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Jay Rose

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Everything posted by Jay Rose

  1. I had a strung-together TRS80 doing studio chores like sfx database and dub labels/tracking, and my wife hated it... and by extension, all computers. (I think the 80 hated her as well; it seems like it would frequently crash when she came into the room. But it also had these dicey ribbon connectors, and software I'd written, so it crashed a lot.) Then I dragged her to a "computer store", where she could see this new gadget. She later described it as "it had this little bar of soap with a wire, and I could move it on the desk and see something get drawn on the screen. I was hooked!" Why she got to describe it that way, was in an interview after she wrote some two dozen books about Photoshop!
  2. It’s a terminology thing. Countryman calls their E6 an “Earset”. It has a boom, and a tiny mic element. Maybe someday AES or SMPTE or CAS will standardize “earset” and ... “cheekset”(?)
  3. Embrace's website says it's an omni. It may be hard to implement any other pattern: the unit is small so there wouldn't be much difference between front and back entrances, and one side is so close to the head it's virtually blocked. I worked for the late Carl Countryman on a project involving his earsets. These were different, of course, with a semirigid boom intended to be molded to the actor's face, and the element much closer to the mouth than Embrace's. But Carl made both an omni and a cardioid version. He told me that buying the cardioid was almost always a mistake. Its proper use was for performances with large speaker stacks behind the singer. For dialog or speech s/r (preachers were a big market) any advantage to directionality was cancelled by the problems of getting a consistent sound on both near and distant sounds. The omni seemed incredibly directional, rejecting almost everything else in the room... but that was because of inverse-square.
  4. The rally issues were a problem with the venue’s surround: they had only RT. Bernie’s have only LT. (I’m old enough to remember when political gatherings had an actual C. Not even Dolby can derive good Dialog from just one side.)
  5. If you run out of absorbers, try diffusing the slap between parallel walls. Anything that'll aim it in different directions - like round fiber tripod cases against the wall, or even PAs and others leaning against the wall - will help. Not as much as absorbers, but every bit counts. The other thing, of course, is inverse-square. The closer the mic is to the actor's mouth, the less reverb by comparison. Earsets or hair mics can be very helpful... if production is willing to cooperate. I'd rather add verb and ambience to something that's too dry when we get to post, than try to get rid of big-room reverb in an intimate close-up. (I'm waiting for some plug-in company to invent a Neural Network reverb-killer, rather than the algorithmic expander-oriented ones we have now. But I can't figure out how they'd ever derive a useful training set. Polluting dry recordings with artificial reverb would just train the NN to reject that artificial reverb, not the incredibly complex early reflections of the real world. )
  6. Purcell's Dialog Editing is an excellent book. He's a very good writer, and covers every aspect of turning the ransom note of edited production audio into something that'll work smoothly and quickly on the dub stage. I recommend it highly, and have a copy in front of me right now. But he's primarily an editor, not a rerecording mixer. While he walks you through just about every possibly editing scenario with lots of pro tips, his book has less than a dozen pages on processing. I wrote Audio Postproduction to fill that gap. There are sixty pages just on equalization, dynamics control, and noise reduction, plus chapters on time domain (including reverb) and other processing. I cover dialog editing - but nowhere near as deeply as Purcell - plus editing music and sfx, and recording VO and ADR (which are postproduction operations). It also comes with a one-hour audio CD of tutorials, examples, and diagnostics. Ideally, you should have both books. They've also both been out long enough that there are used copies around. But if you buy a used copy of mine, make sure it has the CD. A lot of its content was cleared only for single-CD-with-book, so I can't send you replacement files.
  7. Not witchcraft, just a totally different way of dealing with noise, which wasn't practical until we had today's powerful host computers and cloud services like AWS. When the iZotope and Audionamix software first came out, I wrote a CAS Quarterly article about how it thinks. Cedar's realtime, plus just about every NR plugin prior to these new ones, and even the old solution of running a Cat 22 decoder on production track, all rely on narrow-band expansion with carefully chosen thresholds. So does mp3, in how it simplifies PCM audio streams to them it smaller.
  8. I am glad I learned ProTools. That way, I was even more impressed when I saw how well Nuendo improves my workflow. Tried to run parallel for a few years, then stopped paying for upgrades on the PT I wasn’t using. YMMV. I cut my teeth long before DAWs were practical. So I already had a reputation and client base who trusted me. But if you’re in LA and just starting out, knowing ProTools is probably essential to finding a studio job.
