TV Timecard and Sound Report Writer apps

Thursday, December 25, 2014

ProductionHACK: Rubber Band Holder

Between my small rubber bands constantly breaking and me losing them, I needed a better system than the small container I've been keeping them in. I finally realized my solution was sitting right in front of me in the form of a carabiner. I have it mounted on my talent wireless bag. I just stick a few dozen of these suckers on there and my endless search for unbroken bands lasts only about 3 seconds now. Use and enjoy!

Look, grab, break and repeat

Monday, October 27, 2014

PRODUCT REVIEW: NP1 AC Power Adapter

I've had an NP1 AC Power Adapter from LMC Sound for over a month now and finally had a chance to give my feedback on it. I know I've thought of something like this little unit in the past, as I'm sure most have, but obviously we all failed to bring it to market. Quite simply, the adapter allows you to power your audio bag via AC power instead of draining your precious NP-1 batteries.

Betso TCD-1, 788T and all wireless can be AC-powered
The adapter is intended to be used on those long interview days where you're nestled into your little corner of the studio. You know, those days when you have to keep your phone charging all day. Using this adapter allows you to easily power your entire bag, including wireless transmitters and receivers, without unplugging or rerouting a bunch of cables and connectors. However, I have found the it most useful for charging my rig overnight and powering up in the morning to set timecode, name characters, change some freqs, etc. I stopped using the AC power supply for the 788T because it was just too cumbersome to pull out the 4-pin hirose a couple times a day, but this adapter saves me from that chore...and then some. The routing I have my power distro is to use two NP-1s in parallel rather than one for part wireless units and the other for the 788T. This allows me to hot swap NPs without every losing power to the wireless receivers, which is key for my current show that can have sensitive subject matter with real people (not actors). This also allows me to power my entire bag with one NP AC Power Adapter. Your setup may differ slightly from mine.

Percy Urgena, founder of LMC and working location sound mixer, explains some circumstances he's used it in. "I use it when I use my rig on a cart in a studio. I just leave the sound rig on and don't have change batteries. I want to save recharging cycles on my lithium batteries, thereby making them last way longer. I had a shoot last year where I worked on a blimp flying across the US for 5 weeks. Sometimes I was not able to go on it due to weight restrictions. I just miked up everybody, hit record and never had to worry about power loss because I plugged into the AC system of the airship. If there is a day when I film a scene that takes 3-4 hours in one location. I just plug my rig in to AC. It saves one extra charging cycle. It all adds up."

The AC delivery is solid, fluctuating only about 1/10th of a volt when turning various powered wireless units on and off. Considering anything you are powering is capable of handling variable DC voltage, this is plenty good. I have several different versions of the Remote Audio BDS as well as a PSC Power Star Mini for battery distribution and the adapter tested fine in all of them.


I personally use Remote Audio NP cups in my rigs because they're all I've known and they hold up well, for the most part. In my NP cups, the NP1 AC Power Adapter is actually a little small. It wasn't quite a snug fit as I would've like to have seen, but it still fit ok. I used a rubber band to keep it in the cup as to not fall out. To be fair, even my batteries fit loosely. I even have some moleskin on the inside of the cup to give it a little more tension. I haven't tested the fit on other NP cups, but I feel like mine is looser than others, for some reason. The adapter is ergonomically designed so it can be pulled and inserted with ease.

Urgena was also thinking about usage across the world. "The 110-220 volt capacity makes it work in just about any country. The user just has to buy the appropriate plug adapter. Alternatively, they can buy an OSHA cable with the correct plug on it for their country. That's why I chose that particular AC plug configuration...because it is universal."

It comes in a tidy little neoprene case, which is quite nice for packing and traveling. The build quality is sufficiently sturdy. I don't forsee any damage occurring to the adapter, provided TSA doesn't crush it for fun.

Check with your favorite sound shop for an NP1 AC Power Adapter by LMC Sound. It retails for about $135. I now have 3 of them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How Old Are Your Ears?

