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The Sound of “Super 8″

Posted by on Jun 28, 2011 | 1 comment

New article at M.P.E.G featuring the sound crew of “Super 8″, including sound designer/co-supervising sound editor Ben Burtt, co-supervising sound editor Matthew Wood and Re-recording Mixers Anna Behlmer and Andy Nelson.

For the pivotal train crash during Reel 2, Burtt faced a major challenge – how to sustain the tension without overwhelming the soundtrack. “My thought process was: How do you build to a climax when the first sound in the sequence is justifiably equally as loud as the last?” he offers. “I wanted to leave spaces in the sound effects so that the audience could appreciate discrete events without it becoming too muddy [as sounds build on one another]. I had a range of metal crashes and explosions that I time-stretched, pitch-shifted and processed to create choreographed sequences that continually build [as the full extent of the crash is appreciated]. My final decision was that there should be no overlapping sounds; each element would have a specific start and finish.”

The Sound of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Posted by on Jun 27, 2011 | 1 comment

Director Michael Bay and Producer Steven Speilberg return this summer for the third film in the Transformers franchise, Tranformers: Dark of the Moon. The amazing visual effects in this film are complimented by the talented efforts of the sound team including Re-recording Mixers Greg Russell and Jeff Haboush, and Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designers Ethan Van der Ryn, and Erik Aadahl.

This is the first 3D film of the series and will also be presented in regular 2D, Real D 3D and IMAX, featuring Dolby Surround 7.1 sound.

SoundWorks Collection

Coll Anderson Special: Film Sound Discussion of “Catfish”

Posted by on Jun 25, 2011 | 2 comments

The recording for the discussion with Coll about Catfish is now available. I just want to give you a heads up that we had some technical issues. There were a few functionality ideas that, while they worked in our initial tests, didn’t pan out for the discussion. We stumble our way through, and get things kind of sorted out about 6-7 minutes in.

When you load in to the recording, look for a button labelled “Restore.” This will pop the text chat window back up, so you can follow the flow of the discussion. Enjoy.

Access the recording here.

Final Cut Pro X for Audio Roundup

Posted by on Jun 25, 2011 | 0 comments

Apple’s new version of its dominating middle-end picture editorial system was released on the 21st of this month, and professonal reaction has been negative, even withering, due to a lack of seemingly obvious features and a new workflow and timeline semantic that strikes pros as very different and new, or decidedly iMovie-ish.

Final Cut Pro finds a lot of use in features and television.  It’s the favored system of David Fincher, the Coen brothers and many independent filmmakers who prefer it over Avid; all of the larger features I’ve worked on will post on Avid, but all of the independent films and shorts I’ve worked on, and anything that was shot on a digital camera, have been exclusively Final Cut.

So, for context, read David Pogue at the NYT his review, where he mentions the feature that had people at NAB crying with joy:

First — and this is huge — there’s no more waiting to “render.” You no longer sit there, dead in the water, while the software computes the changes, locking up the program in the meantime, every time you add an effect or insert a piece of video that’s in a different format. Final Cut X renders in the background, so you can keep right on editing.

However the new features came with a horrible dark side, and his readers dumped so many emails and comments on him that he felt he had to do a second review, which has the best and most thorough list of complaints I can find, along with many Apple responses and remedies.  Here are some that impact audio folks:

  • “Can’t export AAF or OMF files.”  This is true — the new FCP does not export OMFs.  There is a new version of Automatic Duck that exports OMFs from Final Cut Pro X, but this is an add-on.  Apple also has not yet released documentation on FCP X’s XML format, so it’s not clear how quickly we’ll see more add-on software, particularly for things like EDLs which FCP X also doesn’t export, and which we still use due to Avid and Final Cut’s profoundly lossy way of handling multichannel production audio.
  • “You can’t assign audio tracks.” (What he means is audio on the timeline is freeform, and can’t be set to be on a track designated “A1″ or “A2″.)  The new Automatic Duck can output these tracks in a particular order, I am informed, but it’s not clear exactly how the editor controls this.
  • “Can’t import old FCP files.”  The new FCP X can’t read FCP 7 project files, and probably never will.

Steve Martin (not that Steve Martin) has done a good overview of the new features in FCP X.  Some features are compelling, like surround panning, and some require a closer look, like automatic-on-import ground loop filtering and a new denoising process.

[EDIT: Added a few more links and an aside on EDLs.]

