Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Oh That I Would...

This plot generator tried to make a noir story for me.
This is a leather choker. Or a bracelet. You decide.
The Microsoft Band is two hundred bucks. It might tell you things.
Googling myself I found a number of books which mentioned me in some way. There are these books that list theater productions. I've probably designed several hundred shows but obviously they don't all show up in these kinds of books. Still, Ernest Abuba and Don Arrup. You can't go wrong.
So, I have this rack o'gear. This is (pretty much) everything turned on:
Things not turned on include a tube amp or two. But keyboards and psychedelic lights ARE on...
How much does that draw? Barely 120 Watts.
"But Ma, I'm tryin' to get to 120!"
The purpose of this was to determine my need for a UPS. But do I really need a UPS? I used to keep them on my gear almost religiously. Are they important really? (Would they have saved my last two computers? If so it ain't this rack which needs a UPS, it's my studio.)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

For Me, Your Bear is Pretty

Among things going though my head are Bei Mir Bistu Shein. Interesting things about the history of this song. Composed by Jews, performed by African Americans, made into a hit by the then-unknown Andrews Sisters, popular in the Soviet Union AND Nazi Germany. This particular artist, doing the "original" Yiddish version, does some phrasing things which I feel are really quite special. Probably this is Katica Illényi. This all started because of watching A Christmas Story, looking up something about Jean Shepard, and finding the parody version of "The Bear Missed the Train" which, as a parody, still cracks me up.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Stage and Screen s1 ep05

Here I introduce the mixing board (very introductory) to the reluctant sound designer.


Ooh. The name of this series really should be "The Reluctant Sound Designer" shouldn't it?

Monday, December 15, 2014

That's all I got

Via John August Marco Arment's podcast guide, Dan Benjamin's podcast guide.
A wooden keyboard for your Chiclet-style keyboard.
As much as I made fun of font nerdery, the Typeset in the Future blog is pretty darn sweet.
Here's a free version of the Eurostile extended bold.
Weller's Words of Wisdom is a great blog on prop and art techniques.
Eric Ian Steele on the best screenwriting books.

Screening

So we have a screening of the movie and I just can't sit through it without the excruciating pain of seeing every single mistake.
That's right. It's all about me.
There's a whole act which needs a pass on the audio to smooth dialog transitions. Meaning that every time somebody speaks, the background hiss jumps up. Then it cuts off when they're done. It's entirely my fault and I don't know how it got through.
Then there are some render errors. Final Cut Pro does not always appreciate multiple layers of video being composted atop one another. We go to great lengths to avoid this by making lots of pre-renders but somehow there were a handful of shots which had that strange "overwhite" look where the bright patches in the frame actually go black because they're so bright.
And also a couple boom shadows which I had at one time dealt with by putting a "tunnelvision" effect on the robot's point-of-view. My guess is that we lost that effect when we put the movie in 3:1 aspect ratio but then when we pulled back out to 2.35:1 I didn't put the effect back on.
So I spent Sunday re-editing dialog and re-rendering picture to send out again.
My distributor's exact words when I told him I was sending him yet another version of the movie were "You're killing me."

I said "I know, I'm killing myself too."
Of course we didn't just have rendering errors. The dumb DVD took a dive in the middle of the movie. Luckily we got it started again off a computer (which is what we should have done in the first place.) I told people that if the DVD doesn't work we all have to go and act out the entire movie for the audience.
Apple killed DVD Studio Pro. Adobe has abandoned Encore. Honestly I don't know how professional houses make DVD's anymore. I am hoping that I never have to make one in-house ever again.
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That said, dramatically the movie almost works (this is the director talking). There's always a problem in these small indy pictures where one misses a bit of the action, the impacts, that sort of thing. And I feel like we still missed some of those. But not all of them. Some of those moments we got right. Even though we had to shoot a lot of this picture where different angles of the same scene were not shot on the same day. Or month.
The movie is very well acted. It gets laughs where it's supposed to. And I think the story makes sense. The music is great. I dig the costumes. It looks different from our previous pictures. Steve Niles banged it out of the park on his end. And we have a couple good cg robots.
This movie is the least excruciating picture of ours for me to watch. Faint praise is all I've got for myself. But it's a step in the right direction.
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I got the latest picture to UPS today. Hopefully it's the last version. It's been more than a year since we had shot the movie. That's a long time for us.