Sunday, January 24, 2016


So a thing which concerns me is that I think in the future we're going to start seeing demands for ATSC A/85 loudness standards in deliverables.
But we do care. We care so much.

Now for them of us in the indy world, there's frequently some allowances for certain standards which exist in the big network TV world which we get to slide by. But I don't think the international loudness standards are going to be one of those things.
So I want to be ahead of the... 8-ball? Curve? Whatever it is one needs to be ahead of to make sure we're delivering masters which are compliant to CALM act and that sort of thing.
The high-end version of the audio mixing/editing software I use (Samplitude) is called Sequoia. It is comically expensive (almost $3000). But it has built-in tools for decent loudness metering.
There are cheaper LUFS meters, but not necessarily what one is looking for in the way of broadcast audio.
In any case, measuring A/85 or any of the other loudness standards is... weird. You're measuring an average of an average of a level but only within a certain frequency range and only when the signal is above a certain level. Right? Because loudness is a subjective thing and making a meter to measure it is a pain in the tuchus.
Dig this (from the above TC Electronics link):
Target levels are specified in various broadcast standards, but only vary slightly. For instance, the ATSC A/85 standard recommends a target of -24 and uses the LKFS term, whereas the EBU R128 standard sets the target level at -23 and uses the LUFS term. One of the reasons for this difference is that the R128 standard employs the above-mentioned gate, which in effect makes most measurements equivalent to -24 LKFS/LUFS without the gate - yet more useful for aligning loudness across genres.
Yup. The broadcast standards are sort of difficult to get one's head around. But it's doable. And if we can guarantee the deliverables (which I imagine might be important for VOD) it will help.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thinking while Rotoscoping

In the indy world, anything which even remotely seems like it might be inexpensive has to be quashed right away. Shooting in HD is now the cheap thing to do so 4K is the new hotness.
Personally I'm not into the look of the giant-sensor cameras. That super-shallow dof reads "Oh, someone's got a Canon" to me.
 My buddy Chance Shirley thinks that the frame size of Super 16mm is about the sweet spot between narrow depth of field and not having an image so shallow it's simply impossible to focus. I have to agree with him there.
 So I like the micro 4/3ds format. It's, you know, about the right size for a sensor. The trick is finding a camera (which has to be 4K) plus a global shutter.
Global shutter. Dang nab it. We solved every problem -- we got big sensors which solved the un-film-like deep focus that those tiny 1/3" sensors had, but doing so we introduced a new and really annoying problem -- rolling shutter.
 The irony is that film, yes film, has an inherent rolling shutter. It's just a lot shorter than what these new big-sensor DSLR's have. And honestly you can shoot a lot of movie without seeing any artifacts. And also, the new cameras are getting their artifacts down to motion-picture "wet film" levels. But still, I'd like it to be gone.
 Filmmaking is a learning experience. One thing I learned is to NOT rely on rotoscoping out an entire scene with multiple characters from a background that does not match what you want.
Oy freakin' vey that's a lot of work.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


I've been told to never again put anything involving budgets on any blog post again. I listen. And obey.
Our budgets keep going up though. And we're getting better at certain things.
Virginia Logan modified these flight suits and Brian Schiavo built the masks (not seen) that the androids wear. It's actually quite a goodly bit of costume design. Ian Hubert is building background and yes, that's his robotic drone in the foreground (middleground I suppose).
Ian is also responsible for how smooth this composite is. I don't know what wizardry he does but oof. It's nice.

What else hath been dictated from on high? 4k. We're shooting in 4k from here on out. We might not even be delivering in 4K for a while but for the time being we need to finish in 4k because VOD channels on the interwebs are going to start demanding it.

We shot our last movie (not the above one) in 4K. So we'll be shooting 4K from here on out.
My fantasy is to get one of those Black Magic cameras, mount it so it feels like an Aaton, and get a 4K recorder for it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Post Stuff

Kate Britton with androids in background. Also a post-apocalyptic refinery.
 Ian Hubert has been fixing my lousy camera work. And boy. Has he fixed it.
The Philadelphia Desert is a harsh environment. Luckily these androids (I believe this is Kathleen Fletcher) have facemasks made by Brian Schiavo.

This is dangerous because it encourages us to think we can just do any nonsense at all when shooting because the plates will be cleaned up and background elements will be added so beautifully.