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Noah Timan

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Everything posted by Noah Timan

  1. Thanks Tom. I think maybe nobody makes what I'm after. I do already have a couple of 1 rack space, 10-pound, AC-powered boxes that do this function (along with others). I was hoping that someone made a simple interface, small and light, that simply took AES audio in via standard connectors and output via thunderbolt. No need for the size and weight for all the circuitry for mic preamps, ADCs, video technology, 48 channels etc etc. Something hopefully small and in the 1-2 pound range. As I said, I think maybe what I want doesn't exist but I thank everyone for the helpful suggestions!
  2. Thanks all. I'm beginning to fear that what I seek doesn't exist except as something big and heavy and overloaded. Tom, do you know what the Blackmagic device was? I couldn't find anything on their product pages.
  3. Try the Groundskeeper brand from Canada. Solidly built with good backs.
  4. Thanks to both of you! Rado, that might work, but I'm wondering if there isn't a more direct device that does it. VAS, the symphony system may be a little overkill for what I'm trying to do (take 12 channels of AES and output them via Thunderbolt or USB, no A/D conversion etc). Thanks if anyone has any other ideas...
  5. Hi all, hope everybody's well. Can anyone recommend a simple, small, lightweight interface that would accept 8-12 channels of AES audio from an external source and output to USB or Thunderbolt? It does not need to do anything else. Thanks in advance if you've got any ideas...
  6. On my current show I use three different recording rigs and two of my recorders have built-in sound report generating functions. On the third I still do paper reports. In my experience and from conversations and discussions with many different dialogue editors and post folks, no matter how meticulously we fill them out or deliver them, sound reports rarely get used in feature and episodic workflow, beyond production and telecine noting what was delivered and telecine using them to verify any discrepancies of what takes are on a given roll. For post, they're usually working off a conformed cut, and there's no efficient cross reference in place (that I know of) being employed to access reports and notes or track assignments from daily rolls. I can't tell you how many times over the years people have come back to me with questions about something, whether it be the telecine lab or post during conversations, and I pointed out that the answer to their query was noted and dutifully explained in the sound report, followed by ponderous silence. Unfortunately, sound reports seem like a relic from the previous model that desperately need an upgrade in production/post workflow to be able to be used efficiently by those folks. I completely understand nobody wants to cross-reference info from the EDL and dig through a bunch of production sound rolls and files or paperwork and spend all that time just to see if we'd delivered a note. (And as one dialogue editor humorously told me once, "When you guys put, 'AIRPLANE NG', I'm like, 'I KNOW'"). Given that the upgrade hasn't happened yet, my response has been to keep their creation and delivery as simple as possible, given the extreme likelihood that they will not be used for much beyond a list of what exists on what sound roll during initial transfers. In theory it'd be great for post to be able to access track lists and notes with a quick click, but in practice (even though this probably should exist at least in metadata) it never seems to. My .02
  7. Thank you, sir, for the compliments! I don't do it alone. I'm pretty sure I've got the one of the hardest working sound departments in New York City behind my back when we do this show, augmented with lots of help from the greater NY sound community as we're constantly doing multi-unit work where we have to split up and add teammates to the formation. And I've been blessed by being able to work with two amazing costumers who never give up on finding solutions with me, grips, electrics, props, set dressers all who run in to fix problems and don't worry about getting "yelled at" for taking a minute to solve something, camera ops who hate the multi-camera routine almost as much as we do and understand our fight...POI's a funny show. We're all in the trench together for an extent, so we all understand how it is and try to help each other out. I've been on far easier shows and movies in the past where people were way more prone to throwing a middle finger up at another department instead of helping. And it's honestly astonishing what my post team is able to accomplish in the limited time they have to work with. Our main producer/director put a post up on Facebook sometime after we finished "If..Then..Else..." thanking us, talking about how absurd we have to come up with a big budget action/sci fi movie every 8 days, and he's not that far off that exaggeration. Or at least he wasn't in that case. (I still hurt thinking about that one!) Anyway, thanks.
