Mix Stage Essentials: the ping pong table

There is a great tradition of ping pong & post production. When I first started working on films we were mixing to/from 24 track reel to reel recorders & when we finished a reel & it was time for a reel change, it was also time for a game of ping pong. Nowadays a reel change usually only involves swapping hard drives on the recorders which takes only a few minutes, but the ping pong served more functions than simply filling in spare time. Mixing is demanding work – the concentration & focus involved in constantly assessing the creative progress/developments & details as well as all the technical requirements… So to turn the lights on & jump around & get some exercise does wonders!
I had a ping pong table at my studio for a while too, and I used to find that whenever I got stuck on a tricky problem if I stopped work for ten minutes & had a game of ping pong, as soon as I sat back down the solution would appear. Its partly the blood flow/exercise and partly the no-mind of playing… Anyway here is a great video thats certainly isn’t recent, but is still great to see again: ping pong matrix style or Japanese Bunraku style:

Playing ping pong on the mix stage can also be an interesting way of revealing peoples personalities – who is competitive and who isn’t… There have definitely been a few directors (& maybe a mixer?) where the mixing definitely goes smoother if they get to win at ping pong!

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