James H. Coburn IV, has been working professionally in Production Sound for twenty years but his involvement with movie production has been lifelong. He virtually grew up on movie sets and appeared in films starring his dad, Oscar winning actor James Coburn, including his debut – a moment in “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” (1973). Look for the child on the raft. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1979. He holds an Associate of Science in Recording Arts from LAFS.
A world traveler, James lived in Zimbabwe in the early 1980’s, working as voice over talent for numerous regional film and TV productions. He acted in features using the stage name “Harrison Coburn”, including starring in “Deadly Passion” (1985) produced by Anant Singh. He also worked in music production and radio, producing the radio show “Sooner or Later” with legendary broadcaster Allan Pierce for Capitol 604 Transki for 2 years.
Eventually James returned to the States to attend American University in Washington DC, where he studied Physics and Audio Engineering, before discovering his passion, film sound. He came home to Los Angeles to attend USC, and worked as a PA while honing his skills as a boom operator on numerous feature and television projects.
Since moving to mixing in 1996 with the short film “Mocking the Cosmos” with Tim Roth, he has continued to mix steadily working on some 23 feature films to date. His television work includes the series “Black Scorpion” produced by another legend in his field, filmmaker and mentor, Roger Corman, and the reality show “Guru2Go” for Discovery Networks channel Health TV. His resume includes mixing such independent features as “Free Enterprise” (1998) with Eric McCormack and William Shatner, “All’s Faire in Love” (2009) with Christina Ricci and Ann-Margret, and most recently “The Bronx Bull” (2013) with William Forstythe, Joe Mantegna, Natasha Henstridge and Penelope Ann Miller.
Since 2008 James has been glad to share his enthusiasm for sound with students at the Los Angeles Film School, including being involved in course design. In 2012 he was promoted to Head of Sound at the school. As Production Sound Mixer for Production 1 & 2 exercises, he teaches his students the fundamentals of production audio as boom operators and utility sound people. Through lectures and workshops, he also introduces his students to recording and mixing equipment, and the importance of production sound in enhancing and supporting the Director’s artistic vision.
Always fascinated by new technologies, James has been at the forefront of digital recording for film audio. He was the High Definition Audio Engineer on the first studio produced all Hi Def feature, Universal’s “How High” (2001) with Method Man and Red Man. Serving on the Board of the Cinema Audio Society from 2001 through 2008, he was instrumental in creating the CAS Technical Achievement Awards honoring innovation in the equipment and software used by production and post production sound mixers.
James lives in Los Angeles with his wife Robyn Coburn, a writer and mixed media artist, and his home schooled daughter. He is a licensed Amateur Radio operator (Ham) with the call sign W6JHC. He spends his spare time collecting LED flashlights, creating precious metal clay jewelry designs, and participating in online forums devoted to flashlights, ham radio, geocaching and gadgetry. He is also a past presenter at the Live and Learn Unschooling Conference, and North East Unschooling Conference, home schooling conferences devoted to alternative education and mindful parenting.