  8. << It sounds like Noah has mastered that art of fighting the good fight along all the technical lines of framing and noise reduction. But I also argue that it's always worth the effort to at least point out the obvious, "We wouldn't have to shoot everything in close-up, move all our locations 20 miles from the nearest airport, and ADR half the performances if the actor would speak up just a little." Perhaps for a particular actor it just doesn't work, but, for an actor that can pull it off without blowing his performance mojo, it is by far the most straightforward solution in most cases. >> Well, in my practice, when you point out that obvious thing, the producers and directors smile a painful smile and say, "I know". In that pained smile is a lot of subtext, which is saying, "I know it sucks for you because you're unhappy with these tracks. But let me tell you, pal, however bad that sucks for you, it sucks way worse for me. I have to pay thousands of dollars to solve all of these location issues, shoot the show in a way the director/producer/showrunner doesn't want to, and then deal with the actors having a temper fit if they have to go to looping." What makes our show especially challenging is that we DON'T shoot it all in closeups, shoot it 25 miles from the airport, or loop half the thing. We shoot it in all sorts of angles on the streets of New York in a variety of locations which could be politely described as "not ideal for sound recording", and we still have to get the tracks somehow. But practice makes perfect, and the beauty of television is that you get another crack at scenarios that on a movie you might only have one shot at. If you don't throw up your hands and give up, bemoaning your fair-enough complaints about physics and lack of magic wands, you can continue to hone and refine your approach and see what one can do on one's own end to improve things. In my experience, bit by bit, things get better. Yes, it's a cussload of work and it'd be a far easier life on a show that shoots on a studio set most of the time with theatrically trained actors that naturally project. But sometimes we don't always get it the ideal way. I feel like i'm beating a dead horse if I continue to opine (based on my experience) that simply asking someone to perform a skill they aren't trained to do isn't going to yield much sustained result, so I am going to largely give that one a rest for now. I will only say that with absolutely zero disrespect intended towards anyone, I and my crew certainly wouldn't do all the work we do in political negotiations over locations and noise and camera operators and DPs and gaffers and props and background directing-ADs, dealing with flithy sound blankets and carpets and decrepit old moldy refrigerators and compressors and the bottoms of a gazillion shoes, having to play stern policeman to a chatty cast of hundreds standing around while we're rolling, etc if I could get a similar result by simply going to the producer and director and saying, "If he/she doesn't speak up, you're going to have to loop the whole thing."
  9. Dan, it's not just Jim -- like I say, most of our regulars are soft speakers and I've had plenty of experience with others in movies and other shows. When they don't project, no amount of asking/demanding/suggesting has gotten them to do it for more than maybe, MAYBE the moment it's being asked for, in my experience. The funny thing is many of them have naturally loud speaking voices, but when the camera starts rolling those loud voices disappear.
  10. Well, I'm glad it worked out for you. My experience is different, though. I have never gotten a normally quiet actor to suddenly start projecting for any sustained length of time. That's with dozens and dozens of soft speakers on all sorts of movies and shows. Perhaps I've just been exceptionally unlucky...
  11. And how often have you been successful at getting an actor to change their volume over a consistent basis by asking, or 'educating'? My point is that it's a learned skill more than it's a conscious choice. If I can't sing in key, saying to me "sing in key! You're off key! You need to be on key!" probably wouldn't get me any closer. I'd have to learn how to sing and practice scales etc. In my experience, theatrically trained actors tend to project because they've been taught to do so and have practiced that skill. In my experience, it's going to be fighting the current with those without that learned skill who naturally speak from the throat.
