The Chisholm Trail Cattle Drive is getting closer.

Computing the issues of the sound parameters seemed so daunting – mentally – it was like a giant hill to climb, and it seemed to be too huge to even take that first step.

But Monday, I dove right in.

We are a tiny crew. We will be outdoors working with cattle and horses in a completely uncontrolled environment. There are no do-overs. And when you in Oklahoma, the wind never stops blowing.

I am recording sound on-board the camera. We don’t have staff or resources or equipment to record sound on its own – which would be added into the video feed in post production.

Nope! We’ve got to use the equipment we’ve got and make it work. They call this guerilla filmmaking!

I’ve got the 1) in-camera microphone – which seems to pickup tons of external noise. 2) camera shotgun microphone – which is powered. 3) donated wired microphone, omnidirectional, unpowered 4) donated wired microphone, hand held, unpowered, 5) wired lavaliere mike, powered, 6) wireless, powered lavaliere.

I put a sound meter ap on my cell phone.

Then you have to compute decibels of ambient sound; decibels of designated sound (what you are actually trying to record); distance from the object from which you are recording sound; wind; wind gusts; and who knows what else? Your eyes stayed glued on the on-board camera sound meter. Then you start adjusting gain. You want the gain to be down enough to cut out the background riff raff. You want the gain to be up enough to give you viable sound of the designated thing that you are recording. You need to have a computation for each mike, at different levels of ambient sound, at different levels of distance.

And – when we are out there on the cattle drive, these decisions have to be made in split seconds.

There are no do-overs!

I actually made some progress. This is all trial and error. Which piece of equipment – at which settings – at what distance??? Then you cross your fingers because there is a whole lot of luck involved!

The title of this post reads: Panic!

Where does the panic come in?

I took the camera – with my test audio – to the computer to download footage. I need to hear the sound – in the software – to see where we are at.

I could not get the camera to connect to the computer!


The last time I downloaded footage was for the Chisholm Trail Scroll Ride video that we produced in May. I know the computer has the same settings and configuration now as then. I haven’t changed computer settings. Perhaps I changed something in the camera programming?

I tried three different computers – two different PC cards – three different softwares – (by now the panic is about to make me lose it). I called my partner to bring his camera. Since I hadn’t been adjusting the programming on his camera, it should still be in the last setting in which we used it.  Then I tried to get the computer to recognize the second camera.


The only thing left that I can think to try – is perhaps the firewire cable which connects the camera to the computer has become damaged or compromised. It is the only component that was the same on all of these experiments. We’ve had the cable for awhile, and maybe a pin broke? Or who knows what?

I ordered two new cables and now I have to have enough patience to wait for them to come in.

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