Thursday, November 20, 2014

SDTTFSS series 1 episode 1

    The first episode of Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Screen and Stage wherein we answer the question of what to do when you need sound to come from somewhere on the stage. Ien DeNio was essentially the knowledge base around this episode. Here are the notes for the episode (these were my notes that I was working from in raw, unedited format.)





    Question:
  1. There's a phone ring or computer sound that's supposed to be coming from the stage. It sounds dumb coming from the speakers overhead. What can I do on an unlimited budget, and what can I do to fake it?


The right (old-fashioned) way:
IFB and squawk box

The more recent hack is to use a baby monitor.
Ien’s favorite baby monitor to mod is the Sony NTM-910

Yea, the black wire was just something I had lying around.. a crap speaker 1/8" input jack or something.. so I hacked it off, pulled the red and white lines that went to the little microphone and connected them up. I didn't even solder this one... its just wrapped and taped
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Photo on 3-6-14 at 12.39 PM.jpg
Also: walkie-talkies can be used.


Note that like all wireless things you can have trouble with taxicabs and other radio interference.


“It works best, I've found, if you throw up a dedicated wireless connection sans internet, connect the phone and computer to that.”

Ochen

Ochen priyatna, Andrei.

I am experimenting with Open Broadcaster Software. We'll see how it goes. The goal is to make a series of videos called "Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Stage and Screen". Unless someone comes up with a better title.



The Things in My Browser

Wade Kwan on designing restaurant websites.
A review of an Andre Norton book, Search for the Star Stones. That's one of her space-cat books. I've never seen an actual review for one.

Women in Refrigerators.
Doing multi-cam edits in Premiere Pro. It's actually fairly elegant.
OpenROV is an underwater robot with camera. Nine hundred bucks.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Composers Wanted

At the New Dramatists.
"New Dramatists is looking for composers to apply for our Composer-Librettist Studio to be held in NYC January 28 through February 13, 2015."

Monday, November 10, 2014

On Theatresource


This conversation happened regarding the Theatresource space at 177 MacDougal Street.

We: The space is fallow. The landlord is apparently using the old rehearsal room as an office but otherwise the place is empty.
They: I [heard a rumor] that the landlord was [recently] calling around to some producers to see if they wanted to rent the space.
That's funny, because when I asked about that before Theatresource closed they said no.
Well, apparently they changed their minds.
It's worth doing. I mean, it is, after all, a theater.
It would not be easy to make that a theater again.
Why not?
They took down the grid.
Putting up a new grid isn't that hard. That grid went up in one day.


I'm just saying it isn't a turn-key operation.
It wasn't a turn-key operation even when we were producing plays there.
[Raucous laughter.]

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Sean Mac Zipoy

Sean Williams on Mac Rogers:
This seeming ambiguity leads people to be suspicious about Mac as a person.
Ha! Yes.

Also, Lanie Zipoy is starting a short film festival. Without entrance fees. I know, right? The DAMN Film Series.  Enter early. Enter often.


Monday, November 03, 2014

Mozz and Josh

H/T Mozz Mendez, this trailer for Ex Machina looks a lot like what we're trying to do all the time.

Josh James' royalty-free plays is, in it self, free this week:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

We Are Not Good People

I just finished reading Jeff Somers We Are Not Good People. It is an absurdly well-written book. He wrote the Electric Church series which is also terrifically good.

I prefer my Jeff Somers in long-form (like novels) because there's this particular rhythm he develops, using a specialized language in the voice of the narrator. And you want to sort of get into that rhythm and sit there for the length of a novel.

I am, unfortunately, a bit too stupid to really understand what I'm supposed to be doing. I started reading We Are Not Good People and found that I'd already read it. Or, somehow, I'd already read the first half. I have no idea how that happened. I believe it may involve witchcraft of some kind.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cat Scratch Fincher

So I was gonna write a non-spoilery review of Gone Girl about how it's really an HBO series packed into a feature film because of the weird episodic structure which doesn't really obey any sort of normal act structure.
Then I was going to write about how the cat in the movie was a cat from some romantic comedy thrown accidentally into a thriller picture and nobody really knew what to do with the cat once it had seemed like a freaking plot point to feed the damn floppy thing.
But that's not what I'm going to write about. No.
Instead I'm going to write about the gratuitous thigh scratching.
Look, I have to sit though tiresome essays like this one. Ooh. Fincher doesn't use closeups when he doesn't have to. Oh yeah? Then explain the thigh scratch to me.
Maybe the whole thing was a goof. Maybe the cat was really Jonesey from Alien. Maybe it's Fincher's apology for ruining the Alien franchise.
Also, this movie just wasn't directed at all. Everything about Gone Girl was on the writer. As a movie it didn't really need a director. Any competent cinematographer with a competent AD could have got all the shots they needed and then sent them to editorial.
But that's not the point. The point is that we cut to the closeup of a thigh. Being scratched.
Why?
That closeup actually makes me angry. I should go lie down.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Exploitation

Exploitation is an odd word because it means both to "use" and to "abuse".

