Blog, business, graphic design, post production for film and video, sound

What Hearken Creative did this summer, Part 1

While I can’t say that I have a new job or have turned the economy around single-handedly, this has been a marvelous summer of new experiences.

The first project I want to talk about is the West Covina High School Chamber Singers reunion, which happened two days ago after over a year of preparation. I was a committee member, and developed the website and Facebook presence, as well as designed all printed matter, and finally, managed all the stage tech for the evening, including a 16-foot screen, memorabilia slideshow, music cues, and sound reinforcement for the evening’s program, all provided by Hearken Creative.

The event was an amazing success, where 80+ people re-connected after 25 years with our dedicated teacher/director/conductor, Tom Kessler.

While the event was not specifically a showcase of Hearken Creative’s available services, we nonetheless made the entire evening possible, with HCS’ graphic design, film/video production, and live show production strengths.

In the near future, we will also produce the event “re-cap” video DVD. Can’t wait to show you how much fun everyone had at this event.

Tomorrow: Live theatre sound design for 100+ children and teens this summer…

Blog, business, graphic design, portfolio

New iStockphoto images, developments

It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted here, so this will cover a few things.

First, posting images to iStockphoto has been going well. Now, I just need to start making more money from them. Here are a few recent uploads:

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So is the economy up or down? I don’t think anyone can decide. Even Wall Street was bipolar this past week — way up one day and way down the next. We are considering ways to drastically cut expenses for the company, like moving to a smaller office and using fewer computers, or even temporarily closing the post-production side of the business (entertainment industry has been hit hard). But, on the other hand, I added more job numbers to my jobs list this week than I have in recent memory, and completed several large projects as well. So I’m feeling cautiously hopeful, at least in the short term.

While we’re talking about the business, I found an elegant little program called TimeTagger for tracking my time spent on projects throughout the workday. It’s going to help me track profitability much better than I have been able to previously.

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And, in the “covet” department, I’m really wanting a Canon 7D. Great photography and HD filmmaking at multiple frame rates, with lots of upsides. Expensive, but possibly worth it. We’re not ready financially to make a big purchase like this, but if the right project comes along, this is the one that I would purchase right now. If you want to buy it for me, the link is here…thanks!

Blog, business, post production for film and video, sound

Looking to start building my own stage sound components…

Okay, so HCS has a bunch of Sennheiser and Shure wireless mic systems, like the awesome G2 series from Sennheiser. But the problem is that the wire that these manufacturers use is shoddy, and usually the mics are destroyed after just one run of performances. (They work better for ENG-style work — which is what I do most of the time — because the cable doesn’t get jostled around as much.) So I’m trying to figure out how to purchase or build my own mics for stage uses.

And then I found this awesome company called CPC in the UK (courtesy of the Blue Room stage discussion board), and they have cheapie replacement microphones, both the lav kind and the headworn kind. But I am not sure if they can ship cheaply to the U.S.; so, I am looking for a U.S. company that can supply these mics, or something comparable. I’m even willing to solder my own connectors onto them, to save even more money.

The reason that this came up is that I was doing sound design for the Pasadena Summer Musical Theater production for a few weeks earlier this summer. The body mics got a real workout, going on and off multiple children each day for rehearsals and performances. Several mics didn’t make it through the two week run, and the culprit was always the juncture where the cable meets the connector. So I was thinking that it might be good to make my own, or find a new microphone/cable combination that will be able to withstand the rigors of stage performances.

I have an e-mail out to CPC in the U.K., but I am willing to entertain any options — either here or overseas — that can help me replace or build newer and better mics for the Sennheiser or Shure systems.

Blog, business, Pasadena and local, sound

Adding another item to the resumé: live sound

Well, I’ve done this over the years for friends, but I think I should stop underselling myself. This weekend I mixed sound at the Global Day of Prayer/Love Pasadena event on the steps of the Rose Bowl. 500 people, 5 bands, several hours, and lots of running around and soundchecking. And the event went off without a hitch. I’m really proud of Advantage Productions in Santa Clarita for finding me a sound system on short notice, and the pastors of the churches who helped put the event together.

Running live sound is a lot different than recording in the studio. In the studio, you can move mics around until you get it right,  you can punch-in to fix a bad line, you can EQ and compress to your heart’s delight on your own time. But live sound needs to sound great — NOW. So I was really happy that, with no soundcheck for any of the bands, we were able to walk in and make everything sound awesome the first time. Having great equipment can make or break a show, and that’s why I’m s0 pleased with Brett and Ron from Advantage Productions, and how easy it was to work with them.

So, I’m hanging my shingle out for running live sound for events. And next time I’ll wear sunscreen.

Blog, post production for film and video

Obama's Inauguration Requires 30 Truckloads of Sound Equipment

Have you ever heard of Maryland Sound International? Well, they just pulled off what they think might be the “largest amplified event ever. Period.”

Pro Sound News covers the requirements for a presidential inauguration: JBL VerTec rigs hung on custom motorized portable poles dotted the National Mall. But the coolest thing (from a scientific perspective) is the time-delay required to make sure everyone hears the same thing:

Given the vast expanses needed to be covered, it took more than nine seconds for audio to travel from Obama’s microphone to the last loudspeaker, requiring that video fed to the many portable screens on hand be delayed to match the audio. Accordingly, MSI spent the last week working onsite, checking wires, listening to mixes and interacting with a government sound architect.

From what I can tell, everything went off without a hitch. Congratulations to MSI and all of their people for making a historic event sound great!