Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cash Black

We got a German sale for, um, some amount of USD (I wish they were Euros). This puts us in the "cash black" by $700. Drunkenness ensues.
Bengal cats say "yay".

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Banned Video

Here's the video banned by YouTube. It's on MetaCafe, but ineligible for "producer rewards" because of the "adult" content. It's days like this I wish we were more like France. That, and when I want some cheese.

Prague Spring "Lovesong" - Free videos are just a click away

Scouting in Brooklyn

Today did a bit more traipsing around Brooklyn scouting for locations. Mac did a dialog polish and I did a bit of a check on Angry Planet -- the new script is up. Talked to location people in Pennsylvania about abandoned factories and mines and mills.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Big Brains

This is a picture of my brother David. This is a projection of how big his brain really is. He has the Giant Brain and does all the thinking for the rest of us. We should be grateful that he does our thinking as it means we don't have to.
And here's a picture of Melissa Dale and her new baby girl. I don't know what the baby's name is. As far as the pictures go, the baby seems to be named "Baby girl Sony Camera". But I just know that can't be right.

And today I had a big adventure in Greenpoint looking for a post-apocalyptic beat-up and run-down area. Unfortunately everyone is building up Greenpoint. The waste treatment facility looked from Google satellite maps like it might be a good bet, but they'd actually built it up and made it prettier since this satellite photo was taken. It did, however, smell like a waste treatment facility. Mmmm! Yummers!

Update: This is Dave's response to the last few entries on this blog:
"I'm sure you realize that your title of Dictator (of Imaginary Firearms) was dictated to you.
May I suggest (not dictate, just suggest) that you pronounce yourself the Comptroller rather than the dictator. Comptroller has the perceptual advantage of being less menacing yet more authoritative."
See? Big Brain. Does all our thinking!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Clarebot vs Google is Evil

Clare Stevenson in Millennium Crisis walks toward the Wilkapunk 'bot from Angry Planet. A short test render.
Very unhappy. Google is Evil. Some jerkwads "flagged" the lovesong video and then some buffoon Inquisitor at Google decided that this music video violates their terms of use. It's absolutely absurd. Of course, they give no reason -- they can't say it's pornography or violates any copyright -- they just took it down.
Now I'm scared of Google. I want to move my blog in case they want to take IT down too. And obviously, I have to find another means of hosting my videos.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Robot for You

This is a quick test of Ian Hubert's Wilkapunk as our alien combat robot in Angry Planet. He doesn't have all his materials, so he kinda looks like an Imperial Stormrobot or something out of I Robot.

Friday, June 15, 2007


We are screening Millennium Crisis at the Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Avenue, on July 14th at 2:30pm.

1. Drew 2. Laura 3. Daryl Boling 4. Ben Thomas 5. + Catherine 6. Jennifer Gordon Thomas 7. (+1) 8. Paula Reily 9. (Paula Reily +1) 10. Lanie 11. +1 12. Jennifer Turvey 14. Anna Wilson 15. +1 16. +2 17. +3 18. Ed 19. +1 20. Lindsay Roberts 21. +1 22. Monica Russell 23. Melissa S. 24. +1 25. + baby 26. Anthony Litton 27. +1 ...

Oh wait, look! I'm not in charge of the list! Yay me!

The Good, the Boom, and the Ugly

A fellow who was a PA on a shoot I worked on as a sound mixer a few years ago called today asking for a budget price for location sound on a feature he's producing. I wrote this:
"Now typically for a commercial shoot the numbers would break down like this:
Commercial rates $650/10-hr day sound mixer
$750/day gear rental
$550/day boom operator
That is, of course, completely untenable on a $85,000 shoot as it'll eat almost half your budget. You're going to want to cut sound pre- and post-production down to about 15% of your total budget I imagine. The real trick is budgeting for a boom operator. Typically it's easier to get the sound mixer (with gear) to go under their normal rate than getting a good boom op to go under their normal rate - which is why so many low-budget shoots use an intern to boom.
It's certainly a lot easier on the sound mixer to have a good boom operator rather than an unexperienced boom operator, but more than that it also adds to the overall quality of the movie. Some noises will magically go away, the set will be a mellower place, life will be better and filled with roses, wine, and song, when you have a good experienced boom operator."

