Recently on a production I was asked to wear a coms headset. My favorite headphones are quite large and I rest the boom pole on the top of my head very often while recording and having a second headset on would make that quite uncomfortable and difficult. Using only what production equipment was on hand that day, I came up with this solution:
Obviously there are better ways to do this, but when you're in a pinch and it has to happen, you do the best you can with what you have.
My RME Fireface 800 audio interface died! One day it's fine, the next... no lights... no sound... nuthin... Fortunately, this problem is fairly well documented on ye ol internetz. (This video on the topic is pretty great.) Apparently the electrolytic capacitors in the power supply dry out over time (as they do in most electronics).
One option is to find the offending cap and replace it, but since it's not too expensive, I went for a full recap of ALL the electrolytics on the power supply. I found a useful forum post that detailed the specifications of the caps needed to do a full recap. They recommended using low ESR caps. I had a really hard time finding low ESR caps, but I'm 100% positive all the caps I used are better than the no-name stock ones that the manufacturer put in it. Here's a list of the caps (and quantities of each) I used in case you're doing this repair too!
Once all the new caps were in power was restored and peace and justice returned to the universe! Who knows, with better capacitors than it's power supply had when it was new, maybe it will even sound a smidge better too. Below you can see it happily reunited with it's tribe of misfit gear; the Furman that I put a new front power socket in, the Symetrix 528E who's input I repaired, and the PC cobbled together from parts, and even the power cable that nobody wanted because of a scratch in the middle of it that I turned into two good power cables.
If you're a student at a music or film production school and they make you take an electronics maintenance class, pay attention! You can do some neat stuff with that information and it's not quite as hard as it looks at first.
I recently flew out to LA for a shoot and I've been getting better at travelling with gear. This time, instead of paying an extra fee to check an over sized Pelican case on the plane, I minimized the equipment I was bringing and carried on my suitcase and my sound bag as my allowed "one personal item". My boom pole actually collapsed JUST short enough to fit inside the suitcase diagonally. My Orca OR40 audio bag fit nicely under the seat in front of me. I brought a regular shoulder strap for carrying it around the airport since I thought it would be less cumbersome and draw less attention than my body harness. (Still packed the harness in the suitcase.) As expected, the TSA checked my bags out thoroughly both ways, but at least this time everything was checked right there in front of me where they could ask me questions if they needed to and I was able to repack everything myself.
I made a Black Friday purchase from B&H and am now the proud owner of an Orca OR-41 audio bag and an OR-40 harness. Hopefully the OR-41's aluminum frame will protect my gear and the OR-40 will protect my back!
Normally jack hammers and vacuum cleaners are the bane of a sound mixer's existence and we do everything we can to avoid them. This has been a strange but exciting week for me deliberately recording the sounds of power tools for Hilti.