  12. Steve, the fight isn't with the actors. That one you'd always lose, if you were foolish enough to try. Regardless of how cooperative their attitude is, actors who aren't trained to speak from the diaphragm are not going to suddenly start doing it as a default because you asked them to. They are in their own tunnel like everyone else, and your needs are not going to be high on their priority list when they are in the moment. They either have theater training and speak up on their own, or they don't. Any requests for "more volume", from either you or the director, are usually going to have results for maybe one or two lines before they slip back into their default performance level. It's a waste of time. I learned that lesson long before this show. The fight is with the recording circumstances. That is the only thing you as a mixer can affect, in my opinion/experience. That is the "technique" Ty speaks of that allows us to "get the good stuff"...do everything you can to eliminate noise from the recording. Is it fair? No. Am I jealous when I hear of other shows where everyone projects all the time? Yes. Is that life? Yes. .02 nvt
  13. Thanks Marc! Yeah, it was cute that they referenced it...obviously Jim's "speak softly and carry a big stick" routine isn't lost on anyone. He's the obvious standout, but most of our cast tend to be quiet folks...it does obviously make it more challenging, especially since we spend so little time at the studio. Michael is a really talented actor, a wonderful guy, a good friend and a dream to work with from a sound perspective...if any of you get the chance in the future to work with him, I recommend jumping at it.
  14. Hello Ty, all I gotta say is this: I wrote a much longer answer to this question when it was posed on the jwsound Facebook page in December, but I can't find the thread. In brief, I do have different microphones, gain structures, EQ settings, rigs etc I like for the different members of our cast. That's a technique that really has to be done by ear to get tailored to the particular voice -- it's not a one-size-fits-all procedure. But mostly we just have to fight and scratch and kick to get the noise levels down so we can record these guys and gals without a ton of BG noise creeping in. We ride the frame lines hard, do a ton of carpeting, fight off wide'n'tights, chase away noisemakers and basically fight and kick and scratch for every line. Like any show, it wouldn't be possible without all the support from a great crew, from 2nd 2nd A.D.s to grips to electrics to camera operators to set dressers to a series of returning directors who cooperate wherever possible.
  15. I've been using Boom Recorder as my primary platform for the last year and change, and as my backup platform for several years before that. Very, very few problems to report. However, I don't have a lot of experience with rolling takes longer than 15 minutes or so (or however long it takes an Alexa to roll out).
  16. One of my favorites is "Sorry, they call them talking pictures now".
  17. I like the B3 better than the B6 in terms of the sound. If you need waterproof but not teeny-weeny it's an excellent choice.
  18. I have not had this issue...something's up. A phone call to SD's tech support might prove helpful...
  19. At the end of the day, with lots of good points made by you and Josh and others here, I think this is what it comes down to. Depends on your preference and the way you like to work and find is most efficient for you. There is no "best" or "one size fits all" answer for everybody. Good luck with the pilot!
  20. If the lav is a total train wreck, then yes. But if there's something more minor the director may not be paying the kind of focused attention to the sound that we are -- we are only focused on the sound, but the director is watching the frame, the camera movement, the actors' performances, the lighting, and many other things. Think of all the times there was an awful plane or truck or something and you had to point it out to get another take and the rest of the Comtek-listening crew would never have stopped on their own.
  21. To JD/Richard: My crew is excellent and everyone can wire if need be. My comments were more of a general philosophy about the whole thing, not a condemnation of anyone that I work or have worked with. As I said in my original post, I find that I am the person who is most invested in the wire being clean of any clothing or wind noise and being in the best position on the actor's body. I am the person who has the most access before the shot starts to check in on it and make sure it's OK (via PFL, which my utility person can't do unless I get up from the cart and he or she sits in front of the mixer with my headset on to do it -- I never pull up the faders on the actors' wires before "action" is called in order to respect the actors' privacy). Therefore, to me it makes the most sense for me to do it. On my current crew I believe I am actually the person who has tallied up the most experience wiring so it also makes sense. I started my career mixing indie features and we did not have a utility person very often at all in those days, let alone one who was experienced and could wire well. On our current show, there is always something for everybody to be doing most of the time. During the wiring process there often are noisemakers to find and shut down, cables to be run, comteks requested, phone calls to the repair or sales shop or to production, runs to the truck for a piece of gear, and all the rest. If my utility is wiring the actors, that means that I am doing those tasks which my utility normally does otherwise. It isn't as though he can go wire and I'd get