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Everything posted by SoundHound

  1. In the good old days when I started a show I would have a case of beer delivered to the grip truck and the lighting truck. Afterwards, I would endeavor to see what the Key Grip and Gaffer liked in a bottle. At the start of a show lots of social contracts are drawn based on 1st impressions. So best to redirect apprehension away from your department. Be inventive and social. You can always ask the D P/Director/etc about their previous films (that you have prescreened so as to know how to Brown Nose credibly). As for ADs just show them how you can save them some time and that you are on their side. No one else is on there side so you can get them to cut your department some slack. Since ours is a totally misunderstood medium it is incumbent on getting along with everyone because that's all you are judged on.
  2. I just got my copy of CAS Quarterly wherein there is a review of the RX6. Lots more dandy stuff to clean up dialogue. Were I mixing today I wouldn't know what would be Production Sound Quality. I would want a real education on the RX6, etc. so I could estimate to my 1st AD/Producer/Director what the likely Post Production time and costs would be verses my estimate of set time and resources. However, the real ear opener was the more than inkling that iZotope is planning to "synthesize unrecoverable dialogue," sometime soon, in the future. So, for many productions, after the release of RX7 (8?) anything more than cue track could be wasting production time and resources. I leave it to those of you in the business to examine the implications.
  3. I recommend the modified (*) Oktava MK 012 mic with hypercardiod capsule. Oktava makes a 90 degree swivel ($115) for those that like it. They also make an in-line low cut but this, unseemingly, adds to the noise so it's only useful in a louder environment. The Oktava typically comes with an in-line -10 dB pad but, after modification, I find this is unnecessary. The advantages are: No sensitivity to RF, humidity or gunshots. Small size, high performance and, even after modification, low cost. This combo is very different from the Chinese copies of yesteryear. Oktava also make several capsules that interchange. Small Diaphragm: omni, cardioid and figure of eight. Large Diaphram: Several cardiods-some axial addressed and some side addressed. You can buy most any of the, authentic, Tula, Russian made mics listed on eBay since all the guts will be reworked in the modification. Prices vary from $150 used to $300 new. * Bill Sitler (at billsrecording.com) has a very effective but inexpensive modification that makes the MK012 into a very different mic with less noise, a sweeter more natural sound as well as an extremely high overload level (no edginess with a Trombone inches from the mic). Oktave make a fine product mechanically but have poor access to premium electronic components mponents. For those of you in the know Bill has four 1 Gig Ohm premium resistors shunting the Capsule for minimum loading as well as selected low noise transistors. This is his premium mod (don't buy the kit unless you are a virtuoso Micro solder artist) and includes replacement of most every electronic component is $87.50 (rtn postage inc). So with outgoing postage your cost is about $100. You can easily hear the difference. I have 20 or 30 of these Oktavas working for my Big Band recording and have retired my fragile Neumann KM185s.
  4. I found that the KM150/185 had a smoother polar pattern (shows on published literature) than the MK41 Schoeps. This meant a bit better "reach" and smoother off axis response. Also the KM (KMR) series was immune to humidity (I once put a KMR 82 shotgun into a steam room and took it out only after drops were forming on the tube-no noise! Also in 20 degrees below zero weather I took the KMs inside and listen as they warmed up with no hiss or noise. All early KMs and KMRs are very sensitive to RF like that generated by the old TV band camera xmitters. Later Neuman made a modification on the KM183/4/5's board to make it immune to RF (no pops when I held a 5 watt Walkie Talkie within a few inches and hit transmit) These newer mics are all above SN# 50,000. Otherwise the older mics can be bad for nearby RF. One way to minimize this is to use "Reussen" (German word for banded) wire in the fish pole or mic cables leading from the RF area. Realize that Canare StarQuad is NOT Reussen. Reussen wire is usually European and is double helixed for more than 100% RF shielding. After some handling this wire can open up. A reasonable expedient would be the recent Oktave MC 012 mics with Hyper Cardiod capsule which have no sensitive to either RF or moisture. Be sure to have the mics modded by Bill Sitler Recording Services. The mic will sound much better and you will have no need of the -10 dB in line attenuator. Oktava makes a modestly priced swivel too. However their in-line low frequency roll off accessory adds some noise so be careful. As for mics out of doors: The Neumann KMR81short shotgun sounds the best of any mic I ever heard. The KMR82 (long shotgun) would phase, even outside, with any other mic pointed at the same source. But the 82 when pointed straight up or down outside would null out at the sides like a BiDirectional capsule. This is very valuable to reject noise (but not airplanes). Neither the 81 or, especially, the 82 would work as well as the '50 capsule inside.
