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I'm an out of work live sound engineer and got a call for a boom op/recordist gig tomorrow. They are getting a kit sent to the set very last minute, and possibly wont get here in time, back up plan might be going direct into the cam. I know the basics of what we will be doing, but is there any resources you could pass on to make mine and probably a few others lives a bit better? Cheers.

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Are you looking for a 'How to do Production Sound' explainer? 

 

I get that you're not working (most of us aren't or very slow) but there's a huge difference between live sound and production – including gear, workflow, set etiquette, skillsets, etc – and you may have taken a job you aren't qualified/experienced enough to handle...

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I once did a video interview with a commercial airline pilot under the wing of his 747 as the very nearby engines were revving up. Great picture. I couldn't hear a thing.

 

If the microphone on your boom is going straight to a camera, without the benefit to you of headphones or a VU meter, you will be similarly blind. Your boom will pick up sounds from your fingers and movements. Relax. Follow your subject as well as your shooter and circumstances allow. Do the best you can and good luck.

 

At the end of the pilot interview the producer asked "how did it sound?". I had to say I had no idea... the meter looked fine but I couldn't hear a thing. I heard later on it was fine.

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10 hours ago, protocrastinator said:

I'm an out of work live sound engineer and got a call for a boom op/recordist gig tomorrow. They are getting a kit sent to the set very last minute, and possibly wont get here in time, back up plan might be going direct into the cam. I know the basics of what we will be doing, but is there any resources you could pass on to make mine and probably a few others lives a bit better? Cheers.

Read this entire book before tomorrow:
https://www.amazon.com/Location-Sound-Bible-Record-Professional/dp/1615931201

That would at least get you one step along the path for your journey to be a competent sound mixer. 

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On 10/16/2020 at 12:17 AM, chrismedr said:

Without knowing any details about what kind of shoot and what kind of equipment (camera and sound) *will* be there on time it’s rather hard to give any meaningful advice...

don't take the job

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If the kit shows up, how much time do you have to set it up (if they rented the audio kit from a camera house or place like VER, there's a good chance that it won't be ready to go)? Have you worked with that exact equipment, particularly the mic and mixer/recorder, before?

 

What does straight to camera mean for them? You holding some sort of mic in your hand and a cable going to the camera? Who's responsible for making sure the camera's audio levels and everything else are set correctly? Probably you. Also, do the producers really have their act together? Based on the info you provide, I'm not so sure...

 

If these are good friends and they're OK with delays and sound issues, then maybe go for it. Otherwise, geez, this might not be an opportunity you want to take... Sorry to be pessimistic, but the chances seem slim that this gig will have some sort of upside and won't sully your reputation.

 

Your experience with live sound will be super valuable and you will be able to get up to speed quickly, but not with unknown/unarrived equipment tomorrow morning.

 

Or so it seems to me...

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Being a live sound engineer is valuable experience with the basics connecting the audio components, but other than that, it is very different with a whole other set pf skills to acquire. boom or PSM.  I came from a  FOH music mixer and recording studio engineer background, prior to having the opportunity to work on run & gun documentary crews in1990.

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