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Kit brand names and getting hired


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Would you say having certain brand names in your kit list increase the chances of you getting hired?  Or to ask the question a different way, are there certain sound kit brand names that non-technical production people recognise over others? 

 

For eample: lets say theres someone who works in a production company whose job it is to hire sound crew.  They may have heard the name Lectrosonics and associate it with competent sound crew but they may not have come across the names of other wireless brands so often.  Would you say the chances of getting hired be less if you had non-Lectro kit?  Same with other brands like sound devices etc.

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It's a very good question you bring up here. For me personally, I hate to hear that production companies would even be considering the gear choices over evaluating the person  ---  when making the choice who to hire, it would be most appropriate to investigate a person's past performance, reputation and work ethic, rather than what particular gear they use. I know my sentiment is, probably an idealist position to take, the simple answer to your question is, YES, brand name recognition does influence the hiring choice. In the old days, the beginning of my career, this would never be an issue because everyone on every job (sound for picture) used only one recorder ---  the Nagra. The gear was almost never considered because it wasn't an issue. In a way, this was quite democratizing (is that a word?) in that all a producer, a production company, a studio had to go one was the reputation of the PERSON (independent of the gear used). Now, with so many different choices, so many different price points for the gear, all of igt varying degrees of capability to get the job done in the right hands, the hiring decision process has been somewhat subverted. I will add that the purchasing process, for the gear, has also been further complicated if you have to consider brand name recognition in your choice over real world testing and use. Think about it, what if I buy this amazing piece of equipment that very few people have even heard of, a piece of equipment which I know will allow me to do a wonderful job but could prevent me from even being hired!

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Jason, the answer is yes. One of my business segments is day-playing on scripted reality shows. There are several prod. companies who state on their spec sheet and as a condition of hire "no G3 wireless."

 

As many of us, I started out many years ago with Senn G2 and G3 units. As I built my business I purchased Lectro SRb units, retired the G2 units and relegated the G3s as scratch track camera hops.

 

As a side note, my only beef with Lectro is they want to charge me several hundreds of dollars to update the firmware that erroneously reports improper transmitter battery levels. Seems to me it should be more like $50 if anything at all.

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15 minutes ago, PMC said:

Jason, the answer is yes. One of my business segments is day-playing on scripted reality shows. There are several prod. companies who state on their spec sheet and as a condition of hire "no G3 wireless."

 

As many of us, I started out many years ago with Senn G2 and G3 units. As I built my business I purchased Lectro SRb units, retired the G2 units and relegated the G3s as scratch track camera hops.

 

As a side note, my only beef with Lectro is they want to charge me several hundreds of dollars to update the firmware that erroneously reports improper transmitter battery levels. Seems to me it should be more like $50 if anything at all.

I'll check with service to see if this required a hardware change also. Seems high otherwise.

LEF

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About 5 years ago I had producers asking me to bring a 788. I only had a 664 and had to explain that the 664 was more than enough for what was needed for the gigs. Most of them don't know what they're talking about but if you explain the differences and can assure them that the quality will be there, I find they tend to be OK with it.

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I know that our customers sometimes are hired due to the Zaxcom transmitter recording and remote control features of our system. While I always believe it is the craftsman and not the tools. In our case the tool allows the craftsman to show the work in ways not possible otherwise. I would not think we are IBM but I hope we are Apple. Or at least that is the goal. 

 

Glenn

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24 minutes ago, BAB414 said:

About 5 years ago I had producers asking me to bring a 788. I only had a 664 and had to explain that the 664 was more than enough for what was needed for the gigs. Most of them don't know what they're talking about but if you explain the differences and can assure them that the quality will be there, I find they tend to be OK with it.

BAB414,

About five years ago I too was told i had to have a 788t for a reality show because they needed eight lavs. I explained that i could mix 12 lavs with my 664. Didn't matter they had to have eight (insert slack-jawed wide-eyed gafaw). They, Cinefilx, rented me a 788t. I still chuckle when i think of it.

 

I dont blame the producer. He only knew what he was told by someone in authority at the company. Most of them don't know gear. it's not their job.

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1 hour ago, PMC said:

As a side note, my only beef with Lectro is they want to charge me several hundreds of dollars to update the firmware that erroneously reports improper transmitter battery levels. Seems to me it should be more like $50 if anything at all.

 

OT a bit but can I assume that you have discussed your "beef" with Lectrosonics directly before putting it on a public discussion site?  My experience with Lectrosonics is that they will bend over backwards, like an armadillo in some tumbleweed, to help an owner get their problems solved quickly and fairly.  That has always been my experience and one of the reasons I never changed wireless manufacturers once I bought my first 185s.

