Thursday, July 17, 2014

I only got the two things

Eric Ian Steele on writing loglines.
Although not the best-written article, here's a comparison of what's needed for film sales in different genres. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Today in the machine

So today I took a pair of black pants, put a robot armor calf piece inside them, and shoot them with a paintball gun loaded with dust pellets. I shot it overcranked. I have no idea what it's going to look like.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Do these blog posts ever make sense to anyone else?

Today's questions include things like: Do we need a closeup of Hawkins' leg being hit by shrapnel during the robot shootout?
The magic solution to the inherent problem in ADR (that the new, dubbed, dialog sounds too "clean" and "dry" compared to the natural noisy and an ambient way dialog recorded on set -- even well-recorded dialog -- sounds) is this one reverb setting.
The 1.1-second "garage" impulse response in Samplitude has changed my attitude towards ADR.
One of the many impulse responses which comes in Samplitude is the thing. It's just a junky enough sounding room* that it sounds like an actual acoustical space. And it matches practically everywhere from a long hallway to a tiny anteroom. I realize that doesn't make very much sense but it just works. It sounds like the reverb one would record in a not-terrible room using a boom mic right over the actor's head. It's magic. I dunno.
Okay. Saturday we recorded the last of the scheduled ADR on Dead Raid. And I've re-mixed everything. New thing: when making the stereo masters off of the 5.1 masters I pull the levels on each channel down -12.144dB. This way the stereo mixes don't get additional limiting and yet the peak level never goes about -12dB.

The answer to the question is "probably not".

*"Junky" here doesn't mean engineeringly-bad-sounding. It just means small and, well, garage-y.

Friday, July 11, 2014

10 Hours

"Northern Ireland's work laws limits the work days to 10 hours a day."

Heck, Game of Thrones shoots that way. And you know me, I'm totally down with that. Like a mystery, limiting the number of hours you work simply makes you more efficient. It's amazing.
Just try it. Commit yourself to 80 setups in 8 hours. (I know, GOT only does 15 setups). But you'll like it. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014


We had a couple noisy locations on this picture and there really wasn't any option other than some ADR to deal with them.
Sarah Schoofs doing ADR in the studio.
 I've been using an Oktava 012 microphone -- the same we'd be using on set (except that this movie was almost completely recorded with wireless lavalier microphones). And there's a bit of distance on the mic (you can't even see it in the picture above.)
It seems that for most people, seeing the picture while they record isn't terribly helpful. So we've abandoned having a picture monitor in the booth. I'll play the line three times and then go into record. No bloops or leader or anything.
I think this makes it easier. You just need to memorize the cadence of the original and you're not distracted by picture.
I do try to line up each line for sync immediately after they record the line. Just to, you know, make sure.
There's a standard impulse response in Samplitude -- a 1.1 second "garage" reverb. I've been using that to give a bit of controlled distance and room on the ADR. Honestly I've lost all perspective -- literally and figuratively -- but it seems like the right sort of sound for ADR. The tail of the reverb doesn't do weird things the way the tail of a reverb which is more appropriate for (say) guitars and pianos would be.
We have two more actors we need ADR from. And then (hopefully) we will deliver final picture.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dead Raid art and trailer

Whew, embargo lifted! Now I can show you the art and trailer for Dead Raid.

Dead Raid trailer from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

This is Maduka in the robot suit.
 I kinda dig the tag line.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Oscar Bait

Bill Martell re-posted an old blog post arguing persuasively to eliminate indy films from Oscar contention.
As an indy filmmaker I think it's a terrible idea but it makes sense if you're trying to get studio movies to be better*.

