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Jay Rose

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Everything posted by Jay Rose

  1. Reverb in exteriors

    It easily could have been. They were so far away, you couldn't see their mouths. Chances are likely they were recorded wild (I won't guess whether it was was during production or post, but post have certainly been cheaper). The verb was definitely added in post. I'd prefer to believe the director requested its wetness and wasn't happy until it sounded that way, because the rerecording mixer probably knew better.
  2. I was watching one of this year's screeners last night, on a calibrated system in a good room. In one scene of this action/drama, the protagonists are walking through a clearning in a large forest. There's a lot of snow covering everything. There are no mountains or large buildings in the scene; presumably from the plot, there aren't any nearby. One of our guys hears the enemy's voices, coming from the side. They turn around and spot the enemy party - maybe half a dozen men - a great distance away. We hear the enemy soldiers' voices at a reduced volume but clearly, and with a lot of complex interior reverb. If any exterior shouldn't have reverb, it's this one. Snow sucks up reflections, and the only things that could have been reflecting sound were tree trunks. Long distances in air cause high frequency attenuation from friction, which is why very distant thunder rumbles rather than claps. Perhaps the attenuation wouldn't have been as great as usual because the cold air was denser than normal... but there'd be some. This wasn't a case of an unrealistic effect being needed because reality sounds strange, like the necessity to sometimes put a 'whoosh' under a rocket ship in a vacuum. (Or to ignore the speed of sound [in a vacuum?] when blowing up a planet.) Level and eq could have sold the distant dialog, just like it does in a lot of other films. So, soundies: 1. Is exterior wet reverb (as opposed to a few distinct slaps from buildings) becoming the new normal? Are we back to the early days of talkies, when outdoor dialog was pushed through the studio's echo chamber because "everybody knows there are echoes outdoors"? Are there other current examples? 2. Has this come up when you're mixing a film? If so, what was the discussion? What arguments did the director have other than "just do it"? 3. Or am I a curmudgeon for still believing in physical laws?
  3. Reverb in exteriors

    I don't know if the snow was supposed to be soft or not. But it sure looked fluffy. And we didn't hear the protagonists' footsteps crunching. Not even cornstarch. If there was a layer of ice, it'd expect it to reflect highs and absorb lows. Unless the ice were a couple of cm thick... in which case the scene would be about skating rather than walking.
  4. That can also spark a discussion of language that has survived the obsolescence of the technology it refers to: Does anybody still "dial" a phone? Do kids even know what that word comes from? How about "dial tone"... which doesn't exist on the small phones most people carry. And those "telephones" do a lot of things that aren't related to hearing things over a distance... I've heard kids saying "repeating like a broken record". What's one of those? My favorite is when I discovered derivation of "wired", when it means "energetic, charged, hyper". It appears to come from the early history of our craft, when theaters were bragging about now being "wired for sound". That three-word phrase is almost a hundred years old -- and now doesn't refer to copper or loudspeakers -- but the new usage of both versions are found in Urban Dictionary. And coming up in a few years: Algorithm, which Wikipedia defines as an unambiguous specification of how to solve a class of problems. How could that possibly apply to what AI engines do in their hidden layers? Other examples? Branch to a different thread?
  5. Headphone

    +1 to 7506 in the field for spotting problems, if that's what you've gotten used to. But +99 for the equalization warning. It's not just that the curve is different than speakers in air. It's that we listen differently to speakers in air! Dynamics are affected a lot because of how we attend to the sound; and while stereo soundstage is more-or-less the same, the brain misses the localization cues from tiny head movements. The only time I've found quality decisions on headphones to be accurate, is when I'm sure the viewer will be watching with headphones. Or perhaps in a closed, nearfield kiosk.
  6. Larry, they were used when you subscribed to a non-AT&T long distance service (I used one for MCI) and the phone company charged stiff fees for touchtone, so your actual desk phone had a dial. This even though tone dialing was cheaper for them to support.
  7. Sound is no longer respected on set?

    Edward, thanks for the compliment. Writing a book that's readable and useful is a serious undertaking; trying to do it as a background task can take a year. I developed the "Half the Movie" proposal with Randy because 1) he's got insights that I think need to be shared with a lot of people in every craft (but particularly producing and directing), and 2) the publisher we approached would market and distribute it widely enough that it would reach those people... and net us a few bucks for our efforts. Since that project doesn't seem to be on the horizon, I'm paying it forward with consulting for young filmmakers, free tutorials and occasional custom software gadgets on my websites, contributing to an inner-city kids' media workshop, writing for the CAS Quarterly (detailed feature on neural nets coming next issue), developing a course for one of the large Boston-area universities, and -- of course -- my other books. Those latter two activities also get me a few bucks... which lets me pay my mortgage and do a couple of other necessary things. Besides, I've talked to people in our industry who've self-published. Not for me. The two websites are plenty.
  8. Fascinating article in today's NYT about neural networks generating still images of faces with no 'uncanny valley'. But buried in that article is reference to work at University of Washington last Summer... that automatically edits lips to match a different track! Literally puts new words in someone's mouth. On a computer screen, sync looks absolutely realistic. Resolution might not be enough for a big screen... but these things tend to leap forward quickly. Here's a link just to the UW demo. They took some real Obama speeches, and put them into multiple other Obama faces. Same speech, many different visual deliveries. The article doesn't mention what could happen when you edit the source speech to say something new. But heck, good dialog editors have always been able to change what someone says, on the track. Now a computer can make the target individual appear on-camera, saying the edited version! NYTimes full article link.
  9. Sound is no longer respected on set?

