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the official quarterly of the cinema audio society
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NG • SOUND SUPERVISION • SOUND DESIGN & EDITORIAL • M • ADR • FOLEY • RE-RECORDING MUSIC EDITORIAL • GAME AUDIO • SCORING • DVD AUDIO MASTERING • AUDIO RESTORATION • ARCHIVE • TRANSFER • LAYDOWN/LAYBACK • SCREENING ROOMS • PROJECTION SERVICES • EMERGING MEDIA • REMOTE RE-RECORDING • MOBILE ADR • CUSTOM FIELD RECORDING
INTRODUCING . . .
TELEVISION ANIMATION SOUND
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FEATURES 47th Annual CAS Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Meet the winners & ceremony highlights
Headphones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Not all cans are created equal
Everyone Remain CALM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Lowering the level of TV commercials
EXPERIENCE MORE .: INNOVATION :.
DEPARTMENTS President’s Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 A rededication to CAS members
From the Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Technically Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 More file types
Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The art of mixing
Tips & Tricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Addressing Pro Tools playback delays
Been There Done That . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Introducing Audio-Technica’s smallest-ever lavalier microphone. With a capsule diameter of only 2.6 mm,
CAS members check in
the new BP896 MicroPoint™ lavalier virtually disappears in props or clothing to create highest-quality audio
The Lighter Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
for broadcast, video production, presentations, houses of worship and theater sound reinforcement. Wherever your performances lead you, experience more. audio-technica.com
In Remembrance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
BP896 MicroPoint ™ Features • • • •
Inconspicuous, lightweight capsule Handles high sound pressure levels with ease Extremely intelligible natural audio High-pass filter provides a steep low-frequency attenuation to improve sound pickup without affecting voice quality
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Cover: The Hurt Locker
THE PRESIDENT’S LETTER
In 1964, a group of rerecording mixers in Hollywood
met with each other and formed the Cinema Audio Society. Their goal was to have a group that could share information with other sound professionals in the motion picture and television industry. Because they were all working, it was difficult for them to engage in what we now refer to as networking. Their desire to have a united voice and to share their knowledge was a driving force. This has not changed. Our industry has grown and reshaped itself in many different ways. Even more today than before, we are partnering with filmmakers and, along with them and the tools we now have available, are creating the best product we can. All industry professionals need to have the full knowledge and understanding of how our products are created. Starting with the origination of clean, usable production tracks and following through with the many complex, involved steps of the post process and culminating with the final delivery of the best dialogue, effects and music. There are many places and tools available to educate upcoming sound professionals. The CAS is very fortunate to be able to facilitate resources with which we can network. Our depth of membership, which was started by our founding members almost five decades ago, is tremendous. Our founders wanted to have a place that could educate and inform the whole industry to assist in raising the professional level and therefore, further the appreciation of our products whether it was on the large screen or the small screen or how it was distributed. We proudly recognize our membership and their professional achievements. Personally, I know that having met some of the top post-production mixers through the CAS in my career was instrumental to furthering my own level of achievement. The CAS has fostered a communication channel for so many people to learn from, and this is one of the parts of the CAS value. We have been able to stand on the shoulders of those that have come before us and who had set the highest of standards for themselves. The pathways they forged, the innovations they achieved, and the standards of professionalism they established are what drive many of our current CAS members. It is this pride that has been handed to us that drives many of our members to insist on the recognition of our contributions by having our names and CAS initials listed in the credits. In becoming members of the Cinema Audio Society, you recognized the value of our organization. Thank you. In the same spirit as our founders, your camaraderie, sharing of knowledge, and insistence on the goals of high quality and professionalism will support our continued mission of dedicated to the advancement of sound.
CINEMA AUDIO SOCIETY MISSION STATEMENT
To educate and inform the general public and the motion picture and television industry that effective sound is achieved by a creative, artistic and technical blending of diverse sound elements. To provide the motion picture and television industry with a progressive society of master craftsmen specialized in the art of creative cinematic sound recording. To advance the specialized field of cinematic sound recording by exchange of ideas, methods, and information. To advance the art of auditory appreciation, and to philanthropically support those causes dedicated to the sense of hearing. To institute and maintain high standards of conduct and craftsmanship among our members. To aid the motion picture and television industry in the selection and training of qualified personnel in the unique field of cinematic sound recording. To achieve for our members deserved recognition as major contributors to the field of motion picture and television entertainment.
CAS SPRING 2010 NEW MEMBERS
Sound within reach...
