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Martin Kittappa

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    Los Angeles
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    I'm a production sound mixer with 10 years experience, been blessed to have worked all over the world on a variety of different types of shows from Documentary, reality, drama and anything else. I love to travel and enjoy problem solving. You can see my full info at my web page www.mkittappa.com

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  1. So not exactly a sound enquiry- I have a good friend who's looking to rent a small Arri light interview package in Greensboro Or Winston Salem NC for a small corporate shoot. Just wondering if anyone has any leads I can send his way, thanks.
  2. Yeah it does seem messed up that clients want to push all the additional insurance (Workers Comp, Liability and L&D), that they should be providing onto me. I spoke with the client and asked if there is any way I could deal with him directly, but he says his hands are tied as his higher ups will only allow him to hire crews from Crew Connection because they believe CC ensures that the crews are vetted for their quality and professionalism. He did let it slip to me that because CC deals with all the liability and insurance issues, they don't have to foot that bill. I don't think he realized that CC passes that requirement down the line to the crews- why would he, as it's not the client's concern as to how CC makes sure that the people they send are covered. The client who really wants to work with me, did suggest that I could find a company that is already signed up at Crew Connection and have them hire me, but 1) I don't know anyone that is, 2) If I did find someone then that's another cut I'd have to dish out of my day rate as no company would do this for free. If CC covered all the insurances then maybe it would have been worth signing up, as I could pad my rate a little to help offset the finders fee, but paying for all the additional insurance that employers should be covering doesn't seem worth it to me.
  3. Has anyone had any experience with crewing agencies like 'Crew Connection' The reason I ask is that I have contacted by a potential client who wants to hire me for a corporate gig, but for reasons I'm unclear about, he says that he has to hire me and pay me through Crew Connection. At first I thought fine and so I called up crew connection, but they will only add me to their database if I set myself as company and provide my own liability and workers comp insurance, and they will also take a 15% 'finders fee' from my day rate and gear rental. In the past all this kind of insurance has been covered by the production company that has hired me so I've never had the need to do all of this myself before. This corporate gig will only last four days and so the cost of setting all of this up doesn't seem worth it, but if Crew Connection were to put me forward for other work in the future it might be worth taking the hit on this one. The lady on the phone was very vague about how much work I could potentially get from them, saying something like we'll add you to our database.
  4. Simultaneously shooting movies whist fighting climate change!
  5. I keep a couple of Sony ECM 77s for situations where I cannot use a wireless mic for whatever reason, I don't use them very often as like Mike says modern wireless RM systems have a great many advantages over hardwire. However if the location you are working in prohibits you from using wireless mics then you have to work with alternatives. I did a shoot on a commercial airliner in flight and the airline was not about to clear me any frequencies to use. I couldn't get boom up in that situation either. Hard wired lavs were the only way to go.
  6. There is a petition on Change.org addressed to the Wayne County Sheriff urging him to deny Millers request, http://www.change.org/p/object-to-randall-miller-s-motion-for-early-release-from-prison
  7. Bad spelling, an app that will make you rich sounds interesting....but on second thoughts I don't need the $250 he's paying for a sound guy to help promote his services as I'm about to get a $35,364,000 payout from a Nigerian prince and retire from working altogether.
  8. Staff me up used to be really good when it was known as realitystaff, but it got taken over it went downhill. Now it's become a place for productions to find the lowest cost labor. I was talking to producer friend who called me up. I've worked with him many times and he was brutally honest with me about how it all goes down in these doc-reality type productions. The conversation went something like this. I really want to bring you onto a shoot I'm working on, it's in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota, but the money people won't let me hire you unless you can work as a local. If they can't find a local then they'll pull the money out of their butts to let me fly you, house you and pay a per diem. I know I'm never going to find a local mixer out where we are shooting, but what's going to happen is the money folks will make me advertise for a local mixer on Staff Me Up. People will respond, but no one will be an actual local. They'll be from LA or New York or some other city who say that they will work 'as a local' because they need the work and will eat the travel and hotel costs themselves in order to take the job. The money people will make me hire one of the guys who responded saying that they are able to work 'as a local'. Of course I'm allowed to fly out my DP, a second camera operator and a camera assistant, because thats the way it is, but I can never win the fight to travel sound because someone always responds to the adverts. So if you want to work as a local I'm allowed to hire you, if not then I have to go with the best person that will work 'as a local' from Staff Me Up. If no-one responds you might get lucky and I'll be able to travel you, but seriously it's not very likely because someone always responds. Somewhere along the line it seems that we created our race to the bottom.
