Dallas, Texas Location Sound Mixer with over 25 years experience mixing every kind of location sound, all over the world. Complete equipment packages configured to the needs of your production.
Pete has extensive experience with commercial, episodic, documentary and multi-camera reality production. 14 wireless microphones, wireless hops to multiple cameras, Bag or Cart configurations, 20 IFB/wireless monitor headsets. 3 Denecke Time Code Slates.
Fast on my feet and willingly adapt to whatever the situation presents. Extensively travelled nationally and worldwide. Happy to work in unfamiliar territory and unusual situations. Meticulously maintained equipment packages, configured to your production's needs. Equipment by Lectrosonics, Zaxcom, Sound Devices, Fusion,Tentacle,Sennheiser, Schoeps, Sanken, Comtek. Sound for all camera formats, double system, DSLR, (Canon 5D or 7D, D60 ), Canon C300, Alexa, RED, Sony F3, F900, P2, DVC Pro, XD Cam, Alexa, etc. A Texas sound guy for every type of production. Verrando is Italian for "fast".
The Canon 5D and other similar capture devices, like the Black Magic cameras or the Atomos Ninja Blade recorder continue to show up on many shoots, and they've shown up in quantity, sometimes with 4 or 5 cameras on the job. I typically send high quality wireless audio links to these cameras, and can send audio to several of them at once, with different tracks going to each. My wireless receivers are compact, lightweight, and can ride on the hot shoe of the camera. However, regardless of the robust audio I can deliver directly to the DLSR, Double System Sound is a must for DSLR audio work.
As many production companies are now discovering (thru bad experiences), it is essential that 5D, 7D and D60 shoots record double system sound. That is, the sound should be recorded to a separate, high quality audio recorder, and never to the camera only. Even with the advent of the 5D Mark III, with added audio features, double system sound is a must. Here's just a few reasons why:
1. The mini audio input jack on these cameras are prone to developing problems. Dirt ingress and torquing from the mini plug can cause it to fault without warning. The input jack is held in place only by solder junctions on the circuit board. Just a few spots of tin and lead!
The audio inputs on DSLRs only accept mic level audio, at a very specific level for optimum signal-to-noise ratio. If the inputs are not set exactly right, the resulting audio will be to low-level and noisy, or too hot.
2.Unlike professional video cameras, the sound man cannot check the DSLR for audio confidence during a shot. Only before, or after. If you are missing audio, you'll only know after the action's over!
3.Especially in documentary situations, camera operators are prone to inadvertently pulling the mini-plugs off the DSLR in mid-shot. There's no "click" or screw connection to keep them in.
4.Audio interfaces such as the Juiced-Link, were rushed into production, and are very poorly designed. The silkscreen switch label quickly wears off, leaving you wondering which switch does what. The metering, 3 or 4 LEDs, is difficult to set correctly. The knobs on these devices are prone to being unknowingly nudged by the camera operator, screwing up the settings mid-shot.
Using a separate recorder such as my Deva Fusion 10-track allows you to isolate all those talent wireless on to their own separate tracks, with superior audio quality. It also allows the use of time code and metadata to identify takes, and create sound reports. The wireless audio links I use add extra power to auto-sync software such as PluralEyes. With this software, audio can be automatically sync'd-up with the picture files. However, a reasonably robust audio track must be sent directly to the DLSR that matches the production audio. The DSLR internal camera mic can serve this purpose, but only if it is in "earshot" of the action you're recording. Enter the wireless links!
-By Pete Verrando
TeleNovela- Gold Standard For Bad Sound
Ever watch a "TeleNovela?" They're roughly equivalent to the American Soap Opera, typically produced in South America. Television networks spend a lot of money on these programs worldwide. The actors are pros, lots of expensive wardrobe, there's multiple cameras. Also a full lighting complement. And, somebody is working hard on all those script pages. Sound-wise, they are typically placing wireless lavs on the actors, and there's usually a boom in there somewhere too. But many scenes are often sabotaged by bad, cavernous production sound. (They are lit pretty poorly, too. But that's for someone else's blog.)
Watching a Telenovela is actually a great learning experience for those concerned with good location sound. You'll hear extended stretches of dialogue with all kinds of unrepaired sound issues. You'll hear how bad sound can really kill an otherwise acceptable narrative.
It may be these shows have no time and no budget for post sound sweetening. I've worked for many industrial/corporate clients, who also can't afford a lot of time in post sound. So the bar is raised for location sound to be clean and ready to edit, without a lot of sweetening required. How do we "dial-in" that intimate, quiet, yet punchy dialogue sound that we hear on the big budget narratives?
One sound thing the Telenovelas are fighting: Whatever warehouse where the sets are staged. The set walls are hard and thin, the floors are often temporary veneer. So every set sounds like a ballpark restroom. A good sound team will have the tools to treat these rooms for a more intimate sound.
Sound guys who've never done anything but reality TV- they won't have these tools. They're typically unaware there's even a problem!
In the Reality world, recording fat levels is pretty much the only objective.
Anyway, I digress. If the set is somewhat permanent, we should come in and treat the out-of-shot surfaces with Duvateen or furniture pads to break-up reflections. On the day, even temporary locations can be treated pretty quickly.
Another obvious tool is carpet. Those set decorators need to lay down the carpet ASAP. For bare floor surfaces, a good sound mixer will have an inventory of portable, non-slip runners that can eliminate footstep noise that is the trademark of the Telenovela. All those spike heels create a lot of clatter. Runners can be quickly laid for two-shots and close ups.
Another trademark of these shows is jewelry noise, and prop handling clatter. Used properly, clear toupee tape can do wonders to isolate a noisy bracelet banging on a table. Many of these scenes are shot in one take, so the sound team needs to identify the noisy stuff before the shot happens. Adhesive foam or moleskin can be used on the underside of dishware. Actors can also be directed how to quietly handle noisy props, like papers and chip bags. There are all sorts of treatment tricks for noisy props, and we know 'em.
Good sound is a subtractive effort. Every extraneous noise that can be removed, should be removed.
by Pete Verrando
#setlife #productionlife- Not That Cool...
Well, I speak for myself, but production can be the most utterly tedious process imaginable. The hours can be pretty extreme. Within a 12 hour day, one may actually “work” less than half the time, the rest of the time spent waiting to work. Other days are techno-slams. So, as mastery in one's craft is acheived, a crewperson's mind often switches away from the actual craft. More interesting are the social dynamics of a traveling band of heroes and misfits.
Of course, these days, crews spend less time being social and more time tapping smartphones. It is often a fireman’s job, going from boring, rudimentary tasks, to suddenly faced with baffling problems involving things like sweaty people, jewelry, paper bags, radio propagation, flaming egos, dirt, animal shit or microelectronics. All while the “grownups” breathe down your neck as you solve them, asking repeatedly for ETA's.
Set-life can be very much like junior high school- rampant insecurity, arrogance, hierarchal selection, misplaced wealth or privilege, ego, mind games. #setlife is a major dedication to Looking Good, Being Right, and Staying In Control. The entertainment industry divorce rate is among the highest of any profession. Many voluntarily leave the film business. Stay too long, and the film business leaves you.
What did Hunter S Thompson say about the TV business? If you don't know, its worth a google.
The above being said, as a Texas-based mixer without anywhere near the credentials of those Hollywood sound giants, I do love the job. I embrace the insanity, every day is like visiting a circus/asylum, and I get to go home to my family at the end of most days. But don't let those facebook hashtags fool ya!