I'm not entirely sure where the line is between the two. One issue is that "exploitation" is actually contractual language. There's the right and obligation to exploit one's image in a motion picture (for instance). The exploitation in all forms throughout the universe (they apparently added "universe" what with satellite transmissions) known and unknown is exactly what you're doing when distributing a motion picture.
In some sort of Marxist universe there'd be a clear idea of the surplus value of labor which one could at some point actually measure. I'm not sure what that is.
So what I don't know is, at what point are you "exploiting" someone, and at what point are you not?
I have a feeling that CG animators and sound mixers are the ones who get exploited the most...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just a buncha tabs from my browser

It turns out that black loose clothes are the best to wear when you're trying to stay cool.


Ha! My inclination is to believe the director fixed some problems with this musical. The writer(s), shockingly, didn't think so.
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Reviews of the best altimeter watches of 2014.
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An XML - to FCP X translator (so you can get FCP 7 projects into FCP X) is ten bucks.
Apparently it will also get projects into Adobe Premiere.
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To get OMF's out of FCP X you'll need another translator which is either sixty bucks or a hundred fifty. I haven't figured out the difference between the two versions.
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Apparently the only way to scuba dive in Atlanta GA is to go to the aquarium and swim with whale sharks. They won't let you use any of your own gear except for a mask. I'm presuming this is because they're worried about where your gear has been.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Innovative Theater Awards

I really love the NYIT Awards. The thing, to me, about them is that they have a real "home town" feel in a place (New York City) which can frequently feel cold and brutal. Especially the theater scene.
Plus a lot of my friends won. Which is also awesome. Even more were nominated. Also awesome.
I'm just straight-up stealing these pictures from Facebook. I don't know who took them. I'd love to credit whomever.
Director DeLisa White
 Actually, I think the NYIT website hasn't actually posted the winners for 2014. But Backstage has an article on it.
Lighting designer Kia Rogers. 
Two thousand productions. The awards are based on two thousand productions. Thousand.
A list of the winners.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All The Things Going On

So you're supposed to live 8 minutes longer for every minute you exercise. But won't I be 8 times more miserable during that time I am alive?
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I can't parse my statements from Amazon Digital Services. They sent a check for $15.45 and another check for $10.49. I think that means I make more money as an author than as a musician. I'm not sure.

Turns out my decision about replacing the Mac Pro we have was not something that needed to be made. The Mac Pro crashed and died. Doesn't seem like it wants to reboot. Like, you know, ever.
So we've replaced it with a new i7 Mini. Which I'm spending all day setting up.
With 16GB of RAM (which I, of course, had to buy from a 3rd party in order to make the price $150 rather than $300) it's a pretty fast machine. Easily the fastest Mac we've had.
It's not quite the power workhorse that the PC is: but that's mostly because the PC has a thousand dollars of video card in it for 3D rendering.
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Gun laws in Colorado? There aren't any really.
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I am still really amused by Dead Raid (1301). I have "finished" the movie many many times. I had a computer crash and quite a few notes from our distributor which necessitated a lot of "back to square one" activities like changing the aspect ratio and re-creating all the robot sounds. But I still like the movie. There's a big ensemble scene which still cracks me up.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Power consumption

Editor's note: you do not want to bother yourself by reading this blog post. 
So. These dang MacPro towers run very hot. Also, my studio now has a deal where I pay my own electric costs. As a classic model in economics, this now encourages me to reduce the amount of electricity I use.
Note that the amount of heat is directly related to the amount of electricity.
When asking about the charges per kilowatt hour, my landlord gave me this handy chart:
this month it's $0.34
in june it was $0.31
in april $0.27
Of course it's not consistent. That would make calculations too easy.
I feel fairly confident Mac Pro eats between 115 and 318 watts. is about 85kW/h to 235kW/h a month. And if we pretend that we pay thirty cents a kWh, that's somewhere between $25 and $75 a month. Probably not quite $50 on average. I'd guess about $30 on average.
Still, that's $360 a year.
Our office is number 10.
Thing is, nowadays, I could get a Mac Mini for a thousand dollars which benchmarks faster. Those are between 11 and 85 Watts. So maybe 20kWh a month? So electric cost of six bucks.
So it'll cost about $72 a year to run a new mini. Versus $360 to continue to run the old Mac Pro.
The new mini would pay for itself in about 3 years. And it would irritate us with its heat consumption vastly less. And the fact that the mini is faster means it won't even be working as hard as the Pro.
Huh.