  5. Cutting your whip aerial alters its resonate frequency and makes it less efficient (were it already the right length for your frequency block). Diversity, at UHF frequencies, works just fine with closely spaced aerials of equal length. So your modificalion will increase your dropouts and decrease your range to some extent. To increase your range, and save your reciever connectors, you could attach high quality low loss wire (semi permanet at the receiver end) to get the whips up or over head height. But if you are wearing your gear and walking then you would look strange in a hat/helmet with two whips.
  6. 1. The Sennheiser MKH 70 and the Neumann KMR 82 (not the Sennheiser 804/805/815/816/415/416) have an essentially figure of 8 (bi-directional) pattern at low frequencies. So when outdoors if you point them straight up or down you can tune out typical exterior noise which comes along ground level (this technique is useless for airplanes and such). The trick then is to get the desired sound (typically dialogue) into the pattern. As a rough rule of thumb a top line will yield a better signal to noise ratio than if the actor is wearing a Lavaliere and facing the noise. A "lowfer" (slang for booming from below) is especially useful when the actor is standing in front of the offending noise and will have lower noise than if the actor is wearing a lavaliere and facing away from the noise. But booming can be a hassle and you need a good boom operator. 2. Because the Sennheiser MKH series of mics uses RF technology the capsule is immune to humidity and, theoretically, could work under water. Other mics, Schoeps for instance, are sensitive to humidity. When the Neumann KMR 82 first was released I made a test in a steam room for humidity. There were no humidity problems with condensed water dripping off the KMR82-after which I stopped the test and went to an old 815 since it was que track and I didn't want to damage my new Neumann shotgun. 3. Large diaphram capsule microphones (non electrets) typically have a polarization voltage on the capsule, When externally polarized this voltage can attract dirt and humidity compromising the life of the capsule. Many famous mics have the polarization potential on the capsule's exterior. Neumann's U87 is one, Under harsh conditions (when I used them for dirty exteriors) a U87 may need its capsule replacement every 5 years. The older U67 uses the same capsule desigh but has the heat of the internal tube to dry out the capsule. AKG's 414 multipattern mic is especially sensitive. when I used to use the AKG 414 (in figure of eight for the null trick described in Tip #1) a capsule would only last me 2 years. Most Neumann LDCs have external polarization. However, Neumann's more modern U89 is internally polarized and doesn't have these problems. All KM series Neumans are internally polarized and almost immortal. So make it your business to know your mics!
  7. Proud that David Waelder chose the Sally Field/Norma Rae "Union" shot for the cover. So just remember to have cash in your pocket and playing cards in your kit-always. That way you can play polker with an Icon and have a story for the Quarterly too.
  8. I use an older 17" MacBook Pro and record 22+ tracks a 24/96 for a swing band. My session would often crash so I upgraded everything RAM internal SSD and finally used a Thunderbolt ported conventional hard drive as my externa data drive. Thunderbolt solved the problem!
  9. The iPhone/iPad, even the newer models, are notorious for severe roll off in the mic preamp circuits. I have "Pocket RTA" APP which has several functions besides RTA. But it is, essentially, uncalibrated. You could use the transfer standard method (compare various readings to a calibrated pro unit). But it can be useful (if only to Mind Fxxk the producer-an essential part of the job). Just don't trust the low frequencies from 200 Hz and below. If you are going to get more APP-elaborate be sure any aftermarket hardware/software bypasses the native, rolled off, iPad/iPhone input. If you are AC powered at leisure: the Beringer ($300+) DEQ2496 with their $55 accessory mic has a RTA function as well as many others including 1/3 Octave EQ (auto or manual) gain reduction/expansion, parametric EQ and more. Behringer's AD and DA converters are garden variety (fine for measurement) but "Inside the Box" their digital signal processing operations are pristine. I use my DEQ2496 for my golden ears HiFi ($150K) room EQ and digital/analogue level monitoring. If you are really serious about, portable, acoustic domain measurement the PicoScope 4262 is adertised as a 16 bit, 5 MHz dual trace $1200 box, USB self powered into a PC. But with 16 bits it is extremely powerful. The 4262 also has a FFT function (big brother of RTA) which has a 100 Db "Window" for frequency, distortion, reverberation, Voltage, Time relative, etc, etc. Very powerful and new for 2012.
  10. I have used Neumann mics for about 45 years. The KM184 will be fine for the close and medium interior shots but you will want the "reach" of the KM185 for longer shots. I seldom used the KM184/5 outdoors preferring the KMR81/82 (and seldom used the KM81/82 inside preferring the KM150/185). The KM184/5 has lots of low frequency rumble so you will need a good shocknount and low cut on your preamp. I use two Shure "donuts" one inside the other to have dual axis protection (you wrap one donut with tape to fit snugly inside the other). It makes a compact and effective set up with room for a WS100 ball foam windscreen.
