Jeff Wexler

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About Jeff Wexler

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    Santa Monica, CA USA
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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    Jeffrey S. Wexler, CAS Host of jwsound Discussion Group
  1. I think it's basically a joke --- just there to show the size, not a real plant mic (and I agree with you, a potted plant would provide much better cover to camera!).
  2. I have been following this, somewhat reluctantly, and I would like to first say +1 to John Blankenship --- I think he has the only relevant answer: Ritalin. That said, this topic thread is going nowhere and reminds me of some of the reasons why I started JWSOUND in the first place. True, this is not as nasty as lots of the stuff that used to happen on r.a.m.p.s., but it still has devolved into much more of a combative mode than I ever like to see on the site. Let's try and bring this back to some sort of civility or drop it altogether. I'm not going to try and place blame on any one individual for the direction and tone this has taken, but I would like to thank those who have tried but possibly not succeeded in the efforts to calm this whole thing down. Maybe Ritalin IS the answer.
  3. Highlights of CAS coverage FROM BELOW THE LINE NEWS 53rd Annual CAS Awards: La La Land Scores Top Sound Mixing Honors February 20, 2017 | By Mary Ann Skweres Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle in La La Land (2016) Racking up another win on its way to the Oscars next week, La La Land took home the Cinema Audio Society Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing Motion Picture – Live Action at the 53rd annual awards. Director Damien Chazelle was on hand to support his sound mixing team of Steven Morrow, CAS, Andy Nelson, CAS, Ai Ling Lee, Nicholai Baxter, David Betancourt, and James Ashwill. Finding Dory swam to top honors in the Motion Picture – Animated category for the sound mixing team of Doc Kane, CAS, Nathan Nance, Michael Semanick, CAS, Thomas Vicari, CAS and Scott Curtis. This year the first ever CAS Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing Motion Picture – Documentary was garnered by The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble and the team of Dimitre Tisseyre, Dennis Hamlin and Peter Horner. The People v. O.J. Simpson: America Crime Story “A Jury In Jail” Episode 108. Pictured: (l-r) David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson. CR: Prashant Gupta/FX Having grown out of their previous venue, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, the ceremony was held February 18th at the Bunker Hill Ballroom of the OMNI Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza. Returning, as Master of Ceremonies for the Awards was comedian, actress and animal rights advocate Elayne Boosler. Trophies for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing were presented in seven feature film and television categories, including the inaugural Motion Picture Documentary award. Playing to her audience at the opening of the ceremony, Boosler welcomed the crowd with politically tinged humor commenting, “Just remember, the sound mixing is real, the movies are fake.” After the wild applause, Boosler was rewarded with riotous laughter when she added, “Also, whoever gives the best acceptance speech tonight gets to be our new national security advisor.” Calling his associates “Stewards of Sound,” CAS president Mark Ulano recognized the achievements of the mixing community, citing Emmy and BAFTA Awards winners and Oscar nominees. He announced CAS’s new board members and paid tribute in memoriam to members lost in the past year. Presenting production mixer John Pritchett, CAS (Memoirs of a Geisha,Road to Perdition, Magnolia, Wyatt Earp,The Player) with the CAS Career Achievement Award, two-time Golden Globe nominee Jack Black (Bernie, School of Rock) joked, “Sound mixing is a lot like plastic surgery. You only notice when it’s badly done.” Pritchett was feted by previous CAS Career Achievement honoree, Scott Millan, CAS, in a presentation that included remarks by actor Tom Hanks. He has had successful working relationships with some of Hollywood’s most prestigious directors – Robert Altman, Lawrence Kasdan, David Mamet, Paul Thomas, Anderson, Oliver Stone and Richard Linklater. Game of Thrones,”Battle of the Bastards” (2016, Courtesy of HBO) In accepting his award, Pritchett noted, “None of us do what we do by ourselves. We all sit on some sort of little pyramid… Each of us in our own way, we sit on our own pyramid of support, people who help us do what we do. I cannot accentuate enough the fact that we as sound mixers rely so much on those who help ­­– our boom operators, our utility people.” Writer/Actor/Producer Seth MacFarlane was on hand to present Emmy Award nominated multi-hyphenate filmmaker Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Chef, Cowboys & Aliens, Iron Man, Iron Man 2) with the 12th CAS Filmmaker Award. The presentation included remarks by Ulano and Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning composer John Debney (Sin City, Iron Man 2). Videotaped congratulations from Stan Lee and Ed Asner rounded out the tribute. Debney concluded his comments on a personal note, “There is no greater joy for a composer than being on a scoring stage, in front of the finest musicians in the world, creating music for an appreciative and collaborative director… Jon, thank you for the ongoing adventures and for giving this humble composer a chance to write music from my soul. To be a small