Sound Devices Wave Agent A great program

As someone who does only Location Sound for a living. I normally don’t deal with files much except for when I need to FTP a transcript or a last minute voice over to a client. I have a small protools system which is more for me to just play around with and do my own personal work with. Occasionally I will do some simple editing on a low budget film or something but thats it. The other day I recorded some polyphonic wave files for a client, which I then burned to DVD for them for post. Well I get a call that they are having issues opening them (Trying to import them into a older version of AVID) and all they really wanted was the best channel of audio. I told them that even though the talent was wired the boom sounded good for the whole shoot. So I used Wave agent to quickly batch and exact track 1 of all my poly wave files. It worked quickly and allowed me to upload the files to my client within minutes. For a free download it is a great Mac and PC based program so check it out it may help you one day soon.

Recording voice overs in the field

So much of what I do is down and dirty never the way I really want to do it.  An example of this is having to record voice overs in the field. When usually asked about this I say “It would be better to use a local recording studio”. When they tell me that is cost or time prohibitive I say “I have a small Protools system installed on my laptop lets set aside some time and record this right”. Then I am usually told we need to record it in about 10 min and then we need to keep shooting can we do it. I always remember what a good friend of mine told me “Never say no just ask how much”. So this is where my Tascam HD-P2 hard disk recorder comes in handy I can quickly record voiceover to a Compact Flash card which I can then quickly send via any FTP program so that post production can have then the same day. I usually use YOUSENDIT a easy to use program that emails a weblink to anyone who needs to download it. I have found this systems really impresses clients and allows me to make a few extra dollars in gear rental.

A Review of Lav Microphones

Sorry for the lack of posting I have been working like a dog the past few weeks and with barely enough time to sleep I haven’t had a chance to blog at all. Today I wanted to revisit something I have talked about before “Lav Microphone Choice”. I own the following Lav’s now:

Countryman B6, Countryman EMW, Sanken Cos-11, TRAM, Mk2, And the free Lectro M-150. Never did I think I would need such a selection of Lav’s in my kit but everyone has its own purpose and I will tell you what I prefer .

Countryman EMW I own six of these for reality tv I feel there is no better lav for most all around situations. They are cheap $180.00 or so each wired for Lectro they are water and sweat proof. They are also very rugged  some of mine have been dragged stepped on and keep on going. I find them very easy to hide most of the time if the talent is wearing non noisy fabric. With a piece of moleskin I can lav someone in under 30 seconds for the day. The only time the EMW doesn’t work well is noisy cloths and people wearing not enough cloths.

Countryman B6: I own 3 of these they are great for people wearing very little clothing and people wearing noisy cloths because they are easily hidden in close to plain sight. I don’t like how fragile they are and that they aren’t waterproof without the protective cap on then and at $310.00 each are more expensive but I love having them.

Sanken Cos-11. I own two of these I think they are the best sounding lav and work great hidden using a hush lav sleve and some transpore tape. They also are very wind resistant when using the metal windscreen. They are expensive though at $340.00 each and I don’t like them in Reality tv situations because I find the best way to hide them is to tape them to the talents body using the method above and I think that is distracting to the talent on a reality tv show and that it is ok for a film since they are actors. I will use one on a reality shoot though if I feel it is the only way to get good audio.

TRAM: I own 3 of these 1 which is hardwired (1) Black one and (1) White one. At $240.00 they are at a decent price point. I bought the Hardwired one used for very cheap and it is mostly for a few times a year I have a client insist on a hardwired lav. I think they are the best at dealing with very high wind in a news situation (Hurricane, Live shot etc) So I usually only use it in those situations. I have the white one for sitdown interviews which the talent is wearing white I don’t use it much but it is nice to have.

M-150 and Mk2- Both of these types came for free with my Lectro and G2 lav purchases. I keep them for spares and dangerous situations for equipment but that is about it.

So if you can only buy one lav to start with I’d go with Countryman EMW then I’d add a Countryman B6. After that it is all a personal choice

Something Cool I worked on

I did some short commercials for Adidas earlier in the year. If you want to see my favorite go to http://www.adidas.com/ it is called “Superstar Magic” featuring Dynamo doing street magic in Miami. It was a very simple equipment package for the gig. My package consisted of a Sound Devices 302 Mixer, 1 Lectrosonics 211 wireless with Countryman EMW lav microphone and my MKH 416 shotgun microphone. The hardest part was boom operating all day long everyone enjoy.

Wireless Camera Link/Hop Options

Someone email me today and asked me what I thought about the New Lectrosonics SR receiver. I have seen the unit in person but have not used it in actually field production.  It looks great, however  I do not like the fact that the antennas’ are fixed and not remove able and that you cannot put batteries in it. I have been a zaxcom wireless hop user for a few years and the unit always does an amazing job with no issues. I also like the fact that the transmitter is small and easily fits into my bag. I just don’t like having to carry two tx, 9v battery eliminators, and a bunch of cables. The only advantage to using the lectro camera hop is that if you need extra wireless for talent you can cable yourself to the camera but I have used my zaxcom as a talent tx once as well with no issue. I also have about $5000,00 invested in my Zaxcom Hop when you figure all the cables I have for it, The BEC box and mounting plates. Camera man also like how it is a worry free piece of gear that always works. Now if I didn’t own a camera hop I may consider the Lectrosonics SR but since I own a zaxcom I will stick with it. Neither one is a bad choice