Active Jonathan Chiles, CAS John D’Aquino, CAS Laurence A. Ellis, CAS Russ T. Fisher, CAS Ken Ishii, CAS Tamara Johnson, CAS Michael B. Koff, CAS Jan McLaughlin, CAS
Terence (TJ) O’Mara, CAS David Raines, CAS John Clinton Richardson, CAS Ray Rifice, CAS John Sanacore, CAS Rudy Zasloff, CAS New Woods Universal Quick Connect
Student Edward L. Moskowitz, CAS President of the Cinema Audio Society
Erik Bailey Blake Benthall
Theodore Quinn Michels Areya Isabel Simmons
Te l . 7 6 0 . 7 2 7. 0 5 9 3 • i n f o @ k t e k b o o m s . c o m • w w w. k t e k b o o m s . c o m
ZEPPELIN WINDSCREENS • KLASSIC POLES • ARTICULATED POLES • AVALON POLES • SHOCK MOUNTS • MIC SUPPORT PRODUCTS ®
FROM THE EDITORS...
Spring. A time of renewal and rebirth. As many of you are working on pilots, in this issue, we’ll be reflecting on the year’s big winners at the CAS Awards banquet with our annual “Meet the Winners” articles. These are some of our favorite articles to prep for here at the Quarterly, because they allow us to speak with peers we may, otherwise, never have the chance to. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy reading about the winners and their projects. In addition to the awards section, we have some excellent contributions from our membership, including a very well-researched discussion on headphone responses over the years written by none other than Tomlinson Holman, CAS. Plus, Karol Urban, CAS discusses a new governmental bill aimed at keeping the level of TV commercials within a similar range as the surrounding program (Really! It passed the House and is on its way to the Senate!) Editor Peter Damski, CAS voices his concerns regarding a move to record only iso’s on set instead of a production mix. G. John Garrett, CAS continues his summary of audio file types in his “Technically Speaking” column. Also, we have a “Tips & Tricks” submission from student member Brian Sacco, who shares a way of alleviating playback delays in Pro Tools. We are saddened by the loss of Hal Whitby, CAS and say goodbye and finally, we received a good amount of submissions for this issue’s “The Lighter Side” and “Been There Done That” sections. The CAS Quarterly is produced as a service to our members on a voluntary basis. We appreciate and encourage your feedback and suggestions—so send them in! We would like to thank the members who send in story ideas—or even the whole story already written! If you have something of interest, whether on the production or post-production side, please feel free to contribute. For this or any other issue relating to the Quarterly, you can email us at Quarterly@CinemaAudioSociety.org.
Traveling light. The SRa Series receivers have a new traveling companion called the Quadpack. The design was inspired by a good friend in Holland with the goal of lightening the load in bag systems for field production. Four wireless channels, a common power suppy distro and multiple audio outputs are combined in a compact, 39 ounce package.*
Frank Morrone Lee Orloff Lisa Pinero Greg P. Russell Jeff Wexler
2010 CAS Board of Directors & Former Presidents
Made in the USA by a Bunch of Fanatics.
Patti Fluhr EDITORS:
Peter Damski Matt Foglia
Walt Disney Studios Post Production Services Next Generation Talent, Tools & Technology For Your Film or Television Project
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS:
Cinema Audio Society 827 Hollywood Way #632 Burbank, CA 91505 Phone: 818.752.8624 Fax: 818.752.8624 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.cinemaaudiosociety.org
Dan Dodd 310.207.4410 x 236 Email: Advertising@IngleDodd.com
www.lectrosonics.com *With two SRA/5P receivers
Here is the 2010 CAS Board of Directors and former Presidents: Front row, from left: Richard Lightstone, Joe Foglia, Lee Orloff, Ed Moskowitz, David Bondelevitch, Lisa Pinero, Melissa Hofmann and James Corbett. Back row, from left: Peter Damski, David Fluhr, R.D. Floyd, Jeff Wexler, Tomlinson Holman, Gary Bourgeois, Bob Bronow and John Coffey. (Missing are Greg Russell, Frank Morrone, Paul Rodriguez, Agamemnon Andrianos, Bob Beemer and Ed Greene.)
And, like the Dutch mariners in the Golden Age, it’s tough enough to travel the world.
Bob Bronow Joe Foglia Peter R. Damski Paul Rodriguez
Matt Foglia, CAS
Power is provided from an external source of 7 to 18 VDC through locking LZR and Hirose connectors. Passive circuitry automatically pulls power from the jack with the highest voltage, so it’s easy to connect a second power supply for backup or extended runtime.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Agamemnon Andrianos Bob Beemer Gary Bourgeois David E. Fluhr Ed Greene Tomlinson Holman
IngleDodd Publishing 11661 San Vicente Blvd., Ste. 709 Los Angeles, CA 90049
Peter Damski, CAS
One side panel provides XLR audio jacks, and the other panel provides TA3 audio jacks and dual power inputs. The panels can be switched to either side to help with cable routing and the way you set up your bag.
