Monday, June 21, 2010

FITP: Day 11

(Go back to Aerial Lift Day)

Our third week started with a pop quiz, then a lecture about "phasing". Chat then led us on a practical demonstration of both "electric" and "acoustic" phasing, which are both very important when working with two or more mics on a set.

Around 10AM we were interrupted with a request to join Grip & Electric at the School of Communications for a practical lesson in placing mics on a real "set", which in this case was the school's production control room. We spent about an hour learning how to deal with issues like boom shadows ("I'm bein' followed by a boom shadow, boom shadow boom shadow." Yeah, thanks SO much for planting that awful song in my brain, Tracy!)

We also learned about setting up furniture pads on C-stands to dampen the sound in a space. Garrett, the Head Grip, showed us how to safely assemble the framework needed to support one of those pads.

During lunch I stupidly locked my keys in my car. Luckily, today was a very warm day, and I'd cracked all four windows about an inch or so. After I got done cursing my stupidity (which is pretty much guaranteed to be a daily event for me, so it wasn't a biggie) I started thinking about fixing the problem. I took note of the situation:

Fact: my keys were in the ignition.
Fact: the windows are slightly open.
Fact: when I looked across the interior from the driver's side, I could see the electric lock switch on the passenger door, right near the armrest.

Okay, so maybe if I get a long enough stick, I can put it through the crack in the driver's window, across to the passenger door, and finesse the electric lock switch into popping all the locks.

Now where was I going to get a long enough pole to do this? Hmmm...

Ah, maybe not. Chat's boom poles are worth more than I make (made, when I was employed) in a week, and the idea of using one of his fine carbon-fiber instruments to rudely jab my door jamb was less than respectful.

So I considered it my last option before calling Triple-A.

Then the bright idea to stroll over to Grip & Electric entered my mind. Probably because barely an hour earlier Garrett had told us that we were welcome to come by during lunch hour and fiddle with the equipment if we wanted. Inspiration is always better when it's served nice and fresh!

I walked over and asked Garrett if he had anything that would meet the parameters needed. We searched around a bit, then I noticed a 12-foot 1/2-inch square length of wood trim. It seemed plenty rigid enough to do the job. I took it over to the car, and using my best boom op talents fed it through the window across the car and to the switch. A little swipe to the left and the locks popped open! In all, it took maybe 15 seconds after getting to the car. I returned the wood and thanked Garrett for his help.

In the afternoon we ran a couple of scenes for mic work. The one above used a single boom and a stash mic out of view on a chair. Here's Chat mixing one of the takes:

Everyone got plenty of chances to work the booms and to listen to the results of others doing it. And act. Yes, we all got chances to act! Suffice it to say, I'm not going to need to work on any acceptance speeches anytime soon. At least not for acting.

By the end of the day Chat said that, as a class, we were really starting to "get it". The class is beginning to gel together as a team.

This thing is starting to rock!

Click here to go to Day 12

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