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Backup Recording for Bag Mixers


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On 3/19/2019 at 12:20 AM, Vincent R. said:

It reminds me of a Red (dragon, weapon, epic, I lost count... ) movie shoot I had a couple of years ago. It was quite hot those days. during the production. First camera "broke", got swapped out. the swapped out camera broke a couple of hours later, got swapped out again for a 3rd. Luckily the rental company was just an hour drive away, so yeah we had extra lunch breaks... 


Compare and contrast with if that was to happen to us with our recorders! We'd never work in that town again. 

While for camera department? "oh well bad luck happens"

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Compare and contrast with if that was to happen to us with our recorders! We'd never work in that town again.

You talk about anecdotal experience? I never had a recorder break down, so I don't know what the reaction would be. If I have a technical problem I expect and actually am treated "equally" and I wouldn't expect or except anything less. So I don't recognize apparently your situation/conditions.

6 hours ago, Robert J Gray said:

I see people bring this up a lot online but on a lot of TV and features I work on we do in fact have backup camera bodies... Now when I'm mixing an interview or "branded content" (low budget commercial) there seems to be a little less contingency planning, probably because the jobs are shorter in duration. On a long film or TV show, you're almost guaranteed to have a camera body fail at some point in which case you pop the next one on there

Could be, so you are saying it is standard? I'm in the European independent film and documentary market, so it might be different in other parts of the world/markets.

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2 hours ago, Vincent R. said:

Could be, so you are saying it is standard? I'm in the European independent film and documentary market, so it might be different in other parts of the world/markets.

 

Standard? Depends on your work I guess. Just sharing my experience. A sizeable portion of my work is in Los Angeles on union scripted series and features, whether they’re shooting in town or just doing an LA unit or pickup shots. It seems like we always have a backup body accessible because it is too expensive to wait for one if something goes wrong.

 

I worked with a DP who does a lot of work in the British indie film market. He made it sound pretty tough to find something with more than a tiny budget. I’d imagine on the equipment-limited shoots he described they may not have a backup body sitting around. Makes sense I guess- If your costs are really economical I guess a little downtime isn’t going to hurt you as much as on the shows I work on. Delays of an hour or more that might cause you to reschedule work can really elevate people’s stress levels because of the financial ramifications.

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2 hours ago, Robert J Gray said:

It seems like we always have a backup body accessible because it is too expensive to wait for one if something goes wrong.

And I guess the BU body is being payed for (the rental company?), so to bring it slightly back to topic, are you billing a backup recorder as well?

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51 minutes ago, Vincent R. said:

And I guess the BU body is being payed for (the rental company?), so to bring it slightly back to topic, are you billing a backup recorder as well?

 

OK so disclaimer this is a lot of info about “backup recording” not in the sense that the OP mentioned but in terms of extra recorders on the truck.

 

Do they bill separately? Sort of, for camera and sound the “backup bodies” respectively usually serve some dual purpose. For sound they often have a cart rig and a bag rig often with interchangeable recorders. The backup recorder for a lot of people is the bag rig. So it’s billed as part of an inclusive package but its probably not sold in every show like it’s a fire extinguisher encased in glass, only to be used in emergencies. The television rental rates are heavily discounted when you look at the whole package, on account of the long rental periods and even sometimes some historical factors with the studios.

 

For camera it seems similar on television series, because a lot of these shows use multiple cameras regularly. Sometimes the backup bodies are used frequently and seem like less of a “backup” - really more of a redundancy if one broke. In that situation they may not use 3 cameras every day (due to personnel for example) and if they were and something happened they would make do with two cameras until they get another third. Which could happen quickly. They wouldnt be single camera and shooting wouldn’t have to slow down much (not that 2 cameras are always faster than one but that’s a story for another day). Sometimes the backup bodies are really more backups and they just make appearances on some days where they want to setup a shot with an identical camera or something like that.

 

Not quite sure of the billing or true backup status on films, just that I’ve never seen us stop shooting to wait for another camera body. I’m more intimate with TV. For TV, although they do have backups and redundancies built into packages the UPMs always seem to be trying to get as much as they can for as little as possible so sometimes the selling point of a backup might be that it can help improve the efficiency of a department until that moment God has decided it is now a backup :)

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38 minutes ago, Robert J Gray said:

Do they bill separately? Sort of, for camera and sound the “backup bodies” respectively usually serve some dual purpose. For sound they often have a cart rig and a bag rig often with interchangeable recorders. The backup recorder for a lot of people is the bag rig. So it’s billed as part of an inclusive package but its probably not sold in every show like it’s a fire extinguisher encased in glass, only to be used in emergencies. The television rental rates are heavily discounted when you look at the whole package, on account of the long rental periods and even sometimes some historical factors with the studios.

Allright, not to be nit picking, but i do not see that as a backup. From time to time I run a bag/cart different setup, and indeed that is billed full. I am really talking about, let's say, a backup for both the cart/bag, so 4 recorders total (2 in the van), and in case of a multi cam shoot, 3 cameras thus 3 waiting in a bag extra, 6 total for when shit hits the fan. 

 

 

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Historically, I know many sound mixers would have a spare Nagra in the van as a backup. I know that many have some kind of second recorder as a spare today. Do they get to Bill for having the spare? No. But they get the call from their client because they are reliable and prepared. In cases where clients are looking for reliable and prepared people, this is important. However if the client is looking to save money, they may go with someone less expensive and run the risk of their lacking in those areas. 