President: Edward L. Moskowitz Vice President: John Coffey Treasurer: R.D. Floyd Secretary: David J. Bondelevitch
• • • • •
ADR Sound Design & Editorial Re-Recording Cutting Rooms DVD Audio Mastering
• • • • • •
Optical Sound Track Negative Negative Cutting Layback/QC 2K Screening Rooms 3D Projection State of the Art Digital Media Center
Sound Editorial ADR
©2010 by the Cinema Audio Society. All rights reserved. CAS®, Cinema Audio Society®, and Dedicated to the advancement of Sound® are all trademarks of the Cinema Audio Society and may not be used without permission. © Disney
More File Types by G. J ohn Gar r et t , CAS
Last time, I presented a short overview of some popular PCM digital file types. There are more. I want to talk about the AIFF wrapper, which is Appleâ€™s Audio Interchange File Format. It was developed from Electronic Artsâ€™ Interchange File Format, and of course, one would think Apple could not bring itself to use anything from MS/IBM. In fact, the WAV extension is based on EAâ€™s IFF as well. The difference is that Appleâ€™s AIFF reads the data with the most significant bit first, and the PC WAV is read with the least significant bit first. The widespread popularity of Apple computers in the creative arts helped make AIFF a very popular file type but ironically, AIFF does not support time code or BEXT/iXML metadata, so it is virtually useless for time code-based production. With the advent of OS-X, a new AIFF variant based on the AIFF-C (compressed) architecture, it sometimes appears as a compressed file type but is not a compressed file, though AIFF can be used to wrap MIDI data. Finally, Apple recently created another iteration of AIFF for Apple Loops, which uses the same .aif or .aiff extension but has pitch and tempo-shifting information as well as MIDI sequencing info imbedded. Youâ€™d think they would have implemented time code in the spec by now!1 Another irony is the Sound Designer II (SDII) file format, developed by Digidesign, which was bought by Avid and forever unreadable on any Avid system. Thatâ€™s right; Avid could not read one of its -own- major digital file types. The format was limited to 48kHz max, interleaved stereo or mono files. So multi-track sessions were comprised of many mono files. SDII files kept the sampled audio unchanged in a â€œdata forkâ€? and all the fades, processing, etc. was stored in a â€œresource fork.â€?2 As it was proprietary to Pro Tools SDII, or SD2 as it is sometimes written, it has been almost completely orphaned worldwide by now, and Avid is about to strip Digidesign of all their branding and call all the Pro Tools systems Avid Pro Tools from here forward. Current versions of Pro Tools on Macintosh computers can import SDII, files and presumably SDII sessions, but it doesnâ€™t appear that they write SDII any longer. 8
Most file extensions depend on the wrapper being used. Pretty much any linear PCM file can be stored in raw form with the RAW extension and a lot of editors and playback systems will open RAW files.3 AES3 is an interface format which specifices a pair of interleaved PCM signals which travel on a single twisted-pair transmission line. There is an AES file extension, developed presumably by Snell & Wilcox for storing these data streams. SMPTE developed an extension of the interface for transmitting non-PCM AC3 compressed audio.4 So you could run into a file with an AES file extension. I would think that if not supported directly, a DAW could open the file as a RAW file. OGG files are a product of Vorbis and a wrapper used for audio and other audiovisual data. It is a completely open-source file specification and appears to work with mono or multiple mono files. It can be used as a stream delivery mechanism for media file storage or as a building block toward implementing a more complex, nonlinear container.5 If youâ€™re running any flavor of Unix or Linux, you probably know about OGG.
