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Nagra Tape recorders How many here actually have used them before digital.


JBond
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That is the best picture ever, Simon. You and your father working together!

 

No where near as great as Simon's picture but it did inspire me to put one picture up of my father and me, working together on the movie "Coming Home." Pop is setting up the shot, he's the cameraman, and of course I'm just looking at what it is we're about to shoot (then head back to the sound cart).

 

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Great picture of you and your dad Simon. He must be stoked and very proud of his son winning all those awards this year.

Both my boys are in local 695 and I get the great pleasure of working with them now and again. Like your father I didn't encourage them to enter the game, but.... it has a way of enticing the young. 

 

@JW, Thanks for the fix. On my desk top the picture showed up in portrait mode but upon import it went sideways or landscape. Anything I can do in the future to fix this or correct it after import? Thanks.

CrewC

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Another shot, team work on "An Officer and a Gentleman" with Don Coufal booming and Crew cabling. I know some of these shots don't show the recorder (because I'm not in them!) but they are representative of the years and years of filmmaking with the Nagra.

 

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This picture in my opinion shows a master Boom Operator at work,what a great shot.

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@JW, Thanks for the fix. On my desk top the picture showed up in portrait mode but upon import it went sideways or landscape. Anything I can do in the future to fix this or correct it after import? Thanks.

CrewC

I don't think there is anything you can do to avoid the occasional problem with picture orientation. I'm not sure why it happens. So that you know how I fix it, the procedure is just as mysterious: I download the image to my Desktop (and it usually looks just fine) and then with any one of a number of graphics programs (like GraphicsConverter) I display the image, rotate it, set it right again and maybe rename it. Then I delete the image from the post and upload the copy I have made and it all works.

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@ JW, that is a wild work around. Thanks.

 

@Simon. And a master cable man.;~)

 

A little history. Though they weren't married at the time, Jeff's now wife was the still photographer on the movie. She shot this picture which is one of my all time favorites. This is the only time we used the 815 on the film, the rest was recorded with a Schoeps or two. Jeff will correct me if I'm wrong but I believe this was the only scene that was looped due to the hard soled shoes on the walkway that we couldn't control. Ironic to me in that it is such a great photo and the sound was deemed not up to snuff.

CrewC

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Your memory is correct, Crew. One of the things that makes it an interesting shot, graphically, is the somewhat radical angle Don has on the 815 --- Don was working that mic to the max, trying to minimize the foot noises. It was starting to rain, the surface was choppy cement with gravel, the camera was on the Fisher dolly set on a Western dolly (big ballon tires, large surface are also making all sorts of noise). The voices sounded okay but the accompanying noises, unable to minimize on the production track, necessitated ADR on that one scene. Bummer. But, a wonderful shot none the less, one of many taken by my wonderful wife Carol.

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Robert Wald's cart on Robocop, 1986. Nagra 4.2, 4 Cetec-Vega wireless. Notice the Nady FM-band transmitter, Sony Headset FM radios were used as "Comteks."  Remember the unlimited Polaroid film budgets in the wardrobe & script dept?

This was my first feature film, I was a video playback operator. Remember "cut shutter" 144 video playback? Camera lost 1/3 of a stop, and the camera ran at 23.976. Back then, who knew what 23.97 was to become....

This was the "boardroom" set, with 20-odd video monitors in the back wall. 

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I was b-unit mixer for Peter Devlin on Any Given Sunday in Dallas, 1999. There were 12 camera units and 2 sound units. I had 187 VHF Lectros going in, which immediately proved unusable in Texas Stadium. So I rented 195D's for the show from my boom-op Phillip Palmer, who was gradually gearing-up for mixing. He moved to LA a year later.  

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got Nagras?

Please tell me these aren't all yours--an addiction is a terrible thing...