  9. On these little day gigs the DIT is often the AC dumping onto a Lacie rugged drive using a production coordinators macbook. If they are shooting on Red or any proprietary media format camera they often don't have a card reader, mostly because no-one figured out who's responsibility it was to bring it. The way I see it is if I have a card reader then I get kudos points for saving the shoot, especially if the BTS guy shooting on his Canon 5D ends up having to use my card reader as well. Being the guy who saved their production for the cost of a $25 card reader means I'll be top of their hiring list next time that they are crewing up. On the occasions when they don't even bring a laptop then Dropbox is my go to option. I don't let the dropbox upload take over my computer whilst I'm using it for other things, instead I just set the dropbox to upload overnight whilst I'm sleeping and share a link with them the next morning. It's always worked well enough for me. If I have recorded so much audio that the dropbox is impractical then I'll discuss other options like having a PA come over to my place with a hard drive, Fedexing a thumb drive or hard drive etc, but in those incidences they have to work around my schedule, and I'll be as flexible as I can with them as there's never a good reason to turn a good working relationship sour for no good reason. If they can give me cash on the day or if they say unequivocally that I can add it to my invoice then I'm happy to give them the card from the recorder. However, I'm not about to give a way the $80 Sandisk card that sits in my recorder and have to fight with the production to either return it or get it listed as an expendable for reimbursement. (Believe me I had the fight one time, they tried to give me a cheap brand CF card that I'd never heard of to replace my Sandisk. When I refused they stalled and delayed paying for it for weeks. I never did find out what they did with my original card after they dumped it).
  10. Thanks for the link Jeff- They also have another one that is part of the same series- I found the link to that one too.
  11. For all our sports camera friends out there. 11789274_870162073069574_921841507_n.mp4 Hmm seems not to be displaying correctly I added the direct YouTube link - jw
  12. I don't own a truck or a van, so I always drive my equipment to set in my car. I often find that it is a huge fight to have my car considered to be included in the transportation footprint. There's always a space for the grip truck, camera vehicle (which is sometimes a car) and other trucks and vans. I always ask to have my car included in the footprint, but it is hit and miss as to whether it happens on the day. The frustrating thing is when they make you download to location then make make you drive to crew parking and shuttle back to location, then at the the end of the day, have break down the equipment, wait for a shuttle to get the car and then drive back to location to load out, when all that time could have been saved if I was able to park with the production vehicles. Of course I'll claim overtime up until I'm tail lights, but I'd rather be off and away home then collect the thirty minutes to an hour O/T that it can take, especially if crew parking is stacked parking situation. Is this a common problem, any ideas on how to approach this with the productions?
  13. Normally I'd leave any lavs that are off camera recording an iso, but I will usually instruct my boom operator to only mic the talent that is on camera. The reason is that often there is non verbal communication going on when the on screen talent isn't actually delivering a line- the sound of a sigh, the way someone breathes or taps the surface a table. There is a myriad of audio that is not dialogue that might add to the story, or show the emotion of a character. If these actions are on camera and create noise then I want to be sure to capture it. These actions may be performed by the on screen talent even as the off camera talent is speaking and so I would rather make sure I get sounds that happen on camera. I find that actors when they are off camera don't always give 100% on their performances anyway. I even had one actor refuse to wear a mic when he wasn't on camera because in his words, he 'doesn't want the editors using audio from a performance that was only 75%' He actually pulled it off and gave the mic back to me before stepping onto set. Of course this is a general rule, and situations sometimes call for other choices so it's always important to be adaptable to whatever the production requires. Reality will normally have every mic recording all the time wether the talent is on camera or off.
  14. A Comtek instead of the G3 would solve the problem of the volume control for the producer as it has a volume control that is easily accessible and is also the industry standard. Having said that I used G2s in exactly the same way back in my early days before I acquired all the gizmos that I own now. Apart from the volume control issue it worked fine for the job.
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