Saturday, March 31, 2012

Banana Clock

Do you like crazy people? Do you like crazy people with a lot of focus on a project they can't live to see the outcome of? We got 'em. Right here. The 10,000-year clock project.
We're going to try Pluraleyes again for The Prometheus Trap. Hey wait, aren't we Beta testers?
C'mon Red Bubble T's are an awesome name for a T-shirt company.
You know how Africans are all like "You haven't eaten a real banana"? Like there are some mystical magical special Ugandan sweet bananas that we just don't eat because they don't ship well? Well c'mon, this is New York City -- those bananas have to be available somewhere. Right? Gimme a good banana. Show me what I've been missing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beckett Day in the Pandora Machine

It was very important for him to try on a space helmet.

It fits him surprisingly well.


I've always said "Interns aren't worth what you don't pay them." And after I'm done with my wry, ironic laugh and turn back to the water cooler, I fall through the floor because an intern left the trap door open (again.)
Plus, you know, interns are basically not actually legal. I mean usually. In any case, here's ways to keep from getting smacked by the government for not paying your workers interns.
The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences is a Phoenix, AZ school which seems to have a focus on film post-production sound. Which is actually a good way to make sure your graduates get jobs.

But speaking of the water cooler (remember when I was doing that?):
The worst thing to have ever happened. It happened. We ran out of Poland Spring here in the office. I've yet to make inquiry regarding the permanence of this impoverished existence we all now lead. As a stopgap I filled my water bottle with tap water before putting it in the SodaStream.
I think I taste the placebo effect.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time to Wait

So you drop down into the Big Scary. The dark.
There's a bird down there, crashed out on some moon of some other moon of Jupiter. The piece of rock only has some number you don't even remember anymore --  R348? The bird was a troop transport. 16 guys on that thing but none of them been heard from in the 95 hours since she went down and they barely had enough air to make the brake around Jupiter in the first place so you ain't feeling too lucky.
And right now you have other concerns. The transponder on the little bird is calling its name not just to the brass up in Mission, but to Mister Skinny -- who likes to use lasers because they're quiet and fast and penetrate your armor like ice cream in July.
Surrounded by little robots who will take a bullet for you (if they have enough time after seeing one come for you), you rocket three short bursts, and then flip upside-down and do it two more times so your landing, while clumsy and inelegant, isn't deadly.
Radio silence. You know your buddy is on the other side of that crater but any chatter will put you under the languid gazing eye of Mr. Skinny and bring his radioactive wrath upon ye. So you stay quiet and make two more hops. Just two bunny hops that your suit lets to do, on your toes, without reaching escape velocity.
And there it is. A scar a half mile long. The engines evaporated their contents within microseconds of contact of the surface of this barren, airless hole of a planet. Probably half of the ship bounced right back up again at escape velocity speeds, only to fall toward Jupiter or crash into some moon, days, months, years from now.
But the damn transmitter still works and is all augured in and your Geiger counter is screaming but your onboard computer tells you that you can handle the Rads for another 15 minutes so you better start digging.
And here you are, out in the middle of nowhere space, the highest - tech at your disposal and you have a freakin' shovel in your over-armored and pressurized and inverse-feedback-servoed gloves and you're digging. Digging a hole in this hard desiccated rock as fast as you can until you hear the clang of the metal through your own spacesuit and you open the hole even faster because you've only got two more minutes of exposure from the Rads left and what if Mister Skinny is watching? Maybe he's already sent a little warhead of his own just for you, with your name on it. He could have launched as soon as you landed and how would you know?
So you pull the bright yellow carton out of the bulkhead with your super-human strength -- tearing a breach in the bird and you see something you don't want to see and can't ever forget inside the ship where two guys had been sharing a single air mask until they both left their coil of mortality, curled up in their arms for heat while a dozen of their comrades already lay dead around them.
And your fear of Mister Skinny with his lasers and his guided satellites scares you even more (right then) so you hold onto that little yellow package for all its worth and you start your bunny hops -- as fast as you can go.
The horizon lights up. You don't look back. You're already a quarter of the way around the planet when the nuke goes off.
Mission will get here. They want that package. They want it bad. They'll send in a battalion of combat 'droids to pick you up they want it so much.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games