I love me some good ole science. I especially love the guys over at ASAP Science. They do a really great job of explaining how things work on a scientific level that makes it super easy to learn and enjoy. Seeing how most everyone reading this listens for a living, this video seemed quite appropriate. I turned 31 years old just the other day and boy was this test accurate. Please, please take special care of your ears. Your inner ears are one (two?) of those organs that don't regenerate itself :-( Now get out your favorite headphones and take a listen!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Easy Custom-Cut Pelican Foam Inserts

Customization of equipment in our niche line of work is as common as a DP with the right answer. Whether it's the size of your moleskin pieces or how your wireless is arranged in your bag, you probably do something different than me. The same goes for the type and quantity of gear we all own. For my camera hops, I use Zaxcom transmitters and receivers. With a total of 9 that potentially travel together, I use a Pelican 1500 handheld case to safely transport and organize those units with all their respective cabling. Some of them end up having the "hard side" of Velcro for mounting purposes and that really started tearing into my Pull 'N Pluck foam that came with my Pelican. I was in dire need of an upgrade for this case. Enter MyCaseBuilder ("MCB" from here on).

Super simple design UI

I did a decent amount of research for both local shops here in Dallas with various cutting methods and other online options. I couldn't find another company that was able to deliver the design options and quality foam at as reasonable of a price as MCB. They offer top-notch web-based design software that is incredibly accurate. To design your foam insert, you simply choose from standard shapes like circles and rectangles or you can draw a shape. Just enter your dimensions and you're good to go. I have to stress how easy this software is to use. Provided you can measure your gear correctly, your items will fit absolutely perfectly.
Basically, they make it easy to make really good shit

MCB offers a rather extensive shape library of device templates, like the Pix240, Zoom H4n (I know, I know...) and Shure SM58 microphone. With the "Photo Tracer" option, however, the possibilities are limitless (video below). Their design tools easily allow you to make an accurate cutout for the object you're storing. For the OCD customizers we can all be, this assistance gives you all the confidence that you are making the correct design decisions.


In the event you aren't confident in your design, or may want to change something in the future, MCB has their "FailSafe Protection" available for an extra $8. Per MCB, "FailSafe will allow you to make one revision to your original custom foam design and have it recreated for you one more time absolutely FREE, including the shipping of your newly redesigned foam back to you. (shipping costs for returning the unwanted foam back to MyCaseBuilder are the customer's responsibility)." I opted to get this since it was my first experience, but every millimeter translated perfectly from design to print so I haven't needed it yet.

If you aren't sure exactly what foam you want, check out the video below for a thorough walkthrough of the different options available. I went with polyethylene foam for my build because of its durability. I've also included their Quick Start demo video that takes you through the basics of the design process. Like I mentioned early, it's so very easy to do. You really don't even need a video about it.

Custom foam prices range from about $40 for a small Pelican 1200 (about the size for a handgun and a couple clips) all the way up to $300 for a Pelican 1739 (holds 6 M4 rifles). [Sorry, that's just how we measure goods here in Texas] And they aren't limited to Pelican case templates. They have templates for cases from SKB, Flambeau, Seahorse, Nanuk, HPRC, Boyt, Storm, Zero, and Ameripak, in addition to their own line of cases. Give MyCaseBuilder a shot and it'll boost your organization skills up a few points.






Monday, August 11, 2014

Innovation At Its Coldest

No professional shoot is complete without a properly stocked ice chest of assorted beverages (ahem...Dr Pepper), of which water is a necessity. With many crew members comes many water bottles. Proper set etiquette dictates that one should label the bottle cap with your initials, brand, etc. with a Sharpie. Well for the ill-prepared crew member, a PA had this trick up her sleeve in case someone didn't have a Sharpie on them. Tape down the cap with some gaff tape and SHABAM! problem solved. Now don't leave them laying around set and you'll be in good shape. Or better yet, do as Jimbo would have you do; bring your own canteen!