    About the 'moment passing' for Randy's and my book: I'd love to pick it up again. But it needs a big time slice from both of us. I can't think of anyone else with Randy's combination of practical experience, creative and tech chops, historic perspective, and writing/explaining ability. Besides, he owns half the proposal. I'm semi-retired now, doing only the things that come in over the transom, and a few low-budget indies for small money when the film and filmmaker interest me. Plus some contract writing -- mostly manuals for high-end broadcast gear -- which pays pretty well (the way I do it). So I could conceivably work on a book now. But Randy's still very busy with film commitments. And I wouldn't do this project without him. I don't even want to waste his time asking about it now. But if you're in the SF area and see him regularly, you might drop a few hints... -- I think it's Larry Niven who said something like "A book collaboration is a partnership where each party does 75% of the work." So it takes a real commitment.
  10. Sound is no longer respected on set?

    Six years ago, Randy Thom and I developed an idea for a book called Half the Movie. Aside from the in-joke of the title, it was to be about practical--as opposed to film-theory--sound design: what a director / producer / sound designer should be considering, at each step of the process; techniques for thinking creatively about sound; and examples from big and little films. We wrote a seven page proposal and outline. My publisher liked the idea and gave us a contract. Unfortunately neither Randy nor I had time to actually write the thing, so we bagged the project. I think now its moment may have passed. -- On the other hand, I've been really impressed with the creative design in a few of this year's awards screeners. Some people are still doing good work, even if it's an uphill battle.
  11. A question on MS recording for film

    On a few commercial gigs in difficult rooms, I've used a setup with a hyper very close to a group talking, and an omni at some distance. Then shuffled them in post as if the omni were a side mic in a proper m/s pair. Worked great, and since this was broadcast, I knew the LR info would disappear on mono receivers. ...with two gotchas: 1. I was also doing the post, so there was no question how to handle the tracks I'd recorded. 2. These were radio spots. I wanted a sense of real-world stereo in that awkward space. But with a large portion of the FM audience listening in mono, I didn't want anything that could sum awkwardly. Never tried it on TV. And wouldn't dare try it on a film.
  12. What do they do about deterioration of the narrow tracks on the multitrack master? Each time you play it, analog or digital tapes lose a little bit of oxide to friction. That's why you clean the heads. There may also be deterioration if the playback deck isn't perfectly demagnetized. Granted, a fresh analog mixdown (assuming decks are cleaned and aligned, and automation system works properly) will be better quality than a second generation from an analog 2-track master. That € 1.800,00 copy the audiophile bought is also going to deteriorate from friction and any residual magnetism in their deck. Unless, of course, they make a digital clone as soon as they receive it... ; )
  13. Will ADR turn into automatic pix replacement?

    Jim, Thanks. The idea of using a speech generator and then adding prosody with NN makes sense. I figured the BBC quote was just sloppy reporting. Once that system is fully cooked, however... why bother with ADR at all? Dialog editor can sit with the director and rebuild any line they want.
  14. Wow! 2N508s... just like a Scully 280! I won't go into the analog v digital topic, which is what I believe the 'expert' says is off limits. But besides that, what magic made that decade's 1/4" tape the ultimate? 35mm perf has much better wow and flutter. Half-inch stereo, with double the track width, has better s/n. And AFAIK predistortion didn't make it into open reel recorders until the mid 1970s. Yes, you can -prefer- a particular recording method's distortion to the distortion of other methods. But that's a matter of taste, not an objective analysis.
  15. Will ADR turn into automatic pix replacement?

    From the article: I find that almost impossible to believe. There's no /zh/ in the source speech, so how could it create a /d zh/ diphthong for "Jordan"? Where did it get the /th/ for "three"? Or the /ee/? I'll accept that it could fake the /t/ for "times" by putting a stop at the front the word... but that's an ancient trick. (Forgive my attempts at phonetic transcription without IPA...)
  16. Well, if you've got Bitcoins, the best advice is to sell them two days ago ; )
  17. Effect of new tax bill on freelance soundies?

