Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Audio Person Needed

I need an audio assistant/intern/contractor. Willing to do sound recording for very low rates. Like $10/hour. Preferably with their own gear.
They would preferably have their own DAW (we prefer Samplitude because it's in-house but it isn't necessary). The job can be done remotely too. No need for someone local to NYC.
Audio person would be responsible for:
  • Foley or cut effects for all footsteps and things that make sounds that look like they're happening to the characters onscreen.
  • Also making cut-effects
  • Backgrounds
  • Music editing
If they could compose that would be awesome. But again, not required. And yeah, $10/hour isn't a living wage. This would be for a young person who wants some credits in features.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Needs and Wants

I think I'm going to upgrade to this cooling system just to quiet my computer a bit:

I think we're just going to get some radios for this shoot. I think we need at least 4 of them.
Motorola seems to be the best-reviewed and are also reasonably priced.

I don't know which way to go though. Yellow kinda makes sense -- you'd want 'em to be bright for emergency purposes, no?

We're also going to need headsets. At least three.

Ha! And you wonder why I quit the Wooster Group. ;-)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

So This Happened

I don't know what to do about it. Other than watch. For much longer than you'd think. No. I mean even longer than that.

Happy Robot Sings To Cat

This was the second funniest line from this week's 30 Rock:
“If you’re really gonna do this, you’d better get a move on. Right now, there are models waking up from their coke binges; multi-ethnic bartenders with daddy issues; former ballerinas who had to quit because their boobs got too big — they’re gonna hear about the horny billionaire, and Thad’s gonna forget all about his little crush. They’re coming, Liz. Click click. That’s their stilettos. Click click.”
The funniest line was:
"A gym teacher on a sex tour of Indonesia called, he wants his shirt back."

I feel like we need customized dog tags. Either for Tyrannosaurus Mouse or Pandora Machine. If not, we end up with Star Wars dog tags on our next movie.
Today is a big set move-in day.
Techno Info Slide. Only $15.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Newe Machine

I've been looking at some AfterEffects projects. Just looking.

It turns out there are some utilities for the MSI X79A-GD65 "Military Class" mainboard that I have which allow the temperature to be monitored and regulated without going directly into the BIOS. "Click Bios II" and "System Monitor" deals with overclocking.

I figure if the CPU temperature is less than 40 degrees Centigrade then I'm in relatively good shape as long as the mainboard doesn't go above 45 degrees. In any case, setting the fans to "auto" makes the machine a whole lot quieter. If it starts to heat up, the computer will up the fan speed. Still, I'm checking into a quieter top fan for the machine.

Marcus the robot says hello.
The Titanus machine is very nice. It's been thrown into production. I've already done heavy mixing and 3D animation. These frames are taking about 40 seconds to render and I'm not even being polite to the machine -- I'll be working on audio in another window in a minute.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today's Exciting Notes

Make it clearer that the "bad" guys are from Earth. Make the decision to board the Prometheus a bigger deal.
How did Trent kill the other members of the crew?
How did Trent steer the ship off-course?
The new computer, Artemis, is fast. But it is loud as can be. It runs cool though. I suspect I can shut off the one fan which is so loud. I'll be finding out about that soon.

