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BrianW

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About BrianW

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    Arizona
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    Electrical Engineer with 20 years audio experience including mixing FoH for large, high track count shows, multi-track recording, and mixing. Currently working as a sound mixer for a weekly live-audience taped interview-style show and freelance for commercials, tv, corporate video, etc. It's my ambition to work on feature films in any capacity within the production sound department.

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  1. Bump Isolate my initial question - has anyone here successfully used Zaxmote to put zaxcom transmitters into and out of record mode?
  2. Has anyone successfully gotten Zaxmote to work properly with the app to put the TRXLA transmitters into and out of record? If so, can you share your settings or take a look at my settings below and see what I'm missing? I feel like I've got to be missing something simple, I just haven't been able to find it yet. Yes, I've been in touch with the manufacturer. We had a few exchanges trying to troubleshoot, then, about a week ago after I answered a few more questions, they just stopped responding. I really need to get this working, if the feature is even possible. This advertised ability was a big part of my decision to spend the money to switch over to Zaxcom, since my upcoming show will be in harsh conditions and my kit needs to be kept sealed up and operated remotely most of the time. I won't always be able to put my fingers on the receiver itself to roll the transmitters' internal recorders, and I don't really want them just running all day. And with a main cast of 8, it's not practical to walk around to each cast member before and after each take. Here's where I'm at: -I have the Zaxmote dongle plugged in to a QRX100-QIFB running the latest firmware. -I have 8 TRXLA3.5 transmitters, all running the latest firmware. -I power everything up, and I get the Zaxmote app (iOS) to successfully connect to the dongle. -I'm able to successfully change the gain and the frequency in each/all transmitter(s) via the app. -However, when I press REC in the app, the app shows the status change, but the transmitters never change. -(if I use the buttons on the transmitter itself, it goes into record just fine) -Also, if I press STBY on the app, the transmitters do not go into standby. They stay in full power. I did discover that I can successfully place the TX into REC mode remotely via the IFB EXT MENU in the QRX100. But not from the app. And the Tx is creating audio files on its SD card. Here are my menu settings as of right now, for both the TRXLA and the QRX100-QIFB TRXLA3.5: SETUP Test tone: off Battery: Lith QRX Stby boot mode: normal Key lock: unlocked Low batt stop: 1min OLED brightness: 2 Dim: 15 seconds Info: firmware V2-18, SN 8358, DSP: 11 (ZHD), Opt=3, LA3=NC Encryption: matched to RX TIMECODE 23.98 (timecode reads and syncs correctly from the mixer through the QRX100) TC Source: Zaxnet (RF) TC Jam Mode: Auto-Jam Mute TC Send: on Auto Frame Rate: On AUDIO HPF: 70Hz 2K Notch: on Dynamics: on & set up ZAXNET Zaxnet Mode: RX RX Freq: 2.430 (working) Rem Ctrl Group: 1 Rem Ctrl Unit =007 Zaxnet Voting: On Rx to Tc Time: off TRANSMIT TX Power: 50 TX Format: XR Power Roll: record trigger TX Disable: Normal TX Mode RECORD Record on boot: Off Rec Mode: non-loop Low batt stop: 1min QRX100-QIFB: EXT MENU Format: Mono-XR RX Mode: Dual AES-12: off AES-34: off AES Outputs: normal IFB Mix: none IFB Enable: Yes Serial Port: Bluetooth TX Remote Ctrl: On Use TC from TRX900: Off RXA Unit: 7 Sony F5 AES: off AES Rate: normal Power Saver: Off Backlight: 29sec LED Dimmer: off LED Meter: off ID: matches encryption in tx IFB OPT MENU timecode: 23.98 (sync success with mixer) IFB Home Menu: Ver 1.46 TX2.430 2.430 JAM: —— (From this screen, if I scroll to REC, the TX will enter REC and roll, and if I scroll to STOP, the Tx will stop the roll and return to STOP) IFB Input Mix: L+R Remote Power Mode: 0 IFB EXT MENU Input trim: 0dB Output trim: 0dB IFB TXCH: 2.430 (TX MODE) IFB Mode: TX Rem Ctrl Group: ID=1 TC Output Level: 1.0V TC Frame Rate: 23.98 TC Jam Mode: Auto-Jam TC Delay: 0 TCJam Mute Time: 0mS Audio Delay: Off Zaxnet Output: On IFB Tc Power: 7 Always Send Rec Commands: On Encryption: matches Tx