  11. I used the KK150 since it was first first issued and later the, acoustically identical, and substatially cheaper KM185 for decades. It is more durable than the Mk41 and I like the lively sound better. It is useful to have an on board low cut filter for the KK50 capsule There's a few NOS of the rare K100 electronic packages with a low cut switch (which eliminates the previously described pin 2 AC ground problem too) available. But realize that many of the Neumans still available today have a sensitivity to RF. I had described this problem (especially pernicious with camera mounted VHF TV viewfinder transmitters) to the microphone's designer, Stephan Peus, while I visited him in 2002 in Berlin. A while later (more due to TBS/Warner Borthers Sound Dept than myself) they modified the KM185 (SN above 50000) to be exceptionally RF immune. Meanwhile, my workaround for the RF problem was the Oktave MK012 with hypercardiod capsule. The Oktava has lots of low frequency response though. Recently, Oktave has issued an in-line low cut filter accessory (about $110). So you might want to try this filter before abandoning your setup. Also note that Oktave also has an in-line roght angle swivel adapter accessory too in, delayed, response to the "film" market. The Oktave gave me just about 90% of KM150/185 quality. If you are looking for that 5% you might try Michael Joly's mod of the electronics package (about $100 + postage). Just google Oktave Mod. Michael is an Oktava dealer so you could order the low cut filter and swivel from him too since I don't know a stocking LA dealer.
  12. Do you look at the manufacture's polar patterns as well as their frequency response charts when you are comparing mics? A polar pattern is a graphical representation of the microphone's sensitivity by axis. Complete polar patterns will have overlapping graphs of many frequencies because mics will have different polar patterns varying with frequency. At a glance you can see how a mic will sound when your actor talks into the side when the boom operator misses his cue or, when by design, he "sides" the mic to a, louder overlapping, actor to balance the level of a softer speaking actor he has put on axis. Also note the jagged "phasey" uneven polar pattern of shotgun mics at the sides and rear. This is why they sound so strange inside and so nice outside. The reflections from interior walls are received by the shotgun's "interference rejection tube" and "phase" differently depending on frequency. These reflections are virtually absent (not in a forest though) when there are no adjacent reflective surfaces and this accounts for the desireable "reach" too. Careful polar chart observation will show you where the mic is least sensitive. If you can orient that axis to the noise and the front of the mic to the actor you have maximized your, desired, signal and minimized your, undesired, noise. Tip: If you point a Sennheiser MKH70 or Neumann KMR82 straight down to the ground from overhead to intercept the actor's voice you will "Tune Out" horizontally polarized (there's that word again) noise. Works just as well for "Lofer" mic placement (mic points up to the sky under the chin of the actor on closer shots). But don't expect the Sennheiser MKH 815/816 to do this because the polar patter is different. Want to identify a superior sounding interior mic with good reach. Study the smoothness (uniform pattern verses frequency) of your hypercardiod mic candiates. The smoothest polar pattern I have ever seen belongs the the Neumann KM105/KM185 hypercardoid capsule. I was told by the microphone's designer at a visit to Neumann Berlin that their KK50 capsule had the best X/Y (matrix) performance of their entire line (and the KM105/KM185 are, by far, not their most expensive music recording mics). Note too that the Schoeps MK41 hypercardiod capsule is no slouch either. Wonder about that newcomer Sennheiser shotgun the MKH8070? I haven't used it but for sure it will have excellent outdoors reach. But watch out because if your actor is just a bit off axis you are going to lose highs. Or use it for for a lispy actor and side the very tight pattern just a tiny bit. Bit don't expect a lush sound indoors. Note too that the 8070's frequency response is virtually flat to 10Hz so you will be buying the $500 low cut accessory with the mic. The high end goes out almost flat 30Khz so by now you might get the idea that the 8070 wasn't designed for dialogue but could be pressed into that service. The MKH70 has a built in roll off switch and a high frequency boost switch usefull-when you use the, muffling, dead cat windscreen cover. If you interested there's lots more since polar patterns describe fundamental characteristics of wave motion and work just the same for aerials too but at Radio Frequencies.
  13. Wow! How the mighty have fallen since I retired 9 years ago (just slipped form the "Roster" a few months ago by choice). Regardless of wages the Production Sound Mixer is the head of a (very small) department and "The Keeper of the Flame" for an entire medium-Sound. For the 37 years I worked the "Mixer" was, typically, the second highest paid crew behind the DP. Inconceivable that the Mixer is paid at or below any AC in this century. In 1990 I grossed over $250,000 (my best year-don't imagine that's $500K in 2012 $$$ though) with a 6 months series (and other work but not 52 weeks) including lots of equipment. Just my 2 cents for perspective. And as to the topic please listen to JW who is very successful, very experienced with so many decades in the biz. And O. K. I'll say it he's a Legend. Because a good forum is not about winning at semantics but learning and helping each other.