I'm dealing with notes on the mix of Day 2. A lot of these notes I remember from originally mixing it. And so many of the things I did were deliberate. This is a big lesson we've learned though. We're getting dinged on the English mix -- not the M&E's (which is where we expect to get flak). Right now I'm busy blaming Nat Cassidy. Because he sometimes opens his mouth like he's about to say something and the lab kicks that back as "there's no voice right there." Yeah.
I think one of the lessons here is that I need to mix at higher volumes. By that I mean my monitors have to be set louder. This can be confusing to them what don't do audio but the standard in motion pictures is that -20dB on your meters should be 85dB SPL in the room. It's a tad more complicated than that but what that means is that you're mixing to a standard level of loudness. Now, TV mixers sometimes use -20dB as 72dB SPL in the room. The effect of this is that the mix itself is usually made louder -- with louder dialog -- because your monitors have been turned down a bit.
And I'll go ahead and admit that sometimes (most of the time) I mix with an even lower calibration than that. And the effect of this tends to be that my dialog, effects, and music levels are slammed into the limiters. And (except for dialog) that's never a good thing.
It's funny how my dad, in a completely different business, has many of the same problems we do. The other day he said to me "Oh yeah, I know the feeling of having to go back and do work over again that we thought we'd finished." Yup. That's construction.
And honestly a lot of the way we do things is based on how my dad does things. We prefer punch lists in order to make notes (I suspect that elsewhere in the movie business it's called "spotting" even when it's a QC list of stuff the lab rejects.) We use job numbers. And we struggle with scheduling.
Today, just in order to irritate David Ian Lee, I whispered two lines of his dialog in the mix of Day 2. Because for whatever reason those lines were missing. And he will be irked! ;-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things For Today

This is the place where I talk about mixing movies, right? Yes. Yes it is. Not the Pandora Machine blog or the Tyrannosaurus Mouse blog.
I don't have a Cedar DNS 1000 because it costs six thousand bucks. But I have tried the Waves "Cedar-like" Waves WNS (Waves Noise Suppressor) and the Waves W43 (which is their Dolby Cat 43 - like plugin.)
Word on the street is that the WNS is about as effective as the DNS but it ain't as pretty sounding. It will remove the room yuk from normal dialog tracks, that I can confirm.

Right now I'm digging the built-in Samplitude "de-noiser" for tape-like hiss better than either of the Waves plugins.

"Zero DownTime" means over an our of starting and re-starting your computer, as it turns out.
I'm also feeling I may be prejudiced by reviews but the W43 sounds a bit better to me than the WNS. It's not as effective on dealing with noise on dialog tracks. On dialog I simply need something like the WNS. Sometimes there are some discounts out there on the wild web but the basic street price is $600 for the WNS. And that's considerably cheaper than the Cedar DNS-1000 (a Cedar was sold recently on eBay for $1900).

But I suspect that I should get the WNS plugin (I'm using the demo right now) before mixing the next picture.

Dig this post on cue-ing a Foley session. It's Pro-Tools-centric. I always thought the Foley people spotted their own tracks. Obviously they're used to someone sending them a session already spotted.

I'm working on new mixes for Day 2. And I'm mixing Android Insurrection. And I'm creating a new opening for Android Insurrection.

Here are some important notes for me:

"1002 from pre-render" is the version of 1002 with the multitrack audio.
"1002 2012" is the new version with the new mix.

Crash the Computer Day

Today is a computer-crashing day here in the Pandora Machine. FedEx says my new machine should get here today but I just don't believe them.
My groovy cousin Jaime-Jin is interviewed here.
Neil Benezra has a post-mixing house called the Brooklyn Sound Society. I chatted with him the other day regarding the Cedar DNS 1000 (he has one).
Alchemy Sound is a (primarily) ADR facility Upstate. I think it's funny that we all go to so much trouble to emulate the microphones used in production sound but nobody tries to emulate the preamps. Heck, I use Neve preamps and Apogee converters. In the field we just use Sound Devices 702 preamps/converters. Sure they sound good but not Neve/Apogee good.
Hmm... and I guess it's a tad odd that Foley artists tend to use shotguns when I think that most features will steer toward hypercardiods like the Schoeps. Actually, on our sets I've pretty much banned shotguns altogether. Even for exteriors. That's because the sound I find to be harder to edit from a shotgun. I'd rather just give up and go wireless. But anyway, that's just me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