I really hated The Hunger Games. Despised. Loathed.
Oh look, a beat-sheet for the novel (which is, unfortunately, followed pretty closely in the movie.)
The biggest problem for me was there were a lot of white boys whom I couldn't distinguish and just didn't care about. Beyond this owl there be spoilers.
The second biggest problem is that the "fun and games" section (in Blake Snyder-speak) was "go to the city and get dolled up and learn about the media and train for the Hunger Games." No. No no no. The fun and games is the Games themselves.
Oh, and she has a flaming dress. A flaming dress that does nothing for her later in the film. Even as fireballs are being shot at her.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jonathan E

Seeing Hunger Games led me to this T-shirt. Which, in turn, led me to listening to the organ version of the Toccata and Fugue in Dm, which (quite rightly) led me to listening to Stokowski's version of that as well as his version of the Fugue in Gm.
"Rollerball - Houston Energy - Jonathan E." T-Shirts & Hoodies by Fitcharoo | RedBubble:
The inner workings of my brain were brought to you by the letter "E".

I don't care what you long-hairs think. And I know he could be a summabitch. But Stokowski was the man yo.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Foley Up

I'm re-mixing Earthkiller. Yeah, I'm adding some footsteps but a lot of what I'm doing is lowering the levels of, or eliminating, music. As the new studio is vastly quieter than Theatresource was it is admittedly easier to hear details in the mix which makes me do a better job on dialog too.
One thing I've discovered is that it's very hard to mix with a space helmet on. These are the kinds of things we learn as we get older. I'm not saying I don't mix with my space helmet on. I'm just saying it's more difficult.

Sounds we recorded last week with DeLisa M. White are up on Freesound under a Creative Commons license:
Gritty footsteps
Talky servos
DeLisa's rain tube (heavily modified)

We also have some awesome robot "clicks" which are being uploaded.
I have to say I love the idea of Creative Commons. I mean, it's no skin off our backs to give away sound effects or computer models. That doesn't lose us any money. But it does make it easier for others (hopefully) to do more and better work. Certainly other people licensing their sound effects and models has made my life easier.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Remember how this blog is my Internet notebook?

Because it is.

I want to eat at Buenos Aries NYC. I checked my meter and I'm running low on Argentine food.

Sonus Masters will dialog edit, sound effects edit, Foley, and mix your picture in stereo for $4500. They're a bit too into the K-system for my taste but at least we know a price tag.

I have much to say about the Goldwater-Nichols Act. Especially having just read Dispatches. I just don't have to say it today.

Re-sounding is a sound design blog. Film oriented.

The Things I Go Through

Tattoos are so ubiquitus nowadays that it seems exotic not to have one. Here's a NSFW video featuring the abuse of a perfectly decent Fender guitar.

'030' by The Good The Bad (UNCUT) from The Good The Bad on Vimeo.

For the purposes of making my life easier, Final Cut Pro has decided that it won't hang onto a prerender of Act 1 if it gets restarted. It'll just lose the render files. For that matter, it'll "redline" the first act if we make an edit anywhere on the timeline. So I can't prerender act 1. Good times. Time to restart the computer.
I sound particularly drunk on the commentary track. I have a feeling that Libby was reducing my alcohol intake by putting more juice in my drink toward the end.
Has anybody else noticed that I was supposed to have gotten the movie out the door today and that's it's 9pm and it's not completely rendered? My distributor has.

Life in the Forbidden Palace

Today I came in at around 7 in the morning and Maduka was here. Which was funny 'cause I'd left him here at 10pm last night. He swears he didn't pull an all-nighter though.

Funny thing about having a gym at our office. I shower there a few times a week. Work out? Not so much. And the steam room is just too hot for me although it's great for allergies. The sauna is the best place to dry off. Now you know all my secrets.

This little cat amuses me much more than he should.
This would be the perfect office to have a cat in.
I'm finishing Android Insurrection today. Probably not for the last time though. Because there's never time to do things right, but there's always time to do them over.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Make Room! Make Room!

Search My Trash interviews Mike Raso. Mike distributed our Millennium Crisis as well as Chance Shirley's Interplanetary.
If you want to hire someone from the Vancouver Film School you can list your job in their Job Board.
I see in this (as far as I can tell) pretty accurate article on SyFy movies that Mega Python vs. Gatoroid was directed by Mary Lambert. She's hands down the worst director I've ever worked with. And yeah, I'm including kids right out of high school directing their first short.

Mary directed The Attic and holy cow, she's bad. I remember one morning her yelling at Art and G&E (she was always yelling at the art department -- and the actors) because we took a wide master and everyone realized that there was feeder cable snaked along the wall in the shot. So G&E rushed in to move the cable for the next take and she started yelling at them for changing the shot "I DON'T CARE WHAT THE SHOT LOOKS LIKE! I will use the best shot for the performance no matter what's in the background!"
And all I could think was, so you want to maintain the continuity of the feeder cable in the background?