Thursday, June 14, 2007


We're discussing with Ian Hubert in Seattle the option of using one of his robot models to be the robot which Athena has to kill.
New task: storyboard love scene between West and Athena. Ugh. I hate drawing. I always make terrible drawings where I have to put arrows to show which way people are facing.
In any case, here's one of Ian's tests of his "Wilkapunk" robot.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Supreme Dictator In Charge of Imaginary Firearms

So... I ordered a light saber from Parks Sabers and it could take as much as 10 weeks for us to get it. We're getting a green blade.
I had an idea we would want the Fusion (the more silver-y one) for Athena, our producer thought the Rogue (the one with more black hardware) would be more appropriate. I said "Let's put it to a vote" and asked Maduka and Blair which they liked better and they both liked the Rogue better.
Laura said "Drew wins!" I said "What? Everyone liked the Rogue better." And Laura said "Oh, I thought that Drew was the Supreme Dictator in Charge of Imaginary Firearms so the vote would be invalidated."
I ordered the Rogue. I may be Supreme Dictator in Charge of Imaginary Firearms, but I'm a benevolent Supreme Dictator of Imaginary Firearms.


I got a quote on production insurance which will allow us to shoot in the City of New York with real permits.
That's actually a pretty decent price.

I still think the Fusion would have been better.

Who We Got?

July 1, 1pm. Reading at MTS. Angry Planet screenplay. Updated daily.

Daryl Boling confirmed... West
Jason Howard confirmed... Luther
Kate Sessions confirmed... Maylena
Jeff Plunkett confirmed... Babish
Maduka Steady confirmed... Driggs
Jef Betz confirmed... Galloway
Ato Essandoh confirmed... Stahl

Blair Johnson can NOT come
Ben Thomas can NOT come

No Cannes Do

Well, unfortunately there were no sales at the Cannes Film Market. Apparently we got screeners out to Indonesia and some other places. Aargh. We're so close to being in the "cash black". We do have sales to China and Thailand though. But those sales don't quite push us over into the black.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Plum wine

We must needs some plum wine for Angry Planet. Specifically, we need plum wine. We're going to get on top of that.
We're scheduling a reading for July 1.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Laying out Mona

Really, just skip this post. There's nothing for you to read here.

The manual for the Yamaha AW1600. It's only got 8 inputs but it's got the requisite 4 "omni" outputs and all the EQ and delay and dynamics you want to shake your stick at.

Actually, there's quite a few inputs from the stage. I've got 8 vocal mics, not including any sillyness we might have with wireless.

Update: After I wrote him an email detailing some of our equipment needs, the producer's friend wrote me and the producer an email saying "Was wondering if you had considered getting a sound designer. I think that it would be a good idea. I know several very good ones. The first onr that comes to mind is XXXX XXXX. His number is XXXXXXXX. He has done hundreds of shows on and off Broadway. If he is not available I know of many others."
I wrote back saying "
We considered it, but decided to go with me instead!" I figured that I'd let the insult roll off my back. But the producer writes back and says "drew... what do you call yourself? should we call XXX...? Let me know.
thanks [friend of the producer]!"

My response? Well, I think the design fee was $400 for a show which runs for 20-some-odd performances (they wanted someone to design and mix the show). The budget was $2000 (for four weeks). And I figure that if I'm working for free on a no-budget show I just don't need the grief and aggravation. Besides, aren't I on pre-pro on a feature film?
I wrote to them: "You know what? You should call XXX to do your sound design."

Designing on a Blog, Part oh-whatever

OK, so designing the musical The People versus Mona.
My third musical in the last 1.5 years. Which is funny, 'cause I don't even try to do sound design work anymore. And the other funny thing is the last musical I did was about the Mona Lisa. More Monas. More the merrier.

