We continue with the interview with Cinematographer Jeff Barklage in Part 2 of this article!
[Mark Edward Lewis]: Everyone else is on break, and you’re still moving lights and cameras. What’s the deal?
[Jeff Barklage]: Occupational hazard.
MEL: Totally. Well, in the middle of the sauce, one of those cables is always audio. Red cameras record, as many
do, at 24/48kHz. What concerns do you have about getting audio right? What steps or precautions do you take to insure that audio is synced/recorded well?
JB: I usually make sure that the audio settings on camera are set by a trusted audio mixer, and I snap a photo on my iphone of these settings.
I believe that each audio mixer has their own preference in their settings, so what I normally do at the beginning of a shoot is get that menu up on the screen and then let the mixer do his/her thing. I only chime in if they need, and I have that snap shot of previous successful setting as a reference.
Most mixers are very savy when it comes to the wide range of cameras that they must deal with. A very few are sticks-in-the-mud that will not be satisfied with anything and refuse to run full audio into the camera and instead run a shitty scratch track to the camera so that the post has to use the audio on their own system for the main source.
I believe that if the camera is able to handle the audio, so be it. I also believe that running double system into their own hard drive is VERY VERY wise. Why not have a backup? But instead, these guys insist on no backup and only crap sound to the camera.
I have spoken to the post houses and they said that dealing with this takes time away from other post shores like color correction. Well, I am sure you know how I must feel about that.
MEL: I cringe. What’s the best way to spot these stick-in-the-mud folks and insure they don’t stick on a production you’re producing?
JB: Usually you can spot these problem individuals when they walk onto the set and shake their heads and sigh when they see the Epic or any Red camera..this is usually my first indicator that I will need to start my “dance” to see how I can make this work work with them.
ALL of my Red cameras [I own several Epic Dragons and Scarlets] have FULL -SIZE XLR audio inputs, no mini-XLRs, so that cannot be the problem…possibly somewhere down the line in the past they were “bitten” with one of these cameras and a situation arose..usually I find that the root of these problems is when someone rents these cameras without fully knowing how to use them or set them up. Since I own mine, I freaking KNOW THEM!”
MEL: For you, what are some of the most frustrating aspects of working with sound on set? How would you wish things could be optimized? Do you wish for a piece of gear to be invented to help out? Protocols?
JB: Tweet: Today’s digital cameras are basically computers with lens ports, and computers MUST be kept cool while processing vast hunks of data. With these cameras chewing giant 6K files, that is a LOT of processing. I would like to see more AC’s and camera folks in general KNOW how to correctly set the cooling fans on their cameras to be quiet during rolling and loud when not.
As far as audio on set, I find most of today’s mixers to be wonderful and that the gear they have on hand to be simply great.
What’s your view on Jeff’s thoughts? Let us know or Tweet about it!