  14. Round Up the Usual Suspects... Sorry to have missed you!
  15. Years ago I standardized on a Rycote shock mount with the "C" brackets and replaced their elastics with lots and lots of store bought rubber bands. I countinued to slather on these small rubber bands until my boom man could move at a dead run with two of them. This resulted in a much firmer mount that usuall but the mic tip did not hit the inside of the blimp with fast cueing and yet was limber enough to keep vibration down. This, of course, works best when you dedicate the mic to a blimp-and external shots. I though the band would deteriorate quickly but they were more durable than the high priced spread-Strange but true!
  16. Before you order you might want to check the frequency response charts and polar pattern plots so you know how to compensate for the HF loss. Many shotgun mics hava a "bright" setting that boosts the highs and balances out the dulling effect of the hairy beasts. Strange to relate even smallish foam windscreens with little HF loss degrade the mic's polar pattern for interior use.
  17. VTR carts are well known for strange wiring protocols. I am some what of a technicial guy but try as I might, over the years, I never found a way to isolate a sound kart from the Video guys hum and noise. So long ago I gave them a comtek feed for audio to avoid any chassis AC leakage. Always be wary of any other external devices! I also used all battery operation which was "float charged" by what ever AC line I plugged into. For a potentially unsafe AC situation all that was necessary was to "Pull the AC" plug and run on batteries until safe conditions resumed. Water Work is one of these dangerous situations but some others are: Any generator that has its neutral kicked loose will often send 220+ volts down the 120 volt line you are connected to! A grounded AC line (metal plug shield at ground potential) can be very dangerous if you plug it into a defective appliance (such as a work light with a frayed ac line touching an open ground) because YOUR BODY BECOMES THE CONDUCTOR TO GROUND. This happened on one of my sets to a Video man-who barely survived. ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES!
  18. Just an overview from an old mixer retired for over 3 years: I don't see much about microphone preferences, techniques etc. This new mic is better at... This old mic can be used to... I don't read about anyone's mixer being better sounding than the other or less subject to overload, etc etc. Most everything is tracking, workflow, capture and logging. All this is the concern of a "Recordist" not a "Mixer." Production Mixers are department and (sound) medium heads (small department that it may be). If you let go of the responsibility of sound quality then you are less valuable and more replaceable-and paid less every year. If you record in less than the best conditions (that you can affect) with less than the best mics and techniques then your work, no matter how well tracked, is, forever, less than it could have been. Don't misunderstand I have no illusions that the work is eaiser-if anything is is harder. Good luck to everyone in the trenches.
  19. Yes it does matter! Because this is Schedule "C" income. Schedule C is where you report business income (from equipment rental and sales) and corresponding depreciation and other deductions. All 1099s can be "corrected" and refiled by the maker. Consult your accountant who may want you to request corrected 1099 for larger amounts of rental, etc.
  20. It's to everyone's benefit that the point is made that the Recorder is not the most important. After all the Recorder's job is not to change anything it records. So when you press Record you are doing nothing to the sound. Instead emphasize that the mic and "Capture" techniques are critical. Next talk up the value of a "Mixed Track." Stop the idea that Mixers are really recordists who just "Track" a scene.
  21. As a Mixer I was never encouraged when a BoomPerson/Mixer solicited me for work because I thought their priorities were split-and I was in the Sound Department! So think how your image is compromised with the people who hire you who know much less about the Sound Department. One problem is that many Producers think that they pay for your body on set they get all your talents on call. So why not pay you a boom rate for mixing?
  22. RF Intermod and Frequency compatability is an art not a science. The number of combinations that make Intermod goes up geometrically (very FAST) as more transmitters are added. Strange things happen! Not the least of which is that there are, typically, other sources of, environmental, RFI to spice up the soup. Nothing works better than actual testing with some alternates for a back-up. Remember the RFI Intermod intensity varies with the square of the distance between transmitters. So a little extra room between transmitters can do you a lot of good.
  23. Guys remember your job is to Record what is actually there and make the Producer/Director award of the results. Don't take all the responsibility to make it perfect. Because then you get no help or understanding and are the dog for the 10% that gets by instead of the 90% that's good.
  24. I would routinely trim the EQ on the fishpole mic and individually trim the EQ for each wireless. For problem voices through one Fishpole mic I would double patch the mic. Then trim the EQ for "A" and "B" talent and fade between the two "Inputs" as if I had two mic feeds. The virtue of this technique is you can never "Blow a Fade" only miss EQ shading. Never a big mismatch and, in any case, always reversable in post.
  25. Although the US military has never had a 6th star (5 stars are for Fleet Admirals and General of the Army of which there are none now) the French have the 6 Star "Marshall" rank. So if it's OK for the French...I propose that we award Jeff Wexler a 6th, Honorary, Star for all his educational work. BB
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