 

FW any of this is W.

 

D.

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2 hours ago, LarryF said:

Jeff, you may remember from the 70's the catch phrase in the computer industry, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." 

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

That phrase is so true, but further reflection which I have done over the years, reveals that the phrase is also quite troubling. It is certainly the safe way to go but if everyone followed that way we would have had far less innovation in our industry. Remember, regarding computers, IBM famously stated "why would anyone want to have a personal computer, a computer in their home?" If Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had really believed what the dominate company was saying, we might never have had Apple and personal computers. So, no offense to Lectrosonics, but just going the safe route and using the dominate wireless, may deny you the discovery of some other tools from other companies that can enhance your performance on the job.

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Except for a few specific exceptions, as noted above, the brand names of your gear are not likely to have any influence on whether you are hired. If the issue comes up at all, and you don't have to socially distance, you can watch the eyes of the producer/production manager glaze over in a matter of seconds.

 

However, if something were to go wrong, you would be in an uncomfortable position if you were using something non-standard. 

 

David

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5 minutes ago, David Waelder said:

However, if something were to go wrong, you would be in an uncomfortable position if you were using something non-standard. 

David

So, David, this brings up the problem of what is "standard". Standard should not be measured only by what most people use  --- if you have a problem, for example, and you're using what everybody else is using, is that really a protection you can fall back on?

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We're in a more complex environment today than what was prevalent when we both were starting out but there have long been recognizable brands commonly found on sets. It's never a comfortable situation when a component acts up but it can be very uncomfortable if you are using something not recognized as professional. If you are odd-man-out, people who have no real knowledge of the subject can be quick to volunteer that they have never seen anyone else using that particular item on a set.

 

I don't think this is an argument to deter people from trying new technology. The kind of innovation you participated in is usually pursued by experienced practitioners who already have, or are developing, a reputation for technical excellence. Rather, I was offering the caveat that new players, just entering the field, might want to choose gear that is recognized as professional.

 

David

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I've gotten brand specific job specs over the years.  I ignored them, including, back in the day, those that spec'd Nagra.  No one who actually came to the set and saw my rig cared.  If you can deliver good audio with gear like G2s and G3s (which you can if you are careful and respect their limitations) than as long as you can cover what the productions perceived needs are re: track count, monitoring and sync then off you go.  The person who wrote those specs is extremely unlikely to show up at the job.

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1 hour ago, tourtelot said:

 

OT a bit but can I assume that you have discussed your "beef" with Lectrosonics directly before putting it on a public discussion site?  My experience with Lectrosonics is that they will bend over backwards, like an armadillo in some tumbleweed, to help an owner get their problems solved quickly and fairly.  That has always been my experience and one of the reasons I never changed wireless manufacturers once I bought my first 185s.

 

FW any of this is W.

 

D.

Hi, tourtlot.

Yes, i emailed back and forth with (name of engineer withheld) several times last year about the RSSI showing a very cluttered spectrum in the middle of a corn field. And i mean nearly solid clutter. He said i had a very early fw version that could contribute to the hot signal issue and did i notice that the battery reporting is inaccurate with fw v1.6?

 

He recommended an update but the mother ship had about a six week backlog.

 

Then, this year during the C19 outbreak, i thought this would be a great time to update the firmware. He wanted the equivalent of two bench hours to update the unit. Over $300.

 

Dont get me wrong. I absolutely appreciate my Lectro gear, HM units, 411a units, SSM units, SRb units. I highly recommend the company and their products. I simply expected a less expensive fw upgrade path to address possibly known issues.

 

In comparison, I have several Sigma lenses that worked fine on my FS7 but the electeonic iris control would not work on a new EV1. They performed a fw update free of charge.

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2 hours ago, David Waelder said:

Rather, I was offering the caveat that new players, just entering the field, might want to choose gear that is recognized as professional.

 

David

Totally agree with you, David. I guess I hadn't realized that the topic of conversation could or would include the idea of using non-profesional gear. I was more focused on the dilemma of choosing amongst several different brands of professional gear (and wanting to choose an item for its brand recognition factor).

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6 hours ago, Jeff Wexler said:

That phrase is so true, but further reflection which I have done over the years, reveals that the phrase is also quite troubling. It is certainly the safe way to go but if everyone followed that way we would have had far less innovation in our industry. Remember, regarding computers, IBM famously stated "why would anyone want to have a personal computer, a computer in their home?" If Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had really believed what the dominate company was saying, we might never have had Apple and personal computers. So, no offense to Lectrosonics, but just going the safe route and using the dominate wireless, may deny you the discovery of some other tools from other companies that can enhance your performance on the job.