She used to get into fights with the actors just because she wanted to yell at them. At some point some of them starting yelling back "I'm not going to respond to you when you talk to me like that Mary." I have recordings of that nonsense. It was weird.
Some free film music.

Like an angel who can operate a nail gun.

Our own Queen of Mars is interviewed in New York Innovative Theater Awards news.
Here she is with Greg Bodine, Nat Cassidy, and Rob Neill.

Planet Egg

This is a show which simply cannot be missed. Planet Egg has my three favorite things: puppets, robots, and eggs.
And they're performing at HERE.
Our own Ien Denio makes sounds! What's there not to like?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mars Hates Audiences

I really wish that people wanted to see more movies with the word Mars in the title. Honestly, Total Recall is actually the best of all these movies (almost as good as Interplanetary).
Why should you listen to me when it comes to "how to mix a film"? Why indeed, when I've had my movies kicked back in my face for remixes and you haven't?
Uh. That's a pretty good question, honestly. That would be like someone on the Board of Directors of a theater that had to close -- because they couldn't bring in money to cover expenses -- giving a seminar on asking people for money.
Of course, what I may have to say is admittedly a result of my failure and what I've learned from it.
Learning Number One:
The sound job has to sound like a big-budget full sound mix.
See the trick is here that ironically stuff that might fly on a huge-budget in-theaters feature film will not work on your low-budget picture. This is because the buyers are being very wary of the fact that they're buying a low-budget movie. So that idea you have about letting a scene just play with music and no Foley? Ha! Scrap that idea.
And really, I did know that. I can even prove it with our Wiki. That doesn't mean I've always successfully done it.
But here in the Pandora Machine we're cleaning up our post-production process in order to get movies out the door better.

Hey -- here's something I need to write down about setting up a PC for audio editing:
Power settings: high performance

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stock Glasses, Hippos, and Lords

Seriously, what causes eyeglasses to get so smeary? I mean, if a dog were coming up and pushing his wet nose on them all the time I'd understand. But there is no dog here. Unless there's an invisible dog everywhere. Which, right now makes the most sense.
Sony Stock Footage has Battle: LA clips.

Traci Lords: "No, it'll be artistic, no it'll be creative. You'll look beautiful. We have a very limited budget but honest, you'll be proud."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Delta 9

So it's 0900 hours and you're hanging upside-down in a ratty steel capsule 35 miles in the sky over some moon you hadn't ever heard of until the day before. Slowly the dull panic starts to take your throat as the micro-gravity starts to turn into something resembling real gravity as the drop-container you're in got a sticky release from the carrier and now you're spinning end over end, faster and faster as the blood pushes up into your nostrils and sinuses making you want to scream but you can't because the racket the stabilizers are making slamming against the metal sides trying to keep up is louder than anything you've ever felt in your life.
And just as you think you can't take it anymore the HUD in front of you lights up and a little blue light blinks in the corner and you know it's coming and suddenly, maybe the whole thing lasted less than about ten seconds, you're feeling OK.
The onboard computer sensed your terror and injected you with some synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol derivative that smooths you out and keeps you alert and functioning. Now you're just spinning, head over heels and you focus on how you're going to get out of this mess.
Guys used to get addicted to the Delta 9 high and do stupid things just to get their onboard systems to give them the dose they needed to smooth out. So the docs changed up the formula and the high isn't worth the terror you gotta go through to get it.
Eventually the outer seals on the capsule blows apart sending you out -- momentarily and gloriously -- into the "air" above the moon. It's a barely breathable CO2 mix your suit would never let come near your lungs, but it inflates the 'chute just fine with a good 40 meters left before you'd splatter on the black rocks below.
By the time you've touched down the battle is completely over. The Skinnys sent up a surrender and locked off their weapons just as they detected your carrier had come out of hyperspace. So now you wait on the ground for a pickup for ten hours watching the dual suns spin in lazy 8's watching your heart rate spin up as the stuff in your veins reaches half-life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Job

My new computer, Artemis, is vastly quieter now. I put in this Noctua cooler. So far the CPU hovers around or under 40 degrees Centigrade.
I'd pay $50/month for Adobe Creative Cloud. Heck, I'd pay $50/month for all of the Waves plugins. I mean, I wish that each one were half that price. But I'm a fan of non-big capital expenditures. Yeah. $25/month. That's what the price should be. I make up the prices. So I know.
Apparently my job requirements have changed drastically. Up until Day 2, it was "Get the visual effects looking good." Now it's "make the movie sound like a million dollars."
And that is, you know, a little bit embarrassing to me because supposedly I actually know something about sound.
What I'd like to think is that we've finally stepped up our movies to the realm where the buyers are used to dealing with multi-million-dollar pictures and expect everything about our movies to be the same.