HUD Comes Up Red

Jimmy put robots on this asteroid. As a rule when they use robots they really wanna keep it. Same is true with us -- flesh is cheaper than steel.
But your team doesn't have any robots. Damn things more likely to kill your own guys than to take on Jimmy anyway. That's why nobody wants to work with 'bots.
There's some kind of low gravity on this rock. Even in your full armor you weigh about as much as a baby. You learn that gets real clumsy real fast and you hug the ground crawling toward "Target X" which is supposed to be the entrance to their underground complex.
The first time you're hit you don't even know it. Your suit knows it though. HUD comes up red and decides that the shrapnel is too close to your spine to let you move anymore. So you feel yourself suddenly grow tired. More tired than you've ever been before. And you fall over like a statue, absolutely frozen.
This is what? The third, fourth time you've been hit. You don't remember and you don't care. Thing is, you're out in the open. And Jimmy wants you gone baby, not just taken out of commission for a while. Your rank insignia make you a senior NCO.
The stripes are just out there glowing. Any drone that comes by will punch depleted uranium into your medulla oblongata just as a sub-routine.
But your suit feels your stress go way up. It's almost like a gentle hiss in your brain when the miniature pumps change up your brain chemistry so you start feeling like lying here face down on this rock with enemy mechs all around you is the most comfortable place you could possibly be.


Stavrosound has a post on using multi-band expansion for dialog tracks. (We buss all the dialog to a subgroup with Samplitude's multiband expander set on it.)

Did I already blog about that? I may very well have.

New computer is built. And on its way. As per Jeff Wills, the name of the new machine will be Artemis. By coincidence, one of the characters in The Prometheus Trap by Steven Niles is named Artemis. The classical references just keep on coming.

I need to get it up and running like the dickens. Does that even make any sense? It's coming from Titanus Computers. I've got mixing and rendering to do in order to keep my sales rep from killing me.
 Anthony Jones if finishing up the cast for our helmets. Those downward-pointing nozzles will be open so that the actors won't pass out as easily from lack of oxygen.
I'm kinda grooving to the semi-organic look of the helmets.

The Stars My Dispatches

So I'm reading two books right now. Dispatches by Michael Herr and The Stars My Destination  by Alfred Bester.

Here's a friendly tip: don't read Dispatches unless you're heavily medicated. It's a fascinating book, but it'll royally piss you off. Herr's writing style became essentially the voice we think of in our heads of the American experience in the Vietnam War. He did, after all, co-write the screenplays of both Apocalypse Now as well as Full Metal Jacket.
His deconstruction of the sheer amount of bullshit shoveled on the American public by the Army, the Marines, General Westmoreland, and the whole gang of idiots running that show is just astounding.
Like science-fiction + madness levels of astounding. The book is bad for your blood pressure.
The writing style is somewhat trippy and in the "you are here" poetry of the "new journalism" of the time. But honestly, what he's saying is so crazy you can't write about it without talking about the metaphor of a snake which winds from Washington DC through Saigon to I Corps. The whole war was just nuts. Off the wall head banging screaming in the middle of the night nuts.
And if you want to read about it, read Dispatches.
There's a Marine named "Day Tripper". That's such an awesome name we have to use it somewhere.

Now, this The Stars, My Destination is a shockingly modern-seeming book. And it cooks along at quite a clip too. It's also about madness, but lucky for us it's just one dude's madness and it's a long time from now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Last Thing You Need

You're flat on your back, staring up at some star you've never seen before. Your suit has you swimming in a bluelove haze of gentle flowers which can only mean you've been hit real bad and one of the little computer brains in your armor decided to give you the best stuff it had.
It turns out that it was a processor by your right knee. It talked to the chips in your brain, gave them a "handshake" and filled your nervous system with fun-time.
There's a gurgling sound far away. That's the suit filling your lungs with air or, if you don't have enough lungs to aerate your blood the suit will make sure your brain gets enough O2 directly. Hell, you don't even have that much organic brain to contend with anyway.
Jimmy's sloughing over this planet with tanks, he doesn't like the armor we wear he wants to stay inside where it's warm and cozy. You have rudimentary readouts on your HUD. You can see the Skinny's tanks roll over the barren and barely Terraformed plateau as little red triangles. They seem to be ignoring you.
Suddenly one of his tanks disappears. Then another.
You're stoned out of your gourd at this point wondering how much of your body you really have left. You certainly don't have any of your mind left.
And the triangles on your heads-up-display keep blinking out.
Fighter-bombers. Terran. They're picking off the tanks which had cut your unit in half within 30 seconds of landing on this Plateau.
A robotic landing craft rides right on top of you. You see the enormous blood-red crescent on the intake door as they open and a probe comes down and attaches itself to a port on your helmet that is, for whatever reason, still exporting data. More probes and robotic arms descend -- cracking open your helmet and you take your first breath of air from this planet and it tastes like latrine mixed with diesel fuel and rotting fish but without what we might call the "pleasant" part of those smells.
You're nodding out though and a foam is being sprayed on you -- flesh healant and blood clotter. Your last thought before you black out is that some idiot AI from Mission is going to give you a promotion again now that you're more robot than human. That's the last thing you need.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Great to be King