    That's a fascinating concept, sounddguy, and fraught with possibility (or possible loopholes). What's your source?
  18. Effect of new tax bill on freelance soundies?

    Democracy isn't collapsing. It's just returning to the time when only nobles and landowners (the .1%, back then) had any say.
  19. Effect of new tax bill on freelance soundies?

    Mike, We have Limited Liability Corporations and Professional Corporations, often used as a shield by high-earning professionals. We also have "subchapter S" corporations, which are regular corporations but let the owners pay tax at their personal rates rather than a corporate rate, which can be an advantage for someone just starting out. IANAL. I also didn't have a good lawyer when I started Sound, Inc in the 1970s, so it got registered as a regular -- not "Sub-S" -- corporation. That came back to bite me when I sold its assets profitably in the mid-80s; I had to totally dissolve the company, and not start another one in the same business for a number of years, in order to compensate. (Yes, I could still work as a sound designer. I could even start a new studio. I just couldn't incorporate it) Moral: you need a good lawyer, accountant, or both. Trying to start a business on a shoestring is fine, but trying to guess your way through business technicalities yourself or with a newbie... is about as sensible as hiring a $100/day production mixer with "a couple of SM58s" and experience mixing bands in bars for your no-budget shoot.
  20. I've been thinking in terms of the most powerful Mini to replace my Mac Pro tower, one of the last that was user-expandable. I'd get a separate Thunderbolt-connected chassis to support the PCI cards I want to keep. Using a Mini rather than an iMac would let me keep my current arrangement with two monitors at the console, BlackMagic HDMI driver for pix, and CPU with all its connections sitting happily in the rack. I have a 2015 Mini with hybrid disk at my desk, and it's wicked fast!
  21. Effect of new tax bill on freelance soundies?

    Accounting firm KPMG has posted a long document, dated today, that they say is the official summary of the current version. I am not an accountant, and it takes one to make sense out of this. As near as I can tell: 1) While 'entertainers' are specifically excluded, us crafts that support the performers can still deduct for our operating expenses. 2) Our expenses are limited to 17.5% of our billing. After that and any straight depreciation, the rest of our billings are treated as conventional income. This seems radically different -- and much worse for us -- than the current situation that appears to allow full 'necessary and regular' expenses and accelerated depreciation on gear. That's as near as I can tell. But I'm not an accountant or lawyer. 3) There is a much more liberal (i.e., cheaper) tax rule for passive investors in a business. I'm sure it's intended to preserve tax breaks for rich folks who buy real estate partnerships or golf courses or congressmen... but I wonder if it would let me invest in and only claim income from a friend's pro activities, while they invest in and claim mine. Probably not. Of course this can all change, up to the moment the Senate votes. And then change again during reconciliation. I have no idea how a senator of conscience (there have to be some) can decide how to vote on their own while things are still fluid, rather than just accept the leadership's marching orders.
  22. There are probably as many different workflows as there are individual users, but... The common standard, which you probably know, is to have the pix editors render out a single final video in a standard format (.mov, .mp4, etc) with 2 pop/flash or universal leader and their idea of a temp mix. If there are missing graphics or efx, then they're marked and slugged, but since picture is locked* there can't be any changes that would affect location of other elements. This picture file is what the client watches while you're working on audio post. At least if you do that, you don't have to worry about running pix in Resolve. Pix also usually renders out an AAF or OMF with matching pop and handles, which you import into your DAW. Last I checked, that's not directly possible in Resolve. But there are workaround tutorials on the Web, where Resole renders audio files and an XML, which is then bridged to an AAF through some other video app (like PPro or FCP). AFAIK, AATranslator doesn't speak Resolve yet... but that could be changing. It's not as smooth as using some other video apps. I suppose there's also a workflow where you run Resolve and your DAW simultaneously in your audio suite, lock the DAW to video by putting SMPTE on one of Resolve's audio tracks... ---- * -- "Locked" picture. Right. Have you ever seen that mythical beast?
  23. From today's New York Times: Scientists are trying to make long-term recordings of the ambience in remote Alaskan locations, to capture the sounds of birds and bears and other creatures before they're drowned out by snowmobiles and flyovers. Except sometimes the critters act like actors looking for an excuse why they can't concentrate:
  24. Digital-analog sync sound

    Sync block and sound reader. Steenbecks are for wimps.
  25. Cuban Sonic Spying?

    If you go to YouTube, you can see a full res version of that spectral display. It's linear-for-frequency (rather than log) with combs or beats every 125 Hz or so. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell the SPL. The vertical scale is dBFS with no reference to what level the mic heard. But if this were loud, it would certainly be annoying. And if it were continuous, it could affect thinking... at least, it would for me. I've got to assume CIA or State or somebody has more details. Possibly even tried to convey the details to the reporter, but things got lost in translation. At least having pinned down the sound, we can dismiss the claims that this is nothing more than mass hysteria.
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