May another bottle never go unlabeled. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sony 7506 Pad Replacements


After one too many nights at home with my wife asking "What's all that black stuff on your face?" I decided it was time to explore replacing my pads on my Sony 7506 headphones. I love the 7506s, like a lot of other mixers out there, but they sure didn't feel like making some quality pads that last more than a couple years. I've gone through a few replacements actually; once using the Garfield knitted coverings and once with genuine Sony pad replacements. The Garfield coverings didn't give me enough isolation from external noise and the Sony pad replacements are just newer pads that still suck. After browsing around the intrawebs I found some replacement pads for the 7506s from Beyerdynamic. They're made of Velour and are extremely comfortable. Best of all, they don't appear that they'll fall apart in the next year or so. I'll try to update this in a few years (2016-ish) to let you guys know how they're holding up. So far, no flakes and they are noticeably easier to get on and off with comfort in mind. I just wish Sony would take note and somehow change up their pad designs a little bit.

Lots of cushion without the flakes
You can find these on Amazon Prime here for $24 at the time of 6.27.14.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How To Find Your Mate

I was working a documentary about a specific mentoring camp for kids last week and ran into a couple interesting situations that I thought would be good to share. The bulk of our content took place in a venue that had a proper mult box for distribution of the house audio feed. However, there was another unforeseen event taking place in a different venue that we didn't scout, but were told had the same type of setup as the main venue. Well, guess what. [this is where you say, "What, Tyler!?"] It wasn't the same setup. Not even close. There was a PA system, sort of. They had a rack with two Shure wireless mic feeds sent to a shoddy mixer that produced a generous ground hum when plugged in directly. 

The event was already in progress by the time we got there; we didn't need the whole thing. I checked out the Shure rack they were using and noticed the frequencies they were using happened to lie within my Lectrosonics Block 19 range. I recall reading about the compatibility modes in the manual way back when and thought I'd try my chances at patching into the feeds directly. I changed my compatibility mode to "M.3" and VOILA! There those levels were in all their Shure-fired beauty. DISCLAIMER: I have never needed nor had the opportunity to test this out, so I was a little surprised that it actually worked as well as it did. It also turns out that it may have been an accident that occurs frequently (see below about what Lectro has to say regarding "Compatibility Modes"). So I ended up with a crystal clean feed of the audience handheld and the presenter lav. This is obviously a much better option since A) they are isolated and B) there's no ground hum. 

Fine tuned to the house Shure transmitter #1
Fine tuned to the house Shure transmitter #2
M.3 Compatibility Mode
Funny enough, a few days later we joined another one-man-band crew that was already shooting and wired up a key figure on a Sennheiser G2 system. And lucky me, it ended up being on a frequency in my Lectrosonics Block 21 range. I tried switching the compatibility mode to "M.3" again and VOILA! There it was again! Fancy that. Other than the fact that it sounded like a G2 talent transmitter, it was another option for post to use instead of my boom.

Lectrosonics says that M.3 is to be used for Sennheiser 3000 and 5000 series wireless. M.6 is designated for Shure UHF wireless and M.7 is designated for Audio Limited. They say it's not meant for picking up G2 or G3, but I got it this time so I guess it was my lucky day. They are essentially designed to digitally emulate the analog process of each respective brand, so I suppose that process isn't too different across models. If you're not trying, you're lying. 

So two things you may have learned today...
1) Try your compat modes out
2) Diversify your wireless blocks

Good luck out there!

Find Tyler Faison on Google+

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Soundkeeper Cart

I've been lurking around to find a decent bag-cart for those shoots that cover the vast expanses of hospitals, schools, factories and other government-sized facilities. After perusing several dozen designs, I never really found one that met my needs. I am looking for something that will hold my 1620 Pelican case, have a stable shelf for my bag and ideally a work area for prepping lavs or holding my iPad. I feel like I'm very close with what I've found.