One of the great things about being the British Monarch (hadn't you heard? Yes, it's true. Don't listen to that crazy person who claims to be the "Crown", because I am the Queen) is that you get to knight people.
And the best part about that is the name of the Order of the British Empire. Right out of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure the full name is:
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Most Excellent.
It is great to be king.

Internet Tough Guy

So yesterday I got the rest of the armor delivered. Here I am wearing it. For whatever reason I have a Delicate Cutter's T-shirt on underneath. Somehow it makes me seem more macho.
That being said the new plastic smell here in the studio is overpowering.
The Hero of the Internet.
(18) 01:08:08  -     01:08:52………...lack of foot sounds
Added footsteps, breathing, and some whispering in the BG. I put in some rolling sound of the Whirleydoomer.
(20) 01:12:08  -     01:12:10…..…….lack of voice
I think it just looks like he's saying something. He doesn't actually say anything there. I put more background crumpling of papers in instead.
(22) 01:16:27  -     01:16:30………...lack of woman’s screaming
I... hmm... nobody screams here. Perhaps I'm confused.
(28) 01:33:54  -     01:33:56…………overlap and echo voice / lack of voice
Ooh. I found the overlap. Yukky.
(30) 01:34:29  -     01:34:33…………blur voice
(31) 01:35:03  -     01:35:05…………volume down of voice
(37) 01:48:04  -     01:48:07…………lack of sound
(47) 02:06:16  -     02:06:18…………lack of sound
(49) 02:09:38  -     02:09:40…………lack of screaming
(50) 02:12:29  -     02:12:31…………lack of voice
(59) 01:47:30  -     01:47:31…………lack of voice

Look up "engine" on -- there's some awesome work on there.
Also, this is the holy grail of bullet casings hitting a concrete floor:

Robots and You -- Perfect Together

Advanced Robotic Dynamics "ARD" is the technology of the future. With inverse-feedback servo technology, the robot of the future can do anything a man can do and better.
There will be no need for wars over precious natural resources as Advanced robots maintain their own power supply and can regenerate new parts. And because Robots only exist at the behest of human beings, their only purpose is to serve Mankind making life better for billions around the globe and beyond.
Robots can be used in

  • Construction. 
  • Farming.
  • Education. 
  • Nuclear Technologies.
  • Home improvement.
  • International Peacekeeping.
  • And much much more.

Keep in mind that although you may have a robot assigned to you, each robot is operated by an Artificial Intelligence, or "A.I." which communicates with the robot using subspace frequency-shifted communication. This communication is completely silent to the organic listener, but occurs constantly to ensure normal operations and codes of conduct.
These forms of communication cannot affect human targets. There have been no verified reports of increased psychic abilities, psychokinesis, telekinesis, or the ability to move objects or control others with organic minds. These aren't your grandmother's robots, no sir!
Should you or anyone you come in contact with exhibit signs of sub space radio frequency interference, contact a member of Joint Command immediately for physiological and psychological evaluation and cleanup.
Be advised that depending on the make and model number of any given robot there may be certain features in their makeup which predispose them to antisocial behavior. It is best to avoid these robots or to limit the time you are in contact with them.
Have caution around robots. Remember, they have a job to do and you don't! Robots are doing everything in their power to help humanity. Let's make their jobs easier!
Only trained professionals should try to give any instructions or orders to a robot.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Climbing Rank by Default

