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Posts posted by RandyHall

  1. You have to fill the cups with solder so when you insert the tinned wire you get a good connection with the cup solder covering the wire. If you can see the strands of wire in the cup on the finished connection there's not enough solder in the cup and the solder should be shiney. If it looks dull there's a cold solder joint in the making. Using .032 diameter solder is my preferred size for all audio connectors

    Well, we differ on technique, but the result is the same. I still like doing it my way better, go figure.

  2. Almost all solder is rosin core so external flux is not required. Connections and wires should be tinned so just touching the iron tip to them melts the tinned solder, neat, clean and fast.


    I find you get better joints by using some extra paste flux, regardless of rosin core. Much, if not most, of the flux in the solder itself gets burned off when melting it to the tip of the iron. YMMV, but this works really well for me.

    And of course tinning connections helps, but certain connection points (solder cups for XLR, as an example) are harder to effectively pre-tin and be able to get a clean joint.

  3. whether it is a rean or a switchcraft, to solder small connectors:

    1. you need a grip (vice) to hold the connector part firmly in ONE position at a time

    2. you need right kind of tweezers to hold the cable in place

    3. you need a magnifier and strong focused light

    4. you need a steady hand with the soldering iron, and the tweezers of course :)

    5. good to put heatshrink on the terminals if possible

    just some pointers to help you...

    I would add:

    6. Paste rosin solder flux. Dab a little (or more) on the contact and on the wire. Once they are mechanically stuck together (with vise and/or tweezers and/or clips), melt solder onto a very fine tipped soldering iron. Then touch the glob of molten solder to the wire and once the wire and contact are heated enough, the solder will flow quite nicely. On small gauge wires, and with a lot of practice, shouldn't take more than 1-2 seconds to get a good joint.

    And don't breathe the fumes if you can help it.

  4. I wasn't able to get the recorder back until 30 minutes before the shoot, so I blew it. I asked him about changes and went through everything he told me he changed, but that wasn't the right thing to do. In retrospect, even for this little unpaid gig/favor I should have run through the whole menu beforehand.

    Lesson learned. Never give yourself only 30 minutes to look over your gear and make sure it's in working order before the gig starts. That said, once you are familiar with it, it shouldn't take you 30 minutes to do that check and be certain that your gear is set the way you expect.

  5. I think that in an industry where production equals gambling in many respects, throwing tax dollars to court producers to shoot in one state or another is suspect.

    That said, if one state is doing it, and then another, and another, it becomes the de rigueur thing to do; if your state isn't doing it, then people leave, your tax base continues to erode, the downward spiral of budget cuts continues, and so on.

  6. Why? Would you weep for video-grapher, photo-grapher, carto-grapher, cinemato-grapher? Is it just the juxtaposition of camaro-grapher that has you weeping? :(

    Yes. Camaro-grapher has me weeping. Why not Cameragrapher instead, if not "camera operator"? Why aren't we audiographers? soundographers? phonographers (even though vinyl is phonograph)? recordographers, the list of bad made-up names goes on.

  7. I've used an Rode NTG-2 for a couple years as my beater shotgun. Works great with a AA and doesn't cost a lot, but the screws sometimes need tightening in order to quiet it down on a boom. I've used it as an on-camera mic, but only when I absolutely had to. I can't say any on-camera mic will be adequate all the time, so Chase's answer of "it depends" really ends up being the best advice.

    I've seen DSLR folks swear by the Rode VideoMic, which also does an adequate job at picking up sound in front of the lens. I'll say that if your distance to the subject moves much beyond three feet, then any mic is going to sound meh.

  8. Take timecode out of a recorder and physically record it as an audio track on your recorder. If you do it while playing the song into the recorder, you can stripe your file at the same time.

    I use a Deva, and send audio from my computer to tracks 1 and 2 to create a left and right stereo mix, I then sum both inputs to track three for a mono source, and then input the timecode into track 4.

    Remember to set your Timecode to record run, and give yourself some pre-roll.

    I just did playback on a music video for the first time, and this advice was particularly helpful in the day leading up to the shoot. Being able to hand them a BWF of the song with timecode metadata and an audio track with the timecode waveform (suitable for AuxTC or Avid timecode reading) worked famously.

    The one thing I hadn't figured on was the repeated back and forth that the director wanted to go between MOS and playback, and then looping the playback because the "extras" needed umpteen takes to be able to lip sync.

    So, good that I had properly prepped the song (i.e. striped timecode to a multitrack version of the song, tracked BPM, aligned measures to the start of the song, synced timecode on screen to timecode on slate, marked out regions on the song, created a thumper and a count-in track run through a mixer to the PA) only to have the timecode portion become relatively useless because they wanted me to cycle certain measures over and over and over.

