The Big Think

June 23, 2008

Geared Up

Filed under: Audio — jasony @ 4:59 pm

Wooo! The new digital CF recorder just arrived and I’ve spent an hour or so playing with it. Very nice! It’s flexible, silent (due to the fact that it records on CF cards and not DAT tape or anything else that needs motors and moving parts), and sounds great. Plus, it’s got nice little touches like instant record (you don’t have to cue the recording up to the end of the previous take), and non-destructive trashing.

If you’re curious, it’s this one:

HDP2.jpg

I’m not crazy about a few things: the headphone jack is on the other side of the unit. I’d prefer it to be on the right side for wire management. It’s also mostly plastic, which is a disappointment. But the machined aluminum SD702 that every sound man lusts over is about a thousand dollars more ($1500 more with timecode option), and that’s just not in the cards. My new unit (the Tascam HDP2) has a timecode input, which just seems like it should be standard on pro decks.

One more bummer is that this sucker takes 8 AA batteries, and goes through them in about 4 hours. That’s a LOT of batteries over the course of a 2 day gig- consider also that the wireless mics go through four every 3 hours or so (2 for the receivers, 2 for the transmitters). My mixer uses up 3 every four to five hours as well. So added all together, that’s nineteen batteries used up every 4-5 hours. Over a two day gig (10hr/day), that’s almost forty batteries!. At that rate, a $300 rechargeable belt-mounted battery system starts to make sense. They also make bag-mounted ones with neat power distribution systems, but they’re more in the $500 range with chargers. NP1 batteries can run a couple hundred dollars each, but they’ll last all day and recharge hundreds of times.

It may sound like I’m complaining but I’m really not. The Tascam is a great little recorder being used in the industry every day. It’ll be great on set as well as in location recording for SFX and dialog/interviews. Can’t wait to see how it works out on my next gig. I’ll be using the new recorder on the Colorado documentary later this summer. It’ll act as a backup to the camera audio in case anything goes out there. Good insurance for the price.

The final piece of the puzzle, my Lowell light kit, is currently in transit and should be here tomorrow.

Joy

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 1:18 am

It’s been a slightly frustrating last few hours as I ransack the house looking for a battery that came via UPS a few days ago. I misplaced it and can’t seem to find it. Not a big deal except that it cost me $30 and I really want to find it.

So I’m digging around and take a break to check my email. A google search puts me on the YouTube video called “Where the Hell is Matt?”. It’s a short film that made all of my frustration go away. I’ve always believed that simplicity and repetition can be two of the most powerful forces in art, and a simple idea repeated well can communicate where lots of detail sometimes won’t. This video does it very well indeed (and my hometown even makes an appearance). I won’t spoil the joy for you. Yes, if you watch the first five seconds, you’ve seen the video, but I dare you to sit through the whole 4:30 and not laugh. Wonderful.

I’ve watched it twice now, and somehow I don’t really care about the dumb battery any longer. It’ll turn up tomorrow. Right now I’m going to bed with a smile on my face.

But first, I think I’ll do a little dance…

(whoa! I just checked his website. Guess where he is?) *Well, when I wrote that he was in Austin, but he’s since moved on.

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 12:55 am

Cool space pictures here. It’s amazing to me that they’re so clear, but I guess that’s what you get with a high-resolution camera and no atmosphere to soften the image.

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