an opportunity to just sit there and meditate on the shot and serenely contemplate how best to mic and mix it -- there are always many things to be done in little time. So I find personally that it makes a better workflow to have him staying with what he is normally doing and for me to do the wiring, which generally doesn't take all that long, rather than have us switch hats for five minute intervals and then switch back again when the wire is done. As far as tweaks are concerned, my utility is very familiar with how I tend to wire people in certain costumes, so there isn't generally a lot of mystery about where the wire or transmitter is. If there's a question he just asks me. As Richard notes, some of it is due to the usual habits per coast. I know some NY mixers who wire and some who have the utility do it, although it's a very rare thing here to have the operator do it. I know that's different in LA and don't disrespect that, just don't fully understand how the operator can break away from set right before the shot starts. Obviously it is the standard there so it must work somehow. Perhaps the rhythm of how the set is run is also different in LA in other ways. To Wyatt: I have had the benefit of several utilities over the years who came from the reality world, and done a very little bit of reality work myself over the years. That has allowed me to observe some of the differences between that world and the feature/episodic world. One is that (noting this is a generalization and not specific to every situation, of course) in reality the wardrobe and costumes are rarely as regularly fussy in a reality situation as they are in feature and episodic one. In reality it is often what the people are just themselves wearing that day, and unless they are very rich, the clothes may have a tendency to be a bit more plain (which usually means cottons and things that are easier to successfully wire). In episodic and feature the costumes often may have a more lavish budget than reality TV subjects do. They may have been applied more treatment -- starch, gloss, specific fabrics and weaves, blends etc. It depends on the project of course, but many times the look is often more tailored and that can mean more challenging combinations of clothing and clothing materials. There's also the matter of props and jewelry to deal with in my experience comes up more often in feature world than reality world. There is also a different attitude between reality and the other work I've found in terms of how to handle the wiring subjects and their comfort, the consequences with the production if some part of the wire or transmitter appears on camera, the time given to wire in, and so on and so forth. There are no hard and fast rules but I have observed some tendencies. From my own experience doing reality stuff, I have also found the expectations are a bit different in terms of the finished product. Obviously, a noisy or bad wire doesn't stand in either reality or feature/episodic, but in a reality situation (at least for me) I think there were different concerns. There it's just about getting the actor on mic a lot of the time and that is a success in and out of itself, as opposed to having to be able to blend that wire for that one particular line seamlessly with the rest of the scene that is boomed, etc etc, and have it all cut together well. Everyone's experiences will vary a bit but I have found fairly consistently that for most of the reality-based utilities I've worked with (and I've had a few), the transition between wiring subjects for reality and for feature/episodic work was consistently not seamless. It's happened enough times that I can't imagine it's a fluke. That isn't said to belittle your own wiring skills or those of any reality-based mixer, which I'm sure are excellent in many cases and perhaps are even better than mine. It's just an observation that may be of interest to the general thread, for whatever it's worth.
  22. The Schoeps is prettier. The Sanken is more versatile. If you're doing run and gun reality the Sanken is probably a better choice, if you must choose.
  23. Well, I think we all know that wiring is a complex skill that isn't just about finding the proper mount or microphone to solve every problem. Wardrobe and elements and script situations and actor behavior politics and AD time organization may provide us with many ever-changing challenges that shift from job to job, and even shift within the same job quite dramatically. On some jobs that will not be accepted and one will not easily be able to "hold that next take" regularly. The producers, director and crew will not stand around and wait patiently with the meter running and the director's and actors' method interrupted while you hold everyone up to rewire someone to try something different to better the production track that they may place different importance on than you, and forcing that will be heavily frowned upon after they gave you time to wire an actor while lighting was occurring. Also, some actors are not always so welcoming about having to be rewired or tweaked when they are trying to concentrate and be in the moment of the scene and character between takes and suddenly have some other person's fingers all over their body or neck or clothes and be asked to cooperate. It's important to want to do it right, but on top of that it is also important to be able to do it quickly and efficiently without causing hangups for the rest of the production or feel of the scene. That is our task, I believe, and it's on us rather than them to find the most efficient process of doing that for all involved. Again, my .02.
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