part of your universe has been the honor of my career.” Having started his career in the entertainment industry as an actor, Favreau moved into working both sides of the camera as an actor, writer, director and producer. In accepting his CAS award, Favreau observed, “This is really wonderful. It’s not lost on me that I’m the only guy being honored tonight that’s not in your trade. That’s a big deal. It really means a lot to me that those of you who work with me didn’t veto this award.” He also stated that mixing is, “An invisible art, because by definition, you can’t see it, so people under value it,” but shared that he had learned from a young age the value of all aspects of sound in filmmaking. The sound mixing team of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story took top honors for Television Movie or Mini-Series. Television-One Hour honors went to Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards, while Modern Family: The Storm won the award for Television Series-Half Hour. Grease Live! won for Television Non-Fiction, Variety or Music Series or Specials. The Technical Achievement Awards, revamped this year as the Outstanding Product Awards, went to Cedar Audio for their Cedar DNS2 Dynamic Noise Suppression Unit and McDSP for their post production SA-2 Dialog Processor. In its third year, the CAS Student Recognition Award, created to launch the careers of students aspiring to move into the field of sound mixing, was presented to Chapman University’s Wenrui “Sam” Fan. Celebrity presenters for the CAS Awards included: Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown), Janina Gavankar (FOX’s Sleepy Hollow), Clyde Kusatsu (SAG/AFTRA vice-president, Madame Secretary), Rhea Seehorn (AMC’s Better Call Saul), Angela Sarafyan (HBO’s Westworld) and Nondumiso Tembe (History Channel’s Six). Complete List of CAS Winners: MOTION PICTURE—LIVE ACTION La La Land Production Mixer – Steven Morrow, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Andy Nelson, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Ai-Ling Lee Scoring Mixer – Nicholai Baxter ADR Mixer – David Betancourt Foley Mixer – James Ashwill MOTION PICTURE—ANIMATED Finding Dory Original Dialogue Mixer – Doc Kane, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Nathan Nance Re-recording Mixer – Michael Semanick, CAS Scoring Mixer – Thomas Vicari, CAS Foley Mixer – Scott Curtis MOTION PICTURE—DOCUMENTARY The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble Production Mixer – Dimitri Tisseyre Production Mixer – Dennis Hamlin Re-recording Mixer – Peter Horner TELEVISION MOVIE or MINI-SERIES The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Production Mixer – John Bauman Re-recording Mixer –Joe Earle, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Doug Andham, CAS ADR Mixer – Judah Getz Foley Mixer –John Guentner TELEVISION SERIES—1 HOUR Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards Production Mixer – Ronan Hill, CAS Production Mixer – Richard Dyer, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Onnalee Blank, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Mathew Waters, CAS Foley Mixer – Brett Voss, CAS TELEVISION SERIES—1/2 HOUR Modern Family: The Storm Production Mixer – Stephen A. Tibbo, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Dean Okrand, CAS Re-recording Mixer – Brian R. Harman, CAS TELEVISION NON-FICTION, VARIETY or MUSIC SERIES or SPECIALS Grease Live! Production Mixer – J. Mark King Music Mixer – Biff Dawes Playback and SFX Mixer – Eric Johnston Protools Playback Music Mixer – Pablo Munguía OUTSTANDING PRODUCT—PRODUCTION CEDAR DNS2 Dynamic Noise Suppression Unit Manufacturer: Cedar Audio OUTSTANDING PRODUCT—POST SA-2 Dialog Processor Manufacturer: McDSP STUDENT RECOGNITION AWARD Wenrui “Sam” Fan Chapman University – Orange, CA
  4. I can hear Joe saying that --- what a piece of work. You're a good man, Moe, for putting up with that, and he has continued to work with that "idiot for a soundman" --- I hope he knows how lucky he is.
  5. Philip, the moisture (dew) problem was certainly an issue, never figured out any way to deal with it, but your story reminds me of the dreaded "sunlight problem" I had with my first StellaDAT. Shooting in Griffith Park doing running shots, I was set up in the cab of the camera car and we had about a 3 or 4 minute run on the streets and through a tunnel, did a bunch of rehearsal runs, picture car being towed was dead quiet, generator noise through the tunnel was a bit of a worry but we were basically good to go. First take everything is fine until we go through the tunnel and when coming out the other end the StellaDAT just shuts down! Bummer, we stop, we're going to go again, of course, so no worries. Take 2, coming out of the tunnel, the machine shuts down again! Production is starting to get worried and so am I, bring out my SONY D-10 Pro and we do three or four takes, no problem. I had the StellaDAT rep come out to the location, I explained the problem and after all the discussion he asked me if I had a business card --- I said BUSINESS CARD, what are you talking about, you know who I am, I called you out here to solve the problem! He then said, very calmly, if you have a business card, place it on the clear window that looks into the cassette transport. There is an optical sensor that senses the end of the tape and shuts the machine down. The business card covering that window will prevent stray sunlight from tripping the optical sensor. Evidently, the sun was in such a position at the end of the tunnel on our run that light was getting in the cab and into the machine and shutting it down.