 

Back to the OPs thread, what are some options that people are aware of that may be nice compact redundancy recorders? The PDR and ZFR are two good options, I like the compactness of these. What else is out there?

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31 minutes ago, JonG said:

The PDR and ZFR are two good options, I like the compactness of these. What else is out there?

and as far as i know the only compact options with TC, unless you wanna repurpose a Zaxcom TX or Audio ltd TX.

 

Or a bit bigger, more expensive but 8 track Sonosax:

MINIR82.jpg

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1 hour ago, JonG said:

Back to the OPs thread, what are some options that people are aware of that may be nice compact redundancy recorders? The PDR and ZFR are two good options, I like the compactness of these. What else is out there?

 

a MixPre-3/6 with a Tentacle comes to mind, since it could also be used as an emergency backup stand alone recorder if the main unit fails (and the tentacle as a backup if the TC unit attached to camera fails ; )

chris

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Thanks for getting the thread back on track, though it was an interesting tangent!

 

1 hour ago, chrismedr said:

 

a MixPre-3/6 with a Tentacle comes to mind, since it could also be used as an emergency backup stand alone recorder if the main unit fails (and the tentacle as a backup if the TC unit attached to camera fails ; )

chris

 

 

This seems a little excessive on all counts: size, weight, power, and so forth. I don't see any benefit of a rig like this over something like the options mentioned previously (SPDR, ZFR, H1, etc.)

 

I'd definitely rather keep a separate recorder in the car as a full backup option. Which brings me to my other main question, to those using a stereo backup: What situations do you envision or have you experienced where this stereo backup was necessary? How often does a mixer fail in a way that preserves the utility of the backup?

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1 hour ago, nathanalef said:

This seems a little excessive on all counts: size, weight, power, and so forth. I don't see any benefit of a rig like this over something like the options mentioned previously (SPDR, ZFR, H1, etc.)

 

well, if you have a full iron backup recorder in the van then a MixPre-3 is probably a bit overkill, but personally I wouldn't feel comfortable using a H1 (audio fidelity, reliability, 3.5mm input, lack of TC, etc). the SPDR certainly looks perfect for this (featuring AES too), but it's also quite a bit of money for smaller productions.

 

I forgot to add that a good quality camera hop would probably be my preferred way of having a backup recording since it also can help with other issues (camera playback, TC synch problems). These are probably less of an issue on bigger productions, but there video village might be a good backup opportunity.

 

PS: for small, and if mono is enough, the Tascam DR-10X also comes to mind.

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When I was talking about back up I meant rolling 2 recorders at once, which I think was the original notion of this thread.  Having a backup recorder with you in case your #1 has an issue IS what professionals do, and always has been, 1/4", DAT and file-based machines.   Re cameras: most if not all of the film features I worked on DID have a backup body on the camera truck, even if it was mostly a 1-camera shoot.  This has been less true with video cameras, but it isn't unheard of (esp if they are using REDs).

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On 3/22/2019 at 11:54 PM, Vincent R. said:

You talk about anecdotal experience? I never had a recorder break down, so I don't know what the reaction would be. If I have a technical problem I expect and actually am treated "equally" and I wouldn't expect or except anything less. So I don't recognize apparently your situation/conditions.

To be fair I am extrapolating and using a bit of hyperbole 

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On 3/18/2019 at 12:46 AM, nathanalef said:

Good luck with the dual 788 setup!

 

Thanks! So far it’s working just fine. 

 

On 3/19/2019 at 9:08 AM, JonG said:

Regarding 788Ts: I’m really surprised to hear of any problems with these. I still use mine on my cart and it performs flawlessly

 

Well, in my case there was a degree of user error in there, like I said. It happened on a few occasions, a few years apart. The first time, working out of the bag the recorder dies without any warning. I‘m pretty sure I could trace it down to a weak external battery, in a case where I was charging the 788T‘s clip on battery at the same time as actually running it. I also had a few mic pres going and the NP-1 couldn’t handle it. 

Second occasion the recorder suddenly starts switching between external and internal power source rapidly with external being too low. Eventually the recorder shuts down. My conclusion: the output from the power supply was lower than usual (new distro) and the voltage warning/switch setting in the 788 too high. So the recorder warns and tries to switch to the int battery which was faulty and I hadn’t noticed as it was quite new. It seems like a fairly unusual set of circumstances, but not really all that unlikely. 

Replacing the battery and lowering the voltage setting appears to have cured these issues. 

By the way, I didn’t loose a file either. 

But initial troubleshooting on set and getting a second recorder going did take about 15 minutes which was causing some annoyance with others on the set, but the AD and others kept stressing how great it was that I did have the backup in the car and in the end I think everyone agreed. 

 

And the second 788 now is as much a backup as it is my way of having more inputs and tracks without spending a small fortune on one of those new larger recorders - non of which appear to be made for me - except maybe the X3...

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On 3/22/2019 at 3:08 PM, nathanalef said:

 

Which brings me to my other main question, to those using a stereo backup: What situations do you envision or have you experienced where this stereo backup was necessary? How often does a mixer fail in a way that preserves the utility of the backup?

 

When my 633 was new I had a sporadic issue where the main digital audio bus would randomly and intermittently fail and send white noise spikes into the audio files.  On both recording media.

 

There was no indication in headphones that this was happening, nor did it show up in the outputs. I was informed about the problem by the assistant editor who was syncing dailies.

 

I've always done a split boom/lavs track to camera via a high quality radio.  Having that good pair of tracks on the camera allowed most of those noise spikes to be repaired.

 

 

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

 

 

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