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Sean ONeil

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  1. Hi Lee, Daniel, and Doug, Thank you for weighing in and sharing your insights with Larry. Much appreciated.
  2. RIP: Sound Mixer Larry Scharf, Los Angeles California I would like to announce to the community the extremely sad news of the passing away of sound mixer Larry Scharf. Larry introduced me to the world of sound mixing as a profession, and I feel extremely fortunate to consider him my mentor. Larry built a small video and film rental house in Soho, renting out camera, lighting, and sound packages to 60 Minutes, The BBC, MTV, WGBH, Frontline, Nickelodeon and to other smaller documentarians. His loft at 476 Broome street was a magnet for a dizzying array of eclectic artists, filmmakers and souls of all stripes. He had no gate. All were welcome. His generous giving of time, money and expertise to struggling independent filmmakers was routine. I was still a film school undergrad at Larry’s alma mater NYU in the late 80’s, and I’m pretty sure he only hired me to help run his office because he heard I played guitar. Fortunately, by the time he actually heard me play, it was too late to fire me. That would come later. Larry had an incredibly diverse skillset in many disciplines. He had a strong foundation in electronics, which he brought to his sound game, oftentimes modding components or mics to his own liking with the soldering iron he just happened to have in his coat pocket. Usually it was without the need of a schematic and quite often it was happening while the camera’s were rolling. He was multitasking before it was cool. He was a gifted guitarist and played most musical instruments to an annoying degree of proficiency. The late legendary guitarist Hugh McCracken was a friend who would stop by on occasion. Larry was 1,000 times smarter than me, so it was actually kind of hard for him to explain things to me in a way I could understand. Eventually, I realized learned most by watching him work. I imagine it would be like Willie Mays trying to teach someone to hit a baseball. There isn’t much to say. Just watch. Larry moved to LA in the 90’s. Unsurprisingly, Larry’s paintings somehow made it into the hands of the Art Department on Pulp Fiction. They’re visible inside Eric Stoltz’s character’s house, as Larry was the Boom Operator for Sound Mixer Ken King. Larry went on to work alongside his good friend, Sound Mixer Lee Orloff on Pirates of the Caribbean, True Lies, and Blade 2 amongst many others. I last saw Larry in the early 2000’s where I visited him in Santa Monica while I was working on a film there. I was able to thank him personally for mentoring me into a profession which has literally taken me around the world. We lost touch shortly after that. His genius was perhaps a mixed blessing, as it possibly created as many problems for him as it solved. Not everyone around him was able to process the ways of the world as he did, and at times, ironically to a forum of professional sound engineers, he struggled and appeared out of sync. Larry, I thank you for all that you shared with me, and for introducing me into the wonderful community of sound for film and television. You will be missed. I wish you peace and serenity. Xoxo, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  3. Hi Jim, Peter and Nick, This looks like such a great idea. I look forward to seeing you guys tomorrow! Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  4. Amen. And I consider myself Agnostic. Thank you CrewC. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  5. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Maaike (conveniently for sound people pronounced "Mike-uh") over the last 6 months or so. We met in Sunset Park Bklyn walking our dogs. We eventually realized we were in the same business. It didn't take long for me to realize Maaike is incredibly experienced in the dark art of hiding microphones on talent. I've been hiding mic's on people for over 25 years, and I'm always looking to get better. Last week we corralled a fellow dog walker (Thanx Bill - we owe you a coffee !) and spent over an hour in the dog park wiring him up and sharing mic hiding techniques with Sanken Cos 11's and Countryman B-6's. I would not hesitate for a moment to hire her. She has exhibited to me a fluency in microphone choices, wireless Tx's / Rx's, and a thorough knowledge of set etiquette. She would clearly be an asset to any sound department. Maybe one day she'll share with us the elaborate "backpack mic rig" she designed and constructed for Robert Redford and Nick Nolte as they walked the Appalachian Trail on the film "A Walk in the Woods". I look forward to being able to hire her one day soon. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  6. Wow Marc, so sorry to hear about the whole episode, and I'm glad you're on your way to a full recovery. As a professional group of sound recordists consisting of highly compassionate people, I suggest we all not ask you any more questions regarding timecode until your heart can handle it. Get well soon ! Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  7. Two thoughts: 1) Since he's doing the sound himself, he wants to make sure the red lights not going on too often. 2) Also, he's even making my bedraggled technique look pretty good. Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  8. Sean ONeil


    The sound team on Birdman was, Mixer Tom Varga, Boom Op Adam Sanchez and (if I'm not mistaken) Utility / Boom Op Brendan O'Brien. I just had the privilege of working with Tom and Adam as an audio utility on a project the last two months. I will contact Tom and see if he has time to chime in here to talk about the sound on Birdman, and the many, many challenges he talked about in getting the great sound that he did. I do know he was incredibly proud of the boom op's Adam and Brendan, and the minimal use of wireless mics on this project. He also talked about the huge amount of time devoted to rehearsing the steadicam moves along with his boom ops, something that seems like a luxury these days. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  9. Hi Karl, The shelf fabricator is a couple of blocks from me in Sunset Park, Bklyn: Precision Metal Fabricators. I showed them my dinged up old PSC shelves, and they said they could replicate it. The hiccup is that the minimum order/set up fee is $250. At the time, I wanted 4 new shelves (@ $75 ea. from PSC) so it wasn't really worth the hassle. If a few peeps were in need, it might have made sense. I am however keeping PMF in mind for customizing the upper portion of my cart, which has been conveniently placed on the back burner the last month or so. As far as powdercoating, I have two peeps in mind: 1) Ever Nu Metal in Bklyn, and 2) Dayton Gray in Asbury Park NJ. If memory serves, DG quoted me $150 AND that included free pick up and delivery from my HOUSE. Who the hell does that these days? Ever Nu quoted me a bit more if I'm not mistaken, but I will revisit that when I get to that stage. Phil, I will take your encouragement of bold colors to heart. I took your advice already and upgraded to the airless 20" tires, thanks for the head up. