While preparing for my work to begin as Audio Mixer on the short film, "Classifieds", I have been given the opportunity to work as an Audio Mixer on the feature film, "Certainly Never". The film already began production with another sound guy, but he became unavailable for a few weeks of production, and that's where I stepped in. Shooting began July 24th for this film, however, yesterday, August 8th, was my first day on set. Since I am not the only mixer on this project, I get some good time off in between shoots which allows me to continue working on "Classifieds" and bring more experience to both film sets.
"Certainly Never" is a romantic dramedy written and directed by Matt Phillion, with Jonathan "Jay" Salvo as DP; they can be looked up on IMDb.com. This is my first feature on crew, which is exciting, but also puts more pressure on me. Our first day of filming was difficult for me for many reasons; not just because it was my first day on set of a film that already began production with people whom I've never met, but also, it was using equipment I've never used, and I had to handle a lot (Boom pole/shotgun, Mixer, AND recorder). Carrying and trying to make sure all three are doing good was very difficult. But on top of all of that, everything we filmed on that day was filmed on the rooftop of a 6 story building in Boston with two AC compressors blasting a loud humming sound. I called my good sound buddy/mentor Aaron Miller before the shoot, asking for advice and he basically said "You're screwed. It's not your fault, it's their fault for choosing that horrible location. There's nothing you can do about it." So on the first day working with these people, I wanted to impress, but it seemed impossible with the fact being no matter how good I am, my product is going to suck, in fact, they may be planning on doing ADR and not even using my product before even making it. This actually took some pressure off of me.
The equipment I used was a Shure FP33 Mixer, a Marantz PMD661 recorder (We use a 671 at Quinnipiac, I believe, which is older) and an Azden SGM-1X shotgun with zeppelin. The recorder was real simple to use, and shotguns are shotguns, but the Mixer gave me problems when we were testing. The Monitor switch was on the wrong setting, and I did not remember which setting it was supposed to be on, which would not let me get levels or hear anything; this did not look good for me as this large problem was my first impression at work.
Once we got it going, it was all downhill from there, no problems during the shoot really, other than my hatred for the uncomfortable boom pole. I did not see a brand or model name on the pool, but I have never used one like it before; it did not telescope, rather it bent into a more convenient shape, which was nice, but it could only be about 5' 5" long which is extremely short for longest extension (I've never heard of a boom pole not extending further than 8') also, it cannot go any shorter (4' is a nice minimum length for storage reasons). This boom pole was short and surprisingly heavy. Resting this things on the back of your neck and shoulders puts a number on you throughout the day and production, so boom poles are built out of light materials to reduce stress. This was not, this was bulky and short. My boom pole weighs about 2 pounds. I can hold a 1 pound weight with my pinky and after maybe 10 seconds, it starts feeling heavy. With my boom pole which weighs twice as much, if I extend it all the way, 9 feet, and hold it with my pinky, it is almost of if I am holding absolutely nothing, because of it's length, it does not put too much weight/stress on one area, making it more comfortable for boom operators. I brought my own boom pole which I built a few weeks ago but we had to use the Zeppelin with our location and the Zeppelin only fits on its shock mount which does not fit on my boom pole. My shock mount cannot hold a Zeppelin. So, I wish I could have used my boom pole for comfort, but it was not a choice, therefore, I have never been so sore after just one day of shooting.