23 April 2007

NAB Video A-GoGo

Steve Eagle over at Coffey Sound has posted three videos from the floor at NAB 2007, giving a brief walking tour of the pro audio booths. Items of note include:

-A brief demo of the Ricsonix Camlynx, a new digital stereo wireless hop to camera

I'm very interested in this one. Unchaining yourself from the camera can be a wonderful thing, especially with a forgetful cam op who takes off running and gives your neck a hell of a yank. Pressing two wireless into service gets the job done, but being able to send line-level and receive a warning beep when you lose signal could be a boon to mixers at this price level.

-The new Lightwave carbon fiber ENG boom pole (no links just yet)

Multi-stage carbon fiber, with a new locking mechanism that makes for a lighter pole as well as being easier to clean and maintain.

-The K-tek Zeppelin

Redesigned cage, along with sturdier foam end caps.

-The PSC Miranda, a high-end film mixing console

A Big Boy Toy. Someday....{sighs longingly}.

Plus, a lot more. It's just like being there, only without getting food poisoning from that All You Can Eat Shrimp-O-Rama Buffet.

Link to the forum post, where the clips are linked as streaming Windows Media.

(Some of you Mac users out there may wish to download Flip4Mac, a free plugin that allows WMV files to be played back in Quicktime).

22 April 2007

Ty Ford Mic Demo Video

Ty Ford, sound mixer, recordist, author, actor and VO talent extraordinaire has graciously agreed to share his Mic Demo Video, wherein he compares a Countryman E6 lav, a Countryman EMW lav, a Sennheiser 416 short shotgun, and a Schoeps CMC 641 hypercardioid .

For newbies starting out in audio, this is a great way to see and hear mic directionality (I recommend using headphones).

Drop by tyford.com for more reviews and a sample of Ty's book, Audio Bootcamp Field Guide.

20 April 2007

Vitaphone It In

From wired.com:

1926: The Vitaphone sound-on-film process is announced by Warner Bros. studio. It’s the death knell for the age of silent films.

Vitaphone was prone to human error, since the alignment of the film projector and attached phonograph had to be precise even though it was set by hand. Nevertheless, it represented a marked improvement over previous sound-on-disc technologies.

Link. For more about Vitaphone, be sure to check out this diagram from widescreenmuseum.com. For more about early film sound, check out this article, via filmsound.org.

18 April 2007

Audio Illusions

Stumbled across this the other day. Snip:

Audio illusions, also known as Audio Paradoxes are sometimes to be found in nature. The best known audio paradox is known as Shepard's paradox. It is the audio equivalent of the endless staircase illusion made famous by M. C. Escher. In this audio paradox a series of tones can be made to sound as if they are ascending or descending in pitch forever.


16 April 2007

Soundtrack Pro 2: The Soundtrackenning

Since I'm out on the road for a gig (in Walla Walla, no less, ooh-la-la), this one will be brief.

Apple had their annual to-do at NAB this past Sunday, where they announced Final Cut Studio 2, which includes Soundtrack Pro 2.

From 2-pop.com:

# 5.1 surround sound mixing with stereo and 5.1 in the same project and aligned with 3-up video display;

-Finally, they get the big-boy toys!

# Surround sound Plug-ins;
# Library of over 1000 music tracks and sound effects supplied in 5.1;
# A new continuous Conform feature that tracks changes, syncs changes, etc. in Final Cut Pro and updates the Soundtrack Pro project accordingly, with differences highlighted that you can accept or over-ride;

-Speaking as someone who just spent over 120 hours doing post with Soundtrack Pro, I can tell you that this feature will be huge. I had numerous changes to implement, and something like this will greatly streamline that process and possibly lower my blood pressure.

# Frequency spectrum view in built-in waveform editor

-A feature that some of us had been drooling over since we saw it demo'd as part of Adobe Audition.

Pro Tools is still the de facto standard for film post, as well as in many other pro audio markets. But if the inroads made by Final Cut are any indication, Soundtrack Pro may have the same potential to shake things up a bit.

Competition like this can only help end users, as it nudges companies out of stagnation, encouraging innovation and, eventually, economies of scale.

Economy is paramount in the indie world, where I do my post work. Here, daddy needs a new pair of everything, and an affordable, powerful platform like this upgrade promises to be could even the playing field a bit for us entry-level folks.

Link to the main Soundtrack Pro 2 splash page, via apple.com.

09 April 2007

And sometimes, it just works out...

I had a pretty good day recently.

Most of my day job gigs are rather dry, corporate/industrial affairs, usually training or internal use videos, with some broadcast here and there.

But, every once in a while, you get the choice gig.

The one with the relaxed schedule, a cool, laid-back producer, and lunch provided for you courtesy of the client.

And every once in an even greater while, you get one like I got this past Friday.

I was part of a video crew, contracted to capture the 25th anniversary party of Wieden +Kennedy, a very prominent advertising firm whose clients include Nike, Starbucks, and many other struggling-to-get-off-the-ground businesses (I hope my sarcasm is apparent here).

They took over a very large warehouse in North Portland, retro-fitting it into an indoor carnival, complete with a milk-jug toss and gypsy fire dancers in the main ring.

Plus, open bar all night. But the kicker?

Live music, provided by the Beastie Boys.

Whom I like, and have never had the opportunity to see before. And now, I was watching them in a private show.

And getting paid for it.

Eat it, suckers.

I mean that nicely. :)

Yes, sometimes it does just work out...

Link to the rest of the photos (sorry for the occasional lack of focus. As you may have noticed, I do audio for a living).

04 April 2007

Holy Foley

In this modern age of DAWs and desks, one of the more active jobs in audio post is that of that of the foley artist. In this tutorial, Philip Rodrigues Singer, M.P.S.E., takes us through some of the finer points. Snip:

On a film set nothing is real - the sword is made of plastic, the marble floor is painted plywood. Foley replaces or enhances that live sound; the result is a sword that rings like metal and floors that echo like marble! During filming, the location sound recordist tries to capture only the dialogue. Microphones are keenly positioned on set to record even an actors slightest whisper without the background noises from camera and crew. Foley helps to add back a controlled background layer of sound to produce a rich and realistic track.

Link to the tutorial.

01 April 2007

Snowball's Chance

Steven Douglas over at kenstone.net has posted a review of the Snowball USB Mic from Blue Microphones. Snip:

It is not a toy mic with horrid colorations, no bottom end, and a sound that reminds one of someone stuck down a well somewhere in Kansas. However, the Snowball is fairly inexpensive, and well worth the small investment for such an easy to use and neutral sounding mic. Sure there are going to be many mics much more hi end than the Snowball, but isn't it about time that there was a USB mic that you could use, be happy with, and not have to apologize for? Blue Mic's USB Snowball is here.

Link to the review, via kenstone.net.