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Alan Barker

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Everything posted by Alan Barker

  1. Alan Barker

    Lectrosonics PDR

    Anyone have experience with the PDR? I'm thinking of outfitting a fairly inexperienced crew with them. They will be in a nasty RF environment. I wonder if there are post complaints about the multiple files and odd take lengths. Thanks, Alan Barker
  2. Alan Barker

    Working on Aircraft Carrier, Advice?

    I went out on the Nimitz some years back to research this issue for the series Carrier. The radar on the flight deck is very intrusive. We had Portabrace make barneys for the cameras out of 8 layers of Ni/AG-Coated Ripstop Nylon, NS58R which looks like ripstop nylon but is impregnated with nickel and maybe something else, it's made to shield RF. The cameras worked OK so long as they weren't pointing at the radar antennas. If they did, the radar came down the lens and made for a glitch, we were shooting HD tape then. The sound gear worked pretty well with two layers lining the bags but there were always some hits. Few problems downstairs except for the usual multipath given all the metal. Take all the mics you've got, no telling what will work best. There are about 14 levels to a carrier, be ready for ladders and small passageways when underway. I hope you'll have a cabin and not be in a top bunk like I was. Don't plan on sleeping if you're under the catapult. Ask about the "boom boom room" if you want a chuckle or something else...
  3. Alan Barker

    Sound Devices 633 limiter issues

    Hi, I had a similar problem with 633 serial #LL0213338004. I was getting hits, shorter than yours, that were somewhat random but often happened at the onset of program level audio after a moment of lower level audio. I was getting this at ordinary speech levels using a Sanken CS3e. I did hours of testing, different mics, cables, levels, etc and was unable to duplicate the problem. I retired that CS3e. Then, in the field, the problem would randomly crop up again with another CS3e and wireless mics. Then one day while recording a gospel choir I had a hard clip, below limiter level which was at 18 dBu, really ugly, unusable. The choir was loud but not that loud. My practice is to set gain by putting the fader at 12 o'clock then bringing up the trim so the level is healthy. From there I mix with the fader. The trim pot was not exceptionally low, not enough to indicate a preamp issue. I did more hours of testing at high dB levels and could not duplicate that problem even with the trim pot quite far down. I dealt with Jayson Moyer at SD who was very helpful but also unable to duplicate the problem. As the problem was intermittent I told SD that a repair would not do. They graciously exchanged the 633. The "new" one they gave me was a return but I was able to contact the previous owner as his name was in the metadata. It had not been returned for a problem. This unit has never shown either of the above problems.
  4. Alan Barker

    Curious about "Overall Mix"

    The fact that mixers mix differently should be reason enough not to trash Justin for his question. I work in exclusively documentaries and have what is probably an atypical approach. I record the iso's Post Fade. I do this for ethical reasons and to build trust. I tell anyone I wire that they will not be recorded if they are not part of the scene being shot. Too often I have seen trust evaporate when someone remembers they are wearing a wire during a private conversation. I also do not rely on post to look after people's privacy. I do a mono mix to L&R which I send by hop to camera channel 1, Comteks and record in MP3 on the SD card. I put a Sennheiser K6/ME64 with a custom windscreen on the camera - not a pretty mic but one that's very good at making speech intelligible. The isos go to the CF card as a .WAV Poly file. I turn in the isos as "Double-System Audio" not "Backup Audio." The MP3 goes to transcription if needed. The transcriber I have been working with lately wants audio in both ears, no time code. They use InqScribe software which does not read code but allows entering the start code of each take which is found in the information window of MP3 files made by the 633. When possible I boom everything as though the wireless's weren't there and encourage the production to use that as primary audio. The boom goes to iso 1 and so on. Regards to the community: Alan Barker
  5. Alan Barker

    Hidden Camera Audio

    Are you shooting in the US? I don't know the situation in Canada but the legality of stealth recording varies from state to state in the US. It gets really sticky if you tape law enforcement. A good reference: http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide
  6. Alan Barker

    Fall issue 695 Quarterly On Line

    Great publication but: Does the Business Representative's page attribute the phrase, "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage" to Roosevelt? That phrase was used by the Republican party in the 1928 election of Herbert Hoover - who brought us the Great Depression.
  7. Alan Barker

    Fake Sony MDR-7506 headphones -- Beware

    This problem is rampant. http://www.sennheiserusa.com/serviceandsupport_counterfeitalert
  8. Alan Barker

