Tips for doing Music Video Playback

I had a reader ask me for some music video playback tips so here are a few:

1. Try to be your Playback tapes ahead of time to check them make sure all DAT tapes have timecode on the  left channel and program material on the right channel

2. The night before the shoot take the lyrics sheet and next to each line write the timecode number so you can quickly cue up the song. Most of the time they want 8 seconds of pre roll so I add that it when I do the sheet.

3.  When arriving at the shoot communicate with the 1st A.D since he will be telling you your cues all day.  Also talk to the Electric department about your power needs.

4. When they tell you the cue “24 frame playback at line 16” Always repeat back what they said “Roger 24 frame playback at line 16 with pre roll to line 15 plus 8 seconds”. Then after I have the cue and have checked it via my headphones I will say. “Playback standing by at line 15 plus 8 seconds for 24 frame playback”. It may sound redundant but sometimes they change the cue without telling you and you want to be ready at all times.

5. Set up next to VTR so you can make sure they are getting good audio for video playback and so you can make sure they are slating correctly.

6. Always stay professional and be ready to change quickly.

The Longest day of my career

Well I have worked many 14-16 hour days but yesterday to today I had the longest day of my career 21 hours of shooting with me being awake 26 hours straight and to top it off I was doing music video playback which I hadn’t done recently. Over 200 take music video 4 different locations one of which was the beach I hope the next one isn’t so bad

Working out of the bag

I am starting to feel the reality tv and news grind working out of the bag is extremely demanding and I am hoping I can do an Indy film this summer. I haven’t done a feature in the last three years and I miss it. I have done a few  movie trailers and 2nd unit stuff on some films. But in all these situations it was all out of the bag 1 film was in the woods and the others were run and gun so they were out of the bag with my boom operator.  It is starting to wear on me, I miss the artistic part of my job that I am allowed to explore sound and have input. Instead this past week I was attempting to get audio in nightclubs, bars and other loud locations. So I hope this summer I can do a feature and have fun.

The Sanken Cub saves me again

Once again the Sanken Cub-01 has saved me again. For anyone who doesn’t own this little boundary layer microphone should purchase one. I had an outdoor scene for my recent project that had three girls on beach chairs around a pool with two girls saying most of the lines. Since this shot was rather wide and it was in bright sun light getting the boompole in the right position was next to impossible and trying to lav a girl in a bikini is very difficult. So I put the Sanken Cub in between the two chairs right out of the shot. It sounded great and once again saved me. So buy a sanken Cub it is a great microphone to have

How Another Sound Mixer explained his job

This was posted by user “Kill Bill” on RAMPS and I Love it!!!!

My 12 year old daughter had an assignment to gather from her father,
“What does Dad do?”.  She asked me to put down in my own words, and
summarize what I do.

So here it is..

While working in the biz as a Location Sound Mixer, I spend most of my
time trying to explain to producers why they can’t get sound people to
work for free like they can actors and PAs. If by some miracle that the
producer actually knows how important sound is and chooses me to work on
the set, and they have budgeted more than 100 dollars for the entire
sound department for the shoot, I then spend all my time planning on
getting a mountain of equipment to the actual location. I rigg up that
equipment while on the set, then wait on camera, grips, and actors to
get the camera rolling with the rare possibility that I might get 20
seconds of usable recording.  This goes on for over 12+ hours every day
while on my job hoping nothing goes wrong while noting and stopping the
production for every plane, dog barking, and voice that goes overhead.
When it’s all over, I’m out of a job again and spend the rest of the
month looking for another job to do it all over again.  In the mean
time, I go out and spend more money on equipment than I made on the last
job with no end in sight for equipment buying.

It sounds allot like a job, but since when do you have to pay so much to
work on your last job?

Hope she likes it..


I sometimes feel the same way Bill does but I think he expressed it well. I wish more people realized and knew how important sound is but no one is perfect. I am off to work another 14-16 hour day.