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Rob Gordon

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About Rob Gordon

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    Raleigh, NC
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    Motorcycling, Acoustic Guitar, Travel, Food, Scotch, Cigars...

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  1. I did the sound editing and mixing for a short last year, where we knew the location sound wouldn't work because the great old house the director chose for the set had horrible acoustics and a noisy industrial air-conditioning unit across the street going on and off and loud traffic constantly going by and a dog that wouldn't stop barking... But the director had his heart set on this house (or at least his wallet). We wired up all the actors to get a decent guide track and then did ADR for every line in post. I'm a dedicated sound guy, but It was my first ADR experience and I thoroughly read John Purcell's excellent tome: "Dialogue Editing For Motion Pictures" and then dove in. I have the stats burned into my brain for life: 5 characters, 160 lines total — took nine three-hour ADR sessions to record (the director was a perfectionist - Hi Mike!). Then I spent around a hundred hours doing ADR editing, working on getting the best lip sync possible. It was quite a task and also quite a good learning experience for me. I have incredible respect for the guys who do this full-time for feature-length films under tight deadlines. While diligent audiophiles watching closely probably would have noticed, most people who watched the finished reels were astounded to learn that all of the lines were ADR'ed. It is possible to do and do well, but you have to be willing to invest the time and resources (in particular a good sound guy) :rolleyes:
  2. I use an R4Pro and it is an excellent field recorder. I'm sorry but I'm not really familiar with the Fostex. Here are my observations (pros and cons) on the Edirol: SMPTE Timecode in/out - can feed a camera capable of recording sound or be fed by a digital slate. Very flexible frame rate settings. I have on a few occasions connected the R4Pro to my backup recorder(Tascam HD-P2) via BNC cable for six sync tracks. Useful front panel controls for setting trim and riding gain levels in real time. Digital in/out XLR connectors - you can use this with a digital mixer without going through the DA convertors. It has one of those little slots to attach a cable lock (like for a laptop computer) so when you take a break in shooting, you can leave it locked to something and not worry too much about it disappearing. It has a simple built-in waveform editor and effects processor. This is very useful for ENG-style editing in the field - when you have such a tight deadline you don't have time to bring back and edit in a DAW. You can edit and process and then dump your files to a USB stick and then hand it to the producer in the field. Reasonably quiet mic preamps (some have their recorders customized via Oade Brothers) - I didn't feel the need to have them worked on for dialogue recording (as opposed to music recording). The stock preamps seem decent enough. 80 gigabyte hard drive built in. For a typical multi-microphone shoot at 24bit x 48kHz this thing can record two long days of shooting in the field without uploading. And you can save your audio files in then field to a USB memory stick. Hope this helps a little. Can only record to 48khz when recording more than two channels. But you can record stereo up to 192kHz. Always want to record at least two tracks even with just a boom (one safety track with limiter on and gain set lower). I've only used it for recording music (live band with a feed from their house mixer) with decent results. Tech support: very good. I actually got to communicate with an engineer type person right here in the states - for free! He was very helpful regarding some questions/problems I was having and even looked over and tested out the machine without charging me (turns out I had the wrong setting). I do wish it had a QWERTY keyboard input for data entry like my Tascam. The method of pressing buttons and spinning the scrub wheel is a bit clumsy for naming takes and changing settings, etc.
  3. I did get the AT 4053b and it is quite a bit more appropriate for indoor use. I only use the sound blankets when the reflections are really bad. I have a dozen eight-pound blankets and eight stands, so I can cover quite a bit of wall and floor. But as a previous poster suggested, it does slow the setup time down for shots, so I only use blankets mainly for covering vents, windows with noise outside, and other trouble hotspots. An old Tibetan sage once said that you cannot cover the earth with soft leather, but you can cover your feet. Does that make sense?
  4. I'm about to acquire an AT4053b. Yeah, I know the Schoeps, the Senn... - but I'm on a tight budget and have already spent my lunch money for the next five years on gear. I'll let you know how it works on the next lively set. Thanks for all the advice. - Rob
  5. How about the Sanken CS-1? Anyone used it for indoor booming?
  6. I use regular furniture blankets on Cowboy stands (with horizontal poles and C clamps). "Real" sound blankets cost about five times as much as an eight-pound furniture blanket and I find that if I double the furniture blankets up, they work just as well. I even use them in my home studio to make a little ADR/VO booth in a corner. I think the main problem I've been having is that I didn't have enough blankets at either of those locations to really soak up the echoes. Next time I'll slather them on the wood floor and the plaster walls and maybe even on the ceiling if I can figure out how and the framing allows it. That and maybe I should look into a shorter supercardoid for those types of rooms where the AT897 is too long -- still seems to be "echoey". I've gotten recommendations for the Schoeps (over two grand though!) as well as for the Oktava MK-12. What about the more affordable K6 series Senn's? The ME-64 or the ME-65? Are either of these good candidates for booming in reverberant indoor locations?
  7. Any recommendation for a good indoor boom mic somewhere btween the AT897 and the Schoeps? What are your thoughts on Senns? How about the Sanken CS1? Is the AT897 a crappy mic? It got lots of positive customer reviews at B&H. I'm ordering more sound blankets for now. Rob