    Eh, live and learn. Was a great learning experience.

  9. The only drawback is that they take forever to charge, like 8+ hours, but they will last a good solid 10 hours on set.

    If it's at least eight hours, my guess is that the charger is charging the battery at 1A until it reaches the threshold voltage (in this case, 12.6V), then hold at that voltage until the current draw drops. So a 6800mAh battery would take about 8 hours that way.

    With a bit more information inside the battery (temperature, mostly) you could probably find a 2A or 3A charger that would do the job much faster. But if you're wrong, you're likely to burn your house down, so you didn't hear the idea from me.

  10. I end up paying one of the usual suspects to wire 5 of my sankens. I started getting problems with sudden broom noises when the talent sits on a chair or moves his body. Today 2 of the lavs wired with FVB.00.303.NLA just fell apart. It seriously compromised my work and I was happy to have my lectros as a backup. The one lav that was wired with FGB.00.303.CLAD22 has had zero problems. I am considering wiring all of the with the push pull plug. It is really troubling dealing with problems like that...

    Either of them are a pain in the backside to solder, but I've not had an issue with the FVB.00.303.NLA plug that I used. Pity that it costs so damn much just for it to fail on you.

  11. Does Lectro sound like Sony? If you ordered mics wired for Lectro and they arrived wired for Sony would that be your fault?

    He only says this because it has happened. It happened to *me*, in fact, and it was my fault for writing "Senny" in the email and the vendor read "Sony".

  12. Been gone a day.

    Regarding my question about walking out on a job: I admit I was trolling (been doing more of that recently). And nobody doubts that their money spends exactly the same as money from someone you agree with politically. But it seems that you were caught unawares and that the gig was something of a bait & switch from your perspective.

  13. Yipe just saw my name on this one. Hoping the check was the last I would hear of it. This was a " what am I doing here" gig. Got the call the night before and had no clue what the topic or who the players were. Nasty propaganda shoot....not my cup of java.....

    I have no idea what the rest of the movie is like. I did one quick interview and out. Lav only was required. Dinesh D'Souza was clean, his guest was not. Bad suit, bad tie, bad beard. I had a clip COS, mole skinned back and wire, and three furry overcoats pushing the suit out and off as much as possible. (Suggestions welcome.)

    My impression was this was a one man crew for most of the filming. Unsteady camera ...that day it was a DSLR on a two foot slider moving continuously. They had made some choices.

    So it was...... toxic interview, tight time line, Washington work. Told it was for a TV broadcast piece. Movie?? Never crossed my mind. Any body else cashing PAC checks?

    Tim.... Dinesh had no interest in anything other than poisoning the water..... Nice guy? ????..... Ahhhh NO!

    It does beg the question. If you really felt like "WTF am I doing here," then why didn't you walk out on the job? Taking part in the creation of propaganda tends to indicate your complicity or sympathy with the content. Or perhaps that's just overthinking, and a job is a job.

    Also, does the fact that this doc is doing so well on the eve of the RNC in Tampa translate into producers watching it and thinking to themselves, "the sound is garbage, but people are paying to see it; must be that sound doesn't matter after all."?

  14. Speaking of Obama, I saw a piece of that Entertainment Tonight story that got a lot of publicity, and it was the absolute worst sound I've ever heard on a nationally-syndicated program. Horrendous, like a lav strapped to the top of the camera. My bet is that a wireless failed, nobody monitored it, and they opted to use it as-is in lieu of nothing. Worse than student-film sound. I wish I had kept the clip, because it literally looked like a behind-the-scenes shot that got dropped into the "real" show.

    Do you mean this? (Just an excerpt on YT)

  15. there are plenty of people at athe bottom that do decent to good work. That is the problem.

    If that is truly the case, then any effort to organize will fail. We need a real differentiation with those people at the bottom who do good work if you want to stave off the inevitable.

    Unfortunately most people just don't give a hoot about sound. We are just a PIA on shoots and nerds to the rest of the world..

    Doesn't stop me trying my best thou.

    And (little, if hopefully) none of that work is going to make it to television, or VOD, or theatrical release, or direct-to-DVD, or whatever other distribution that might actually make producers money. Yes, it might go on YouTube and get millions of views, but that is a "winning the lottery" scenario.

    At least, that's what I want to believe... :P

  16. I don't understand why it isn't enough to have a pledge among production soundies that cuts lowballing producers out of accessing the truly talented sound mixers.

    A few productions where the sound is awful, and they have to spend umpteen thousands on looping dialogue or "fix it in post" miracles will make it plain to the smart ones that it saves them money to pay a good rate for sound talent and equipment. The dumb ones will never manage to get their work shown or respected because people will say the sound sucks.

    Or is that just too idealistic?

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