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  10. Hi Dominique, Thanks for bringing up this subject on JWSound. After 20 years in the game, doing primarily documentaries, and moving now into more narrative work, I'm interested in soaking in all I can on the subject of neckloops and Phonaks. Unfortunately, I can't give you any advice on that subject, but I will chime in on the feedback generated so far. This community here has some incredibly talented people giving advice. Some choose to identify themselves, some choose to remain anonymous. Both choices are valid, and have pro's and con's associated with them. Sometimes on the feedback, you just have to take what they're willing to give, and not take it personally. Also, when people are anonymous and write things to you, they'll generally say things they wouldn't say to your face. The anonymous person Mirror, in my opinion, isn't commenting on you as much as she or he is commenting on the overall "dumbing down of our industry" by production and the frustration of seeing more and more inexperienced mixers getting similar (or possibly even higher profile) jobs, and essentially competing for his share of the pie. I know I have felt that before. The level of experience of the production personnel who are hiring me has plummeted over the last ten years. All they seem to know about is the rate they're supposed to pay. Many technical or equipment questions I may enquire about, are usually treated with a long pause, and then a phone call back to me later that day. These people are having are hard time even screening us if we're appropriate for the job or not. What I forget though, is all those jobs I had taken, which may have been over my head at the time, yet I took the job anyway despite the fact that I wasn't the most qualified mixer amongst my peers. And I improved because of it. So please, "don't just stay quiet" and "call the usual suspects" as you alluded to. Stick your neck out, spark discussions, but maybe just wear a turtleneck. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  11. Howdy Group, I came across this thread by a complete coincidence. I never met David, but I grew up in Oceanside California, with David Allen Smith's brother, Danny. When I was a teenager, Danny told me about his brother "accidentally" getting involved and working with the sound department for a Francis Ford Coppola film. I had no idea David maintained a career in the film biz. If anyone has any more great stories to share about David, I'd love to hear them, and I can pass them on to his family. Thank you. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  12. I find this thread in poor taste and incredibly offensive. Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  13. JonG, What antenna system are you using with your Comteks where you're experiencing such mediocre range? Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  14. I have not seen or heard Jamaica Inn, so I can't comment about this particular series, which obviously, has struck a nerve amongst a large swath of people. Clearly, the people have spoken. But at the risk of being the lone stick in the mud on this issue, I would like to shift the context slightly, and generically defend the choice being made of a "low talking mumbling" actor. The actors job is to serve the story. My job is to not be in the way of that job. And that includes trying to interpret his job. As the production sound mixer I feel it's my role to record, as truthfully as possible, the dialogue and action during each scene. It's a delicate balance, and obviously, we, the sound department, have a lot at stake. Quite literally, our next job perhaps. With that in mind I have to be careful, that in my quest for "proper levels and intelligibility" that my ego, and my role as only one component of a larger story telling collective, doesn't take over. Having said that, it is also my role to inform the director if his or her audio levels are in the mud. With that information, they can then do whatever they choose to do. I hate that conversation, and there are many varied, all valid in my opinion, responses to it. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  15. Sony. Ugh..... There goes my "try and make nice with the other manufacturer's theory". Thanks for your input. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  16. Wandering Ear, What an unfortunate situation, you have my sympathies. Can you give any details about the manufacturers, models and operating freq's of the culprits? I don't know much about this technology. It sounds like a possible issue where maybe we can get our manufacturers involved on our behalf for a little more muscle in liaising with these other products. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  17. Hi Dave, Thanks for checking in and I certainly appreciate the feedback and expertise of someone from K-Tek. However I will definitely keep my eyes peeled the next time I'm on a NASA doc, and I'll make sure there's extra space in my Pelican case. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  18. Dave? . . . uh . . .Dave ? Are you there? Hello Dave . . . . ? (fade up heavy reverb here) Noooooooooo . . . . coooooooommmmmme baaaaaaaaaaackkk. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  19. HI Jaymz, Do you currently use this set up? If so, what hardware and results? Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  20. Happy Birthday Vin ! Please let me know the next time you're in town, I'd love to meet you in person. And thanks for all of your informative postings over the years which have contributed so much to the free flow of information within our sound community here. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  21. Hi Dave, Thanks for weighing in. Do you have any other materials you'd suggest? Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC . . . . (via Oceanside, Ca.)
  22. Hi Rado, Did you ever have success with epoxy fixing your boom pole? I have an ancient beat up VDB eight foot pole with a pretty severe break in the middle of the second section (second from the tip), that I'd like to make usable again. It's too expensive to replace it from VDB, so I'm going the DIY route. Has anyone found a good material (epoxy or anything else) to repair an old boom pole? Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
  23. Happy Birthday Jeff ! And yes, thank you for all the time you put in on this site. Cheers ! Sean
  24. +1 on this for me with any NYC posties. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC sean at sean in brooklyn dot com
  25. Tom, Thank you for sharing this project with us. I can't believe what I have just seen here. As of now, those overwhelming feelings of regret from my misspent youth cutting most of my High School Electronics classes have dissipated and seems to be now morphing into more of a paralyzing, deep rooted, claustrophobic sense of inadequacy. I am totally confidant however that eventually it will evolve into hope and inspiration. You have awakened the bell in me that my game needs to be raised in this department. Thank you for sharing your possibilities with us. Cheers, Sean O'Neil Brooklyn NYC
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