 

I had a lot of those Sony "walkman" radios and 2 Nady FM transmitters to feed them.  The sound of the radios was better than that of Comteks for sure, but the tuning drift of the TXs drove us all nuts, not to mention the users of the radios fiddling with the tuning and then complaining they couldn't hear.  I finally gave up on the whole system and went back to old reliable Comteks before I ever found a better, solid FM TX I could afford.

 

On the "Any Given Sunday" shot--is that an Interface Electronics mixer?  I had a serious jones for one of those back when I was just starting out, although I heard mixed reports about them later on.

 

philp

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Those are my Nagras, but they come and go. I restore, repair and modify them for the audiophiles and collectors.  The Interface was a good console, more popular in the southwest, as they were built by Louis Stevenson in Houston. He built them to order. Interface offered lots of options for production mixers , the boards had lots of headroom, and were built to work from 12VDC. He squeezed a lot of performance from 4558 dual opamps, which were socketed, and many owners swapped those chips for other opamps like the 5532.  Stevenson also built large recording consoles.  Interface mixer strips are occasionally seen in a rack mounted box, to take advantage of their EQ circuit and their "70's sound" (GMAB)... I still have mine.

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Just found this in an old diary--inside the chase van for Oliver Stone's "Salvador" (1985), somewhere near Las Vegas.  At this point these scenes (between James Woods and James Belushi in the old convertable Mustang) were the highest profile wireless/car-to-car thing I'd done.  Bill Ruck helped me make the mag-mount antenna+combiner system for 3 Swintek VHF wirelesses transmitting from the car to us in the van some distance back.  As I recall Robt. Richardson had 3 cameras mounted on the car--nowhere to hide.  We lost 3 guys that day to sun-stroke.....  Nagra 4.2 and an AD145 Pico mixer that was REAL proud of at that point....

 

philp

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Swinteks! Never owned any myself but I remember visiting Willie Burton on the set of "Altered States" and he had just gotten some Swintek wireless (having used Vegas before). He told me how terrific they were and how pleased he was to be using them. I put on some headphones (at Willie's insistence) and they sounded awful! As diplomatically as I could say to him, I told him it didn't really sound that great and Willie told me the range was fantastic! Almost like the Woody Allen comment at a restaurant: "the food was really bad, and such small portions!"

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You really had to keep up with the maintenance on the Swinteks for them to work well.  They never sounded as good as the English wirelesses of that time, but they were at least as good as the non-"Dynex" Vegas I had at that time too, or the HMEs.  I spent a lot of time at the Swintek shop in Sunnyvale having them tuned, later with Bill Ruck.  Very unstable, and why Lectro kind of took over when the 185s came out.  I have to say that on these days where I was really up against it ( car-to-car, far from home, a not particularly reasonable director) they worked great (thank God).   We did this same trick on the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge for this film and they worked very well too.  But, I did spend a lot of time driving to and from Swintek in Sunnyvale.  FWIW these were the later, Mark III models, not the original model from the late '70s.

 

philp

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IV-L, 4.2, IVS-TC.

I had a little doodad (KAT?) that would let you use the center pot with a mic.

My cart rig was a Nagra, Sela mixer, 415, Schoeps and a couple of Nady RF mics.

Never needed more than 4 comteks.

When I would go off on docs I would travel with about 100 lbs. of 1/4" and D cells.

I had 2 Thermodynes that would each hold a complete kit so that if one got lost in shipping I still had a backup.

No Audio Services in Siberia!

They were heavy.

Once, in Japan, our driver looked at me and told me to lay on my stomach.

He pulled on both my legs, and my right leg was 2" shorter than my left.

He performed some Ju Jitsu on my back and when I stood up I realized just how out of balance I had become!

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I have to agree with JW on the Swinteks's.  Only used them a few times and I thought they sounded pretty horrible. The units that I used had really lousy range...maybe 50 or 60 feet...if the planets were aligned properly. Having said that, the guy I rented them from was known for not maintaining his gear so I'm sure they hadn't been tuned for a while...which I'm sure only compounded my problem. 

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