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David Waelder

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About David Waelder

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  • Birthday January 1

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    Los Angeles
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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    Production Mixer

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  1. David Waelder

    Most common microphones on set?

    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
  2. David Waelder

    CMIT Paint Fix?

    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
  3. David Waelder

    Why I'm sick (Literally)

    “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
  4. 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
  5. David Waelder

    Schoeps MiniCMIT or DPA 4017b

    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
  6. David Waelder

    Lavs for ties

    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
  7. David Waelder

    Who do you use for personal Equipment insurance?

    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
  8. David Waelder

    Who do you use for personal Equipment insurance?

    Those exclusions for extreme (sort of) cold and work around water seemed a bit much so I went and reviewed my policy. I have insurance through Insure My Equipment, a Heffernan Insurance Brokers company, https://www.insuremyequipment.com They act as brokers, booking policies through a number of different companies including (at various times) Inland Marine and Fireman's Fund. One limitation may be that their policies may only be available in the United States or, maybe, the US and Canada. I don't know; applicants would have to research that. Looking at my policy, I noticed that there was an exclusion for working while submerged or floating on water. This exclusion may be waived by purchasing additional coverage. Coverage for special circumstances can typically be expeditiously arranged online. Special circumstances may yield exceptions but extra coverage can often be arranged the day before a risk exposure. There is also an exclusion for consequences of vermin, pests and the like. And there are the usual limits on valuations for single objects from a pair or set and for articles that are unusually fragile. The deductible is typically $500. It is $1000 or more for losses in foreign countries and it may be more for losses in excess of $50K. There is also a larger deductible for theft from a car. All in all, pretty reasonable. My policy has the extra cost coverage for loss from a car but only if all doors and windows were locked and there is visible evidence of a break in. Coverage for rental replacement to temporarily cover a loss is available. As I am largely retired, I don't carry it. Since I am largely retired, I carry only the bare minimum and have only $30,000 in a mix of scheduled and unscheduled coverage. For this I pay about $460 per year. Twice the coverage would be less than twice the cost but applicants should check that for themselves. I found no exclusion for extreme weather, either hot or cold. There was a limit on the extent of coverage in Mexico and abroad. I think the limit for Mexico was $25K and there is a ceiling of $100k on coverage for theft from a vehicle. I hope this helps or, at least, serves as a comparison. David
  9. David Waelder

    Better Bolts for the HN 7506

    Two thoughts: 1. Try some Loctite on the threads of the bolt. You should be able to buy Loctite at any good hardware store or at an automotive supply shop. 2. You could also purchase nuts with nylon inserts that provide friction against the bolt and diminish the likelihood of the bolt working free. David
  10. Those are some inventive solutions, Dalton. There were some I'm not familiar with - the use of artificial turf seem particularly worth a try. The traditional remedy is to get a roll of "Hogs Hair" and use it to cover the roof or patio or drive. Hogs Hair is made to be used as an air filter in HVAC applications. It's relatively cheap and available in large rolls so one can cover a good size area at modest cost. Probably too expensive for a micro-budget project but even a low budget show should be able to acquire a roll or two. A link from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Flanders-HHB25130-MERV-30-foot-Filter/dp/B000BVMZLK Location Sound used to keep some Hogs Hair on hand but probably not in sufficient quantity to cover part of a roof. It's also useful to make a cover for a zeppelin to protect from the sound of rain hitting the blimp. It doesn't keep the blimp dry; it only protects from sound. But, unless you are working in a downpour, it's usually possible to shake out the water every few takes and the blimp itself will protect the microphone. David
  11. David Waelder

    New to Nagra!!

    I found several items in a quick check on eBay. There is an ATN-2 power supply being offered for about $500. This seems excessively expensive but it at least affords the opportunity to look at pictures of what you seek. Other examples are likely to surface if you are patient. Be aware that you seek the ATN power supply, not the battery charger that only charges batteries and does not power the recorder. There is also a plexiglass lid for a Nagra IV available on eBay for about $300. The lid for the IV is not exactly the same but may be adaptable. On the other hand, a whole III recorder is offered for notmuch more money than that lid and might be useful as a source of parts. David
  12. David Waelder

    New to Nagra!!

