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Marc Wielage

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About Marc Wielage

  • Birthday 10/01/1954

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  • Location
    Hollywood, USA
  • About
    post supervisor, colorist, raconteur and rabble-rouser
  • Interested in Sound for Picture

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  1. I was having a discussion with (what I suspect is) a young filmmaker on a different forum. and he's asking for a way to crank the post sound levels up more than 30dB, 30dB being the current limitation of Fairlight. I asked, "why would you need to adjust post sound levels up +30dB? That sounds incredibly extreme!" I come from old-school Pro Tools where we were limited to I think either 10dB or 12dB without adding an extra Trim plug-in for additional range. Even 10dB for normal dialogue is exceptionally rare (to me). I did some quick math and came up to the conclusion that 30dB works out to 1000 times the intensity of a 0dB signal, (subjectively) 8 times as loud... which is a lot. He responded that they had recorded all their dialogue in 32-bit, which would protect dynamic peaks and prevent clipping during the original recording. I responded that I felt that there's a point where self-noise in the microphone and in the preamp will be so overwhelmed by a 30dB boost, you're not going be able to take advantage of that range at all, and he got very defensive. What nobody wants to come out and say is: my guess is they're trying to record sound without a location sound mixer on set to just adjust levels on the fly... as has been done for at least 80-90 years. My suspicion is they're operating on the belief that they can save money and just "fix it all in post," not cognizant that the sound mixer has to get things right on set, and they'll wind up spending way, way, way too much time tweaking the sound in post, wasting the additional time and money you thought you saved in post. And I think the noise floor will still be something they'll have to deal with. What's the opinion here? Am I crazy that 32-bit recording is kind of a waste for regular (non-sound effects / non-music) location dialogue? To me, 24-bit digital dialogue has already got 144dB of dynamic range, and that's way, way, way more than can be reproduced in a theater. But maybe I'm thinking too conventionally, and maybe I'm too old-school.
  2. I think it's bullshit, because (as we all know) it's the director who decides ultimately how the film should look and sound. Scorsese specifically did not want to over-process the faces and smooth them out completely, because he felt that would rob the actors of their emotional facial gestures. Any $99 editing tool these days has the means to dive in and soften an isolated part of the picture; hell, there's a free version of Resolve that will do it. But it takes skill to know when to stop adjusting, and it's also the director's decision as to how far (or how little) to go. I have had situations where we had "actors of a certain age" and had to give them a little "beauty pass" to help them out a bit. Often, it was with actresses who were already beautiful, but just needed some help to maybe knock 10 years off. I would demonstrate for the director that the problem is, you crank the knob a little too high, they start looking like plastic Barbie dolls. It takes a lot of time and effort to make it look 100% natural, to the point where you'd say, "wow, I know that actress is close to 60, but she looks like she's 45!" No way can we make her look 30, not convincingly. If they wanted that, they'd have to do a Gemini Man VFX thing where they reconstruct a 30- or 40-year younger person. I have done two "beauty" scenes in the last year or two, and in the most recent one, when we finished the director looked at the results and said, "I should call the actress, tell her what you did for her, and that she should **** you." I got a kick out of that. Again, it always starts with great lighting, great effects, and great lenses -- we can't do much with crappy material.
  3. Hey, two mics on Artie! That's strange -- what is that, a U87 and an EV something-or-other?
  4. Always great when you're on the last take of the day, and in the middle of a great scene, the battery warning indicator starts flashing. A great sound person will be able to pull a solution out of their ass and keep going. (As in this film.)
  5. Really sorry to hear this. Don was a real gentleman and also had a great sense of humor. I always enjoyed what he had to say about the business, as well as life in general.
  6. Beautiful work, one of the best shows of the year. I agree, it's better in German with English subtitles so you can actually hear the actors. Terrific final mix, too.
  7. Cardioid lavs are kind of a specialty device and not used that often for dialogue. They're more susceptible to wind noise, and there's also the problem of the talent moving their heads during normal conversation. I haven't found they necessarily keep out more noise than other mics in noisy environments. I did find that they're sometimes better for resisting feedback in live stage situations, but only "somewhat," depending on actor's position. Audio-Technica, Countryman, DPA, Sennheiser, and Shure all make cardioid (and even super-cardioid) lavalier mics, but my advice would be to test them before committing to a purchase. You may find that noise-reduction in post or ADR are more practical solutions for noisy locations.
  8. BTW, as an update, I delivered the "Get Well" card that dozens of attendees signed at the RAMPS/JWSound dinner at NAB a few weeks ago. (And thanks again to Michael Carmona for arranging that.) The Senator was very pleased and touched by the sentiments. He's still going through some health challenges but is getting regular care and is getting around on his own to a degree. I've encouraged him to consider commenting on JWSound directly and will continue to do so.
  9. I will relay the messages! He is fairly chipper and I hope will be back to his irascible self soon.
  10. I've been reading more and more about people using MIDI keyboards to "play" foley footsteps and other sounds for basically low-budget (or short-turnaround) projects. Obviously, nothing can beat actual foley performed and recorded by humans, but a keyboard-triggered sample is an interesting idea. Here's one company doing that: https://www.uvi.net/en/soundfx/walker.html
  11. I can now report that Senator Michaels is fine. He had some health issues over the last few weeks (nothing major) and is now being checked out by physicians. The Senator should be back home early next week and will be able to respond to emails and phone calls.
  12. More details on Deadline.com: Crew Member James Emswiller Dies After Fall On Set Of Tom Hanks’ Mister Rogers Film; Sony Laments “Devastating Tragedy” https://deadline.com/2018/10/you-are-my-friend-sound-technician-critical-on-set-fall-mister-rogers-1202481413/
  13. Astounding sound -- very clean singing (for the live stuff) and every line perfectly audible. I think there were some issues with story, edit pacing, and timing, but acting and sound were nearly flawless. Beautiful color, too.
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