Monday, March 12, 2012

You Are Low On Cats

And, by extension, so is the whole of the Internet.
I'm here to help.
These are my sister's cats.



Sambuko is a particularly affectionate cat. He wants to sleep by your head. My sister found him in her wood pile.

Bury the Lede

I'm not really one to second - guess the big studios in Hollywood. That's not true of the New York Times. I mean that both ways -- The Times will second-guess Hollywood and I'll second-guess the Times.

There's this article on John Carter of Mars and why it didn't do very well. And mostly the article is full of hoo-hah like this:

Mr. Stanton received a green light to proceed on “John Carter” in 2009 by Richard W. Cook, then Disney’s studio chairman. There were red flags from the beginning.

Mr. Stanton had never directed a live-action movie before. He wanted to cast no-name actors. And the screenplay, based on a story by Edgar Rice Burroughs that was serialized in 1912 and later published in book form as “A Princess of Mars,” was a bewildering mash-up, starting during the Civil War and moving to the Old West before leaping to a planet called Barsoom (Mars), home to tusked, four-armed creatures called Tharks.

"Never directed live action"? So what? That's what your 1st AD is for. "Casting no-name actors"? Been done on a whole bunch of huge movies. "Bewildering mash-up"? Oh come on, not any more than any of the movies already based on John Carter books which includes such lackluster performers as Star Wars and Avatar.

At the end of the article is this:

Mr. Stanton usually got his way. One area in which he exerted his influence was marketing, where he frequently rejected ideas from Ms. Carney and her team, according to people who worked on the film.

Ooh. Wait. Really?
That reminds me that William Martell pointed out this fan-made trailer that was better than what Disney was putting out for the movie.*

Oh my. Oh my indeed.
I am very cautious to second-guess my distributors. Marketing is a very specific and specialized skill. And every movie we make I learn a bit more about it. But I hope to always be working with marketing people who are better than me.
Every single trailer that we've had made for us is better than what I could have done. I can declare that as absolute fact.

So, uh, where was I? Oh, right, the Times buried the lede on that story. It shoulda been "Director thinks he knows more than studio's marketers about how to market a picture. Studio lets him get away with it."

Fake Science.
Unicorn Success Club T-shirts.

*I cannot link to where Bill said that. I'm just recalling that he put it.. in a Facebook post?

Avant Weird

This is one of the most fundamentally strange things I've ever seen. I think that at the point when you see the stagehand set the electric cable my mind was officially blown. I'm not even that sure I get the joke. Liza Minelli Tries To Turn Off A Lamp.
Rather than being a straight-up piece of sketch comedy this thing is just avant-weird. Which, of course, makes me approve of it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Theatresource Doesn't Even Bother

So wait, you're still ticked off about Theatresource?
Most people go through a number of stages -- you know, anger, bargaining, etc., until they finally reach "acceptance"?
Do you have any idea what those destructive idiots on the Board have done?
Well, yeah, they closed Theatresource and are operating "virtually".
They're not even bothering to do that.
How do you mean?
You know that newsletter that used to come out every week?
The one that had audition notices, job notices, upcoming shows, and rooms for rent? The one that was a key part of our community keeping people informed even when they were away from the space?
There have been maybe two of those since the Source closed.
Well at least it's still a valuable resource for the theater community.
They listed a show.
Hmm... I guess you could just do that on Facebook.
Yep. Theatresource. Now something you can just do on Facebook.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


Again, Gawker commenters are the best thing on the Internet.
No, I don't even know what this animal is. He's thinking very hard though. He just can't remember about what exactly.*

The government reads what we write in duplicate, first with their wall-penetrating satellite millimeter wave radar, and also through the chips in our brains. The NSA processes all the information and turns it over to the aliens, who are compiling market research data because they're in charge of the WTO.