There are several compression schemes for linear PCM files appearing nowadays that are considered lossless compression, and makers claim most or all of the audio information is restored on playback. A few of these are Real Mediaâ€™s RealAudio_ LL, Microsoftâ€™s Windows Mediaâ€™s WMA_LL codec, the Free Lossless Audio Codec FLAC,6 which OGG has a variant, Apple Lossless Audio Codec ALAC, and a supposedly lossless codec from Monkeyâ€™s Audio. Zaxcom has a lossless compression scheme available for their Deva recorders, and I believe itâ€™s proprietary. Iâ€™m just adding the lossless codecs to this list because you may be running into encoded material and itâ€™s worth noting that some prosumer cameras may include an option for a lossless codec over MPEG audio recording. The quality of these codecs is said to be very good, perhaps a codec play-off can be arranged for a future column. The Library of Congress has a pretty good listing of file types and such, which Iâ€™ve drawn from heavily in these discussions. Their website is a good resource and worth checking out as a starting point to understanding popular PCM file wrappers, file extensions, and encoding schemes. http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ formats/fdd/sound_fdd.shtmlâ€˘ 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Audio_Interchange_File_Format 2 http://www.crucial-systems.com/ SDII_format_specification 3 http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ formats/fdd/fdd000011.shtml 4 http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ formats/fdd/fdd000142.shtml 5 http://www.xiph.org/ogg/doc/ oggstream.html 6 http://flac.sourceforge.net/
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Mixing: Use It or Lose It by Pet er Damsk i, CAS
The art of mixing is under the threat of obsolescence. I don’t make this statement lightly; the signs are all around us. What follows, is some back-story to help understand my thoughts. One of my goals as an educator of future generations of sound people is to make sure that they are exposed to professionals and professional practices. In an effort to achieve that goal, I invite a variety of professionals in our industry to give presentations to our students in Savannah, Ga. I have our Sound Design Student Club, PASO (Professional Audio Student Organization), make all of the arrangements. This is a skill which will come in handy for their future success. Our list of prestigious visitors include Jeff Wexler, CAS and Ed Greene, CAS from the production side and sound editors David Van Slyke, Greg Hedgepath and Chris Basta on the post side. The film department at SCAD also brings in outstanding speakers. Walter Murch, CAS was just here and gave a great presentation on picture editing and creativity. During Wexler’s presentation, one of the bullet points emphasized was that the art of production mixing includes having the sound recorded for a particular shot have the same perspective as the camera composition. In other words, the sound for a wide shot should include more of the ambient space than the sound recorded for a tight shot. From my discussions with many production mixers and my own approach, I find this to be accurate. The editor loves to get sound that works well with the picture without having to spend a great deal of time making adjustments to the production track. Here is where the conundrum exists. During Murch’s presentation, he gave some examples of the influence of the high-quality visual effects in use today. One example began with a wide-framed photograph taken in England. He then cut to an insert, or blowup, of the same shot; turning a wide master to tight single. His point was that many changes are under the control of the editor in the edit bay. In the days of film, this modification could not be achieved without increasing the grain of the picture; not a desirable outcome. If the editor (and director) decide to make changes of this nature in post, does it put our desire to consider perspective under question? Now, our wide perspective during production is no longer accurate. Is the workflow of the future to wire everyone and eliminate the production track? I have already mixed a pilot on a major lot that has requested that I not do a production track. “We only want ‘iso’s”’ was the 10
word from post production. The intent was to create the entire production track in the edit bay. I fought hard, and won, to get to “mix” this show. While I agree that wireless technology keeps getting better and sounding better, there is still nothing like the sound of a boom microphone. Under this new workflow, the mixer becomes a “sound acquirer,” making sure that the wireless mics are being recorded on the right tracks and that they sound good. Charleston, S.C.–based production mixer Jon Gaynor shared that he knows of a mixer who doesn’t even use a boom operator any more, everything is wireless and iso’s. I find this workflow disturbing and hope that it is just a bump in the road. I think that the re-recording mixers in the crowd need to pay attention here, as the technology available to the editor also makes it possible for them to do the final mix in the edit bay. While I agree that the quality suffers from this approach, many low-budget producers don’t care. Most viewers don’t know the difference either. I realize that this is a very The sound for a wide shot c o n t r o v e r s i a l subject, and I am should include more of the hoping to get a dialogue about ambient space than the this started in this publication. sound recorded for a tight We are approaching the 100th shot. From my discussions anniversary of “Talkie,” and with many production mixers the many years of and my own approach, I find trial and error have gotten us to where the quality this to be accurate. of the sound in film and television is fantastic, pretty much across the board. Is this new approach going to be a big step backward? Please let me know how you feel about this by replying to the CAS Quarterly editors at email@example.com. •
in Playback After Pressing Play
Pro Tools users may have experienced an issue with playback latency that seems to have gone undiagnosed by Digidesign. The issue is a brief â€˜stutterâ€™ in playback after pressing play on either a control surface, keyboard, or in the transport section of any Pro Tools LE or HD rig. Although brief, the lag becomes quite irritating after awhile. For the longest time, I thought that it was just the computer allocating resources in order to deal with the demands of RTAS or TDM plug-ins, but Iâ€™ve come to believe that the issue is related to the virtual routing of the operating system audio versus the audio coming out of the DAW. Essentially, if one uses a Pro Tools interface (002/003, 192, etc.) as a standalone D/A converter for desktop applications like iTunes or Safari (via Digi CoreAudio Manager), the user must designate where the audio is being routed via the â€œSystem Preferencesâ€?
by Br i an Sacco window. Once Pro Tools is launched, the Pro Tools interface disappears from the list of possible output paths, leaving your system audio with no place to go. Even though you may not be using a desktop application that has audio, your machine still needs to know where to send it, and itâ€™s looking for your interface to send it to. The fix is simple. All you have to do is select an alternative path, like the built-in speaker, and the issue is resolved, your Pro Tools playback will be back to normal. SYMPTOM: Delayed playback after hitting Play in Pro Tools PRESCRIPTION: Make sure â€œDigidesign HWâ€? is NOT selected under System Preferences > Sound > Output Hope this helps!
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