Monday, December 08, 2008
Grain of Salt
1. I'm frustrated with GTA IV on the PC. I do actually have two machines which can play the game, but apparently only just barely. Incidentally, the ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro is adequate (although, seemingly, marginally) to run the game. It took me 30 minutes to figure out how to open a car door. Now I can't figure out how to put down my cell phone. I bet all that is much easier on an XBox.
Also: I'm a much better driver in real life than I am in GTA IV. As a rule, in real life I do not run over people every other block and furthermore I tend to drive in the street, not the sidewalk.
2. I tend to take this kind of thing with a grain of salt. Oh so you mixed your television series in Soundtrack Pro, did you? Yeah, well what did you monitor on?
They always make it seem like the software was the important part of the process and that gee whiz, if you have the same software you can do it too! Well you can't. You're mixing for Broadcast, son. You've got much bigger issues than what software you allegedly used.
You had to have a real mix engineer working on it. It sure as hell ain't gonna be some random picture editor or a producer. It has to be someone who actually knows what they're doing and has done it before. Why? Well, you gotta deliver multiple masters -- stereo NTSC, stereo PAL, 5.1 in both formats, 5.1 full English mix, 5.1 M&E, stereo M&E in both NTSC and PAL framerates. And archiving masters -- 5.1 Music only, 5.1 Effects only, blah blah blah. But most important, you gotta be able to read and comprehend what the idiot video engineers wrote as the spec for audio. And that's going to be something wack like "no levels shall be above a peak of -12dBFS and dialog shall have an average level of -20dBFS" or some other nonsense.*
Am I really supposed to infer that your dialog editor, your foley editor, your music editor, your ADR mixer, and your mixing engineer came into your noisy edit suite with fans and cpu's everywhere, untreated acoustics, mysterious level control, and mixed on your crappity desktop speakers (in Soundtrack Pro)? C'mon.
The reason stuff tends to get mixed on higher-end systems isn't because the computer software is so important -- the software is hardly the most expensive part of the room. (The physical room and the monitoring are typically vastly more money. I think you'd be hard pressed to spend $20K on a ProTools system. You can blow a quarter of a million on the construction of a decent mixing room, foley suite, and ADR suite, without any trouble at all.) And then you've got your mixer (the person, not the "desk"), and the dialog editor, foley, etc. etc. Once you're done with all that, you may as well use whatever software annoys the mixing engineer and/or the editors the least.
3. I'm just grumpy because it took me 30 minutes to figure out that "F" was the "open car door" command in GTA IV on the PC. I hit six pedestrians, killing one, while fleeing the Albanians...
*You'll be lucky if the specs make that much sense. "Average level" indeed...