How many times do you hear these statements:
“Know your gear.”
“Test your gear every time before going out.”
But does anyone actually do this? Do you?
I had a corker experience at work yesterday and now I’m going to live by the above commandments.
I took the recorder and microphone from the work cupboard and headed to an opening.
When I got there, I wanted to get all of the “opening noise” so I left my recorder on and then recorded two interviews and the opening speech which ended up being about 40 minutes of tape.
This is what I usually do with my own recorder which is the same as the one I was using at the opening. So nothing out of the ordinary (or so I thought).
After finishing up with my last interview, I pressed the stop button to save all the audio and I got a big red ERROR message on the screen.
The recorder had frozen.
I sprinted back to the office and asked another radio producer about the error message.
She didn't know what to do.
I tried to salvage the material from the memory card.
But, it didn't work. The memory card was the problem.
The memory card was too small to record for 40 minutes straight without stopping.
Luckily, the opening was across the road from our studio so I was able to run back over the event and interview the same people again.
It was embarrassing.
Asking the same questions.
Saying the same jokes.
To the same people I just interviewed.
Thankfully the people I interviewed were understanding and happy to answer the questions again.
But disappointingly, the interviews weren’t as good the second time around.
There was no spontaneity and the interviewees left out a few of the great things they said the first time around.
But that’s okay. I’m the only one that knew there was better tape and thankfully, I still ended up with a story.
Going through this was well worth it for the lesson I learned.
The full force of an in-the-field-fuck-up that could have been prevented is a lesson I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Test your frigging gear
Next time I’ll use my own gear or at least test any gear I use from work again.
Have you got any gear commandments I should follow?