Working on a promotional video for Devils River new coffee infused whiskey.
So, I made a "client testimonial" video for myself to pair along side my "reel video". I don't know if it will be effective, but I moved to a new town and I'm trying to establish new clients, so I'm trying some different marketing strategies. Plus I figured I've helped make tons of these types of videos for all kinds of companies, and if I work in an industry that believes in the value of that type of marketing, why wouldn't there be value in making one for myself? Plus, it was a valuable experience doing all this myself - lighting, camera, sound, conducting the interviews, and editing. Obviously it's not perfect, but it was a good exercise. (Two Canon 5D mkii cameras for those who are curious about what I shot it on.) A million "Thank you!"s to the people who participated and agreed to appear in the video.
I've finally got my 5.1 surround sound studio up and running again since our move. I've recently started doing some editing and post production work in here. Very excited about how things are turning out!
In the past when I got calls in the car, I'd have to take the phone out of it's holder and hold it to my head if I wanted any kind of clarity. I didn't like fiddling with this, so I recently purchased some adapters that allow me to hear phone calls out of my car speakers and talk to the person on the line with an external microphone. Not satisfied with most of the external car microphone offerings available, I purchased the recently released Rode Videomic ME, which is a sort of "boom" microphone for your phone, and used some adapters and extension cables to mount it in my car. It even has a "dead-cat" for wind protection, and the option to add a second microphone for a passenger!
Creating educational material that is also entertaining makes for a more enjoyable experience and better learning retention. A few years ago I had the pleasure to work on an industrial video on business ethics for the American Association of Professional Landmen. (They oversee the purchasing and leasing land for the purpose of drilling for oil and other energy sources.) It was one of the most cinematic and well acted videos I've had the pleasure to work on. We just wrapped on another ethics video for the AAPL, and I hope it turns out as good as the last one did!
The studio computer got a couple much needed upgrades today. I replaced the comically large rack mountable server case I had installed it in with a (still large, but) more reasonably sized more traditional tower case. ALSO upgraded were the system fans in the case. At times when the CPU was under particular strain, you would not be blamed for mistaking the sound of this PC with a leaf blower. Now, with the ultra quiet Noctua fans installed, it's almost quiet enough for you to wonder if it's actually running! The colors Noctua chose for this series of fans, tan and brown, are definitely... distinct. I'm sure they would look amazing in a custom PC built with wood panelling. Fortunately, I'm more concerned with performance than looks (and there aren't many LEDs inside my computer case), so it doesn't bother me.
This is the before:
And this is the after:
I've been traveling more often recently, plus I've had a lot of gigs that only require up to 3 tracks. So, I decided I could use a recorder that was smaller and lighter than my 8 track Sound Devices 788T. I purchased a Sound Devices MixPre-3, an Orca OR-27 bag, and an additional Tentacle Sync-E timecode box. The result is a much smaller and light weight recording rig that has industry leading Sound Devices quality sound with timecode capability that will run for a REALLY long time on a single NP-1 battery. The only down side I've found so far is that the recorder doesn't have a secondary drive for backup recording. It's not perfect for everything, but it's more than adequate for a lot of things.
As a freelance Production Sound Mixer, one of my keys to success is arriving early to every call time. The picture above demonstrates one example of why this is a good idea. On the way to a shoot I accidentally drove over a discarded key chain in the road which punctured my tire. Fortunately I had some extra time and changing to a spare tire only cost me about 15 minutes and didn't slow the shoot down at all. (And thankfully the repair shop I took it to the next day only charged me about $15 for the patch!)
I was booked on a shoot recently where there would be a group of people having a discussion. The producer wasn't sure exactly how many people, but assured me they would only need 3 wireless lavs for key speakers. This set off some red flags for me, so I brought some extra mics just in case...
The shoot turned out to be an unscripted round table discussion with the conversation being distributed pretty evenly among up to EIGHT people! For the best sound, this ideally would have been a situation where each person wore their own mic... but I didn't have that. I had 4 wireless lavs and 3 booms. With the gear that I brought, I hid a lav mic between each pair of people at the table, and hung three booms overhead. This gave the editor plenty of sources to pull from to get the best sound we could and it turned out pretty good!
What a great experience working as the primary Production Sound Mixer on a Food Network reality show! We had such a wonderful crew and got to work with incredibly talented bakers all over DFW. (... and we ate SO much cake!!)
Check out Dallas Cakes here!
Dave Burt is a career audio engineer and is currently working as a freelance Production Sound Mixer.