BY KEN RENGERING
Over-matched and out of my element and no one cares.
So in my ankle-biter existence, I don’t get to be super picky about the gigs I accept, and here’s a little example of my fun.
Doing audio playback for a music video – put the stereo music track on my MacBook Pro, using my Presonus DAW to get around the track quickly, and outputting to a couple of speakers on stands. The toughest part will be moving from location to location quickly and efficiently. Straightforward, right? Cue buzzer sound!
So the production company handling this is well known and pretty big time, I try to make nice with my contact, the production supervisor. She keeps asking me that in addition to audio playback, can I do VTR (Video Tape Recording) and I keep responding “no”, but I do tell her I am game to “press record” on their deck or gear.
Boom! I am now the VTR guy on a music video for a major artist. No one responds to my emails stating flatly that that is not and should not be the case. I also now must set up video monitors at the locations because I am the VTR department! I make another round of calls and emails pleading my lack of experience, nay, ignorance for this task, all ignored.
I am asked if I can record dialog – finally something I know about! I say sure, I will bring my Presonus FireStudio Mobile and a Sennheiser shotgun microphone and a microphone boom – but I get a little smarter and get some more money to hire one of my guys as a boom op, audio speaker setter upper, and video monitor setter upper. I have no idea how to classify his job, but he trusts me – the fool!
Remember, we are in Las Vegas. The days of the shoot, with both interior and exterior shots, the temperature is estimated to be 108. It was hotter. Does not bode well for a morbidly obese redhead. Oh, and BTW, we are scheduled for 14-hour days. Then I get a call sheet the night before, and I am listed as VTR on it. Good lord!
So, since I let myself get set up to shit the bed on this gig, my enthusiasm was not great to start, especially when the Assistant Director started talking to me about Frames Per Second and stuff like that. I explained that we were hired to set up their video monitors and to move them to each location. We were also audio playback and record. He looked at me like I had 3 heads and I didn’t make the usual joke of saying “no, just 2”. Remember, I am listed as the head of the VTR department!
I am sure the guys there from LA were looking down their noses at me, but all I could do was just handle my tasks efficiently. And by the end of the first miserably hot day, everyone was too tired for contempt.
So in the end, I thought we did as good a job as possible. Got to do some cool things including shooting in the awesome golf course house they used for the movie Casino. Another notch on the old resume, cool artist, and nobody died. Well, except for my socks; cause of death – suffocation!