This "professional housekeeping cart" I found on Amazon seems to suit all my needs. Obviously, I'll take out the zippered trash bin and the "security cabinet" was optional as well. Firstly, it holds my Pelican case in a variety of positions. I always thought I might could use this as my prep area if need be, but this cart in particular has plenty of shelf space. It has 3 tiers of shelving, all of which have only three vertical supports. This wasn't something I was specifically looking for, but it has been quite nice to not have to squeeze anything in between the posts. It has caster wheels, and as robust as they are, they aren't going off roadin' anytime soon. My intentions are to keep it indoors or on outdoor concrete surfaces, so this is fine with me. The shelf where the trash bin would go underneath actually folds up and is easily removed for storage. This cart will undoubtedly be too bulky for some, but it fits in my cargo area without disassembly and does everything it needs to so it's an A+ in my book!




Find it on Amazon here for about $190.
Plenty of space to hang things on the sides. You will need some extra hooks or clamps.
I only really needed to add a boom pole cup. The large hook for a broom is a good fit for the top of the pole

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

REPAIR: IDX JL-2+ fan

We all have one. Those pricy blue little bastards that keep our rigs running for hours upon hours. The IDX JL-2+ lithium NP charger. They rarely seem to completely fail, but most common issue I seem to have, as well as most other mixers I've talked to, is that damn fan the keeps drives the heat out of the unit. My units travel a lot and the baggage handlers seem to toss them around like a burger at a tailgate despite that fact that the case has a sticker asking them not to. Shrug. Anywho, between the 10+ units I have 90% of them have had this Loose Fan Syndrome (LFS) at some point in their life. When you hear the charger kick on and it sounds like it's about to come to a screeching halt, your JL-2+ has LFS. My most recent victim was much worse that the others...it had come completely apart and was jumping around like a 5 year old in a bounce house. So I decided to share my DIY repair job. Read repair, not reinforce. Grab your Lectro tweaker and let's get to work!

NOTE: This may negatively impact any warranty provided by IDX on your unit. I am not an authorized technician. I'm a sound mixer that doesn't want to send my gear in for a repair I could do myself. Performing this repair is at your sole discretion and risk. Please think before you do this. I'll ask them for any specifics, but please repair at your own risk.

Step 1: Remove the padded feet

Pull off the foam rubber padded feet from the bottom of the unit. They're on there with a glue of some sort. Simply pry them off with your tweaker. Set aside.
 Step 2: Unscrew the plastic frame

The screws have a Phillips head––which by the way was first used in automobile manufacturing––but I found that the flat side of the Lectro tweaker was long enough and still fit the Phillips head. You can't use the Phillips side because it's too short. Unscrew all four corners and set the screws aside.







Step 3: Remove plastic case

The top will pull off gently once unscrewed, leaving a bundle of cables still tethered. Let them be. No need to desolder or disconnect.


Step 4: Diagnose severity of the damage

Like I mentioned earlier, the fan on my unit was completely dislodged. I've had issues in the past where a good tap with your hand a few times will bump it right back into place, so don't do all this if you don't have to. The fan itself is attached with a magnet, so it can easily become loose if it's knocked around too much.










Step 5: Move fan blade back into place

Here you can see the other side of the fan base. The magnetic fan blade simply reattaches to this base. 








This is the important side of the fan blade. I personally think it's kinda nuts that the fan blade has a circuit board on it, but I'm sure those folks over at IDX have a reason.




You can use the Lectro tweaker to help you "lock" it back into place. You'll be able to feel when it's right. You can even plug it in and put a battery on charge to test it.

Step 6: Reassemble
Once your fan is reconnected, pop the lid back on, turn it over, screw the screws back in and reapply the foam rubber feet. BAM! You're right back to work. 

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lectro Introduces New L-series Wireless

I don't think this will appeal to me directly, but I like the direction they're heading. With the FCC auctioning valuable whitespace left and right, wideband wireless products are going to be the key to the future of location audio owner/operators. Zaxcom has made tremendous strides with their new 200-series wideband wireless products, so it seems pretty clear this is exactly where the industry is headed. 

