Sights & Sounds: Lance Lundstrom on Audio Production and Travel Workflow


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<p><font size="4"><span style="color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Sights & Sounds: Lance Lundstrom on Audio Production and Travel Workflow</strong></span></font></p>
<p style="color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><font size="4"><em>Exclusive Q&A</em><em></em></font></p>
<p style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana">By Wynona Luz, Contributing Writer, <EM>StudentFilmmakers</EM> Magazine</p>
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<p style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><img src="" width="500" height="550" alt="Lance Lundstrom"></p>
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<td><p><font size="4"><strong>Shooting Overseas?<br>
</strong>3 Traveling Tips from Lance Lundstrom</font></p>
<p><font size="4"><strong></strong></font><strong>(1) </strong>Start setting your internal clock before you leave home. I'll often stay up all night before a trip to get a jump on the jet lag. Really helps on the first shoot day on location. </p>
<p> <strong>(2)</strong> Don't worry about the street food, and stay away from the fresh foods. If you see something cooked in front of you, and it's cooked long enough, it's often the safest food you can find in a faraway location. I'm lucky to have a very high tolerance to foreign bacteria, but on the occasions I have gotten sick, it has been mostly from fresh foods (including the salads on airplanes).</p>
<strong>(3)</strong> Lose the backpack. It's very easy to pack a lot of gear into some of the great camera backpacks on the market, but when you're spending hours traveling, standing in immigration lines and walking through big international airports, something that rolls is a lifesaver. </td>
<p style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>What was your most recent project?</strong><br><br><strong>Lance Lundstrom</strong>: About a month ago, I went to the middle of India to a town called Damoh working for NGO who I've worked with a few times. They were doing a recreation of a story that fits their organization. Always an interesting experience going to India. Crazy stuff. Planes, trains, buses, and a few other modes of transportation that you can never quite count on. But you get there eventually.</p>
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On your travels, what tools or technologies do you take with you regularly?</strong><br><br><strong>Lance Lundstrom</strong>: Depending on the client, I do either audio recording as a sound mixer or camera work. So what I've kind of settled in on now are my two main pieces of gear whether I'm shooting or doing audio. One is the C300, just because of the size of the camera and the types of international projects I'm doing not that that's necessarily the best camera to have on site all the time but with all the factors included, it fits the bill right now. And when I'm doing audio I have a new Sound Devices 664, which is great and allows me to carry less gear because it does so much stuff.</p>
<strong>As a sound mixer who's worked in diverse climates and environments, can you give use some advice on preventing the natural elements, for example - rain, wind, and cold - from interfering with capturing sound?</strong><br>
<br><strong>Lance Lundstrom</strong>: Rain. Keep it dry as much as possible. Audio gear will often fail before camera gear in rainy environments due to the amount of inputs/outputs and tolerance to moisture. If you know ahead of time that you are going to be shooting in a rainy environment, you can of course prepare appropriately, but that is often not the case. Sound may suffer, but it does nobody any good if the gear is not functioning when the skies clear up. Another tip in the rain, your shotgun microphone has a very large surface area and when rain hits any part of it, you hear a very loud sound. If you're just capturing ambient/nat sound you can use a lav mic, which has a tiny surface area and will catch many fewer raindrops if any.
<p>Wind. Bury your lav mics as deep as necessary to avoid the wind noise. Muffled sound is better than windy sound. Many sound mixers nowadays use a more economical solution for their shotgun mount like a softie or often just a foam windscreen to protect their mic from the wind. A full Zeppelin system with a "dead cat" windscreen is a great long-term investment and functions remarkably well. I used my first Rycote system for 16 years before updating it. During normal shooting conditions, a Zeppelin without the dead cat sounds much better than a softie or other foam solutions. Foam wind protection for normal use muffles the sound more than a Zeppelin system and when you hear the final product, having a nice crisp speech is always impressive.</p>
<p>Here's a BIG one: If you're indoors, get rid of the wind protection (unless you're waving the mic around on a long pole). When I see an indoor production photo and someone has a big Zeppelin or fuzzy windscreen hanging above an interviewee's head, it not only decreases the quality of the sound but SCREAMS amateur. You put several more inches between the subject and the mic which can make all the difference between average and good, intimate sound.</p>
<p>Cold. I have spent more time shooting in extreme cold weather than I would wish upon anyone. A couple things to remember. Keep your batteries warm. Cold batteries last a much shorter time than a warm battery. If you're wearing a big coat, keep them inside your coat close to your body. Cables can get very hard and rigid, especially IFB earpieces. If you are going to be using IFB gear you should have several earpieces warm and standing by for when the earpieces exposed get too cold for use. Use in-ear headphones instead of big "cans". I've seen many sound mixers put their "cans" on top of a big thick winter hat. There are many high-quality noise-isolating types of in-ear headphones on the market (I use custom, molded in-ear monitors). In cold weather, these allow you to put your big furry hat over the top of your headphones allowing you to hear clearly and keep your ears nice and warm.<br><br><strong>How has your work influenced your RigWheels inventions?</strong><br>
<strong>Lance Lundstrom</strong>: The way we try to differentiate our product is by giving the user the most amount of options to create different tools that they may need with the least amount of pieces possible, which comes from my experience with travel as well. I don't want to carry around (pauses and laughs) I carry enough Pelican cases around the world. I want to get as much functionality as I can from one box if possible. That's kind of the idea or mindset all of the gear is designed from.<br>
<strong>Would you like to offer some general insights you've acquired while working in the industry?</strong><br>
<strong>Lance Lundstrom</strong>: If you can picture the lifestyle you want to have, whether it's traveling, you know, laying on the beach, whatever "it" is, don't waste too much time being misdirected in the middle. Always be working towards your end-game.</p>
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