  9. I came across a new product, VoiceGate from Accentize. The name is misnomer: it's not a gate, but a NN-driven dialog v noise separator. Same category as iZotope's Dialog Isolate module, and Audionamix' IDC, but with some major differences. Runs very efficiently as a channel insert plug-in, or in an offline window. They've been fine-tuning the beta - and I've found them very flexible at taking user suggestions (plus adding features I hadn't thought of). Should be shipping in a week or so. I just posted a hands-on of the beta with before/after audio samples, in a thread at Geekslutz. Worth knowing about. (Just don't tell any DPs... or else it'll be one more reason for them to say "Don't worry about dialog during production because there's a new magic plug-in." (It ain't magic. But I'm adding it to my arsenal that already includes Rx7Adv and IDC, because it's a useful tool. 😉)
  10. Danish, which clips that you've done -- even on your own, for fun -- are you proudest of? You can still show them to clients with the caveat "this is my demo, not the real film". If you don't have any you've done that you're proud of yet, you're not ready to show for someone else. But... Don't circulate them on the web. That can hurt your reputation in the long run. And it's infringement... if you ever strike it big, somebody's going to find your old demo and sue you. And re-do your demo as soon as you've got real projects. Even pro bono or tiny budget. Get rid of the fake ones, and replace them with something that faced real-world challenges.
  11. If you don’t have a sense of humor, don’t go into sound. Or maybe a sense of the ridiculous. Or a sense of pathos.
  12. This mummy isn't a movie, but an actual mummified Egyptian priest from 3000 years ago. Researchers wheeled his remains into a CT scanner, mapped his vocal tract, and 3D-printed a replica of his throat and mouth. They bolted it to a compression horn driver, and claim it reproduces the guy's authentic voice. It makes a good story in today's NYTimes along with a brief audio sample and a link to the research paper in Nature. It's also only a story. The mechanism used to create "speech" -- a complex vowel waveform generated by a computer and controlled by a joystick, then sent through a few fixed low-Q resonators in the 3D-printed "mouth" -- is nothing like the way human voices work. We have high-Q resonators, constantly moving to form different filters on the wideband buzz from the vocal folds. Essentially, they've put a non-linear horn on the output of a conventional speech synthesizer. And it's just guesswork, because we have no idea what sounds (or resonances) were used in the priest's language. The real breakthrough is mapping and printing an ancient mouth, even if it doesn't have the muscles essential for speech. It's a bit more sophisticated than getting a new set of false teeth... but how they made this mouth "talk" is just window dressing. So why am I posting this admittedly speech-nerd story at JWSoundGroup? Aside from the scientific interest (yes, I do get off on this stuff)... Some producer is going to glance at the Times' article, and then demand we create authentic voices for their next horror film or biblical epic!
  13. I'm a few years ahead of you, understand what you're facing, and am in no position to give financial advice. But one thing that's kept me sane: When I moved an hour away from downtown (Boston) three years ago, I made sure to get a place that would accommodate a small but workable in-the-box mixing setup. I let enough people know I still had two ears and ten fingers, and was open to anything that (a) interested me, and (b) was being done by someone I liked and/or respected. I haven't made much money this way (and don't have much overhead), but the creative low-$$ indies and pro bonos are just enough to give me ongoing energy and pay a few bills, while letting me sleep late when I want to. YMMV. But I hope it turns out to be close.
  14. "Half the Movie" ...whoops, sorry; show cancelled due to lack of support.
  15. 1970s band: Electric Fudge Which is what we do in post all the time...
  16. I agree. The #%£€# attorney who set up my first corporation in the 1970s should have made it sub-S but didn’t. If he had, I wouldn’t have needed to collapse it when I sold the facility and could have paid tax on my profit at personal rates rather than corporate ones. As it was, I had to dissolve to claim it as personal. Which meant the subsequent operation HAD to be a proprietorship. Lessons; 1) I know better now. 2) I’ll never be rich enough — either as a corporation or individual— to not pay taxes.
  17. I stand corrected. Being an East-coaster, all of us here (including my bank and accountant) refer to them as '04-' numbers. I'm sure your EIN is equally valid. But why do you need a business license or corporation to get one? Form SS4 at IRS.gov, which is how you get an EIN assigned, clearly has a checkbox for 'sole proprietorship'; all they ask is a reference SS for the proprietor. And there's nothing on the form about a business license or number number. They just want the tax-related info (address, type of business, product or service, expected number of employees -- which can be zero -- and so on.). Your state or city MIGHT require a license to do business under your own name, but many don't... so the IRS has no reason to require one.
  18. TV Post, I beg to differ: 04- is a Federal number, and it applies to all US federal and state taxes. It's now referred to as "Taxpayer Identification Number", since you don't need to have employees or pay salaries. I've been 04-2836139 since 1988, when I left the big production house I was at. (My accountant suggested I stay as a sole proprietorship -- just me, no corporation or partnership -- because I'd collapsed my own corporation a few years earlier when I sold my multi-room complex. Accountant said if I formed a new corporation in the same line of work, IRS could take away the tax benefits of my earlier move.) When employers ask for my SS number, I give them the 04 instead. It appears on my billhead. It's not a secret, and can't be used for identify theft. Even though it only refers to me. Most of the producers that pay me net without deductions don't even bother with 1099s... they know that since I'm registered as an 04 with the IRS, the government will work to keep me honest. Productions that do deduct (as required by some state film bureau work) send me a regular W2... but with the 04 number instead of a SS. I file a Schedule C each year, which reports my professional earnings and expenses (including use of home and car, as long as they're reasonable and documented). I pay my own employer's tax on the earnings, just as if I were a corporation paying myself a salary. Then the net profit goes into my 1040 as my income, and I pay federal and state taxes on it the usual way. You can do all this yourself, but I really recommend hiring a CPA (and not a storefront tax company or software, at least for the first few years) because there are a lot of legal things you can take advantage of. License and registration? For my car, yes. As an audio postie, no. I don't bill myself as a civil or electrical engineer, which requires a test and state registration... sound engineers don't, at least around here. Business registration is strictly a local affair. Since I do business under my own name, I don't need any registration here. I don't know of any locality that requires registration for a professional doing business under their own name. Again, IANAL. This isn't legal advice. It's just what's kept me out of trouble for the past ~30 years.