 March 2014… Lectrosonics, recognized the world over as a leading manufacturer of wireless microphone systems and audio processing products, is pleased to announce three new products in the company’s L Series ‘Large Bandwidth’ line of wireless microphones. The new L Series units all share a wide tuning range of three standard Lectrosonics blocks, or 67.5 to 76.8 MHz, depending on the specific frequency band, and employ Lectrosonics' patented Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology for compandor-free audio along with compatibility modes for interoperability with older analog systems. The new L Series product group consists of the LMb and LT beltpack transmitters, and the LR miniature receiver.

The LMb is the latest successor in Lectrosonics’ line of economical beltpack transmitters designed for applications including theater, house of worship, TV, ENG, video and film production. The LMb features an all-metal housing, wire belt clip, 50 mW of RF power, 25 or 100 kHz tuning steps (yielding up to 3,072 selectable frequencies) and an integrated multi-function switch with menu-selectable modes for power, mute or talkback. A graphic LCD and membrane switch panel plus IR synch port make setup and operation a snap. Power is provided via two AA batteries.

Like the LMb, the LT transmitter features 25 or 100 kHz tuning steps (yielding up to 3,072 selectable frequencies), an integrated multi-function switch with menu-selectable modes for power, mute or talkback, and a graphic LCD and membrane switch panel plus IR synch port for ease of setup and operation. The LT additionally facilitates user-selectable RF transmission power of 50 or 100 mW. A detachable antenna adds to the LT's versatility by allowing for remote mount antennas. Also, the LT responds to remote commands from either the dedicated Lectrosonics RM remote unit or smartphone apps with this capability. Along with the standard Lectrosonics microphone input, a user-selectable 1 MOhm input is ideal for use with musical instruments, including guitars with passive pickups. The LT is housed in a newly designed machined aluminum housing featuring a super-hard EbNi ‘Ebony’ conductive finish. Power is provided via two AA batteries. Applications for the LT transmitter include TV and film production, ENG, stage, musical instruments, camera hops, corporate AV, and many others.

The ultra-compact LR receiver takes the Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless® compact receiver concept to an entirely new level. Designed to be ultra-portable for use with DSLR, 4/3, small 4K, and other compact HD cameras, the LR's diminutive size belies the technology inside. The wide tuning bandwidth with tracking front-end filters provides plenty of flexibility while avoiding the vulnerabilities of wider pass bands. Tuning steps are user selectable at 25 or 100 kHz, yielding up to 3,072 operating frequencies. Compatibility modes enable the LR to operate with older analog transmitters. Dual antenna diversity improves range and resistance to dropouts. The RF spectrum analyzer and Lectrosonics’ SmartTune capability make quick work of finding clean frequencies on site. A large, backlit LCD provides instant, clear information for setup and status monitoring while operational. Detachable antennas allow for remote antenna mounting. The LT is housed in the latest machined aluminum shell with super-hard EbNi ‘Ebony’ conductive finish. The unit is powered with two AA batteries.

All three L Series units are available in four different frequency ranges for worldwide use: A1 (470.100 - 537.575 MHz), B1 (537.600 - 614.375 MHz), C1 (614.400 - 691.175 MHz) and D1 (691.200 - 767.975 MHz). Overall system audio specifications are as follows: digital conversion: 24 bit/88.2 kHz sampling rate. Frequency response: 40 to 20 kHz +/- 1 dB, THD+N = 0.3 % in Digital Hybrid mode, > 95 dB s/n ratio. Audio output levels are adjustable from - 50 to +5 dBu in 1dB steps.

Karl Winkler, Lectrosonics’ Director of Business Development, commented on the company’s new L Series products, “These new wireless mic products fill a growing need for frequency flexibility in the face of ever more crowded and shrinking RF spectrum. We've taken our hard-won experience in making robust, reliable and user-friendly wireless microphones along with plenty of user input and distilled this knowledge into these three products. The super-small LR in particular should be of interest to the growing population of digital filmmakers using smaller and smaller cameras.?

