Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dead Raid art and trailer

Whew, embargo lifted! Now I can show you the art and trailer for Dead Raid.

Dead Raid trailer from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

This is Maduka in the robot suit.
 I kinda dig the tag line.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Oscar Bait

Bill Martell re-posted an old blog post arguing persuasively to eliminate indy films from Oscar contention.
As an indy filmmaker I think it's a terrible idea but it makes sense if you're trying to get studio movies to be better*.

*Yes, I'm aware that genre indy pics are never Oscar-bait.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And More on ADR

Okay, these videos on dialog editing are just awesome. Nobody does videos about dialog editing, so these things are just a relief to look at. I'm thinking "Here's somebody who's really doing it!"
There are a few "rules" John Purcell lays down which are actually just "ProTools" rules. Stuff about using time compression and expansion and some of the data management he does. But otherwise -- who'd have thunk about reversing room tone to make a longer loop? Oh man, that changes my life right there.
This looks more like I expect to EQ lav mics under clothing. Sometimes a shelf on that very high end is nice (although there really isn't very much signal up there.) EQ band number 3 there has a mightily wide "Q" but it really helps with making the recording sound more natural. Obviously there's a lot of clothing to poke the sound through as everything below 1000 Hz needs a world of reduction.
Man, I just had the biggest technical problem recording some ADR. Kept getting a "pop pop pop" sound on playback. I tried everything. Reboots, switching FireWire audio devices, flipping from ASIO to WDM. Finally tried recording to a new track. That worked. Sheesh. Very weird.

Me and those wireless lavs

This is what I've been doing to hidden lavalier microphones. It seems kind of extreme but the sound of a mic up against someone's chest, underneath their clothes, is fairly obnoxious. There's a big whumpus typically in the 200Hz region. And the very low end has been getting a shelf -- just to make it seem more natural. A tiny bit of whumpus is added right in the middle right where the consonants are. And I don't know but that high end bugs me. Maybe if we were using more expensive mics like DPA's or even COS11's I wouldn't mind it.

This is the third time I'm mixing this movie. Each mix involved a new philosophy. The second mix was all about pulling the faders down so we didn't hit the limiters so hard. This mix is all about adding massive robot sounds and doing ADR. We're scheduled to be done with all of those things by around the 4th of July. Which, for a movie originally scheduled to be finished on February 1, is uh. Well it's what it is.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sound and the Furry

I'm gonna get this book. Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures.
Also cool are the video tutorials available online associated with the book. Look, I straight-up do not agree on putting tones on any digital format. But I'm allowed to not agree with parts of stuff I otherwise like. It's in the Constitution.
Oh man. My nice Sennheiser 580 headphones are falling apart. A new pair of Sennheiser HD600's is more money than I want to think about right now.
What part of this design isn't awesome? No part, that's what.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Living in the Future

I start to sound like a broken record but geez louise there is fantastic modern recording gear at more than reasonable prices.

The Chameleon Labs 7720 is an SSL quad-compressor-type rack-mount unit. I recorded the entirety of October River with an actual SSL 2-channel mix compressor. They're nice.
And they were/are like $6000. And now you can get one for $535.
You might be wondering why you might want a compressor for recording in digital. In the olden days compressors were needed to deal with the fact that laquer/analog tape has very limited dynamic range and a compressor helps you hear the quiet stuff while not overloading on the loud stuff. But then engineers found that nice compressors can make stuff sound awesome. 
So do you want these kinds of limiters when you record? I dunno. We have plenty of dynamic range to deal with so why not just do all your compression later? I dunno. But that's certainly what we've been doing.
Lately I've been using the Waves emulation of a Urei LA-2A compressor on every instrument in the mix. Yup, not the 1176. Not even the Fairchild emulation does it for me. But the LA-2A emulation just works for me.
Uh. So that's all I've got. 

Wot Next?

I'm going to hang a copy of John August's "How To Write A Scene" in the office tomorrow.
Our editors likely think this is how we shoot our movies.
We have, I think, a complete list of dialog which needs ADR. I am trying to get over myself in that I like to think I can oversee the recording of dialog which does not need to be replaced. It's just not true. Some dialog will have to go and get itself re-recorded. It's just the way it is. There. Am I over it? We'll see.
It certainly does mean we have to schedule our post-production differently. I wish I had a solid clue about how long it takes to edit picture on a feature. The amount of time seems to be really random.
In any case, now in addition to our normal picture-lock, then dialog edit, sound effects, and music, we really have to schedule in ADR and not be ashamed about it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Louder Bot

We don't tend to "test" our movies in any normal sort of way. What we will do, however, is show them to people for notes. The writer, the producer, the editor, the composer(s), all get to give notes. But these are people who have been, how shall we say, emotionally intimate with the picture.
So the biggest notes come from the distributor.
His particular notes were that the robot wasn't mechanical enough. More heavy robo-cop-esque. I made the robot more a "stealth" 'bot. But he's got to feel some weight.

So we're going through and adding some more bigness to his footsteps. A bit of a whirr and a bit of a clank.
And yup, I had been blind to the movie needing that. It totally needed it. And now the movie is better for it.
There were also a couple scenes I thought we could get away without doing ADR on. Those scenes need ADR. I was really too close to the movie to tell on my own but those were some additional notes by our sales rep/distributor.
So we're organizing the ADR. I was really hoping to have whole acts done by the end of the weekend but that doesn't look like it's gonna go down. We'll see what we can get though.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

After the Flood

I was going to name this album "Drums by Lou Clark" because he didn't show up at rehearsal and I had to play drums.
I do not play drums well.

We're all capable of facing the reality that no part of this album is "releasable" in any way. It's a learning experience.
This was the first rehearsal at my apartment in Jersey City. Ethan was recovering from Polish-level jet lag so he didn't come out. Lou didn't come at all. I suppose the excuse is that he's a drummer.
I was really hoping people would like it and be comfortable at my place.
Greg played through his preamps and rack-mounted effect box and then my tube preamp. Lily went through her preamp and then the other channel of my ART Pro MPA II tube preamp. I think that's pretty well the way to go. By the end of the session Lily was just plugged right into the high impedance input of the ART. I felt it was very groovy.
Drums were coming in via MIDI to a track. What we were monitoring was the sound off the sound module but what we're mixing here is some Abbey Road drums which sound much better.
We also added a microphone in the room because otherwise we were too isolated (and yelling at one another because we couldn't hear).
The first weird thing was people wanting to turn up the drums in their headphones. With an acoustic kit you really don't need to add more drums to your headphones if you're in the room. But with an all electronic kit you sure do.
I feel like I've gotten close to the best sounds I've gotten from Greg's guitar. I think the tube preamp does a lot for his sound.
Even though we're all playing together there is by definition no bleed (except for the mic in the room which hears the strings being played and drumsticks hitting pads) and so I felt the sound was a bit "sterile" or something. So I added more tube distortion to the tracks. I even put a bit of chorusing on the whole of the drum track. It's very subtle.

Monitoring totally works though. I gotta get some lava lamps.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Celtx vs You

John J. Bruno does not like Celtx.
I'll tell ya, Celtx does not revision the way normal-budget movies want to be revisioned.
But we've managed to use it to schedule a couple features now. Note that the scheduling it does only works for us. A real AD would be driven insane by the limitations. I'm just happy it'll make call sheets. It doesn't do an awesome job with call sheets but it does an okay one.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


"JCM800" refers to pretty much all the amps that Marshall made around 1982.
 BeneZene lays it all out in this post.
Anna Calvi.