  3. Wow, this sure blew up! Thanks for the extra perspective! I agree that a SEASONED, experienced boom op can work visually, because they spent enough time with both sensory inputs working to build enough muscle memory to know what will sound right, but that'd be in a situation with at least a two-person sound department. In the OP's scenario there is no mixer sitting at a cart monitoring the audio. It's a one-person sound dept. sitch. I was recently on a shoot when an expensive, high quality shotgun mic on a boom started making static out of the blue in the middle of a take. Without someone monitoring, that problem might not get caught until post. (I know you all realize that, not trying to be condescending at all - I don't know if OP or some others would have thought of that kind of situation, or realize how common it is for stuff, especially cheap stuff, to just quit working properly all of a sudden) Yeah, if there's a boom op and a mixer, the mixer would catch any issues. To the OP: Yep, the camera has a headphone out. If I were the boom op, I would hate the camera op being the one who has to adjust my listening level for me. I would bring my own HP amp at the very least and beg the camera op to never touch the levels. Also, the input levels can only be adjusted at the camera. If your project is one where the talent's dialog is always one level, even tone and volume level, this might be fine, but if some words are spoken more softly, and some are loud, sure, you can set the gain low enough to prevent the loud words from clipping, and bring up the soft parts in post, but how much is an editor's time worth compared to giving an on-set mixer the ability to adjust on the spot appropriately for the scene? Either the camera op as to make these adjustments, or the sound mixer has to get in the camera op's way allot. My fingers are always reaching for the mixer, very, very often. If it were me, I'd feel very awkward reaching to touch the camera that often, or, worse, trying to talk the camera op through making adjustments for me. I'm sorry if this sounds rude, and I honestly mean no disrespect. Out of curiosity, did you come to a sound forum for advice from experienced sound professionals on how to make your project turn out better, or simply to validate that the way you've already decided to do everything is proper or good enough? If you've already made up your mind, then fine, just do it your way, yeah? If it was my micro-budget production, I'd have someone acting as sound mixer, and that person would have a small mixer, a recorder, and feed the mix to the camera, at least most of the time. Having experience with equipment from the cheapest to the most expensive out there, my lowest-possible-budget choice would be to use Sound Devices MixPre or 302, plug the boom into that, and feed that to the camera and to at least a zoom recorder for backup, in case the cable comes loose or craps out at any point. I haven't used one yet, but it does look like a Zoom F4 could be another good, workable solution, but that does remove the practical ability to ride the faders during a take, since they're digital and may cause stepping artifacts - but it's pretty tough to ride faders and boom at the same time, anyhow. It could be done as you say, plugging the mic straight into the camera and plugging headphones straight out of the camera, but that'll have its disadvantages that'll limit the production, make it more cumbersome on set, and raise tensions between crew members. I've done both, and, if it was me you brought on board, I'd use my own 302 for free before I'd plug my mic and headphones into the camera, getting in the camera op's way and risking jiggling the camera or getting tangled up more easily. Very rarely is standing next to the camera the optimum place from which to boom, and I've found most camera ops appreciate their unencumbered space. I'd also add a recorder of my own, at least a zoom or tascam or something, to offer the camera op the option of being freed up from the tether in case a situation just isn't conducive to tethering. The production will go faster and smoother for the cost equivalent to a couple days of one tech's labor. Bare-bones, no budget, absolute minimum setup? Buy, beg, or borrow, a Zoom F4. But, since you already said you're using a $10,000+ camera body, we already know this is not a no-budget, absolute minimum setup Thanks, Constantin. Of course it's not an absolute rule, but my statement was in context to the OP's situation where there is only one person in the sound department. I'm sure you'd 100% agree if I had worded it, "Someone has to monitor the audio." Please consider my statement as it pertains as a direct response to the OP's questions, where there's no Constantin at a cart listening and mixing in the OP's project.
