The High Life

Earlier this month, I began work on QFS's Fall production of The High Life written and directed by Sean Doucette. I have not done a QFS production since our first production two years ago, Guaranteed A, so I was very excited to be working on this film with an entire new group of filmmakers. Of course I knew a handful of them, but I met many new young and promising QFSers.

I was working as the Sound Mixer once again. On this production, there were some familiarities and some unfamiliarities. I was using the Shure FP33 Field Mixer again (to master it), with a short shotgun mic and some wireless lavs. Checking out equipment from Mass Comm was a *nuisance* since all they had were the mixer and the lavs, everything else was already rented out by people; and yes, I checked in as early as I could and through the next 2 days and all they could scrounge up was a shotgun and a couple little XLRs. So, I got some XLRs and a shotgun from Q30, and another shotgun and fishpole from QFS. My first weekend on set was November 6, and it was a good long day of shooting interiors. Lesson learned from day 1: WHEN SOMETHING'S NOT WORKING, CHECK BATTERIES!

My unfamiliarity on set was having my own "sound PA" or boom operator. In fact, I had two to switch in and cover for me when I had to go to my paying job. This made is so much easier to get good sound. I could monitor the levels and adjust during the scene very easily, as my boom operator could easily focus on pointing the boom in the right spots in multi person dialogues. I/we got many compliments on our organization and quality of our sound. This is definitely the best sound product I have made. The only thing I am not sure about is the Director's/Producers choice to plug into the camera (Panasonic HMC150) instead of doing a double system. I am not sure what kind of audio files or other sound settings the camera was on, but I prefer to work a double system since I can do room tone and wallah whenever I am ready and so that I know that the sound settings are at 96kHz, PCM (wav), and the highest bitrate.

So far, I have worked 3 days on this film. The 2nd was in the same location as the first, so it was only easier to get great sound. Although the 3rd day was in a new interior location. This was a very interesting room for sound. It had a flat ceiling, but on both ends of the room, the ceiling was a dome. When you stand under the dome and speak, it sounds like you are hearing yourself talk into a microphone/out of a speaker system. This was due to the shape of the dome, so I tried avoiding that as much as possible, even when dialogue was close to the domes, I would prefer having the microphone further away rather than close but echoey and crazy. Then, I realized that there were vents in the room also. We had our boom pole up high near the ceiling and I heard wind up against the microphone. I was like, "what? We're indoors!" The vents were making wind, so I used the Rycote softie on the shotgun which is basically never used indoors. This solved the problem, and made for some good sound that day. This 3rd day, my boom ops had to act as extras. So here I was doubling up again as both mixer and boom op, then realizing how hard it was to do both in the first place. I hope not to go back, but I know I will someday.

We have 1 more day of shooting remaining, but there have been scheduling conflicts with it, so I am not sure yet when it will be or if I will be able to make it. But hopefully, I can, and that we will get some production stills up here; I know people were taking them, just cannot find any posted online yet.

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