    Sennehiser IEMs

    Sorry, that was in reference to the G3 wireless mic. ab
  9. Alan Barker

    Sennehiser IEMs

    Sorry of this is a repeat post. I've had very good luck with the G3's as hops and as IFBs. Sometimes with a hop I use an extra receiver as a director's IFB. However, the G3's have new wiring, G2 cables will not work well at least with a line level feed as I use them. Sennheiser has not explained this well, I found it only in the literature that comes with the SK100 transmitter when bought separately. I learned about it the hard way when Location Sound used the old wiring on some TA3F to locking mini cables they made for me. The G2 wiring was tip = mic, ring = line, sleeve = ground. The G3 wiring for line level is tip = ground, ring = line, sleeve = ground. It's counterintuitive to ground the tip but if you don't the level will be very low and the noise high. Maybe you all know this by now. Best, Alan Barker G3 SK100 wiring:
  10. Alan Barker

    .WAV to MP3 Conversion

    Hello, Does anyone know of Mac software that converts .WAV files to MP3 with time code? I'm looking to end up with MP3 files that have code like the ones you can record directly on a Sound Devices recorder.
  11. Alan Barker

    Rain-noise solutions on a budget

    I dealt with this problem once by covering the roof with an astro turf type material we found in a Home Depot. It worked pretty well but it was a real roof, not the tin you describe. Alan Barker
  12. Alan Barker

    Lectro 411a vs 401

    Can we talk frankly here? I have been a LSC/Audio Services customer for over 25 years. As for their repair department, no thanks. ab
  13. Alan Barker

    Really small flash recorders

    I have used the Olympus DS2 for similar applications. The sound quality is great, battery life is terrible. It effectively needs a new set of AAA's every time you use it. I hope your friend can tap into the com line directly, it will be worth the custom cable. Alan Barker
  14. Alan Barker

    Lectro 411a vs 401

    All well and good. When all the backslapping dies down I would still like to ask why there is no recall and does this fix address the issue of the 401's (mine anyway) having less than half the range of a 411. Alan Barker
  15. Alan Barker

    Lectro 411a vs 401

    401 Update. Getting no word from LSC, I called Lectrosonics on Friday and was told that I should send my units in for repair. Inquiring about the turnnaround, I was told that about 150 units were in the queue. I had returned my units to LSC anyway and made it clear that I did not want the same ones back. I was also told that units without the problem would be shipped on wed or thurs of next week. It's disturbing that Lectrosonics is not issuing a recall. Alan Barker
  16. Alan Barker

    Hawk-Woods Problem

    There may be something to that in the case of the 442 problems. These caps were purchased from Professional Sound Services in New York and it appears they were converted to Hirose. However, with the PD-4 the Hirose was not attached to anything. Alan Barker
  17. Alan Barker

    Hawk-Woods Problem

    I’ve run into a couple of problems with the Hawk-Woods power distribution system when used with Lecrtosonics wireless mics, wondering if anyone else has had the same. The first was when powering an SD442, Lecrtosonics receivers (any type) and Lectrosonics 400 series transmitters. This was for a series I outfitted that was shot on an aircraft carrier. When we were setting up the gear one of the soundmen, Gabe Monts, noticed right away that the signal to noise was terrible on the 400 series when used as camera hops. They were OK when battery powered but terrible when powered by the Hawk-Woods. We were told by Lectrosonics that the grounding circuitry was different in the 400s and did not interface well with Hawk Woods. The second problem occurred using the HW system with Lectro 201 receivers and 195 transmitters as camera hops on a PD-4. The PD-4 was powered with an internal battery, the RX and TX powered by the HW system. This time the transmitters cyclicly popped so long as everything was plugged into the PD-4. I have not had these problems using the BDS distribution system. Any thoughts? Alan Barker
  18. Alan Barker

    Hawk-Woods Problem

    Good thinking but probably isn't a problem with Lectrosonics. I'm using the NPC-XLR4S (strangely named as it has no XLR connectors) Hawk-Woods box. It is switched and it passes full voltage which starts out at about 17.7v with Lithium NPs. The receivers are rated for 10-18v. The battery eliminator (MBATELIM) that replaces the 9v in the transmitter is a 12 to 9v converter, it has a max input of 24v.
  19. Alan Barker

    Lectro 411a vs 401

    401s in trouble? I took delivery of two block 28 401s last Friday. There was something seriously wrong with them. The scan showed no open frequencies and the "Check Freq" alert came on. I had two rental 411s at the time, also block 28. They showed plenty of open freqs. Walk testing with a 411 and a 401 on the same frequency, the 401 had terrible range. I got hits at 30 feet on the other side of a car. The 411 was good for half a block. I returned the units to Location Sound. Bill Hansen confirmed the problem and had repair retune the units. He tells me everything was fine until the next day when the problem returned. Alan Barker
  20. Alan Barker

    Audio in Moving Car

    I've had good luck with Sanken COS-11's on both visors. I usually go RF with the transmitters up there too. That should get easier with the new Lectro SMs. Coming from the doc world, I have often had to follow subjects wearing lavs into cars. If I see this coming I am careful to position them so they aren't under the seat belts. Alan Barker