  19. The FAQ is full of corporate-speak and sounds like it's trying to hide "we want to give you fewer opportunities to take advantage of the actual tax law", IMHO. I'm not a lawyer or CPA. As far as I can see 1) The multiple jobs estimator (https://apps.irs.gov/app/tax-withholding-estimator/income-and-withholding) referred to in the new W4's instructions actually has room for freelancers who work on a gig-by-gig basis. And it lets you include the low-paying jobs to reduce the average. 2) It might be worthwhile getting an "04" number as a sole proprietorship, and filing a schedule C for your professional earnings. It's free. 2a) That also makes it easier to deduct for your professional expenses and depreciation and things like business mileage on your car. I've been doing that for years, and when a client requires a W4 or has to withhold because of local film tax rebates, I use the 04 number. 2b) Some producer bookkeepers have complained that they need an SS number rather than the 04. They're wrong. The old w4 even had a place where you could submit the 04 instead of the SS. 2c) End of year, my accountant computes my tax by taking the Schedule C bottom line as my income on the 1040. Then he uses any withheld money to reduce the tax due on the 1040. 3) It may even be legal to submit the old form in place of the new one. See 2b, and check with your lawyer or accountant. You definitely need an accountant... probably one familiar with our business. And a big chunk of their fee is deductible on your Schedule C.
  20. Yes, it's possible... depending on the acoustics of the recording itself. I don't know British copyright law, so I don't know if it's legal for you to make a modified CD for any purpose. There are at least three programs I know of that may be able to do the job... again, depending on the recording itself. They're $$ and require additional software to make the CD. Best bets: ask again at GearSlutz.com... ...and look for a music only recording. Possibly one with a buyout license.
  21. In ref, New York Times this past weekend: YMMV. Or anyone else's who's below the line...
  22. No offense taken. Jim's book is the bible of dialog editing for narrative feature film, and it's well written besides. He devotes a whole book to to the subject. My book is bigger... but it has only one chapter on dialog editing, because it covers the entire soundtrack process from prepro to mix, for all kinds of films and budgets. I'm also sorry you haven't read my book. Jim and I take completely different approaches to figuring out exactly where to make the cut in a spoken line. Both are valid, both are fast and reliable in the heat of editing, and a good editor learns to use both...
  23. Assuming they're logarithmic, like the sounds we can normally hear, most of the separately distinguishable tomato sounds would be in the bottom end of that 20k - 100k range. Just like the acoustic middle of our 20Hz - 20kHz range is considered to be 1k... or why middle C on the piano is ~261 Hz, not 10 kHz. So I'm guessing that if we had a need to record veggie dialog in a production, we could get a lot of it with 96 k s/r. [At worst, the top end of fruit fricatives might suffer. But there is no truth to the rumor that Spanish onions have a lisp.] The golden ear, or golden thumb, types may certainly disagree.
  24. According to an article in New Scientist, ordinary plants make audible* sounds when stressed: (* - Well, audible by dogs and teenagers. Or by 96 kHz files with good mics. Or possibly beating with other sounds up there. At least, they're sounds and apparently reasonably loud.) In the article, drought-stressed tomato plants made 35 sounds an hour... when plant stems were cut, tomato plants made an average of 25 sounds in the following hour... unstressed plants produced fewer than one sound per hour... The implications for farmers and gardeners are obvious. For our productions... well, at least it's another source for stuff that can be manipulated in post.
  25. I hear an animal chattering, filtered and sped up with pitch shift... leading to a reversed crash-with-reverb, so it builds. Your clip cuts before the crash itself; if it were up to me, I'd do a quick fade into the natural verb and ambience so we never hear the crash itself... but that's wild: I've got no pix or story reference, so I don't know what should happen next in context. -- I guess I'm also sort-of Lucas Certified: Randy Thom and I developed a book together, had a contract from a big publisher... but could never make our schedules work to actually write the thing (and cancelled the contract). That being said: 1) I agree with D. Start recording your world. Then get home, start listening to little pieces, organize them, and turn them into little sound montages. That second part is as important as the first: it'll teach you to hear real world in the context of what's usable for sound design. 2) Since I brought up Randy, read his essays. They're all over the web, and he's brilliant. 3) While you're at it, you could read the free tutorials on my website. And if you've got $35, read my audio post book... big chapters on sound effects and manipulation.
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