The Sound of “Green Lantern”

Posted by on Jun 24, 2011 | 1 comment

New article on Post Magazine featuring supervising sound editors Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers talking about the sound of “Green Lantern”.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ summer action adventure Green Lantern brings the popular comic book hero to the big screen for the first time. Directed by Martin Campbell and starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong, the film serves up the tale of a cocky test pilot who comes into possession of a ring that gives him super powers and sweeps him into an intergalactic conflict threatening the Earth.

For the sound team at Soundelux (, Green Lantern posed a number of significant challenges. Academy Award-winning supervising sound editors Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers led the team and were challenged with augmenting the film’s many spectacular visual effects sequences, including several titanic battles between the film’s lead, who has the ability to create anything he sees in his mind, his nemesis, Hector Hammond, and a mysterious, malevolent force known as Parallax.

An Interview with Gary Rydstrom

Posted by on Jun 24, 2011 | 0 comments

Matteo Milani of USO Project has made another of his great interviews, this time with Gary Rydstrom.

Gary Rydstrom was born in 1959 in Chicago, IL. He graduated from the University of Southern California – School of Cinematic Arts in 1981. He began his career at Sprocket Systems, formerly Skywalker Sound, in 1983. Offered the job by a college professor, Gary received the opportunity to work with his mentor, Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt. He created sound for numerous successful films including Backdraft, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Jurassic Park, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report and Finding Nemo. Through this work he has won 7 Academy Awards.

Rydstrom did his first work for Pixar on the short film Luxo Jr.. John Lasseter has said it was Rydstrom’s work on Luxo Jr., such as creating the lamp’s voice from the squeak of a lightbulb being screwed in, that taught him how sound can be a partner in the storytelling of a film. In 2006 he has made his directorial debut with the Pixar animated short Lifted. He recently jumped again into the director’s chair to create his second animated short Hawaiian Vacation, set to play in front of Cars 2.

(A tribute to Gary Rydstrom, by Matteo Milani)

Full interview here.

The Sound and Music of “Cars 2″

Posted by on Jun 24, 2011 | 1 comment

The busiest man in Hollywood (North), John Lasseter returns to the Directors chair in Cars 2 as Lighting McQueen and tow truck Mater head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix.

Helping to bring to life the sound and music of this international espionage adventure include Composer Michael Giacchino, Re-recording Mixer and Sound Designer Tom Myers, and Sound Effects Editor Al Nelson. Git-R-Done!

SoundWorks Collection

Post Magazine: Recording ‘Mr. Popper’s’ Penguins

Posted by on Jun 23, 2011 | 0 comments

Quick article from Post Magazine featuring Mark Mangini, who talks about his work on”Mr. Popper’s Penguins”.

Mangini decided to capture original penguin recordings, so he arranged to have access to the birds that were used in the film.

“We couldn’t use a regular recording facility because penguins need to be in an environment that is 40 degrees or colder at all times,” he notes. “So we built a recording room equipped with a special air conditioning system. It became our ‘penguin ADR room.’”

Continue reading…

IGDA Perspectives – Audio

Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 | 0 comments

The Independent Game Developers Association has released the June issue of their monthly newsletter “Perspectives” which includes a healthy round up of audio related articles:

You can also check out their iPad/iPhone/E-reader-Optimized version here: IGDA Perspectives June 2011

Head on over and get you fill of whats happening in Game Audio!

“Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound”, Fourth Edition Now Available

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011 | 1 comment

I was browsing some suggestions Amazon did for the Kindle and found that Focal Press recently launched the fourth edition of “Practical art of Motion Picture Sound” (by David Lewis Yewdall), one of the best post-sound books out there. If you don’t have read it yet, you definitely should!

Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound, 4th edition relies on the professional experience of the author and other top sound craftspeople to provide a comprehensive explanation of film sound, including mixing, dubbing, workflow, budgeting, and digital audio techniques. Practically grounded with real-world stories from the trenches throughout, the book also provides relevant technical data, as well as an appreciation of all the processes involved in creating optimal motion picture sound. New to this edition are exclusive sound artist lessons from the field (including 2 new production cases studies), including insight from craftspeople who have worked on the latest Harry Potter and Batman films. All technological changes have been updated to reflect the most current systems.

  • Detailed step-by-step explanation of the craft as well as professional insight from the various people working in the industry provide readers with both practical knowledge and inspiration
  • Author provides a complete overview of creating effective sound for film, including motion picture protocol, budgeting info, dealing with onset politics, and technical information about recording
  • Includes a DVD with video demos of techniques, sound clips, examples from the author’s films, effects, and more!

The book is available at several stores and costs $49,95. There’s also a Kindle version available for $29,47.