  8. Thanks for the tips. I'm going to try a test in a similar location with the levels backed off a little. The problem I was most concerned about was the slight buzz from the lighting ballasts (that's why I tried to stay right below clipping). But I can't very well ask the DP to unplug the lights because of the detrimental sound. In fact I generally split the boom into two tracks with one having the gain turned higher and the limiter on. Another problem was trying to constantly remind the new boom op (his first gig at that position - he usually is a grip!) to get in close and overhead and point at the mouth. He did a pretty decent job after some coaching considering it was his first time, but there were shots where I had to move my sound desk out of the line of sight and had to judge only by what was coming through the headphones if he was in the best spot at all times. I definitely have newfound respect for production mixers. In post, we can work on problems generally until they're fixed as much as possible. But on location, it all has to go bang bang in a (14-hour) day or two or three - with no mistakes. - Rob
  9. I wasn't allowed to edit my own message? Hmmmm... I wanted to add that after adding the sound blankets, there was some improvement, but still not great sound. Something else must have been missing.
  10. I mainly do dialog and sound effects editing and temp music spotting, but for the past two shoots my production company has asked me to do the production mixing. So after doing a ton of reading and practicing indoors and out with an R4Pro and a couple of different mics, I held my breath and agreed to do it. Maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist, but I still feel that despite the boom op getting as close as he could, and my setting the levels as high as possible without clipping, I still felt the sound was a bit too distant and reverberant. We were using decent quality mics (an Audio Technica AT897 with a windjammer for indoors and an AT4071A with a zeppelin and dead cat for outdoors). The director made a comment after reviewing the test shoot from the day before about it sounding a little like the actors were in a tunnel. I felt like crap, but I obtained a couple of sound blankets and hung them on C-stands and found a radio lav and a couple of wired Countryman B3's, I used as body and plant mics and went forward the next day. In fairness (I think) both locations were extremely reverberant (the back room of a coffee house with high ceilings and ducts overhead, and a living room in an old house with plaster walls and hardwood floors). But I had no choice in the locations, and excuses about reverberant locations don't fly with demanding directors. To you production mixers out there, would using lots more sound blankets hanging on the walls and covering the ceiling (if possible) and floor have helped make the sound more intimate? This would surely have increased the setup time needed between shots - but if it helps, I'd of course push for it. For several scenes we wired up the leading actress with a radio mic (she had some very soft lines, walked around the room while speaking, and we couldn't get the boom very close in due to the framing of the shot). How do the pros do it under tough situations? Is it mostly done with ADR unless it's an extreme closeup? Or is there something I could improve in my techniques for the next time I'm asked to do production mixing? I'd like to be in a position to do it again if needed and I'm pretty sure I have a lot to learn. Many thanks. - Rob
  11. Oh, and if per chance I decided to stay with Windows and maybe switch to Adobe Premiere or Avid Media Composer, I'd probably go for a Dell M6400 Covet. Pricey - but desktop performance in a laptop for sure.
  12. I have a 1TB Maxtor USB drive set to automatically back up my entire laptop disk every night. I also make copies of all my projects (including all video and sound files) to a Western Digital Passport portable drive - not to mention copying key work-in-progress files onto a USB flash drive I keep on a keychain in my pocket, so even if I don't have my laptop with me, if someone else has one, I can play stuff for them. I'm covered pretty well in this respect. If I get a desktop machine, I'll probably go with a RAID5 array. Once burned, twice shy!
  13. I did consider getting the fastest Mac Pro with dual quad cores and 16gb memory, etc. But I sometimes find myself bringing my laptop to meetings at coffee houses to do rough cuts on the spot with the director and producer. Thus, I'd really prefer to have a portable computer. I have no aversion to giving up Vegas and SoundForge and am very much looking forward to using FCP and Soundtrack Pro. Vegas is not a bad editing tool - I'm not bashing it. But my associates who use FCP tell me it's better - and has become the industry standard (for non-Hollywood feature productions) and it's not all just elitist hype. I figure it is a skill I need to have. And since my current aged laptop is not cutting it (pun intended) anymore, I've decided to make the transition to the Mac/FCP world. I'm tired of having to render and wait ten minutes (or more) to see if a picture cut matches a sound cut. I've mainly been doing short instructional videos and documentaries, but am starting to work on narrative pieces for some locals and don't want to struggle with the lack of horsepower I currently have. My primary specialty has been doing the soundtracks for picture locks someone else does, but I have started doing more and more picture editing lately. From the promotional info I've read, FCP has splendid tools for dialog editing and excellent plug in support. I basically don't want to find at some point that the fastest Macbook Pro sags under the weight of feature-length work with lots of sound tracks and lots of effects and proceesors. Believe me - if I was a rich man I'd get both a Macbook and a fully-configured Macdesktop. But alas, I'm living in the real world - with rent and car payments and other expenses staring me down. :huh: One other question - while I'm making the transition, how much would I be able to move back and forth between Vegas and FCP until I'm fully comfortable with the new environment? Oh - I lied - one more question. I now have an iPhone and have transferred several short videos over to it so I can show scenes over lunch without schlepping the laptop. I've tried 1mbps Quicktime and MPEG-4 and the Qucktime movies freeze every few seconds and then start again - totally out of sync, while the MPEG-4 shows horrible motion artifacts. So what's the best format to put videos onto your iPhone? Cheers - Rob
  14. I'm thinking seriously of replacing my Windows laptop and Vegas with a MacBook Pro and FCP. Realistically, is the Macbook Pro with the 3.06 GHhz Core Two duo and 8gb of memory enough to run FCP with a dozen or more audio tracks and assorted special effects, etc. (Vegas on my HP/Vista Laptop with an AMD Turion X2 and 3gb memory chokes on it).
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