In any case, the producer has a friend who has the following gear:
Digital Recorders & Processors
1 - Yamaha AW2400 24 track recorder/workstation
1 - Yamaha AW1600 16 track recorder/workstation (in rolling case for remotes)
1 - Edirol R-4 Pro 4 track digital recorder
1 - Presonus Digimax 8 channel mic pre
2 - DBX 376 tube channel strips
2 - DBX 160XT compressors
1 - ART SGX 2000 multi effect processor
1 - Presonus Central station control room monitor selector
1 - Furman HDS-6 headphone mixing system with 5 remote stations,
numerous headphones
(mostly Sony MDR 7506)

2 - JBL LSR 6328P powered monitors
4 - JBL 4312 passive monitors
4 - Advent Powered Partners

1 - AKG C-426 1 point stereo mic
1 - AKG C-414
2 - AKG C-4000
2 - AKG C-3000
2 - AKG C-535
2 - AKG C-451/CK-1/CK-8/CK-9
3 - Sennheiser MKH-40
2 - Earthworks M-30
1 - Sennheiser 441
5 - AKG D-224
2 - AKG D-222
1 - AKG D-200
3 - Shure Beta 57
- various other mics, stands, booms, etc.

Misc Stuff
1 - Kurzweil stage piano, 88 weighted keys
1 - Yamaha keyboard
1 - Fender electric bass
1 - Fender Stratocaster guitar
1 - Martin acoustic/electric guitar
2 - Yamaha nylon string acoustic/electric guitars
2 - JBL EON 10 powered speakers
- Acoustic & electric drums, cymbals, stomp boxes.

The producer also has a Mackie 1604 mixer.

I'm concerned mostly that the band will need some kind of in-ear monitors. But the Furmans are a solution to that, if we can use them.

Wooster Group Parody

So, I go to the Trifecta Festival yesterday to see Jason Howard in some Puppet Kafka yesterday and he was, as always, just wonderful.
Before his show (about some guy who turns into a bug) was a one-act parody by another company of the Wooster Group's LSD show. I never worked on LSD, when I worked for the Wooster Group I was finishing up their "Brace Up" and started their "Fish Story" and "Emperor Jones". I don't even remember if I saw a revival of LSD because, let's face it, most Wooster Group shows are basically interchangeable.
They did make some mistakes though. All the low end should have been rolled off all the microphones at about 500 Hz. And yes, I remember that.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Microphone Test

So, I finally decided to get a Schoeps CMIT 5U shotgun microphone ($1800). I figured, it was time to move up.
I thought though, why don't I A/B it against my Sanken CS-1 (about $750) first? You know, just to be prudent about my buying of expensive stuff.
I'd posted earlier about my suspicions (which, as a word, always looks misspelled to me) regarding these microphones and those suspicions turned out to be basically true.
The Schoeps shotgun is much nicer, more pleasing to the ear. Aaaaahhhh.... The Sanken rejects more sound off-axis it's true, but that sound (albeit at a lower decibel level) is less pleasant to listen to.
So: Schoeps shotgun wins.
But... but then...
I thought "What about the Schoeps shotgun versus a regular Schoeps with a hypercardioid pattern?" The "regular" Schoeps, which virtually all Hollywood sound mixers use as their base mic is a CMC-6 body, with an MK-41 capsule (about $1600).
Ooh. I wasn't expecting this: the MK-41 is much smoother than the CMIT shotgun. I figured it would be smoother, but not this much smoother. Of course, you hear off-axis stuff at a higher level. But not only does all that noise seem less annoying, but I believe the noise is a tad more editable too.
This contradicts another thing I usually think: that the production sound mixer, listening to the "reality" on set, ends up having a different idea of what sounds "good" than the dialog editor/re-recording mixer does. That still might be true but I certainly think I understand why Jeff Wexler favors the Schoeps MK-41 over any kind of shotgun even outdoors.
So I'm all ready to buy the Schoeps CMC6 with an MK-41 when I think "I really should A/B it against my Octava."
The Octava 012 is a funny microphone. For under $200 with a hypercardioid capsule, it's made in Russia and individual units have wildly differing sound quality because obviously the quality control ain't so good. I have had the best success buying at The Sound Room.
So I did a double-blind test and...
The two microphones sound very similar. Justin Marinoff and I listened back and forth and neither of us had a real preference. Then we asked Rich Topham at Professional Sound to A/B them blind. He found the Octava to be "warmer". Eric Perez however thought the upper mids on the Schoeps was nicer. Weirdly, no clear winner. And I'd have quite a bit of trouble if a boom op put up one rather than the other, telling which was which. Certainly by the time we get to post it's going to not even be the least of my troubles: I'm just not going to care.
Obviously, I'm not feeling any motivation to buy a $1600 Schoeps microphone when the $200 Octava microphone I already own is doing the "thing" for me. (And I have to admit it sounded great on our last picture so there ya go.)
Now note that the Octavas do sound different from one another. I may have just gotten lucky with mine sounding so good. Your mileage may vary.