You've been sitting at the stainless steel desk in the only private bunk for Army on the whole God ship. You're Captain - O3 -- just because you outlived everyone else who came in with you. They're all black tar floating in 0g somewhere. Somewhere far away. You probably breathed the bulk of 'em in your lungs during the two week slow-transport in the triple-duce which pulled you offa that rock before the bombers came in and laid nutcracker missiles into that tiny, airless, .3g world you spent the last four months fighting on.
But none of that matters now does it. You don't even know your senior NCO's. One look at them and you see yourself what, six months ago?
Your brain doesn't work right, all the chips they put in it after that explosion from a dragon gun ripped through your helmet. Yeah, instead of becoming a vegetable they made you a hard case autodidact. You find yourself saying words like "autodidact" like it was the most natural thing in the world. Well you ain't in the world no more. And ain't nothin about you natural neither.
So you look at the plan, the attack formation for the next day. It doesn't make any sense at all but it's what the computer is telling you to do. You don't do what the 'puter says then you get a court martial. They don't terminate you ... no, that'd be "cruel and unusual". They just wipe your mind, man. You come back a blank. Same rank just no memories. You're more a computer than Mother who puts you to sleep with her twilights and soothing words that lull you to sleep.
As you step into the drop capsule your heart doesn't even skip a beat. You're gonna stay at a calm 60 right 'till the door opens and you're in the air, dumping chaff behind you, looking at a screen that shows you where all your boys are ("boys" -- half of 'em are women in their late 40's with new "sleeves" or bodies of 24-year-old athletes on a good day but with unbreakable titanium ceramic bones and energy reserves for days). Your boys are all good. The jump is clean. Until you take fire from the ground.
It's mostly harmless. The chaff is there to confuse them. But a couple of the green arrows on your display go red. There's two more minutes 'till your platoon is on the ground. No corpsman can get to the red-status in your airborne 'till they hit ground.
After mopup, Mother decides to bring you all back upstairs to her hold. A robot plays a game of charades with you to see how psyops might have messed with your brain. Jimmy learned that if they transmitted the sound of a baby crying it really got on our nerves, so we were blacked out except for the screaming sound of an infant for 3 days on that rock.
It's prescription time. Your medibot makes a quick consultation and sends you on your way with an injection of nanobots to keep you smooth with your new post-traumatic stress. They've assigned a cat to your room. It's still in its box so you let it out. Your chit card has rations for the animal who mostly sleeps on your bed. That's how they practice active psychiatry on firebase Io -- giving you a cat.

My Punchlist

Anthony Jones is designing and building our space helmets. Here he is in his off-hours:

I love punchlists. Here's the punchlist for the audio fixes in Battle: New York Day II. Note that I don't have to agree with these notes, I just have to do them. We need one of those Foley floors in the vocal booth...

(18) 01:08:08  -     01:08:52………...lack of foot sounds
(20) 01:12:08  -     01:12:10…..…….lack of voice
(22) 01:16:27  -     01:16:30………...lack of woman’s screaming
(28) 01:33:54  -     01:33:56…………overlap and echo voice / lack of voice
(30) 01:34:29  -     01:34:33…………blur voice
(31) 01:35:03  -     01:35:05…………volume down of voice
(37) 01:48:04  -     01:48:07…………lack of sound
(47) 02:06:16  -     02:06:18…………lack of sound
(49) 02:09:38  -     02:09:40…………lack of screaming
(50) 02:12:29  -     02:12:31…………lack of voice
(59) 01:47:30  -     01:47:31…………lack of voice

Plus, we need someone to do post-production sound for us. I can teach you. I can't pay you. I just don't enjoy doing it myself. I'm too busy sitting in my hottub with my cigar and gold chains.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drink Me

So, I'm on Pinterest. I have no idea what to do with it though. They have a "no nudity" rule. I have no idea why that is.
I'm blowing another $450 so that I should get myself a new i7 computer next week. The CPU chip I wanted ain't available, but there's another chip that is available and it's only $450 more expensive. Yay me.
There comes a part toward the end of my day where I look and see that there's no way I'm getting any more work done. Then this pig appears and smiles at me and tells me to come outside and play ball with him. Miniature baby elephants, like Mylar balloons, float up by the ceiling and giggle their collective way down the hall. It's at this point, shockingly, that I think to myself "Maybe I just need a drink".