  4. Wow, this thread is full of great wisdom for our field! I have allot less experience than many of you guys, but trying to not be neurotic on set is a goal of mine. If I feel something ruined the take, I'll tell the most appropriate person in charge at the time, right after the take and before any conversation of the next setup. If it's reality or docu, and it's something really atrocious that I know just won't work, I may try to get the director's or AD's (or whomever is appropriate) attention and ask if I can get a line repeated while we still are rolling. But it has to be a pretty unique situation for me to just yell out in the middle of a roll. It really is a strange position to be in, to be the one whose fault it seems to be while we are holding for a helicopter tour overhead that just seems bent on staying in our space. If some uncontrolled third party suddenly shined an aircraft landing light into the camera lens, I really don't think the camera op would feel like it was his/her fault for having to hold the roll, but for us, that's exactly the case. Understanding and accepting that as an uncontrollable fact of life will lead to peace
  5. If the boom operator can't directly hear what he's/she's capturing, he/she can't do his/her job, and you won't get a good result. Get a MixPre or a 302 (both Sound Devices products), and a good set of headphones (not Beats or music headphones, but production headphones). Have the boom op (who now, as RPS pointed out, is your production sound mixer, and should be credited as "sound mixer") feed the boom into the 302, then out of the 302 into the FS7. If you can afford to buy or hire an FS7, you can afford a 302 and a pair of headphones. Otherwise, sell the $10,000+ camera and get a $3,000+ A7Rii, A7Sii, GH5 [or even Blackmagic Ursa Mini] to shoot on, and use the rest of the cash to buy some more audio gear. The overall outcome of picture and sound together will be much better than an FS7 picture with a boom op who can't directly monitor.
  6. Wow, I guess this is pretty common! I had the same thing happen to my 302 once with a Lenmar 2700 mAH NiMh. Couldn't get it out on set for the life of me and had to switch to recording lav and boom straight into a 2-track without the mixer for the rest of the day. Tried the magnet, the snot-tape-on-a-stick, and some of the other ideas here - finally got it out at home later by using dental tools to pull part of the battery's foil label wrap loose enough to get hold of it with a long needle nose pliers. After that I peeled the foil labels off all those batteries to prevent it happening again, but that brand had been working fine for me for a year prior. Now for both my SD mixers I only power externally and use Energizer Lithiums as backup.
  7. Update: So, I went ahead and wired it up this way: I cut the earpiece wire on a surveillance and soldered that to a TA3F connector, leaving the ptt mic connected as is so I can still transmit on the radio as normal. I installed the radio itself into a side pouch on the bag, plugged the TA3F connector into (unused) input 12 on the 664, set that input to line, feeding X1/X2 only, instead of LR, then disarmed it from recording ch12 iso using the wingman app. This allows me to monitor the program via the aux buss and hear comms in my headset without using a separate earpiece without disturbing the program mix or recording the comm chatter, and adjust the comm volume with the knob on the radio, also allowing me to shut it right off if chatter gets too conversational. An additional bonus, it turned out, is that feeding the x1/x2 aux buss to the director and scripty's IFB Tx as well puts comms in their IFB receivers, so they also can get away with wearing a single earpiece. Probably not ideal for every production situation, but, for this run, it's working out great for everyone
  8. If your gigs are infrequent, also consider renting pieces to try them out. I agree with the others, for in-house gear you really can't go wrong with a good used SD 442, MKH50, and find a couple good condition used Lectros - UCR411 Rx, maybe even LMa Tx's with Sanken COS-11D capsules. A boom, 2 wireless lavs, a 442 feeding hard wired to your camera plus backup recording on your H6. That'll get most jobs done well, if you have someone who understands mic placements and gain staging well enough to get it right, and a bit of mixing. For bigger jobs you can rent what you need, but in that case you'd need someone mixing anyway. But ultimately, we need to work harder to educate clents. "Sound" isn't something to be not paying for in their video projects, even if it's part of an "inclusive" price rather than a line item, it can't be free. The bid neds to at least cover the cost of good gear. The only reason they believe it's optional is because these "production companies" let them believe it's something they can just scratch off the bid without losing quality. Good gear costs money, trained techs cost money, and poor equipment or poor quality work hurts the project's quality and your professional reputation. So you end up buying good stuff anyway, then including it for free, to save your reputation. Your best honest way forward is to understand the value and technical challenge of good audio well enough to explain it to a client well enough that they don't mind including it in the project pricing.