It's time to complain about the Mac operating system.
Why aren't the "open file" dialogs inside programs able to do anything the Finder can do? That's a huge advantage to the Windows OS. I frequently want to be able to cut and paste and delete stuff without having to go over to Finder/Windows Explorer -- when I go to save something and I want to move stuff around, I can just do it all there. In AfterEffects it really helps to be able to delete the file you want to render to instead of just trying to overwrite it (especially when that same file is open in Final Cut).
And don't get me started about how Finder won't cut-and-paste from another drive without you remembering some arcane command. I actually bought a program called "Move Addict" for the Mac to let me do that. Sheesh.
Also, and most dangerously for your data, in OSX's Finder when you copy a folder to another folder it won't just merge the contents. Instead it wipes out the previous contents and replaces them with the new contents -- even if the file names don't match. So good luck adding data to a complex folder structure when you don't know exactly what the new data is.
Now here's something that irks me with Windows Explorer that Finder does do right -- we should be able to search inside an "open" dialog box. When I'm working in Samplitude I want to be able to search for sound effects when I go to import a sound file. I don't know the names of all the files -- I just want to type "explosion" and see all my sound effects with that in the name.

So make all these changes now. And gimme.

*He's thinking about how he'd love it if thumbnails were available in different sizes in Finder.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Messing Up

So I ordered this part from Platinum Micro and I realized I got the wrong mounting hardware. I mean I ordered the wrong one.

But it's less than ten bucks to get the correct hardware with free shipping. Actually, will send you the right hardware if you can prove you bought one of their coolers and an LGA 2011 chip. Which I can do.

The other big dumb thing I did? Stick an SD card into an XD slot. And now it's stuck in there. Derp.

Hopefully the thing I did not mess up was the third delivery of Day 2. Here's hoping.
Kate Britton has a new website up.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Cereal on My Mind

Last week I sat down at the breakfast table and ate cold cereal with my dad. Which, of course, made me feel like I was about 8 years old again.
What I find strange about it is that the entire ritual of eating cold breakfast cereal is ingrained in me. My dad taught me nigh on 40-some years ago a way to slice up a banana with my spoon in a way that I honestly don't think many other people do. And I thought about that even though I wasn't having a banana in my cereal.
The biggest difference between now and when I was little is that my dad's taste in cold breakfast cereals is more advanced now. He keeps a collection of (what I think of as) somewhat exotic cereals -- Shredded Wheat and Raisin Bran and other Post cereals with nuts and stuff in them. Growing up in my house there was strictly Wheaties and Kellogs Corn Flakes.* I think occasionally there'd be some Raisin Bran but even then the stuff was expensive.
Honestly I don't even particularly like bananas. But sometimes I get a craving for them.
My dad, up until a few years ago, used to travel with Corn Flakes in the trunk of his car. This was before practically every hotel/motel you stayed at had a "complimentary continental buffet breakfast".

*I was also brought up with a strong prejudice against name brands but as my father taught me, some things you simply have to have the name brand of. If you've ever had generic Corn Flakes or Wheaties I'm sure you'll agree.


And I'm not just talking about a weight loss plan. ExFat is the way. It's the cross-platform (Mac and PC) way to format a disc which can handle large multi-gigabyte files.

ExFat. Live it. Use it. Love it.
How do you feel when you’ve been rewritten on a movie? Koepp: I try to avoid all contact with the thing afterwards — if it's worse than what I had I go nuts, and if it's better than what I had I go really nuts.

I'm on mix number three of Battle: New York Day 2. Boy is that easier to do with the new computer. And I'll freely admit it's a much better mix now. The dialog is much smoother. Now I have to get back to work on Android Insurrection and then The Prometheus Trap (and then Dragon Girl).

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Every day I think "Today is the day I'm going to finish Android Insurrection." And every day I get a hoof to my face.
The audio to Day 2 got kicked back again. And there are some problems with the audio. But the biggest problems are where the actor moves his mouth like he's going to say something and doesn't. The lab kicks that back as "missing dialog". Sigh.
Also it seems that the bar keeps rising for us. I think that as our visual effects get better we're expected to deliver higher and higher quality audio tracks. Not that our audio has been really all that terrible... I mean except in a few scenes... it's just that it gets looked at more closely.
So we're re-rendering the entire picture. Which means it needs to get re-rendered again after that. We made a couple picture changes to look away from characters who don't have awesome sync. And I've ADR'ed some whispers and grunts. Yo. Mah inkredibble acktin skillz. Yo.

Lobot is one of my favorite characters.
Via Chance -- ever Michael Bay movie in under a minute.

Also, Pixar screenwriting notes.
The lovely Betty Ouyang is in the International Family Film Festival with Piehead.