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breathe In

You make sergeant but you didn't sign up for this crap. Next stop is LT and then things get even worse. Some robot goes 20-questions with you and you're tired and get pissy with it and all of a sudden they rotate you back to a fetid hole called "New Philadelphia" two thousand AU's out from the nearest fighting.
Nearest fighting? Jimmy is everywhere, man. You hear rail guns cracking down the streets of NP every day. The MP's here see more combat than some of the rocks you've been on where the Skinnys were dug in deep and you had to dig 'em out with backhoes.
You can't sleep without knocking on your HUD to twilight you. You hear someone outside your door and you just know its a Skinny ghost coming to get what's his. Your own nervous system goes from zero to a hundred in less time than it takes you to blink. You're out of bed, crouched in the dark, a knife in your hand as long as your hand (this is why they don't let you take weapons back to a civilian town.) You blow through the door, figuring that they won't be ready for you to be outside the door, right? They're coming for you while you're in your bed, in some rathole downtown New Philadelphia hotel overlooking the cesspool of a river that has so much bacteria in it they don't even let humans within a hundred meters of the thing.
And as you spring through the door thinking you're going to take a count of how many there are, kill the one with the gun nearest you and then kill another one before kicking the third (fourth?) Skinny in the head, you find yourself lying on the floor with your knife at the throat of a deep emerald-green female (female? Right? Who can tell when they have their clothes on?) She's the maid, delivering towels to the wrong room.
And the MP's come and you mumble your apologies and they nod like they've heard this a thousand times before until one of them takes you aside and says that she'll drop the charges for an M-note and "that's just how things work around here" so you hand the MP some plastics from your wallet and he slips them to her and everybody goes home.
Two weeks later the bar downstairs at the hotel is blown apart just after 2am and they say it was one of the maids. Was it your maid? Did you have your knife at her throat? Would it have even mattered? Jimmy would have just sent somebody else to do the job. It doesn't matter -- out there or back in the NP. Nothing you do will win this, lose this, or draw it to a bloody tie so anybody can go home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day Hound

This smiley dog says "Happy Valentine's Day!" She is Chien, my sister's dog, sometimes known as "Doggit".

New Coda

"In my demure barbie-doll nudity, I pick up the big gun, and a cigarette, which I light in the burning flames of the space shuttle. Taking my red wig off and tossing it into the air, I say, in a Marcus voice, "time to play human. " And I blast the red wig with my big gun like a Englishman shooting a clay pigeon, but creepier."

Right now we don't have a shuttle, all beat up and in pieces, in order to make this shot. We'll hopefully figure out something. By Sunday.

I suppose I could ask the writers about a new coda to Android Insurrection. But neither of them believe they actually wrote the movie at this point so it's a bit like kicking a dead horse.
Make Human is an open-source project for making 3D models of humans. Which is very cool. I don't have time to deal with it but it's very cool. Nathan Vegdahl turned us on to it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Coarse Grey Film

Late in '52 the Skinnys started getting issued dragon guns their techs had come up with. The self-detonating plasma shells would tear through our armor like water. Marines would joke about "a fine red mist" but the mist wasn't fine, and it wasn't red. Coarse and black. You carried more tar in the 'draulic system in your suit that you had blood. Between the lubricating oil, the solar-masticating sludge, and the coolant you were a mass of plasticized goo just waiting for a plasma hit on patrol.
They had to hit you close. So nobody would let Skinnys surrender anymore. No way you're gonna let 'em in the perimeter, right? Command hated that. But sometimes they got in. Command hated that more. Sometimes they got in and they got out, nobody know how. Like ghosts.