  9. 2012 Ford Transit Connect for work, 2013 Ford Escape for personal. Both get great mileage for what they do, the Escape better than the TC, but that configuration of TC will haul 1,000+ lbs and has a large cargo area. It's worked out great, but, like Phil said, it is pretty "bare bones," so it has its rattles and road noise.
  10. some great tips; Thank you!! I'll check out the comm-biner for sure. I also found Trew offers a 3-wire surveillance that can feed program audio and comm to the earpiece, but that's still using the surveillance tube and ear tip.
  11. We're using Motorola walkies on set for production comms, and they want me on comms, so I've been letting the surveillance earpiece kind of dangle inside my headphones to not impede program monitoring while clipping the talk mic to my harness. I'm wondering, has anyone tried wiring the Motorola mic/earpiece jack through the comms in/out on a SD 6** mixer? I'm running a 664, and seems to me running the walkie through the comms section of the mixer probably wouldn't be too difficult of a "hack", but I haven't tried setting it up yet.
  12. The white/grey line is there for me as well, running Firefox 13.0 (screenshot)
  13. I've been happy with Chase for my business accounts. Been with them for about 6 years now. The people at my branch have always been helpful, and I've never felt like a "number" with them - of course, not sure if that's because of the management at the branch or because of corporate policy. I do like their on-line and mobile app for e-banking, especially because of the way it handles security. It looks not just at the username and password, but looks at the device I.D. as well. If it's a device that hasn't previously been used to log in, it requests an extra code, which has to be obtained via their system texting or calling a phone number which is already established, so pretty hard to hack I think. Someone would need to have your username, password, and possession of a device from which you had previously accessed your accounts. I was with a CU previously, and that had plenty of pro's but a few restrictions that were "con" enough for me to switch. The cons were probably inherent to that particular CU and not a reflection on CU's overall.
  14. Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on picking up some work! Have fun with it. To kind of expound on my view of what Jon said, I think the decision whether to rent a radio set or borrow one from a friend depends more on other factors besides which radio is "better". How strong is your friendship? Is saving the money it'll cost to rent a set worth risking your friendship should something happen to the equipment? Do you have the means to replace it for your friend if something happens to it? Is your friend willing to train you in its proper use? If you rent one, it's insured, the rental house can show you how to use it, and you can choose among different microphones. The rental house can make suggestions as to which microphone might work best in your situation. If your friendship is one where he/she is willing to risk their equipment for your training / experience, willing to teach you how to use it, and it won't strain the friendship, well, that's where the choice should be made, I think, rather than which one "sounds better". The microphone itself will have a bigger influence on the sound than the brand of transmitter/receiver set, and the choice of which particular microphone will work best in your situation depends on too many factors to offer a simple answer. However, there are many threads here that should offer some pretty good direction when it comes to which lav mics work well for most people in different given situations. Bottom line is, though, you won't know these answers for yourself until you get out there and gain experience using the different mics and radios. I think it's fine to ask for guidance for a starting point, but until you hear the differences for yourself and get experience using them in different situations, or have the opportunity to have someone who already has this experience work with you for a while so you can gain some of your own, nothing anyone say's will really mean much to you.
  15. Look at it this way, too... if you didn't already own the equipment, would the benefit you receive from not being cabled be worth it to you to pay the rental rate yourself? Because that's essentially what you're doing. Personally, I don't think it's worth paying the extra out of my pocket just to unplug. It's just economics, really. If productions become accustomed to us providing tens of thousands of dollars worth of fragile, high-maintenance equipment for free we'll quickly end up spending more than we earn in any given year. That only works if you're a government who can print your own money and forcefully take it from others, and even then it doesn't work forever.
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