This Will Save Your Video Shoot!

This is going to hurt me more than it'll hurt you: clean, usable audio is as important as a great image.

I know... I know... that was rough. We all know that the audio department takes a little "guff" on set; and, justifiably so. I mean, those guys and gals are usually the best looking, smartest, and coolest on set; how can the camera department not get jealous? Well, I say, let's let egos and tempers cool, and discuss a vitally important subject that needs to be addressed. Recording audio into the mixer along with the camera is the smartest and best way to ensure a successful video shoot.

Ever since The Jazz Singer went and messed everything up for us, people are just gaga for "talkies". Now, there have been some brave and stalwart warriors who have tried vigorously to get audiences to let go of their desire to have audio and dialogue, but it's been in vain. This said, we must live with this nuisance and trudge on, begrudgingly or not, and give the people what they want.

The best tools to do that with, especially with the video productions we find ourselves part of in Long Beach and Las Vegas, are the Sound Devices 664 and 633. These recorders are compact, lightweight, and functional! The 664 offers six XLR inputs and six additional mini-XLR inputs, for an astounding twelve isolated tracks, left and right mix tracks, and two additional output tracks to send to the second camera, or your grandma, or whoever. The 633 meanwhile has half of that, with three XLR inputs, three mini-XLR inputs, left/right mix and two additional outs to donate to charity. The great thing about these mixers is the ability to control and direct which audio sources you send to which tracks, and then what you do with those tracks. If your camera operator is a "DP" (last I checked, a DP doesn't operate a camera, they're too busy lighting the scene) and they don't care to watch audio levels in their cameras, you can be sure to have a perfectly mixed isolated track to hand over to post. While the "DP" will swear it's not their job to do their job, and they totally mess something up, giving your in-camera mix a crunchy or hollow sound, you know that you did yours and delivered excellent iso tracks.

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FiveSix Productions Hits the Hardwood

It's that time of year again, when the NBA (that baseball player, Michael Jordan, played with this group for a while) gets together in Las Vegas to have their summer league. Yes, all the youngsters, fresh out of college or foreign countries, converge upon Sin City to try to throw a ball through a netted hoop. It's during this event that some of them will earn invitations to 'the cool kids' table', and they get to repeat this activity for months on end throughout the winter and spring. Anyhoo, we took to the festivities and charades, and sent a small tribe of camera and audio folks to the Mandarin Oriental to do some television makin'. Seven cameras, a dana dolly, a slew of microphones, and many a soft, diffused light made for grand times as we captured two, yes, two hour-long episodes of basketball television bliss. It was a long day, but that's just what we love; half-days are half a day to short in our opinion. Until next time, may your dunks break backboards, and may your dribbles never be double.


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FiveSix Listens to Movie Stars

Recently, FiveSix Productions had the opportunity to work with our neighbors to the north again, this time, on a fun project at Omnia, inside Caesars Palace. We lent our audio mixing skills to some television folks from upstairs, who were looking to interview some movie stars. We mixed and mingled, and did our best to not look star-struck, as the likes of Susan Sarandon, Nate Parker and Aja Naomi King from the upcoming "The Birth of a Nation", Keanu Reeves, Dave Franco, and others mingled with us common folk. One of our favorite interviews was with director Roland Emmerich and Jeff Goldblum, who enthusiastically spoke of their new film "Independence Day: Resurgence" and spoke in French of Liam Hemsworth and his dashing-good looks.
After a few liners outside by the famous Caesars Palace fountains, we were all wrapped up, and ready to go send our tweets and texts bragging of our company that evening. Until next time, ciao... oh, and have your people call my people, we'll do lunch.