20 June 2008

Suspension Of Disbelief

The New Rycote Lyre Suspension

You know, when I sat down to write this, I was wracking my brain for any sort of dramatic revelations, interesting caveats, something out of the ordinary about the new Lyre Suspension system.

And then I realized that I didn't have any. That's a good thing.

The new Lyre system integrated so seamlessly into my workflow that I pretty much forgot about it. Sure, there are physical differences between it and the former elastic-and-clip configuration, but in terms of usability and, most importantly, sound quality, they were negligible.

The first thing you'll notice is the Lyre clips themselves. Made from the same material as the S and InVision Series, the clips come sized for a range of mics, similar to the older clips. In contrast to the S series, the Lyre clips are attached to the suspension rail with hex screws, for which Rycote includes a handy tool. While not as easily re-positioned as with the S, they're far more stable.

A hex upon your first born...

The Lyres also feel less compliant than the elastic bands, but this never proved to be an issue in use. With a Sennheiser MKH-416, the clips allowed for a bit of low-frequency handling noise when shaken around on the end of the boom, but with an 80 Hz high-pass engaged on my Sound Devices 442, the noise disappeared. I run all of my boom mics high-passed anyway, so this never bothered me.

With the new system, Rycote is also throwing in a new Connbox, a small connector that mechanically isolates the boom's cable from the mic itself, further insulating against handling noise. Since I was beta-testing an earlier design, I was sent an original model Connbox; I've been assured by Vivienne Dyer, Managing Director of Ryocte, that when the new, hard-wired design ships, that "the performance should be the same for both."

The original Connbox.

The Windshield and Windjammer's designs haven't changed, as far as I can tell. Both provided ample wind reduction, from forest breezes to high winds on the Columbia River. Along with the new handle that's been shipping since last year, the new Windshield looks and sounds the same from the outside, which is all that really matters in the end.

Booming rehearsals for Everyman's War. (Note: the mic suspension is in the upper right, whereas Mike Prosser is in the lower right.)

PROS: Light; transparent to workflow, great islolation and wind reduction; free Connbox.

CONS: Have to keep an eye on that hex wrench.



Next Meet the Gear

Again, for those in the NY area, Gotham Sound is offering the next Meet the Gear Event:

RF Spectrum: What every sound mixer needs to know about the changing airwaves.
with Special Guest - Henry Cohen of Production Radio Rentals
Saturday, June 28th
10:30am @ Gotham
rsvp to gotrsvp+rf@gmail.com

Topics will include:

*What are the new FCC regulations?

*What effect will the 700 MHz re-allocation have on wireless mics and when?

*What are the "White Space" proposals and will they interfere with wireless mics?

*What can sound mixers do?


13 June 2008

On the Rode Again

Via Harmony Central:

Rode Introduces the NTG-3 Shotgun Microphone

The NTG-3 is the result of years of development by RODE engineers, providing the professional broadcast and film industries with an affordable yet uncompromising microphone.

Using a technology known as RF-bias the RODE NTG-3 is almost completely resistant to moisture, making it the only option when recording in any demanding environments where condensation is an issue. Be it in a tropical rainforest, arid desert or sub-zero snowstorm the NTG-3 can be relied on to faithfully record audio where traditional condenser microphones would fail.

Key features:

* Designed to withstand adverse environmental conditions
* 50% less self-noise than the majority of shotgun mics
* True condenser (externally RF biased)
* Extremely low handling noise
* High level of immunity to radio frequency interference

As you can see above, it looks a heck of lot like the Sennheiser 416, a veritable workhorse of the industry. I haven't seen a number yet, but if the Rode can deliver the goods at a lower price point, things could get interesting.


Meet the Gear (and Remember Your Manners)

For those in the New York area, Gotham Sound is having another "Meet the Gear" day with the Sound Devices 788T, Saturday, June 14th at 10:30 am. They request that people RSVP to gotrsvp+sd@gmail.com.


10 June 2008

And It's The Celtx By 1

Celtx, the open-source pre-production and screenplay writing program, has just been released as Version 1.0.

Did I mention it was free?

Based on the Mozilla application framework, Celtx can be used for more than just script formatting; it's essentially a one-stop shop for nearly every aspect of pre-production, from department-specific script breakdowns to scheduling.

Did I mention it was free?

Until today, Celtx has been in beta. Version 1.0 brings some new features, including:

Adapt To - a single click now converts a fully formatted script of one type into a fully formatted script of another - for example a Stageplay to a Screenplay - displaying instantly the multi-media potential of your work.

Comic Book - a new editor to write properly formatted Comic Books, and a common framework for collaboration between writer and artist.

iPhone - now view your Celtx projects from just about anywhere with a display optimized for your iPhone.

Catalogs - a new organization and searchable dashboard view of all your story's elements and production items.

Sidebar - annotate and break down each scene with notes, media (images, audio, and video clips), and production items through an easy to manage, thoroughly upgraded new sidebar.

Project Scheduling - has been vastly upgraded to fully integrate with the script breakdown and provide a Call Sheet and a host of new shooting reports.

Storyboarding - as requested, you can now choose from a variety of ways to view and manage your images, create a storyboard outline based on your script, and add shot descriptions to each image.

As always, it is cross-platform, and available in over ten different languages.

Did I mention it was free?


01 June 2008

Quiet On Set

Wired.com is featuring an article about the ever-increasing level of man-made noise pollution, and its impact on the biosphere. Snip:
Krause has a word for the pristine acoustics of nature: biophony. It's what the world sounds like in the absence of humans. But in 40 percent of the locations where Krause has recorded over the past 40 years, human-generated noise has infiltrated the wilderness. "It's getting harder and harder to find places that aren't contaminated," he says.

From a filmmaking standpoint, it's becoming nearly impossible to find an area completely devoid of background noise. For Car Trouble 2: Them's the Brakes, the first project I ever did audio post for, the director and I drove four hours in every direction over two days to try to get some clean background tracks (or atmos, for those of you across the pond) and came up empty handed. Ultimately, we ended up looping nearly every line, and creating the remaining sounds from scratch using library tracks, recorded years ago when you actually stood a chance at getting a clear recording.

Please to enjoy (bear in mind, that in addition to being my first post outing, that it was also mixed in Final Cut Pro 3, a blunt tool for audio):

Link to Wired article.