K-tek K-Zep Wind System

Someone emailed me yesterday asking if the K-Zep was a good lower cost alternative to the industry standard Rycote Zeppelin. If your unfamiliar with this product check it out HERE. I have owned one for about a year and use it regularly. It is well built and is $300.00 less than the Rycote one. It also is easy to take apart and is much more durable because it isn’t made of 100 percent plastic like the rycote one. I also like that its end caps are foam so they are quickly and easily removed and transported. I find the K-zep and Rycote both provide the same amount of wind protection as well. So check one out if you need a lower cost wind protection system.

The Reliability of the Tascam HD-P2 Hard Disk Recorder

A Fellow Sound Mixer recently had a major failure while recording which appears to be caused by the Compact Flash Card failing. You can view his posting HERE. It is important to realize that media failures are a major concern and often happen without warning. In this case the CF card failed not the unit. I always try and use high grade CF cards like Sandisk Ultra II cards. While they are a little more expensive I think they are worth the money but others may disagree.  I have never had my Tascam Recorder fail on me in any situation and for the price of $700.00 it is tough to beat. SO if your looking for a recorder at this price point buy the tascam hd-p2 it will serve you well.

Importance of back up equipment

Your only as good as your last job and your equipment. Not having your equipment in proper working order and not having back up equipment is a quick way to get yourself in trouble. Even though the equipment of today is reliable things still break and need to be repaired. In an ideal world we would have two of everything we own, however this is cost prohibitive. So my way of having back up equipment is never to sell anything when I upgrade so within five years I now have 3 mixers, 5 wireless and 3 boom poles. This has also allowed me to rent gear as well, which creates a nice stream of extra income. So have back up gear it is a solid investment

Dealing with last minute cancellations

Thankfully business for me recently has been very good and I have been working for reliable and quick paying clients (NBC News, UPN Network etc…) I already had a planned trip to South FL to see my family so when I got a call for a low budget short film in south fl I changed around my vacation so that I could do the film and see my family. Well to make a long story short I was suppose to get our schedule today and got this email instead, “Bad news. I have lost my cinematographer to another, much higher paying job. I am sorry, but the shoot is off. If i can offer a last minute compensation of $50 for your troubles, would that be ok?” My answer is of course no as less than 24 hour cancellations mean full payments. But I broke my own rules with this shoot I didn’t get a deposit and don’t have a signed deal memo or contract so shame on me, at least I have more time to spend with my family.  But this should serve as a warning to all of us when working with new clients to spell out your polices and always try and do the following:

1. Get a deal memo or signed contract I also always try to make sure I have an email from the producer stating our agreement as well.

2. Always make sure you have equipment requirements, hours, day rate and terms of payment spelled out in writing

3. Go with your gut if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t

4. Only work for a wage your comfortable with.