Next up? Testing lavalier microphones.
I listened to Tram, Sanken COS11, Sennheiser MKE 2, PSC Millimics, Countryman B6, and the Pin Microphone.
The Pin sounded pretty bad. It needs a de-esser and almost gave me a lisp. I wish it sounded nicer 'cause I suck at mounting hidden lavs on people and not having clothes rustle.
The COS 11 and the B6 I felt kind of sounded similar to one another actually. They sound "open" compared to the Tram and the Millimic, which are more "isolating". For dialog, I think the "isolating" is good, and the Millimic kinda wins for price/performance.
The MKE 2... I've used them for nigh on 20 years now and they sound... OK I guess.
But I needed a lapel microphone. So the COS 11 won out. The Millimics I have in my kit are too weird looking (square) to live on someone's lapel. So I got a COS 11 wired for Lectrosonics and an Ambient Lectro 5-pin to XLR power supply/adapter (which is, in this particular sound world, the greatest thing since sliced bread.)
One last observation: almost all the mics sounded OK in open air, but when you put them against a body the phasing and such made them sound vastly more poopy. The Tram and the Millimic held up being against one's chest much better. That's... interesting... 'cause I never A/B'ed mics like that before. (Hey, I was busy before now.)

Monday, June 04, 2007

FS: AT 815 and Comtek Phase Right Antenna

Selling an Audio Technica AT 815 shotgun microphone. It's about 7 years old. There are "speckles" on the barrel of it, not scratches, I can't really tell what they are. Mic works fine. It was serviced once by AT because a wire came loose.
Serial number 136

Also, a Comtek Phase Right antenna. Works with Listen IFB transmitters (below), you only need a cable which goes from BNC to UHF(?) connector (I think that's a UHF connector on the Comtek). Dramatically improves transmission. I bought it used a few years ago, it has scratches and marks on it but still works fine. At least, it'll get the director to quit complaining that the sound to their IFB cuts in and out.
Serial number 185090

Both these items are on consignment sales at:

Professional Sound Services
311 West 43rd Street, Suite #1100, New York NY 10036.
Tel: 212.586.1033 Toll Free: 800.883.1033 Fax: 212.586.0970

Sunday, June 03, 2007

FS: Listen Technologies Assisted Listening System

I'm selling:

Two (2) LT-700 transmitters
and four (4) LR-400 receivers

$500 for all 6 units "as is" (see below).

The 72MHz multi-channel transmitters are factory modified with BNC connectors for antennae (I've used Comtek phase-right antennae with them.) I don't know if Listen does the mod anymore.

This is a 57-channel system. I bought them new about 6 years ago. Some of the channels may be compatible with some 72MHz Comtek systems but I never tried using them that way. I no longer have any of the manuals but I recall the manuals not being terribly useful, their tech support was pretty good though.