Availability for Lectrosonics L Series products is as follows: LMb and LT: Q2, 2014. LR: Q4 2014. Pricing has not yet been determined.

via AV-IQ

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Monday, March 3, 2014

The Vandelay Bag Cart

From Malcolm Davies
Bag carts seem to be getting pretty common. What I mean by a bag cart is an optimized way for mixers to transport and operate their gear. You'll find some good examples, like the one from Malcolm Davies to the left, over on JWSound. I've used a sort of dolly setup for the past 5 years. It's a fold-up, stainless-steel dolly that collapses into a small, portable square. I added some PVC 3-ways cut in half (the long side) to attach some 1ft. long sprinkler PVC for shelves. I can put a Pelican on the bottom, load it up with whatever I need and tow it all across a hospital without ever having to break it down. The Petrol handle slips over the cart to hold it in place and I can set it up or break it down very quickly. If you'd like more details or instructions, just comment below and I might be get around to creating an Instructable.




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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

QUICK TIP: Wiring Vehicles

I wire up a car a couple times a week for the show I'm currently on, now in our 32nd episode. I usually use a Lectro tweaker to pull out the plastic interior and push the lav cable to hide the wire when mounting the lav cable wherever it may need to be. The other day I found an extra Lectro wire clip in my go-bag from an SMQV and used it to tuck in the wire.

It actually worked pretty well. It's nice and smooth to run along any fabric and curved to get it in the right spot. It's perhaps a little unnecessary, but hey, I'm one to try anything for the sake of a possible improvement. It's just another tool for the toolbox.


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Boom Traveler

I typically carry my boom pole(s) in my Pelican 1650 case for my multi-track shoots. Most of the poles I use for reality work fit quite nicely and I don't need another bag or case. However, I use this fishing rod case I found at Cabella's for when I need to travel them separately. It extends quite a ways, so you could really fit a three in there if you needed to. I gave up on using zip ties to keep the lid tied down because TSA would eventually cut them off when I wasn't available or able to supervise their mischief.

I grabbed one of these little metal beaded chain links (pictured below) that are found on most ceiling fans. For those that didn't grow up with ceiling fans, it is a device that cools people effectively by introducing slow movement into the otherwise still, hot air of a room. This particular chain came from a tag on a new Petrol bag that I still had sitting around for no reason at all. K-Tek has an elegant solution, as do a few other manufacturers. Until I travel with several boom poles in a separate case, I'm sticking with this. Cheap and effective.



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Sunday, February 9, 2014

6 Ways To Screw Sound Editors

There's a great article going around by Christian Bell over at Raindance.org from a while ago about the tribulations of a sound editor. He goes to great length to give some very valuable information for directors (and many other departments) to enhance the quality of their project. Take my advice...take his advice. This is a must-read for all filmmakers.

You know what marks a film out as amateur more than anything else? Shoddy, shoddy location sound.

I fully understand and have been guilty of this. For a director sound is a difficult thing to get excited about. Every year the industry announces bigger and better cameras promising fantastic, breathtaking HD visuals.

Whilst advances in sound mean that it’s… slightly clearer? Maybe… if you really listen…

However from the moment I became an editor I have been forced to amend my ways. Now whenever I meet a director as they are about to embark on a shoot I drop to my knees and beg them to pour their resources into the sound. Usually to no avail.

Directors, these are the things that make me hate you.

1. Unclean Dialogue
My heart always sinks when I’m sat with a director, looking through rushes in the edit suite and I see something along the lines of the following:
Characters talking in front of traffic, running water, music, crowds and the list goes on.

You can just edit that stuff out right?

Umm. No.

But aren’t there filters? Ah yes. Filters. Sure, in some cases you may be able to clean it up a little but it still won’t sound good. Just a different ever so slightly lesser kind of terrible.

