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I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.

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Donell Hall
I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 5, 2012 at 5:05:19 am

Hello friends, I am going to be quick and to the point. Firstly this was completely my fault, as the audio guy its my responsibility for the final output of the audio no matter what happens.

I did a gig the other day and in which I thought everything was going well. Sound was good, recorder was good, like all of us I have a habit of checking things dozens of times and all was good.

I then happen to walk by the camera (this is a XDCam the op is a fantastic op with many years of experience) and noticed the volume bars were moving. I found this to be odd since my mixer was powered off at the time. Upon closer look I noticed that the camera was set to use front on board mic instead of the back XLR inputs I was plugged into. Many curse words were said. I can not believe that both of us missed that for a entire day. The only thing I do not get is the fact that I sent tone several times throughout the day, do not really get how he set his levels to match the tone without noticing but that is beside the point. The only good news is there is a couple more days of this shoot so I can "redeem" myself a little.

Sorry, there is no real point to this topic other than to serve as yet another reminder to check EVERYTHING 2 or 3 times during a shoot.

On a side note, I hooked up the RET monitor for the producer to listen so I could not monitor from my mixer. The producer never put on the headphones.


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Alain Koffi Sessi
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 5, 2012 at 5:45:13 am

Hi Donnell,

Thank you for sharing this. A wise engineer once told me that one can never be too careful whether in the studio or on set as we are always a knob away from disaster.

Alain Koffi Sessi
Sound Designer


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Peter Groom
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 5, 2012 at 12:13:12 pm

Tough lessons
Id have wanted
1) the camera man wearing cans all day.
2) a return feed off the camera to cans by me, so i could hear what the camera was recording, and i would have wanted to hear my tone back from the camera on this.
3) A safety back up recording at my mixing position as Ill presume that someone will let you down if at all possible

peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Donell Hall
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 5, 2012 at 12:36:20 pm

Yeah, its an extremely tough thing because of how simple the solution is. Although I would never shift blame and again I am ultimately at fault no matter what, I do have to ask.

On most shoot I do not notice the camera, hell I rarely even plug in the tails I usually set them next to the camera and tell the op to plug them in. Its your camera I dont want to be responsible for any settings to get switch. How did you set levels to tone without noticing you were not getting tone? Its a mystery to me. But again its not really his problem its mine.

Just a really tough thing to happen. When things go wrong like that it messes with my psyche for a long time. I wont be able to sleep for the next 3 days until the gig wraps and probably a couple weeks after awaiting the fallout.


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Peter Groom
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 5, 2012 at 3:49:44 pm

You mention about tones!!

Ive come across many cameras (XDcam/ Digi Bets etc etc) that have an internal menu setting, whereby when the cameraman selects BARS (quite usual for line up part of the process) the camera will generate its own INTERNAL tones, not look at your input tines.
Might that account why the cameraman may well have lined up tones (that the thought were yours) to the meters correctly, but then when he switches back to camera mode he records front mics???

possible??

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Donell Hall
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 5, 2012 at 5:56:19 pm

You know that makes sense, although later that week I found out that most of the personal there thought I was recording completely independent from the camera so he probably thought he didnt have to worry about it. Although its still odd since I plugged in tails straight to the camera.

It is what it is, a screw up by me.


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Joel Servetz
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 5, 2012 at 6:40:27 pm

Having been at both ends at various times, and more times than I care to remember, it's always a team effort. Every link in the chain is mutually responsible for cross-checking and finding/fixing errors. More recently for the past several jobs I've been at the camera end, and frankly I lay more blame at that end for the job you described because he was responsible for being sure that he was receiving and recording the right audio. If I'm at the camera, I can't blame you if I didn't set my camera's audio input to the right source, that would be my error. Note to camera op: if you hear sound through your headphones from nearby people or objects, you're recording the wrong audio.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com
http://www.rgbmediaservices.com


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Ty Ford
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 3:45:00 am

Hello Donnell and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Giving your only means of verifying what was going to the camera was your mistake. If the producer was not using the phones, no one was driving the bus and it ran off the road. If you want to provide monitoring for anyone in the future, get a headphone distribution amp.

I am truly sorry for your pain.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


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Peter Groom
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 11:27:25 am

Whats the lesson from all this?

I always presume that everybody else will cock it up, so when they do, Ive my own solution ready.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 11:43:35 am

HNY Peter,

What would be your solution here?

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


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Peter Groom
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 1:31:48 pm

Hi Ty
As in my 1st post in this thread. Had i been there Id have insisted

1) the camera man wearing cans all day.
2) a return feed off the camera to cans by me, so i could hear what the camera was recording, and i would have wanted to hear my tone back from the camera on this.
3) A safety back up recording at my mixing position as Ill presume that someone will let you down if at all possible.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Donell Hall
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 3:03:49 pm

Hey, quick question, I didnt mention this before but they didnt order a digital recording system. Do you normally bring that to all gigs? I am only asking because that is the difference between a 302 and a 552. I normally dont bring that type of gear unless its asked for. I have done that gig a couple times and its always just been a basic package.


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Ty Ford
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:29:24 pm

Donnell,

a recorder costs extra and is not part of the basic package. I have charged as much as $350/day for my Sound Devices 744T.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


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Donell Hall
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:35:10 pm

Maybe I confused my question.

I was asking because it was said to always have a back up near you just in case everyone else fails. Maybe I assumed by back up they meant a type of recorder like a 744T, but I think that would chance the package you are working with.

So to be more clear, if someone is paying for a basic package what backup solution is there that doesnt change the package itself? I can rent a 744T and have back up for days but wouldnt do that unless a client was paying for it. But maybe that is wrong, maybe I should just throw in safety nets in that way.