I'm selling on consignment here:

Professional Sound Services
311 West 43rd Street, Suite #1100, New York NY 10036.
Tel: 212.586.1033 Toll Free: 800.883.1033 Fax: 212.586.0970

Here's a link to Listen Technologies websi
te for the transmitters:
and for the recievers:

Now here's the thing: these are used, baby.

The receivers have been abused by directors, script supervisors, and producers (and, ahem, a boom operator or two). You know what all that means. They've been shaken, dropped, kicked (yes, on occasion) left on upside down in someone's pocket under a can of soda and a sandwich. And dropped some more.

The transmitters are actually in pretty good shape. Of course, they rode on my cart.

One of the receivers (the one we've marked "boom") has an "issue" with the headphone connector. It's intermittent.
Also, it has no belt clip anymore. I consider it broken, but it's possible that one might be able to fix the headphone connection by going in and soldering some things. I think the belt clip may be gone forever. I'm selling it as though it's just broken.

Another of the receivers (the "script supervisor") one has been dropped many times and no longer has a plastic faceplate. But it does seem to actually work.

The "VIP" receiver has no belt-clip.

They're all scratched up. I would only consider that two of the receivers work reliably (well, actually, the "script supervisor" one works, it's just missing the faceplate).

As far as I can tell, the transmitters are typically about $450 new, and the receivers are about $150 new.

I don't have headphones to go with them. Mostly I've been using cheapo "airline" headphones with them anyway.

Here are the serial numbers:


For sale: Mackie 1402VLZ (modified)

For sale: $600
A specially modified-for-film Mackie 1402 mixer.

I'm not getting out of the sound-for-film biz, but I am changing my equipment package. I don't work enough in the field to justify owning all the gear I do.
So to start with, I'm selling my mixer. It's about 8 years old and has been babied by being in a rack-mount case most of its life (see below for what it looked like when riding in my cart.)
I'm selling "on consignment" through:

Professional Sound Services
311 West 43rd Street, Suite #1100, New York NY 10036.
Tel: 212.586.1033 Toll Free: 800.883.1033 Fax: 212.586.0970

You can even go there to look at it!

Comes with the original manual, the original packaging, optional rack ears and the following modifications:

It runs off of 12 volts on a standard 4-pin XLR or via AC power (switchable).
Also, talkback mic added to front panel (just under fader 3) which can feed either Aux 1 (with the big red switch at the bottom) or the 2-mix buss (via switch up on the master section.)

The only issue with these mixers modified for 12 volts is that if you're charging the battery the mixer is running off of, you can faintly hear the cycling of the charger. I always made sure the charger was off during takes because of that. I normally got a day or two of use on this mixer and my wireless receivers and video monitors with a 32aH battery. It draws about .8 amps at 12 volts (so think about one hour per ampere hour on your battery.)

There are two trim pots for adjusting the level of the talk to Aux 1, and the talk to the 2-mix buss. I've never touched them.
I also have and am including the 2 pages of paperwork generated by Alternative Audio Service regarding their modifications of this mixer.
Here's a closeup of the fader panel, you can see where the talkback mic is located under fader 3.

It's not a Cooper by any means, but it's inexpensive and has the extra ins and outs for dealing with a couple different IFB's and feeding camera and a recorder separately.

The serial number is BT37540

Note: the cat is NOT included. ;-)

Friday, June 01, 2007

June Moon Bloon

Here's some armor from Nightmare Armor Studios. Today Nochnoi Dnevnoy or Dnevnoy Dozor or whatever ("Day Watch") comes out in theaters.
It looks like I'll be designing the sound for Ground Up Productions' "The People VS Mona" at the Abingdon theater.
Yesterday I had to remove a rheostat from a circuit at Theatresource. I really don't like working with high-voltage. Microphone level is about the most I can handle.
I just signed and had notarized some paperwork so that China might give us a ($4000) deal. Not much money but to see Millennium Crisis in Mandarin with Chinese subtitles might be fun.