  6. Scott said: "The first movie I did with DAT was "The Package" starring Gene Hackman back in 1988 (with a Nagra and Dolby A as backup). We used a couple of modified Sony D-10's along with Panasonic SV-250 recorders." Hey, Scott, I didn't know you did some early experimental work with DAT. Makes perfect sense because you had one of the advantages that we both had in common --- owned a transfer facility! The other thing about all of these early experiments is that even though it was a lot of extra work and equipment we were essentially running two parallel systems with one of the systems (whether you referred to it as the primary or the backup) fitting into the proven and accepted workflow. None of us wanted to make any production the guinea pig for our experimentation as we pursued new ways of doing things in production.
  7. This is too gorgeous! My first car was a 1960 MGA which I purchased used off a lot, bright orange color (yikes!) --- first thing I did was have it painted British Racing Green.
  8. Scriptation looks pretty terrific.
  9. Agreed, what was really not brilliant for any kind of original production recording was the Sony invented data reduction scheme called ATRAC (Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding). I did use miniDISC for simple music playback on movies and I even had a few of the so-called professional miniDISC players (the last one I had was from HHB). I did some tests making recordings, then playing them back and re-recording, then playing that back and re-recording, each pass the "adaptive coding" was looking to throw something out --- by the third or fourth pass the tracks were almost unrecognizable and unlistenable. Pictured below is the professional MD machine from HHB.
  10. The PCM-E7700 was one of the more exotic "front-loaders" Philip is referencing. It's kind of amazing the variety of models for the DAT format and then the format itself pretty much went away, even from the music world where it got its start.
  11. I did get my hands on the SONY PCM2000 which was certainly a lot more professional than the D10 I used. I'm pretty sure the website that states that the PCM2000 was SONY's first DAT machine is incorrect. I certainly remember the D10 (and the almost identical machine under the Aiwa name) being available before the PCM2000. I could be wrong on this.
  12. Thank you, Philip, for the kind words (and I know you have an appreciation of how scary it was at the time, the first significant push for a change that came from production sound mixers rather than being dictated to us by post production). I was fortunate to have have extremely well established relationships with the people I was working with in production AND in post, so we were able to make some progress fairly quickly. Thank you also for mentioning the grey-market aspect of the early machines --- similar to the legendary Betamax case, later the attempts to copy protect digital media (CDs, etc.), DAT machines could not be legally imported into the US. My first SONY D-10 was purchased from a little hole in the wall storefront in Santa Monica called The DAT Store and it was a full on Japanese unit with an Owner's Manual all in Japanese!
  13. You will have to clarify whether you are referring to the production recordings or the post-production recording. In post-production, both sound editorial and mixing, digital technology was in common use for many years before digital recordings were being made in production. I was the first to use DAT (Digital Audio Tape format cassette) on feature films in production and prior to that there were a few special productions that utilized the DTRS format for multi-track production recordings. The DAT production recordings were digital, of course, but when handing in the digital recording to the transfer facility, the track(s) were always transferred analog to magnetic film which was still the standard for all motion picture productions. For the most part, the tracks were digital only at the first stage (my production recordings) and then were handled in editorial usually as a digital track produced by digitizing the analog track off the mag film. Then, at the final stages, back to analog for theater projection. I was also one of the first to make the next big transition in production recording to non-linear file-based production recordings with the original Zaxcom Deva 1. This was a considerably more significant change because it was the first chance to get away from linear tape altogether. It also held out the promise of the same sound file going through the whole process in editorial to the final mix without the digital to analog, analog to digital conversions, etc. I will add that even when I started using the Deva in production, the tracks were still played out (analog) in real time to be transferred to mag film for use in projected film dailies and the digitized to go into picture (Avid) editorial and sound (ProTools) workstations. It took some time to get post production facilities on board with fully utilizing sound files coming from production. To answer your other question, the first DAT recordings I made were with a SONY D-10 consumer DAT machine. This was way prior to any of the professional DAT machines. The D-10 did not have timecode but there were very few feature film productions (all on film) that were using any sort of timecode for picture (no timecode slates, only traditional clap slates). After a few disasters with the early professional DAT machines (StellaDAT, Fostex) I settled in with the HHB PortaDAT and finished out any and all of my DAT productions on that machine. Once the Deva had proved itself and we were able to get the post-production facilities and editorial on board, I never used the DAT machine again. I never missed it either --- even though it was my entry into digital production recordings, I never fell in love with the format. First movie I did with DAT was "Ghost" in 1989 on a SONY D-10. The first movie I did with file-based recording was "The Siege" in 1998 using the Zaxcom Deva 1.
  14. Thank you Jim Feeley for taking care of this all important task. Everybody make sure you RSVP!