A Tribute to Sarah Jones

A letter from Richard Jones

On February 20th, six years ago, my wife Elizabeth sat down in front of me and flatly said… “Sarah is dead.”

It is hard to fathom hearing and accepting such horrifying words. On this sixth anniversary of my daughter Sarah Jones’ passing, while I could talk about her life, I would rather talk about how much Sarah has accomplished since her death. I would rather share with you her legacy. 

Before doing so, Elizabeth and I wish to remember the other victims present six years ago on the set of Midnight Rider in Georgia, each with their own grief and journeys. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them. 

As for Sarah’s ongoing legacy, I still marvel at how a 27-year-old camera assistant could possibly change the culture of an entire industry.

Mike Miller, VP IATSE, said, “We need to remember Sarah Jones, and we need to know that she will always be protecting us from this point forward… This tragedy has brought together the filmmaking community in a way that I have never seen. Much of that is due to the person Sarah was… hardworking, fun, and a friend to very many people.”


The Sarah Jones Film Foundation was created to help foster awareness and accountability around the message to NEVER FORGET, NEVER AGAIN. 

The SJFF conducts forward-thinking outreach through initiatives that include Safety Grants specifically designated to cover the costs of appropriate set safety on student films across the United States and Canada. Our goal is to change the culture of the film industry by teaching young filmmakers to treat set safety as a necessity, not a luxury.

Another initiative is naming the first shot of the day “The Jonesy Shot.” By calling out the Jonesy after each day’s safety meeting, crews can remember Sarah and affirm the vital importance of safety on set each and every moment of the day.

Also, the Sarah Jones Field Day is held every October in Atlanta to allow cast and crew members to gather and to once again encourage safe sets. In these and other ways detailed on our website (SafetyForSarah.org), the Sarah Jones Film Foundation raises awareness and fosters best practices around set safety, fueled by who Sarah Jones was… and continues to be. 

Richard Jones

Father of Sarah Jones

#safetyforsarah #slatesforsarah #wearesarahjones

Here’s what happens when you DON’T hire sound…

I stumbled across this video this morning in my news feed. My guess is that CNN didn’t think this story was important enough to send out a full crew, but just a shooter. You can’t hear the reporter-why? You can see the lav mic on the talent, but there’s nothing on the reporter. The result is all the questions are buried in the background sounds.


This could’ve been because of a number of things, but a plausible explaination is their shooter’s camera kit only had a single lav and a camera mic, and they tried to get away with the camera mic on the reporter. The camera dept had their plate way too full with setting up two cameras (and since they were both locked down, the camera operator might have been the reporter.) Almost any decent soundperson would have prevented this from happening

This seems to be more and more the case, where production companies squeeze budgets tighter and tighter, and they think they can get away with not hiring a soundperson because “they’re too expensive.” Sometimes it works, but more often than not you get this kind of result. File this away under#hireasoundperson, #audiomatters, and #don’tcheapoutonyourcrew!

Splenda-Stevia campaign

Here’s some of the videos that I worked on this past spring for Humanaut. I am so lucky to be associated with these folks… they’re the best client that a sound mixer could ever wish for! I’m headed back to Chattanooga in a few weeks for yet another project, and I can’t wait to see what these folks have cooked up. Special thanks to my son Kyle Gilbert for his help on this project, he was boom op/audio utility, and a huge help. I’m definitely spoiled now & want him along on all my jobs (and I’m doubly proud that Humanaut specifically requested him for the next job!)


Heading to Chattanooga!

I’m about to embark on a road trip back to Chattanooga for a three-day commercial shoot and a recording session with Spinster, and a possible 2nd 3-day commercial shoot with another production company. Can’t wait to work with my peeps again!

Also on my to-do list is to pick up my Otari MTR10 tape recorder and bring it back to Savannah. I’d loaned it to Brett Nolan at The Soundry. While I don’t really have room for it here, I’m anxious to get it back so I can master some projects. There’s no emulation that can match the sound of real analog tape, and this was among the best machines ever built. The downside is the size… about the same as a large dorm fridge, and it weighs about 150 lbs, so moving it is a bit of a thing.

New Music- “Here You Are” by Spinster

Here’s a video I worked on for Spinster in Chattanooga. Capture was done in six tracks- no overdubs- using my Sound Devices 664. Look closely and you’ll see the Watts Polyribbon being used on Amelia’s vocals. A very slight touch of Universal Audio EP34 tape delay was added to the vocals.


Their Facebook page is Spinster@callmespinster

How I met Bootsy Collins!

So I’m here in Atlanta shooting DragonCon for Marvel, thanks to a referral from my good friend Grady Upchurch. Most all the costumes are over the top fantastic. We were down for a moment when he said, “that’s a pretty good Bootsy outfit… wait a minute, THAT’S HIM!” He was just walking the convention floor with all the other cosplayers, not attracting too much attention… he blended right in. A lot of the kids didn’t realize who he was… even our young PA Max said, “Who’s Bootsy Collins?”


Me and Bootsy Collins at DragonCon in Atlanta.

Which reminds me of a related story I overheard at the African American History Museum in Washington DC. On the top floor, they have a reproduction of the Mothership (the original was destroyed) built by the same folks who made the original. A woman behind us said “That was the first concert I ever went to. I begged my Mama to let me go… I was only 15. She finally gave me permission. Well, when we got there, the place went dark, and this thing started floating down from the ceiling… and then all this weed came out. Then they (Parlament Funkadelic) came out on stage and played this song called ‘Light It Up,’ so we did. When my Mama picked us up, I didn’t stop talking the entire trip home. Mama said, ‘Honey, I think you got a contact buzz at that concert.’ “Oh really, Mama, what’s that?’ ‘That’s when you’re around a bunch of people smoking marajuana.’ ‘Really, Mama? What do they call it when you actually smoke it?’ She said to go lay down, Honey, and you’ll feel better in the morning.

I mentioned that story to Bootsey. He said, “Well, it sounds like she was really there!”

New equipment- the Universal Audio EP-34 Tape Delay

I’ve been looking at the prices of a real tape delay for a long time now. At the top of my list has been the Roland 501, which had balanced inputs and outputs… pretty essential for low-noise interfacing into an analog system. Unfortunately, the prices for these rarely dip below $1,500 for anything other than a total basket case, which for my situation is completely impractical.

The other option is a plugin emulation of a tape echo. Universal Audio has a couple options… the Echoplex EP-34 and the Galaxy tape echo, which is an emulation of the Roland 201. A recent mix was screaming for a good delay unit, so I went ahead and ordered the Echoplex.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 9.30.14 PM

I know I’ve said it before, but I really like UA software products. They are not inexpensive, but every Universal Audio plugin that I’ve ever owned has survived three computer upgrades with no problems whatsoever.

Visually, the plugin looks just like an Echoplex, with a few additional controls- a panpot, and sync, tape tension, and wet toggles. A window that numerically displays the delay in ms was a luxury that engineers dreamed of back in the day, but nice addition for the software version.

I’d only used a real tape delay for a brief moment when I was much younger. I don’t remember much about it, except that it sounded REALLY cool. This plugin sounds about the same. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the emulation, but I can speak to the results. It’s a very nice addition for vocals if used sparingly. For mixing reggae, it’s essential… and should definitely be used un-sparingly.

I love it… a sample should be coming shortly.