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    Washington, DC
  • About
    I started my career as a sound designer, but after spending the better part of a decade in a dark room trying to fix crappy production audio, I decided to take a boom into my own hands. Now production sound is 80% of my business. I love being out of the studio and talking to real human beings!
  • Interested in Sound for Picture

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  1. This looks interesting too. Considering this for a small DIT cart. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZNK2BJ/ref=psdc_764572_t2_B007Q23YC6#Ask ExpertPower Omega 453
  2. I own a complete Zaxcom system and it is incredibly powerful, but that power comes with a steep learning curve. My advice - If you are using your system everyday, go with Zaxcom. If you are only going to pull it out every few weeks or months, then Sound Devices is a better choice because it has an easier workflow. The ability to control transmitter gain and frequency over Zaxnet is an amazing capability. I also love the ERX system and how easy it is to get timecode and scratch audio to camera. If you are looking to use isos in post anyway, it might be the perfect solution for you. I think the best thing to do is to rent each systems or make time to go to one of the major dealers so that you can get your hands on each of the units. Until you've spent a few days with each of the systems, I don't think you can really know which one is right for you.
  3. I had the same problems with the Amira this week using my Nomad and an ERX. We were eventually able to get it to work, but it wasn't just connect and go. These might be obvious answers, but if we cycled the camera's TC BNC mode to off and then back on that seemed to fix it...sometimes. Can you adjust the acl204's voltage out? I turned the ERX up to 1v out which seemed to help. I can usually get away with .5v or less. It was definitely finicky. One time the cameraman had changed to a high speed framerate and forgot to go back to 23.98. Make sure your framerates match.
  4. I think we can all agree that we would like to get paid more. You can argue with me about how I should charge more, but I think I have found the sweet spot for the types of jobs that are available in my market. Its a mix of cable tv shows, lower budget films ($300k-3 million), government videos, and commercial work. I'm constantly trying to raise my fees and negotiate the highest rates possible, but if I go much higher, I will be passing up a lot of work. I have a house, kids, cars, just like everyone else and I make a decent living. I'm not rich by any means, but we live a good life. For all of those attacking me for "not understanding the business", I challenge you to post your average rates for the type of work I've described above and the rental fees you get. None of this "it depends" crap. I would be ecstatic if the majority of you were getting considerably higher than my rates. I'll start charging more immediately! I was simply trying to be helpful by posting my reality. Most of us don't have the luxury of working on major film sets or other projects with huge budgets. I think 90% of the work available are the projects I described above. And it sucks that most of those are one-man-band type of jobs, but that's the way it is. There will always be young mixers trying to steal my job, but the only insurance I have is my skill as a mixer, my relationships with producers, and continuing to be responsive to the market. Feel free to pick apart every sentence of this post now. I just hope that my comments have been helpful to someone.
  5. How is that a bad impression on the rental house? Isn't that just the economics of the rental business? All I am trying to say is that renting from a rental house is a different business from renting my kit that comes with my services.
  6. I hope I didn't alienate myself from this great community by saying that I have worked as a producer!
  7. Just to be clear, I am not a producer with sound skills, I am a sound guy who has produced projects. I have worked in sound for 20 years. I don't pay less as a producer, I actually pay more when I can because I respect the skill. There are economics at play here and you can't ignore them. If you would rather work fewer days and charge more, I can understand that, but don't act like I am undercutting the market with my rates. I enjoy my work and so I try to charge a reasonable rate so I can be working most days. This has made me more money and has built me more contacts so I have steady work. It is easier to plan and budget when you are not just trying to get the big jobs, but rather cutting a wider swath in the market. All I can do is offer my advice. If it is not for you, then take what is valuable and leave the rest. The good news is that no one will accuse us of collusion!
  8. You're right, they don't price it higher just because of risk. They also price it higher because they need to pay someone to rent it out, fill out the forms, check it back in, make sure it still works, etc. They also don't expect to use it everyday like I do so they have to charge more for the days it is sitting on the shelf.
  9. I think the rate card makes it easier because it is all laid out on paper. They know what they are getting and they know what costs extra.
  10. Rental houses charge more because they don't know who is using it and what kind of wear and tear those people will cause. Since I own my own gear I know how long it will last and I can offer it along with my services at a better rate and as a complete package. Of course I charge more for extra wireless, booms, stereo wireless hop, etc. I expect all my major gear will last 5 years or more (much more). $250 a day is about $5k a month or $60k a year for a basic package. What does a basic package cost to buy? Maybe a third of that and we are not rebuying all our gear every year. As someone who also works as a producer, I can do the math and figure out that paying a sound mixer a lot more than $250 a day for a basic package is ridiculous. If we charge more than that, real production companies will figure out fast that it is cheaper to buy the gear and just pay someone labor. I hope that doesn't happen because I make good money off of my basic kit rental!
  11. This is exactly what I have on my rate card as well here in DC. I find that real productions expect to pay in this range. Of course I will negotiate depending on the project. I get calls from a lot of out of town productions doing small shoots for major clients and they expect to pay between $600-750 including gear. I won't go out with gear for less than $600 and then only with a small package.
  12. Looks like a great studio. I'll definitely keep you in mind on my next project!
  13. Thanks for all the great ideas. I usually use velcro or bongo straps for my ERX but I need to mount two G3s for stereo and so I'm worried about the space. Do you strap the G3s together first and then attach it to the camera or does this cause problems?
  14. To tweak phase I just nudge one of the tracks forward or backwards very slightly.
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