Here's some information I need intermittently.
My primary DNS on is:
My secondary DNS is

This is a bunny. Apparently you're not really supposed to wash them.
Kompozer is an open-source web editor.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Easy Company Takes a Breath

The worst though is when you've taken a mortar round or a laser cuts into your armor. The armor seals itself up -- by injecting you with a twilighting morphine substitute and chopping off the offending limb where the breach is. So now you're a paraplegic and lying on your back in some kind of bio slop the suit juices up for you -- settled deep in a pile of armor that's the other guys in your unit, some better off, some worse than you -- in the cargo hold of a landing craft on its way back to a medical ship.
But this won't be your ride home. No. Even if the phosphorus cracked through your helmet and took away half your brain: your armor sealed you up good and stiff and "you're in the Army now boy - we just need you breathin'" and you know that's not even true.
So the robot docs back on the medvac ship patch you up and they make sure your skin tone is the same on your new arms and legs because if it ain't that just freaks guys out. And they put a couple organic chips in your brain complete with solid organic armor plating and tell you you're better than new and because of that -- because of how you suddenly know how to work your Advanced Weapons Systems and can even do a rudimentary job of piloting one of these little drop boats -- they give you a promotion and now you got fresh meat under your command. Fresh kids who haven't been in zero gee for more than a week and bumping off walls and throwing up their lunch 'till they learn to take their greenies before chow time and they don't know anything about AWS or how to get out of a drop ship in less than 12 seconds but now you do so you gotta explain all the stuff the robots back at the hospital just injected into your mind. Teach it.
They got you. There's only two ways you're getting home, boy, and that's either by winning or getting blown into such small pieces even the 'droids can't put you back together again. You wonder which is worse.
You don't need shark anymore. The biomech in your brain will do that for you. You crawlin' up the walls, so amped up on fear and adrenaline that you wanna open that hatch -- just blow open the bolts and say "sayonara" to the idiot robot they'd send after you in cold, dead, space? You just make a selection on your new HUD. Just roll back your nerves so you're smooth.
Then you start to like it. No black-market mack for you anymore, boy. You want to get high? It's right there -- just roll up the HUD, sit back and relax. You gotta be awake and tight and ready for whatever the jimmies want to throw at you, just hit the button and you're ready to go.
Now they really do own you. Because if you go back home you won't have this. How could you go home when you could live like this?

Listing My Problems

I like the term "Imaginary Opera".

I'd like to start an imaginary opera company.
The "inverse square law" as it applies to lighting.
I need someone to run my opera company. And to run a record company with Tyrannosaurus Mouse.
Maybe I need some viral videos.
Yeah. That's the ticket.
That might work but I keep looking dorkier and dorkier all the time.
Plus I need a full-time animator and compositor. And I need money. A lot more money.
Where did I leave that Lotto ticket?

Europa Firebase

You're blacked out now. They always do that before a special op. You can feel it. But your motor coordination is just perfect. They dial back the high so you aren't loopy. But you're not allowed to take notes once you go into the operations room -- that's the whole point. No witnesses.
This way there's no way for you to remember the mission. They'll keep you popped, feelin' good, and ready to fight. But you won't remember. You won't remember if you live. I guess if you die you maybe remember but who are you going to talk to?
Some of the guys look at you with eyes rolling into their heads. They're gonna need more shark to stay awake for the op. A medic will be by to set them up. Everybody will be sharp and frosty by the time the bay doors open. Cool and crispy.
So one day you do something really stupid. You bring a memo into the ops brief. And you write down the nonsense they tell you.
You'll be flying thirteen meters off the surface for over 2300 clicks. You can't use computers, gotta fly it all manual. But hey, you're not a pilot and right now you're feeling so good from the good stuff flowing in your veins and up in your brain that you don't care. You're just loading munitions and keeping it tight.
They give you a taste of shark. The replicators in your brain will only last for about 13 hours -- not the permanent kind. But they keep you going good behind your 80mm guns, all lined up nicely.
And you can wait. Suddenly you have the infinite attention span of a computer. You'll learn French. You'll take courses on Calculus with your buddies. But you won't remember any of it while you're in blackout..
But you sneak out the details of your mission. The stuff you wrote when you were in the black.
You look at this crap and you say "This was me?"
Did I do these things?
And when you've read it four or five times you say "Is this the kind of man I am?" Could you really have done those things?
Because you had. You had.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sunday, February 05, 2012


My little brother Greg produced this video for Fidelis. It's pretty brilliant.

