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Does anyone have days like this? or is just me ?


Tom Maloney
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Just curious if any other folks have days like this. Took on a small job, two day shoot, pilot for a reality show. Involves a small business, it’s owner and 3 employes. Very customer focused , with a diversity of very interesting customers from all over the world buying items or having a very specialized serviced provided for them.

Anyway , producer / camera op #1 arrives with his 2 Cannons ( black cameras that shoot HD have XLR ins , no TC ) Pops them up on tripods, one is to be static and he is going to move around with camera 2 on tripod.  I try and find a place to set up, place is small, wire up owner and 2 of the staff, test all mics, run snake to 1 camera, also recording to a 702T. Figure I’ll boom customers  in front of shop’s counter. All set as first customer arrives (These are all planed arrivals from his cliental base and a few not scheduled walk-ins) and talks to owner for 35 minutes YIKES ! . Day goes on not as bad when director/ cam op 2 shows up (  was told he is great at this , really knows his stuff, friend of cam #1 op ) He proceeds to drag in his pelican cases and 2  Kinos , while we are shooting. Doesn't really talk to anyone other than cam #1 op. sets up 2 Kinos, one is in shot of one camera. Sets up a Sony Ex3 on a tripod in middle of room. then pulls out his new Cannon D7. while all this is gong on I am trying to work with cam 1 op and slate for him. This all gets real chaotic and he gives up slating.  also cam #2 op walks all around with the D7 , shooting, and then dumping his 1 card into his computer. Also cam #1 op sometimes walks away from his camera, never bothers to tell me when he is rolling or stopping. Finish the day and am asking myself  while driving 40 miles home WHY? ME? who is directing mess.

Day two : I regroup, change my plan of attack to place boom on c-stand over counter , wire up staff and figure on wiring up customers as they are signing their release forms outside shop. Get ready to slate , am told ” that is too confusing forget it ! “( Pity the poor editor when he / she tries to figure which of my 86 wav files goes with what , they are marked with TOD)  As day goes on I am told , “lets do some sit-down interviews with the X3  I want your audio into my camera “ ( told this by cam #2 op) I tell my A2 to get a mic stand from the truck, Oh thats right I have no A2,  run, get the stand up wire up a mic run my second snake from the 442 to his camera. I hand him the xlrs from my snake , plugs them in , asks me what the line / mic switch is for. I tell him use line. “what about the 48 v whats that for” I bite my lip and tell him to leave it off. Offer him my one of the 3 extra pair of headsets I always carry. Am told does not need them. I ask please give me 2 minutes, I  have to hit the head. Upon my return , camera is rolling. I tell them sound is not running, get a look of why not ! ( I have offered my extra sets of headphones to both cam ops , am told “ don’t need them “ Find out at lunch cam #1 op did not have one camera set to HD. Later  when the 2 cams are not rolling and #1 op is outside, I walk around to stretch and I hear “ DONT’ WALK IN FRONT OF MY LIGHT WHILE I AM SHOOTING “ from cam op #2 and his D7 . “My bad” I say and creep to my corner. Day 2 is over. Don’t get me wrong. I love working sound, I like helping people with problems, making the production better if I can. I also have worked as a grip and stagehand so I know  what the needs are. But what happen to set protocol? and plain courtesy? If I make a suggestion about time code and slating and you don’t even acknowledge that I said something. To me that is being rude. Why are you paying me to be here? Please tell me when you are shooting and stopping, tell me of special setups so I can be ready ahead of time with a little planning. I won’t walk in your light if you tell us your rolling with your D7. I’ll gladly get audio to any camera you like but could you ask and not say “I want” I can’t read you mind, you do have to talk to me. I know you all are saying just take the check and drive home and blow it off. Its hard  when one day you work with a polite and competent crew and then get something like this. Sorry for the long post but I feel better after venting !

Thanks

Tom

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Sounds like one of my anxiety dreams!!  They're shooting, and I'm not ready.  Can't figure out why they aren't waiting or telling me what's going on.  Cables don't fit, etc. 

Hardly get them now, but used to all the time when I waited tables for a couple of years in my early 20s.  Hostess continuing to seat customers after the kitchen was already closed!

Hope the next one is better,

Robert

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No matter how skilled we are at sniffing out the jobs that we should avoid, sometimes they sneak up on you and bite you in the ass. I've been in this sound recording game for over 40 years and pride myself on knowing shit from shineola, but...

This summer I got a call for a job in Jackson, Wyoming. Cool, my daughter lives there. Over the shoulder, lots of running around, but interviewing one cowboy at a time. I'm fit, my bag rig is set up, why not.  The director/cameraman is a big time DP who's work I admire. Even better. So I'm off to the mountains.  Cut to:

0 dark:30 somewhere on a ranch road. My gear is already set up (did I mention I was experienced). I head to the camera truck to check with the shooters. Everybody is too busy to acknowledge me. I'm a sound guy, I'm familiar with that. Lets count the cameras. Hmm. 6 Canon 5ds, 1 Red. Hmm.  Hey, I'm prepared. I've got hops for 4 cameras. I try to hand them out. "You ain't putting that on my camera."  Okay, in all fairness, one guy did agree. Well, how about you turn on the internal mics (I'm thinking thank god for PluralEyes). No way, I'm told, the director wants them off - no embarrassing things heard in dailies. So, here's a couple of slates, fellas.  Reluctantly, accepted. Whew! Cut to:

Me heading to the "set", bag over shoulder, boom in hand. The sun is not yet over the horizon. The producer walks up.  "You'll need to wire all 8 cowboys". How many at a time are we interviewing? "One maybe two, but you'll need stay ahead." Don't worry, I'm fast. Trust me, I'm a professional. Cut to:

One freshly wired cowboy leaning on a fence. Seven cameras shooting from every angle imaginable. We roll, cut, roll, cut, roll, cut, roll. Don't you think we ought to get a slate every once in a while, fellas? Cowboy after cowboy, from ranch to field to river to woods we slog, with not a slate in sight. Hey, it's not my movie. And by the way, the sun doesn't set until 10pm in Wyoming in August. Cut to:

Day two. Smoke is coming from a cell phone. The agency producer has fire in her eyes. "What do you mean there were no slates"? I'm in the line of fire, but to her credit she looks at me and says "I know".  The camera department and, surprisingly, the director receive her wrath. Yes, there is a god. But wait, oh no. Guess which department, all 10 of them, thinks I threw them under the bus? Correct.

Some days you're the pigeon and some days you're the statue.

Bruce

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Why exactly do we provide slates any more?  We don't get extra rental, and they are constantly beat up by the camera department.  The DP gets to put his name on it.  Where's the mixer's name? 

Wish the camera assistants would bring us a lockit to jam in the morning and take care of all the CAMERA stuff on their own.

Robert

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@ Bruce P. So well painted Bruce. Big laugh here. You got what you were hired to get. To bad camera didn't. I hope the visit w your daughter went better than the gig;-)

@ Jan. How's your new gig going? To early to tell most likely. Have fun.

@ Tom. "Momma said there'd be better days, better days,,, my momma said."  I hope that's true.

CrewC

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Haven't read all the post answers but yes its all a great lesson!

Firstly pre-production info is essential as it tells you what you have to cover and signs off your responsibility.

It's always easier in hind sight but the job looks like a bunch of radio mikes to me.

Mixing to a 702T with 2 tracks is only possible if dialogue is scripted otherwise its a multitrack experience

Slating with all these cameras is essential to allow post to sync it.

i did a job like this in Fiji shooting on beaches and in jungles

No easy, not tidy but what else can you do??????????????

mike

www.mikewestgatesound.co.nz

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@ Jan. How's your new gig going? To early to tell most likely. Have fun.

@ Tom. "Momma said there'd be better days, better days,,, my momma said."  I hope that's true.

CrewC

@CrewC - darlin' there was no doubt -- before the thing even began -- that it would be good. Such is the nature of doing this particular cable show: having previous experience with it makes a lot of difference. The elements, even with their particular difficulties, are familiar. From the top down, comes dignity and respect. Not the first time, not the last, not entirely rare, but still special. My crew is great. The crew is exceptional. Shooting lasts not long enough for folks to get snippy. The days, doable and fast-paced. The writing, gut punch comedy good in the mouths of some of the best craftsmen ever. Oh, we're getting good tracks. My young, focused boom operator worked a lot in the hiatus, and returns this season with honed skillz, so I don't have to wire everyone who walks and talks. I wept with joy.

These are the better days your momma said would arrive eventually.

-- Jan

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  • 2 months later...

For the same reason there is no DP listed on your sound report.

Eric

But the DP doesn't own the slates, I do.  The purpose of the slate is to ID shots and sync sound.  Other than the name of the show, scene/take and roll number, there really is no need for any other information.  So if the DP gets his name on there, why shouldn't we?  Just saying  :-)

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But the DP doesn't own the slates, I do.  The purpose of the slate is to ID shots and sync sound.  Other than the name of the show, scene/take and roll number, there really is no need for any other information.  So if the DP gets his name on there, why shouldn't we?  Just saying  :-)

Then have your name engraved on the slate at the bottom, i.e. Production Sound Mixer: [glow=red,2,300]Robert Sharman[/glow]

Eric

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Then have your name engraved on the slate at the bottom, i.e. Production Sound Mixer: [glow=red,2,300]Robert Sharman[/glow]

Eric

AWESOME!!  But them the silly ACs will just put a piece of tape over my name with the DPs name on it!  We will never win!  :-)

Or maybe a gold plate with my name engraved in bold black letters right across the sticks!

(I hope you know I'm joking)

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AWESOME!!  But them the silly ACs will just put a piece of tape over my name with the DPs name on it!  We will never win!  :-)

Or maybe a gold plate with my name engraved in bold black letters right across the sticks!

(I hope you know I'm joking)

Then speak to Charlie Para at Denecke about programing your name & title into the display. Perhaps like this:

                                          [move] [glow=red,2,300]Production Sound Mixer: Robert Sharman[/glow]

[/move]

Eric

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Then speak to Charlie Para at Denecke about programing your name & title into the display.

I wish I could remember who I saw do this years ago, but I did work on a dailies project (in post) where the sound mixer had their name (or at least a company name) on a small P-Touch label just to the right of the lower corner of the slate, above the date. There was still room for the DP's name -- but maybe a little less.

I took a tip from that and always have my sound company name (in bright yellow tape) on my TC slates. Nobody's objected -- so far.

--Marc W.

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