishes and damage to finish that do not harm performance. That kind of damage would usually (there are exceptions) be considered “wear and tear.” Any damage that degrades performance - preventing a transmitter from sending a stable signal or a lavalier from reproducing sound - is operational damage and requires repair or replacement. The rental client is not normally involved in the issue of how far along the gear may be in its depreciation; if it’s not functional they have a responsibility to repair or replace to restore complete functionality. (And, by the way, your rental agreement should explicitly specify that.) There can be some odd circumstances that require flexibility. It’s not reasonable to demand that the old Bell & Howell camera stuffed into a crash box be replaced with an Arriflex as its nearest modern equivalent. But, in general, rented gear must be restored to full functionality. David
  4. The best professional equipment can easily have a service life measured in decades although the preferred formats can obviously evolve. But there is another measure that ought to be widely recognized. Equipment is normally depreciated on income taxes on either a five year or a seven year schedule. So the service life is at least five years and anything that abbreviates that performance falls outside normal wear and tear. David
  5. I worked with a very similar rig on a commercial project. Instead of an Aaton, the cameraman/director used his Arri SR but it was essentially the same rig. I don’t remember it being particularly heavy but my frame of reference would have been an Eclair NPR. I was not impressed with the quality of the audio but that was a consequence of the on-camera microphone position rather than any operational issue. This would have been about 1976. I do remember it being very cold - Timmons, Ontario in January, about 15-degrees below zero Fahrenheit - and everything worked perfectly. David
  6. About four or five years ago Nagra loaned me a Nagra Seven recorder so I might work up a review. At that point in my career I wasn't doing a lot of actual recording so I arranged for Brendan Beebe to borrow it and report on his experiences. We compared impressions and I wrote up a brief evaluation for the 695 Quarterly (now the Production Sound and Video Magazine). The review is available here: https://magazine.local695.com/magazine/summer-2014/the-nagra-seven As to the cost, well it's hard to justify the cost of many premium products based just on a review of specifications. Ask any Leica enthusiast. David
  7. I can't speak from experience as I never had the luxury of a project where I would both have opportunity to deploy acoustic materials and also have the money (either from the budget or just sufficiently well paid) to purchase the needed supplies. I got by with creative furniture pad deployment. However, I often thought that a few portable LENRDs could be quickly put into action and moved as necessary. Here is a link to stand-mounted LENRDs from Aurelex Acoustics: https://www.auralex.com/product/stand-mounted-lenrds/ Might be worth getting one or two and giving them a trial run. David
  8. I'm with Tim Visser and Jon G on this matter. I started to sleep more soundly the day I got my PSC Power-station. Anxiety regarding power and how long I might have to operate independently just evaporated. I could run for hours, probably all day, without ever even seeing a stinger. When AC power would become available, I could connect and replenish the fitted battery. This system worked here and also worked seamlessly abroad; I only needed to have a plug adapter. The internal circuits of the Powerstation took care of adapting to different voltage and cycles. Ron has come out with new models that permit attaching different battery supplies, a valuable flexibility. But the electrical circuit management inherent to all his designs is the main attraction. Trew Audio/Remote Audio also has power management devices that serve the same purpose. I'm sure they are also good but Ron was first and I'm loyal to his power products. David
  9. Most experienced production mixers have an inventory of microphones and the instrument selected may vary from scene to scene. If possible, I would recommend that you contact the mixer associated with the project and ask about microphone selection. Without drilling down into too much detail, they ought to be able to tell you the typical pattern of usage - e.g. Sanken lavaliers on the wide shots, Sennheiser MKH 60 or 70 on exterior coverage, Sennheiser MKH 50 on interior coverage. There would probably be a few outliers, plant microphones, car shots, etc. but most microphone usage would probably follow a general pattern. I expect this would be useful information on any film and an outreach should probably be part of your routine approach to each project. After a few such contacts, you would probably have a good inventory of the most commonly used microphones. And, of course, it's not essential that the ADR be recorded with exactly the same microphone used in the original recording. With skill, matching tonal qualities should not be a problem for the post mixer. You already have a good start on choices available to you. The Sennheiser MKH 416 is in very common use both in ADR studios and on location although it is an old design now and used less than in the past. It would probably be good to have an example available as well as the DPA lavalier and the Schoeps hypercardioid. I think those choices should cover you in most situations supplemented by information, when available, from the particular production mixers. David