That phrase was made when it was IBM and the seven Dwarfs which were smaller companies that had relatively poor system integration, i.e., their hardware didn't always work with their software. At that time IBM had 65% of the market, with computers referred to as Big Iron. Oddly, IBM had been big in personal computers at the beginning of PC's, down in Boca Raton. Then the Big Blue Suits at headquarters in Armonk, NY noticed that the Boca Raton operation was a 4 billion dollar skunk works and pulled control back to Big Blue Central. That was the end of IBM in the personal computer market as they came out with proprietary buses and demanded royalties from any manufacturer making buss plug in hardware. I definitely agree, Jeff, that it was a good thing for IBM PC's to be nibbled to death by many other competitors, opening up the market to innovation.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

7dwarfs.jpg

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5 hours ago, PMC said:

Hi, tourtlot.

Yes, i emailed back and forth with (name of engineer withheld) several times last year about the RSSI showing a very cluttered spectrum in the middle of a corn field. And i mean nearly solid clutter. He said i had a very early fw version that could contribute to the hot signal issue and did i notice that the battery reporting is inaccurate with fw v1.6?

 

He recommended an update but the mother ship had about a six week backlog.

 

Then, this year during the C19 outbreak, i thought this would be a great time to update the firmware. He wanted the equivalent of two bench hours to update the unit. Over $300.

 

Dont get me wrong. I absolutely appreciate my Lectro gear, HM units, 411a units, SSM units, SRb units. I highly recommend the company and their products. I simply expected a less expensive fw upgrade path to address possibly known issues.

 

In comparison, I have several Sigma lenses that worked fine on my FS7 but the electeonic iris control would not work on a new EV1. They performed a fw update free of charge.

More info from Dean at Lectro:

"Further information… The SRB-20 SN 1436 was manufactured in December of 2013 so it is indeed older than the 5 year cut off for extended warranty.

 The unit needed a firmware update for a battery telemetry issue. However the RSSI fault noted was not firmware related and was hardware related. 

Not sure who the customer spoke with here at the factory as they state “(name of engineer withheld)”…

As a side note, it takes hours to go through each serialized product that comes in for repair, about 3.5 hours average per serialized unit.

The published fixed price for an SR repair is $244.00 plus parts per the current posted service rates.

Best, Dean"

 

In sum, the repair included more than a firmware update and you should have been quoted $244. If you PM me the tech's name, we'll gently try to keep a misquote from happening again. Nobody at Lectro ever got fired for a simple mistake. If so, I wouldn't have been there for forty+ years.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher  

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Thanks Larry. I will contact you directly. I have the e-mails but i don't want to hold anyone's feet to the fire over this. I have simply learned to take the RF scan results with a grain of salt in some situations. I suppose that's what you sometimes get when you by used. Even from a reputable resale company. (I purchased it last year. The resale company refered me to this specific Lectro engineer who has since helped me with other issues so i have no complaint against him at all.)

 

That being said, i am interested in a fw upgrade for the battery issue.

 

Thanks again and thanks for all the Lectrosonics inovation over the years.

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2 hours ago, John Blankenship said:

Can someone tell me where I can get an OS/2 upgrade for my PS/2? 

 

Are you looking for fixpaks for Warp 4 or S/2 TCPIP updates for OS/2?

 

Many years ago i used to program in OS/9 and 6809e assembly.

Jason, OP, this thread has seemed to have strayed a bit from your original question but thanks for getting us started.

 

JWSOUND is such a great forum. With great contributors of a vast array of knowledge. I am reminded to donate more money to keep it going. 😁

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The original topic?  Professionals use professional gear.

 

Though most clients don't ask, if they do it's typically to determine if someone is an accomplished pro or a clueless newbie just with a bag and a boom.

 

If you conduct yourself as a professional it instills confidence and gear becomes a secondary matter. If you come across as experienced, when you get to the set, they'll expect top notch gear and top notch work, otherwise what you're doing the job with only comes up as a matter of interest. Sometimes if I have some new tech, another crew member might be curious to know more about it.

 

On gigs with multiple crews, it can be good to have consistency in work flow, but most top tier gear can deliver that.

 

So as to the original question, "Would you say having certain brand names in your kit list increase the chances of you getting hired?" If you're a professional with top notch gear, seldom, if ever, does it make a difference. Are there exceptions to every rule? Of course, but there are too many variables to worry about it

 

Choose the right tools for the job and you'll be fine.

 

 

 

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