And don’t ever say, “We’ll just ADR it”. ADR, unless you have access to the right facilities or really know what you’re doing, should always be an absolute last resort. It’s not just about having the actor spout their lines in time with the picture. You need to get the right sound perspective, you need the right microphone and it needs to match the other elements that you’re not adr-ing. And who are you kidding? You’ll probably be too broke for that stuff anyway come postproduction.

2. Overlapping Sound Effects
Footsteps (high heels in particular) and any objects that your characters may be messing with throughout a scene cause endless headaches in the edit.

You might think that footsteps are ok. You’re going to need the footsteps there eventually anyway, right? So what’s the harm in leaving them in? The harm is, it reduces options. With everything you leave in, it reduces what you are able to do with the mix in post. Artfully applied sponges can be a quick fix here, or laying down a carpet depending where and what you’re shooting. If possible have your actors switch to a different, softer set of shoes for the close ups. If you’re inside it’s as simple as just having your actors remove their shoes.

This same rule applies to all other actions in a scene. If you’re character is doing something out of frame that makes noise, such as making tea, fiddling with a lock or typing on a computer then have them mime it. If I can’t see it, I don’t want to hear it.

On your typical Hollywood movie (and say what you will about them, they always sound awesome) all these sound effects will be added in post. Why? Because maybe you don’t want the door to make that particular kind of creak. Maybe you want the villain’s footsteps to have a more ominous quality. Every sound has a certain character or mood to it. Clever use of sound effects can open up a whole new dimension of creative possibilities and it’s something that new filmmakers often overlook.

3. No Atmos / Wild Tracks
The more your location sound sucks, the more I need this. And unfortunately the more your location sound sucks, the less likely it is that you recorded one.

Usually this results in me foraging around for the tiny bits of ambience I can lift from in between dialogue. Fun stuff.

What’s an atmos track you ask? Some people call it room tone. It’s a recording of the ambient sound (the Atmosphere) of the location. In editing it is used to patch up gaps in the sound or to hide any undesirable noise.

Read the rest of the article and the other 3 tips on Raindance.org


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ProuctionHACK: Headphone Hook

I've been searching for a good way to hang my headphones on my bags for quite a while now. My current setup is to the velcro straps from Petrol, but wearing gloves in the wintertime makes that a little more cumbersome than it should be. I've actually had these flexible rubber twist ties, GearTies by Nite Ize Innovation, sitting around for a while, but finally thought to use them for holding the headphones.

Check it out below. I bent it to create a long, flat hook and it holds surprisingly well. I've had them on for about a week and they haven't fallen off yet. You can find them on Amazon here or almost any local hardware store or other retail outlet. Make sure to get the 6-inch version and not the 3-inch version.

Loop the tie around the plastic D-ring once and let it ride

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Richard Sherman In Every Seat


So this is some pretty crazy stuff. The guys over at Action Audio Apps have streamlined the ability for a fan in the stands at a <insert your favorite sport> game/match can hear live conversations and reactions of the players and coaches. If it's anything like I've heard on the sidelines, listening to this content will be way better than the game itself. I'm curious how the performance is with all the bandwidth being consumed at the same time, but I suppose it could work under the right conditions. Below is the press release (read fluff piece for PWS).

(Orlando, Florida--December 23, 2013) When Action Audio Apps helped put spectators on the field by enabling them to listen to the comments of the Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators players and coaches, Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) was on the sidelines providing frequency coordination for this game-changing experience.

The technology behind this new media application is a partnership between Q5X’s innovative player mics and transmitters, the only PlayerMic® solution approved by the NBA, and PWS’ expert RF coordination. The system was deployed at all Orlando Predators home games this season and was also used at this year's Arena Bowl.

The app from Action Audio not only allows users to dial into a particular player or coach but also offers several combined channels, such as the offense or defense channel. Typically four or five players from the offense and four or five players from the defense, along with the coaches and select referees, are mic'd for the games. The free app can be pre-installed or downloaded once the user arrives at the venue. Within a few simple clicks, fans can access the interactive app’s multi-channel keypad and select specific channels for continuous action. In addition, if a user is unable to attend the game, he or she can tune into the "locker," which offers replay clips from the previous week's game.

