Day 85: When Failure Happens

It’s ironic. My last post was about being ok with failure, but this last wedding shoot I encountered just that. Failure.

The Gear

The day before filming this past wedding on Friday, I decided to rent a few things from my local music store. Mainly some audio equipment. I borrowed my friend’s H4N portable audio recorder, and rented a wireless Sennheiser G3 wireless lavaliere microphone. Little did I know what I was to expect.

On the day of the wedding I was setting up a few tripods with my second shooters for the ceremony. I finally whipped out the lav, and mic’d the pastor who was marrying the couple. As he went off to mingle for a bit before the ceremony I checked the audio on my H4N. It was all good. Nothing to worry about.

The Problem

The ceremony starts, and my minds in the game. We were shooting for the next 40 minutes, and that’s all there was to think about. The ceremony went well, until I got back to my H4N and reviewed the audio. As soon as the pastor started walking towards the alter to begin the ceremony, the mic cut out. The wire was broken. This was something I didn’t see coming. I tested the signal, but I never tested how resilient the wire was. It turns out, I’m never renting a lavalliere mic again. Now I know what my next investment will be…

Thankfully, the music store fully refunded me. However, they were not able to refund my lost audio… that I could never get back. Fortunately, my A Camera was using a Rhodes Shotgun mic, which actually allowed me to recover the entire ceremony… with a little bit of background wind noise every now and then, but for what it’s worth, I was prepared for failure, and that preparation didn’t go to waste.

The Professional

I was thinking about it when I got home. What if the lavalliere didn’t break? I’d probably have skimmed over the audio from the shotgun mic… not even using it in post-production, because I technically would have had better audio from the lav, thus nurturing an unhealthy confidence for the future.The next time I could have found myself with a failed lavalliere audio, and no shotgun mic because I was overconfident, thinking I wouldn’t need the shotgun mic’s audio.

What I’m trying to say is you can never be too prepared. Don’t underestimate those times when your preparations meant nothing, and you over prepared, not really needing too. Consider it the building of good habits. The whole point of preparing for failure is believing that sometimes things might not work out they way you planned. And lately, I think that’s what it means to be a professional.

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