  10. I’m puzzled. I thought the CMIT had an anodized finish. Am I mistaken? Or is there a special model with a painted finish? David
  11. “I blame this trend all on a show back in the mid-90's called Hill Street Blues. I was a commercial production director at the time at a NBC affiliate. The writing was very good. The acting was good. The cinematography was decent. The camera work made me dizzy.” My recollection of Hill Steet Blues was that the edgy camerawork looked like an operator making subtle rocking motions on a gear head with small back-and-forth movements of the wheels. I was never on the set so I could be mistaken but that’s how I read it at the time. There was a twitchy image but the camera never really changed height as would if it had been hand held. David
  12. David Waelder

    Boom Op Kits

    All good suggestions. I never go on a set without a Swiss Army knife. I prefer the "Rambler" model. It's very small, about the size of the "Classic," small enough to go on a keyring. The Rambler adds a bottle opener and a phillips screwdriver to the blades in the Classic. When assisting a mixer, I would also carry a Leatherman or Gerber folding tool that incorporates portable pliers and wire cutting capability. A boom operator should also have a black T-shirt or pullover available so as to avoid reflections or a distraction for the performer. Breath mints are also a good addition to the kit. Earplugs can be useful if the shoot has gunfire. David
  13. I’ve used this process to audition headphones in the past but it ought to work equally well for microphones. I rigged a boom pole with a C-stand to hold the microphone in an advantageous position. I recruited a friend or sales person to read lines and positioned myself (and the recorder) about six or eight feet away from the speaker. At that distance one can hear the spoken lines directly and adjust playback to about the same level. In my situation, I listened directly and then swapped headsets to identify which sounded most like the direct voice. To audition microphones one would (of course) stick with one set of phones but cross fade between the dpa and the Schoeps rugged on the same pole. From time to time remove the headset to compare each microphone with the direct sound. This, obviously, is a limited test. There are other characteristics to consider including sensitivity, performance in high sound pressure conditions, weather sealing, immunity to RF, etc. But it is a useful way to get a sense of “truthfulness.” A better test would also include listening to instruments, both male and female voices, etc. If there are no audio shops at a convenient distance, it would be worth the cost to arrange a rental to check out both candidates over a weekend. If you coordinate with any of the pro audio shops, I’m sure you could make an arrangement to apply the rental cost toward purchase. If there are no audio shops in your whole country, you should try to make contact with a mixer in your area who might help you make listening tests with the gear he/she has available. Even if none of the microphones are available, the critical listening process is still valuable and you would have an opportunity to make a good contact. David
  14. It was always my practice to rig a tie-knot mike so that the microphone would protrude just a bit, typically about two millimeters. Then, when moving in for close-ups, I would push the mike back into the knot and get the recording with a boom. Times have changed and I acknowledge that current production practices, with wide-and-tight cameras, make it difficult to carry out this plan. David
  15. Wandering Ear: Mexico is the only country specifically mentioned in any of the Insure My Equipment documents that I can find. As I interpret it, one could have scheduled coverage for six Aaton Cantar recorders, five Schoeps microphones, four classic Ferraris and a partridge in a pear tree but the policy would only cover an aggregate loss of $25K. And this seems to apply only to Mexico. There are limits that apply to losses incurred in international travel but they apply only to the amount of the deductible, not the maximum allowable claim. Applicable deductibles vary with the amount of coverage purchased, the size of the claim and also whether one has paid extra for a smaller deductible. Typical deductible amounts for losses in the U.S. would be $500 or $1000 (more if the loss is quite large). For losses internationally, the deductible goes up to $2500. Exact language of the policy does not seem to be available online unless one has an established account with the company, However, there is an extensive file of frequently asked questions that addresses (so far as I can tell) pretty much any situation. Go to their website: https://www.insuremyequipment.com Click on "Owned Equipment" and then click on the orange bar labeled "CLICK HERE FOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS." (And, no, other than being a customer, I have no affiliation with this outfit.) David
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