*Yes, I'm aware that genre indy pics are never Oscar-bait.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And More on ADR

Okay, these videos on dialog editing are just awesome. Nobody does videos about dialog editing, so these things are just a relief to look at. I'm thinking "Here's somebody who's really doing it!"
There are a few "rules" John Purcell lays down which are actually just "ProTools" rules. Stuff about using time compression and expansion and some of the data management he does. But otherwise -- who'd have thunk about reversing room tone to make a longer loop? Oh man, that changes my life right there.
This looks more like I expect to EQ lav mics under clothing. Sometimes a shelf on that very high end is nice (although there really isn't very much signal up there.) EQ band number 3 there has a mightily wide "Q" but it really helps with making the recording sound more natural. Obviously there's a lot of clothing to poke the sound through as everything below 1000 Hz needs a world of reduction.
Man, I just had the biggest technical problem recording some ADR. Kept getting a "pop pop pop" sound on playback. I tried everything. Reboots, switching FireWire audio devices, flipping from ASIO to WDM. Finally tried recording to a new track. That worked. Sheesh. Very weird.

Me and those wireless lavs

This is what I've been doing to hidden lavalier microphones. It seems kind of extreme but the sound of a mic up against someone's chest, underneath their clothes, is fairly obnoxious. There's a big whumpus typically in the 200Hz region. And the very low end has been getting a shelf -- just to make it seem more natural. A tiny bit of whumpus is added right in the middle right where the consonants are. And I don't know but that high end bugs me. Maybe if we were using more expensive mics like DPA's or even COS11's I wouldn't mind it.

This is the third time I'm mixing this movie. Each mix involved a new philosophy. The second mix was all about pulling the faders down so we didn't hit the limiters so hard. This mix is all about adding massive robot sounds and doing ADR. We're scheduled to be done with all of those things by around the 4th of July. Which, for a movie originally scheduled to be finished on February 1, is uh. Well it's what it is.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sound and the Furry

I'm gonna get this book. Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures.
Also cool are the video tutorials available online associated with the book. Look, I straight-up do not agree on putting tones on any digital format. But I'm allowed to not agree with parts of stuff I otherwise like. It's in the Constitution.
Oh man. My nice Sennheiser 580 headphones are falling apart. A new pair of Sennheiser HD600's is more money than I want to think about right now.
What part of this design isn't awesome? No part, that's what.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wot Next?

I'm going to hang a copy of John August's "How To Write A Scene" in the office tomorrow.
Our editors likely think this is how we shoot our movies.
We have, I think, a complete list of dialog which needs ADR. I am trying to get over myself in that I like to think I can oversee the recording of dialog which does not need to be replaced. It's just not true. Some dialog will have to go and get itself re-recorded. It's just the way it is. There. Am I over it? We'll see.
It certainly does mean we have to schedule our post-production differently. I wish I had a solid clue about how long it takes to edit picture on a feature. The amount of time seems to be really random.
In any case, now in addition to our normal picture-lock, then dialog edit, sound effects, and music, we really have to schedule in ADR and not be ashamed about it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Louder Bot

We don't tend to "test" our movies in any normal sort of way. What we will do, however, is show them to people for notes. The writer, the producer, the editor, the composer(s), all get to give notes. But these are people who have been, how shall we say, emotionally intimate with the picture.
So the biggest notes come from the distributor.
His particular notes were that the robot wasn't mechanical enough. More heavy robo-cop-esque. I made the robot more a "stealth" 'bot. But he's got to feel some weight.

So we're going through and adding some more bigness to his footsteps. A bit of a whirr and a bit of a clank.
And yup, I had been blind to the movie needing that. It totally needed it. And now the movie is better for it.
There were also a couple scenes I thought we could get away without doing ADR on. Those scenes need ADR. I was really too close to the movie to tell on my own but those were some additional notes by our sales rep/distributor.
So we're organizing the ADR. I was really hoping to have whole acts done by the end of the weekend but that doesn't look like it's gonna go down. We'll see what we can get though.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Celtx vs You

John J. Bruno does not like Celtx.
I'll tell ya, Celtx does not revision the way normal-budget movies want to be revisioned.
But we've managed to use it to schedule a couple features now. Note that the scheduling it does only works for us. A real AD would be driven insane by the limitations. I'm just happy it'll make call sheets. It doesn't do an awesome job with call sheets but it does an okay one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Vers l'infini

Mathieu Cesar - "Vers l'infini et au-delà" from iconoclast on Vimeo.
This is what's going on in the Pandora Machine today. I mean, watching videos is what's going on.