“Signal interference has the potential to be a huge disruption for our apps, so having the frequency coordination experience and expert knowledge of Jim Van Winkle and the PWS team is a huge asset to us,” says Sebastian Failla, Action Audio Apps president. “As we see and envision our company growing into different sports and leagues and arenas around the country, it’s nice to have partners like PWS and Q5X working with us.”

At the heart of the system is Q5X's QT-5000 RemoteMic. The QT-5000 is a rubberized, flexible, water and sweat resistant body pack that will not injure the wearer even if the player falls on it or takes a direct hit. The QT-5000 RemoteMic is part of the Remote Control Audio System (RCAS), a revolutionary way to control transmitter settings. All aspects of transmitter operation (audio level, change the frequency, etc.) can be remotely monitored and controlled from a computer interface, which allows the transmitter to be adjusted remotely without the need to contact the player. This is a stand-out feature for Action Audio Apps since once the game starts, the company typically does not have access to the players to make adjustments.

With a lot more radio devices in use these days, congestion and competition for the RF spectrum is at an all-time high, and PWS has frequency coordination down to an art form, so we always enjoy working with them,” says Q5X CEO, Paul Johnson. “PWS is really unparalleled in its ability to manage wireless frequencies and keep everything running without interference.”

via CreativeCow Press Release

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Box.com FREE 50GB UPGRADE Promotion

I found this pretty sweet deal a couple days ago and just got around to trying it out. Box lets you store all of your content online, so you can access, manage and share it from anywhere. Out of all the cloud-based storage solutions, Box currently has the highest storage allotment for free profiles at a solid 10GB, with referrals and offers to obtain more space. From January 15th to February 15th, 2014, they are offering an upgrade to 50GB of storage space for free. The coolest part is there is only one catch; you must download and login to their iPhone or iPad app. Seriously, that's it. Not one extra step is required. Considering I have to clean out my Dropbox (I'm currently at 7.8GB) every few months to make way for some random pictures to share, this should prove to be more than enough for most personal projects.

The app itself is pretty slick. There are a lot more options than Dropbox, such as the ability to create, edit and share documents all directly within Box. It is obviously targeted more towards the document and office job crowd. That's ok for those guys, but the biggest drawback of this free version is the file size limit. Media-industry users like ourselves will balk at the 250MB file size limit of Box. It's virtually useless for the transfer of large audio and video files. However, it's great to backup all those production stills of you boarding a plane or standing on the sidelines at a football game. The only file size restrictions that Dropbox has is the size of your storage plan.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Smartest Smart Slate: 9V battery conversion

If you have a ton of spare
9V batteries and not enough AAs to go around like me, just replace the 6 AA batteries with a single 9V. It actually is pretty simple and works like a charm. Instead of fabricating a block of wood the specs of a 9V, I used a 1/2" oak dowel from a Christmas present project to make up the rest of space. It works like a charm and much easier to change out. The total length is 16mm, so cut your dowel to fit the rest. The result is a lighter slate that is power friendly for those using iPower rechargeable batteries. I haven't tested any runtimes, but I suspect it'll be much shorter. I'll report back with an update.
16mm long and a lot lighter


Small enough to fit in the battery compartment

1/2" Oak Dowel found at any hardware store 
Yup, that's a 9V!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mileage Rates Plunge

Copyright All rights reserved by simone delgado
Copyright All rights reserved by simone delgado
After a few years of having the IRS steadily raising the mileage rates all the way up to what was 56.5 cents per mile in 2013, they're taking a step back to just 56 cents per mile for business use. So be sure not to overcharge this year or you may busted like these Tea Partiers (I assume). As my wife/accountant pointed out, it's your ass that will taxed more on miscellaneous income by not being able to deduct it. Obviously, check with your accountant as there are different ways you can deduct and charge your mileage. You can find the official document directly from the IRS.

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