Of course the real answer to all of this is to not screw up in the first place!!


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Ty Ford
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:45:31 pm

" if someone is paying for a basic package what backup solution is there that doesnt change the package itself?"

Only your agreement to do something extra for no pay.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


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Eric Toline
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 7, 2012 at 2:24:38 pm

A small pocket sized recorder like a Zoom or whatever connected to the aux outs of your mixer can be a life saver if your main feed goes down. Roll it on every take as insurance, if there no issue with the cam feed than you just reformat the card. For less than $250 it's the best investment you can make.

Eric


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Craig Alan
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 8, 2012 at 12:31:10 am

If the camera is the main, or in this case only, audio recording device, then it would seem to me the audio tech should be near the camera, not in the way but near, check the cam's meters as well as the mixer's and check the cam's headphone out either directly or through RTN.

It makes no sense to me how the cam and audio mixer could have been calibrated and yet the mixer output did not reach the cam unless something was switched after the fact.

I tell my students before every shoot that audio problems ruin more takes than the visual at all levels of production. I also tell them, and this might have helped in this case, to shoot some test footage and play it back listening to headphones out the cam. If a setting is wrong, you will be sure to catch it there. Levels on both meters can look perfect and the sound could still be awful. I even once had a shoot where the headphone out the cam sounded fine, the meters looked good, but the played back sound was off. I can't remember exactly what happened in this case but it involved some consumer level mix of mini-plugs and adapters. This won't apply to a pro set up, but still some test footage can never hurt and sometimes prevents a disaster. Tape based cams sometimes have an overstretched tape or dirty record heads – resulting in poor audio playback.

If I were working as an audio pro, I would have a 744T and always bring it as a back up or main audio recording device. If the production had a decent budget, I would charge for it. If the production did not, I would use it, and only offer the resulting recording if they complained about the cam's audio quality. At that point, you could step in, save the day, and charge a postproduction fee for your time.

Camera operators or one-man bands often talk about needing a big cam to look more pro – to impress clients. We live in times where a lot of clients expect more for less. The 302 at $1200 is a great piece of gear but also within reach of a lot of prosumers and even serious amateurs or in-house video crews at a variety of companies that shoot bare bones videos. A 744T and the know-how to sync the resulting recording in post is most likely something offered only by a very serious generalist or an audio pro.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Ty Ford
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 8, 2012 at 4:04:29 am

"It makes no sense to me how the cam and audio mixer could have been calibrated and yet the mixer output did not reach the cam unless something was switched after the fact. "

Camera operators have a nasty habit of breaking off to do B-roll, switching to the camera mic and not switching back when they return.

After proper calibration, camera operators have been known to handle the camera in ways that change the input level settings, throwing the camera out of calibration with the mixer.

If the sound mixer (person) does not monitor the return, it's easy to forget to reconnect the snake and the resultant air gap, means no audio makes it from the mixer to the camera.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


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Eric Toline
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 8, 2012 at 2:55:39 pm

One additional caveat. With more & more audio going to cameras via a wireless feed there is no practical way to get a camera return to check the audio in the camera. That makes a backup recorder almost mandatory.

Eric


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Mark Frazier
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 9, 2012 at 10:10:00 pm

As an XDCam shooter, two things I would throw in here:

The stereo shotgun mic always feeds channels 3 & 4, with inputs going into 1 & 2, so if I need nats as well as mics/mixer feed, I'm covered.

The camera op is responsible for what is being recorded in his camera. That is why you will always find a set of cans perched upon my noggin when the disc is spinning. (But since I'm also my own editor, I'm the one who's screwed if I "forget" to record something.)

I know you will double-check the feed next time, so no worries there.


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Reid Fiester
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 21, 2012 at 1:05:52 pm

Hmm.. I disagree with you that cam-op is responsible for what gets recorded. In my experience when the "caca" rolls down the hill and it is sound related the audio dept owns audio all the way into the camera.

Reid Fiester
Frederick, MD


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Ty Ford
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 21, 2012 at 2:36:20 pm

Reid,

Mark's point, from the perspective of someone who does everything himself, is that it's all on him.

That makes sense to me. He's the shooter, audio person and editor. While that's a rush, at some point you can't be all things all the time and your work will suffer. After hitting that wall, most folks learn that they need to make strategic alliances and allow them room to make contributions and decisions. Some folks can do this more easily than others.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


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Craig Alan
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 21, 2012 at 4:28:01 pm

This is a very interesting discussion. It's not just this industry that often is trying to do more with less.
I think in lean times camera operators become audio techs and editors. One-man bands are being employed more and more.

The up side to the limitations this produces (pun intended) is that everyone is better off for knowing every one else's job. The cam operator who has been responsible for audio will most likely work better with an audio tech when they are provided with that luxury. And from the client’s pov, since all members of team are educated in each other's craft, no one will be allowed to get away with lazy work just because they are indispensable.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Ty Ford
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Jan 21, 2012 at 6:03:45 pm

Craig,

I shoot, light, edit....and do audio. You're the preacher, I'm the choir. My point is that a human being has only limited resources and you can't pay attention to everything all the time. When you try, you eventually hit the wall.

I have shooter/editors who hire me not only for sound, but for my eye and ability to come up with quick solutions when the shot doesn't work and we move their stuff as well as mine to the next setup. And also because I know how to talk to clients.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


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Andrew Lewis
Re: I cant believe this just happened. Entire days work for nothing, Remember kids details.
on Feb 9, 2012 at 5:58:35 am

I feel your pain...

Thanks for sharing


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