Tears at the heart-strings.

Gloves and Boots

Not Puss and Boots. Totally different thing.
This was a toolbox which I used to use with my location sound setup. And now you can look at the mess on my desk too.

Here are the small version of the gloves. I don't know whether they'll be the right size on Rebecca Kush:

Here are the medium and large versions of those gloves:

I might just get a pair of medium and two pair of large and tell people "If the glove fits, you must commit" to being cast in the picture.

Now. Boots. There's these things called "Mickey Mouse" boots which the military use. I dunno.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

More Stuff To Buy

Even though we haven't cast the darn movie, it's time to buy some costumes.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

It's Not Safe

So for all of my life, my, er, relative has been an outspoken opponent of OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
But the reasons aren't as cold-hearted as you might at first think. Nope. He opposition to OSHA was the bureaucracy and needlessness of it.
Now the thing to understand about the kind of conservative my, er, relative is, is to understand that he will not comprehend anyone in his position doing anything he wouldn't do. So the argument "But relative, if OSHA didn't exist, employers would never provide safety equipment for their employees" was moot. Because of course employers would provide safety gear.
The problem is that workers don't want to use it. (And yeah, the long history of abuse of employees by employers didn't happen because my relative never saw that.)
Instead what he saw, back in the day when there was no real foreman at his company (we're talking nigh on 40 years ago) he would go into the shop and yell at everybody for not wearing proper protection. Like eye protection. Which was sitting right next to them. They just had to pick it up. They just wouldn't.
But, like seatbelts, they'd say "Oh but I'm just doing this one little thing/driving across town, I don't really need it."
So to my relative, safety became an issue which the employers were more concerned with than employees.
And honestly I'm still shocked whenever employees are cavalier about using safety gear. I've also noticed that a foreman's job is to be a jackbooted thug when it comes to safety. Because even if you have management (like my relative) who is pro-safety, the idiots who work around power tools aren't.
Heaven help you if management doesn't care about your safety. Because if they aren't, and your co-workers aren't, you're in big trouble.
My big problem on set is that I am almost literally blind when I'm working. Well, I do literally have tunnel vision because it's virtually impossible for me to see outside of what the lens is looking at. And stuff outside the lens is exactly where something's coming from that's going to whump somebody.
I try to make sure our fight choreographers are vigilant about making things comfy and safe. In a fight scene anybody can call "cut". (If we're doing a straight up dramatic or dialog scene I will throw something at you if you try to cut while I'm shooting.) But if you're not comfy doing a fight we have to stop immediately. And there I'm relying on fight choreographers to be my "foreman" on set.
For Art and G&E, well, those departments tend to do stupid stuff like get themselves cut or zapped. One thing I love about shooting in high ISO's is that the lamps we use can be much lower wattage. We don't have to do crazy stuff like run three-phase or 220v (that's right, it's amps that kill you but it's the voltage that gets to you.) Most of our lights can be handled without gloves. But if you're playing with incandescents, or worse, you just have to wear gloves. Or I will smack you. See? Since you're not worried about getting hurt by whatever you're doing, you'll at least be worried about what will happen to you if I find out you were doing something stupid and dangerous.
For the Art department all I can do is tell them that I'd rather not have a set than somebody get hurt.
If somebody does get hurt it better be because I was handing out spankings. And that's that.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Armor Armour Amore

Looking at armor for spacesuits.
This one below is amusingly almost girly. But you know if we covered up the maroon parts on the front and kept the embroidery it would totally work.

Soon, using motorbike armor as futuristic spacesuits and armor will look, well, like using motorbike armor. Sort of how using Nerf guns in sci-fi movies is outre.

And I'll tell ya I'm a bit surprised they went that route in the new Prometheus. But I figure if they can do it, we can too.