Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Costumes I like

There are things I like about The Expanse. Many of those things are set design. The chairs on spaceships. Spacesuits which are wetsuits and drysuits.
But then there's this costume.

Normally you'd think this kind of thick collar would not be flattering. But good grief it works.

She gets to wear a new costume in every scene.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Time Code and You

Let's face reality: in indy feature films there's practically no reason to use timecode. There just isn't. You can't really sync any sub-$100,000 camera with timecode on set, and so you can't really use it in post.
But because I was a sound mixer in a previous life, I have a fancy-pants timecode slate made by Ambient. Thing is, I've never fed it timecode. Originally I had one of those Fostex PD-2 DAT machines. That was a clunky thing. Expensive. Fiddly. But it could read and write timecode in whatever format you wanted, do pull-up and pull-down and whatever nonsense people used to do when shooting at 24fps, blah-blah-blah.
Then I went to a computer system. Metacorder. Way over-priced but fairly workable. That system would actually jam timecode too. Uh. Just on the output? I think maybe it just output timecode which the slate could sync to. I think. Wow. It's been a number of years...
But then we worked with non-timecode Sound Devices recorders for the last many years. And we use the slate because it comes down and makes a "whack" sound which is easy to sync up on the timeline (actually, I like the Ambient slate because there are these lights which come on when the slate actually hits and that makes finding the visual mark where the whack happens really simple.)
The slate here is twice as expensive as the 8-channel recorder. What you see here is the transmitter to the slate, a battery (top) and the Zoom F-8 (in stop so it's not transmitting TC), and an Ambient slate.
I found that as a production sound guy, producers loved the numbers going around and around on the timecode slate. They never used that timecode and pretty much nobody on set knows what they're going to do with anything you deliver anyway, but that's just how it is.
The timecode menu on the Zoom. Note that you can set the "user bits" to be almost anything you like. Here I'm experimenting with having it display the number code for a movie called "1601". The "auto mute" means that it only puts out timecode when the recorder is running, so the slate will only display moving timecode when you're in record.
So now that I have timecode available again, even though we'll never use it, I'm still going to make sure the slate receives it. Why? Who knows? It's completely irrational of me. But we can do it, so we're going to.
It's ten minutes of 8pm. You can see the record light is on and the Zoom is recording, therefore it is outputting timecode. When the slate is clapped, the user-bits will show up for a second or two but that is just about impossible to photograph with a still camera.