    Hi Gustavo, I’m surprised that no one answered you as there are a number of Nagra enthusiasts on this board. I expect you will reap responses from them soon. Your recorder is quite old. First produced in 1958, the III was replaced by the IV-L model (and subsequent 4.2 variation) in 1968 according to Wikipedia. Personally, I don’t recall ever seeing or hearing of a IV-L before 1970 but the roll-out of the new model may have been slow. Anyway, your machine is now fifty years old or older so finding parts may be a challenge. The factory supported these machines for a very long time but eventually stopped giving support somewhere in the mid to late 1990’s. The III is the model that made the reputation of the company. It brought sonic quality previously available only in studio machines to a portable recorder. It was amazingly reliable and, because of its ability to run on ordinary flashlight batteries, could be used anywhere in the world. It was the favored recorder of people making ethnographic recordings. The replacement IV-L (& 4.2) brought another input and more sophisticated construction using a motherboard, daughterboard configuration. While the Nagra parent company no longer provides active support, they may still be a source of information. The original company, The Kudelski Company, has moved on to the manufacture of video decoding equipment but audio gear is still made by a spin-off of that original firm. United Technologies Switzerland, headed by Stefan Kudelski’s son-in-law Pascal Maroux (sp?) and daughter Magritte Kudelski, still makes audio equipment. Several companies here in the U.S. still service the Nagra III as they are able. A reliable source of parts can be a problem and navigating cross-reference manuals to identify replacements for transistors and capacitors long out of production can be time consuming, driving up service costs. But servicing is possible. I believe that Trew Audio will still work on the Nagra III and possibly also Location Sound Company although their resident Nagra III specialist, Peter Pham, has retired. But it would be wise to contact these companies directly. Dan Dugan in the San Francisco area may also be a source of support. Regarding external power, I am 99.9% certain that the ATN power supply made for the Nagra IV (& also 4.2, IV-S, etc.) will work with the III. That opens a wider source of supply as those recorders were made into the 1990’s and components may be available on EBay. You might also contact Ron Meyer at Professional Sound in Valencia, California. Ron made a power supply for Nagra recorders. I expect he stopped making them twenty five years ago but you never know what might still be on a shelf in the shop. I hope our this helps. Good luck with your new acquisition. David
  13. David Waelder

    Arriflex 416 and Timecode

    In support of the recommendations for opening the sticks on a slate to keep it running throughout the scene, it’s worth mentioning that Denecke skates can be remotely powered. (Probably others as well but I’m not as familiar) The multi-pin connection of the side, a 4-pin XLR on the TS-1, TS-2 slates and a lemo on the TS-3, has power-in pins. The slate typically accepts from 8 to 16-volts DC. Hooking up an external power supply permits running the display all day without concern about depleting batteries. One of the CH-12 power adapters that Lectrosonics routinely packages with portable receivers could be repurposed to interface with the slate. (But please do double check my figures on allowable voltage before plugging anything in.) David
  14. David Waelder

    Film Camera Noise

    The Arri SR is a “self-blimped” camera. That is, it is designed to run quietly (but not noiselessly) without an actual blimp enclosure. This was accomplished primarily through careful attention to a smooth gate, tight manufacturing tolerances and, especially, by engineering the intermittent movement for quiet operation. The claw was polished smooth and designed to slide onto the film perforation rather than just punching into the perf and then yanking down. It’s a design approach pioneered by Eclair and adopted by Arriflex and Aaton. When all is right, the result is a quiet camera that is smaller and much lighter than anything in a blimp. There are a couple of elements that are necessary for quiet operation. First, tune is important in this type of camera. A bench technician can align the intermittent movement, especially the pitch, for quiet operation. It’s akin to adjusting valves, plugs and timing on cars prior to computer engine control. And, secondly, for best results the tune should be optimized for the particular film stock used. By the way, fresh film stock is also essential as the base tends to shrink slightly with moisture loss. When everything is in tune, an Eclair NPR will run at 29db measured 3-feet from the film plane. Aaton claimed noise measurements as low as 26 or 25db, an astonishing accomplishment. And a Panaflex was even a bit quieter. I would expect an Arri SR to be somewhere in that range, probably closer to the NPR than the Aaton. It sometimes helps to fit felt, or something of the sort, in the series filter holder. Mount a filter, clear or haze if no filtration is needed, and screw the holder onto the lens. After attaching, back off the threads about a quarter turn and secure the filter holder with a piece of tape so it doesn’t unscrew further. Noise is projected through the lens and you are trying to make an acoustic break. But this helps only a little; for good results the camera needs to be tuned to the film stock. David p.s. So far as I know, there is no such animal as an actual blimp for the Arri SR. Padded magazine covers are all that is available.
  15. David Waelder

    Car as "wild lines" booth

    I agree with others that wild lines are best recorded in the same, or closely similar, environment but farther from the noise source. A serviceable track can be recorded by walking inland a bit, away from the surf. My best results came when I positioned the person speaking with their back to the surf. Then I would use a directional microphone, a shotgun or short shotgun, aimed up from the waist. The body of the person speaking acts as a buffer blocking some of the direct surf sound. If there are two or three people having a dialog, I would array them in a semicircle so each could be recorded the same way. It's probably best to stay on the sand as the soft surface absorbs much of the reflected sound that might otherwise hit the microphone. That benefit is greater than anything gained by an additional ten or twenty feet of distance to work in the parking area. Of course, each circumstance is a bit different but that's how I would first approach the task. Moving inland just enough to get some distance also has the benefit of being relatively easy, improving the chances that the AD and Production will be cooperative. David