Production Sound & Video

Summer 2023

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12 PRODUCTION SOUND & VIDEO – Summer 2023 Satchel Paige gave this advice on how to stay young: "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." My advice: "Take a look, it's gonna gain on you anyway." For the record, I got to see him employing the Bat Dodger, the Hurry Up Ball, and other unique pitches at Duncan Field, in Hastings, Nebraska, while on a barnstorming tour. Yes, I am that old. In February, Murray Siegel, A2 emeritus (a word that is etymologically related to merit), and I were talking while on the way into the Grammys at Crypto. com Arena. I mentioned that it might be my last one. Don't hold me to that, I've been fooled before … by myself. But dancing around moving band carts and hopping over a stage full of cables becomes more difficult year after year. Anyway, Murray reminded me that we are at a station in life, and work where "lasts" is a reality. We agreed that being aware of those situations gives us a perspective on where we have been. So, here's to the last Grammys as a band guy, the last long wrap, the last terrible catered meal, the last 1,500-foot piece of fiber-optic cable, tangled to the point that it should be used as prop spaghetti for Godzilla if Godzilla eats spaghetti. There is no photographic evidence of that massive tangle. Keith Hall thought about taking a picture but was dissuaded. Fiber-optic technology has changed the way we make our shows and, for better or worse, has extended my career by lightening the physical workload. I suppose soon, fiber will run from a central hub to all locations on a production, linking to a magic decoder box that will provide connections to video of any flavor, audio (both directions), comms, timecode, and featuring a The Orchestra whisperer Ric Rambles by Ric Teller spigot serving a hot cuppa Joe from Eric Johnston's Single Batch Coffee Roasters. If that was indeed my last Grammy wrap, I felt it. The next morning, I was able to get up and go to work on a Beach Boys tribute, but I'm not sure I was any help to Ray, Ozzie, Henry, and my Friend, Robyn. Don't ask that lovely crew, they're too kind to tell you the truth. Pronunciation guide: Emeritus—put the accent on the second syllable. If you accent the third syllable, it sounds like an illness. It isn't. As I am writing this, the Oscars are approaching. That I am allowed to work with the excellent group of people that takes on that massive undertaking and that I get to be around the terrific Oscar orchestra is always a treat. Once upon a time, I was a musician. Not great, but good enough that I have a true appre- ciation for the amazing players that will gather at the Dolby. Some I have known for a very long time. Of my regular annual shows, only The Oscars and The Kennedy Center Honors have orchestras. I am grateful to get to work with both talented groups. The Orchestra Whisperer. The Oscars and the Grammys employ an impressive number of our Local 695 members both on the main show and on the many red carpet shows. I've man- aged to avoid red carpet shows for many years and won't do another, but about thirty years ago, while we were doing the Oscars at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, mixer Paul Sandweiss called the late Evan Adelman and me into his booth. If you never had the pleasure of working with Evan, you missed out. He was not only a terrific sound guy but an excellent person, missed by all who knew him. We had just finished dress rehearsal and Paul informed us that we were going to do a show on the red carpet before the Oscars began. I was the A2, and Evan mixed (that might have been the first time he mixed live on the air). I grabbed two Vega RF transmitters and receivers and two Sennheiser 416 mics. The RF's were the main and backup hand mics for our host, Oprah Winfrey, and I lovingly tossed the 416's up into a nearby tree to catch some of the pre-Oscar crowd noise. That was it. The whole setup. When we finished, Paul took the mixing chair for the main show, Evan ran inside to A2 with Murray, and I quickly wrapped the Oprah red carpet show and hurried inside to join them. Needless to say, the red carpet has become a bit more complicated since then.

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