Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Android Masquerade

So we have an amazing script. You ever go to one of those 2-Day film classes with Dov Siemans? He says you don't want a good script, you want a great script. If your script is just "good", go back and make it great.
And this new script (1301) is a Steven J. Niles script. And it's amazing. Actually, I haven't got the contract back from him so maybe I shouldn't tell him how completely off-the-hook this new screenplay is. But it is amazing.
And O! The elegance of the structure of it. Steven is the King, Royalty, I tell you, of making compelling stuff happen in a limited number of locations.
  • We need a desert landscape.
  • A futuristic apartment
  • A command center/operations tent
  • An interrogation cell
  • An exterior alleyway.
The exterior alleyway is, surprisingly, always one of the hardest locations to find. You'd think that us shooting in NYC we'd have them no problem. They're everywhere, right? Covered in graffiti and trash? Man, it is so not 1979 here anymore.
We really need to do a million-dollar job on the futuristic apartment set. It has to look like we had all the money. I have some ideas. 3-foot wide sections of set which are about 6 or 7 feet high. Must have ceiling. Must have floor.
For CG we're going to steal the open-source models from Ian Hubert's latest Blender Foundation project. Oh, and also get some city walls around New York.
Did I mention that this script is off the lanyard? Because it totally is. I imagine Steve writing it and thinking "Oh, Drew likes dark. I can do dark. Let's see if Drew can handle an ending that's this freakin' dark. We'll make Brazil look like 12th Night. We're gonna go dark." I can't wait.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Son Miserables

Now, I realize that this article was written for a mass audience and not for (say) visual effects professionals. But... something seems a tad absurd here.
Now as a disclaimer, articles about how "they" did something "in Hollywood" are notoriously inaccurate, misleading, or straight-up malarky. So, you know, maybe this ain't how it went down at all.

Anyway, the recording of the voice in the movie version of "Les Miserables". This was the process:

I proposed working closely with the costume department and obtaining swatches of matching fabric that might be used to cover the microphone mount. A small cut in the exterior of the costume would permit mounting the mike on the outside and a camouflaging piece of matching fabric would make it inconspicuous.
I'm down with that. Sounds like a decent idea.
Since the mikes would be attached using DPA’s recommended mount, and since no fabric would touch the grill, the application should be noise- free. 
That's true. And microphone rubbing is one of the biggest pains in the tuchus for the production sound department.
Although the mike would be clearly visible to the human eye, on a wide shot and on a moving costume, it would be very difficult to see, and on a tight shot it would actually be beneath the bottom of the camera’s frame line.
Wide shot: can't see it. Check. Tight: too tight for camera to see it. Check.
For the medium shots we would rely upon advances in VFX technology to paint out the mikes.
Wait. What?
They put lavs on everyone, but expected VFX to paint them out in medium shots? Why not just boom everything and have VFX paint out the booms on the wide shots? I know I'd rather paint out a boompole and a microphone up out of the range of action in a shot than deal with painting out a mic on someone's freaking costume. Painting out the boom — at least that way you're not having to motion-track freakin' cloth.
Well, that decision made a mint for some CG artists at least.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I'm somewhat enjoying the war between Sound Devices and Zaxcom right now, because sound mixers are winning.
The new Zaxcom MAXX looks very awesome. For only $2195 it gives you a 4-track recorder (records onto CF or SD with a CF adapter.)

Even with multi-camera shoots there are very, very few scenes which require more than 4 tracks. I guess if you're doing wireless on each character and then a boom you might hit your max (ha) track count more often with only 3 tracks available for wireless iso tracks. But if you're just slapping wireless on each of your characters without a boom it's very rare to run more than 4 channels at a time in a feature.
Sure, about once or twice in a feature you get one of those scenes where 9 people talk at different points. And in TV it probably happens fairly often. But for what we do, 4 tracks could really do a whole lot for us.

Six Easy Days

Have I mentioned that I've written a book?

"Written" is maybe a somewhat loose term here. I re-wrote Mark Owen's "No Easy Day" as Six Easy Days.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Dragons We Do Have

  • Sintel
  • Dead
  • White
  • Callista
  • Callista w/o horns

That's really all I have to say about that right now. Aren't you glad you asked?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

One Monitor or Two?

I already blogged this post. But... then it ended up in my drafts folder. I... don't understand things.
It may not look terribly big in this picture, but this new monitor is big. And bright (I turned down the brightness actually).

I'm starting to get all non-two-monitors over this thing.

This monitor was only 180 bucks. Back in the day I was getting a good price with Dell on a 24" monitor for $600. Remember those times? Wow. This monitor is bright enough I might even recommend it for my dad.