“I got my start when things were much simpler,” said veteran production sound mixer, Jeff Wexler, CAS, as he showcased his current sound cart, the seventh in his decades-long career. His first cart, adapted from a rolling television table from Sears, which only “made it through one movie,” was followed by a sturdier cart originally intended for use in the food industry. And so the evolution of his carts began.
Organized by CAS board member Paul Vik Marshall, the Parade of Sound Carts was held April 20 at the Local 80 Sound Stage in Burbank. Mixers were on hand to present their sound cart setups and bag rigs, each individually developed for the unique situations experienced recording various show formats – film, television, commercials and reality TV. The variety and originality of the sound equipment, along with the explanations of their intended purpose, made for an educational experience for everyone, from veteran mixers to students aspiring to a career in sound. CAS vice president, Mark Ulano, conducted the Q & A.
James Berek, CAS won “best of show” for his compact rig intended for commercial shoots. His favorite piece of equipment was a Cooper 208 board with its “wonderful” preamps. “Most of the time when I step in and I’m working with a new client, they can hear the difference and they know stuff sounds good,” said Berek. “They think its me, but it’s a good board with a good microphone. The rest keeps it reliable. Good wireless, good recorders, but preamps go a long way.”
One of the topics on the minds of the pros was the need to upgrade equipment to remain current. The Sound Devices Pix 260i, which will record 32 tracks of audio, seemed to be the piece of gear on the wish list of a number of mixers including Phil Palmer, CAS, who admitted that if he could buy anything, the Pix 260i is where he would put his money. Palmer had one of the more elaborate carts, used for Glee. Equipped with three monitors to follow the multi-camera set-ups, Palmer had a separate utility cart to store, among other things, the multitude of radio mics needed for the complex musical productions and multiple character scenes. The only thing that seemed to be missing was the Cappuccino maker.
One of the favorite toys for Edward Moskowitz, CAS, is his iPad Mini with its Movie Slate app for entering sound reports and other notes. “This iPad Mini lives on my cart,” explained Moskowitz. “If somebody comes and fills in for me, it stays here. Sometimes on our show, Anger Management, we will do multiple episodes in a day, so if we finish an episode, or we finish the day’s work I email the sound report. My emailing the sound report is usually the indicator to production and postproduction that we wrapped.”
Perhaps the most original cart belonged to George Flores, CAS, who works on the show Southland. The extremely light and mobile cart was built into a baby stroller. “The previous sound mixer was using this setup,” Flores admitted. “When I came onto the show around episode three, they didn’t want to deviate from anything. It’s a fast-paced show. I put my own spin on that design setup and we went with it.”
Other production mixers appearing with their carts and bags were: Scott Farr, CAS, Gary Gossett, CAS, Brett Grant-Grierson, CAS, Stephen Grothe, CAS, Don Hale, CAS, Richard Ragon, Andy Rovins, CAS and Kevin Sorensen. The seminar also featured exhibits from: Backstage Carts, Chinhda, Location Sound, PSC, Solar On Set, Studio Carts and Trew Audio.