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FEATURES Primetime Emmy Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 CAS Career Achievement Award . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Jeffrey Wexler, CAS receives highest honor
A New Honorary CAS Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
The Possession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Part one of on-set adventures
Got Sync? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 A music video director talks about PluralEyes
That’s a Game?!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Game sound according to a linear mixer
President’s Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 From the Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Technically Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Making a lasting connection
Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Get thee to the mix room
Been There Done That . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 CAS members check in
The Lighter Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
46 CAS QUARTERLY
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THE PRESIDENT’S LETTER
In this current period of challenges and change, from sports to politics to workplaces, it is comforting to be able to acknowledge that in our sphere of influence, our practices and commitments remain stable. Since the forming of the Cinema Audio Society in 1964, we have always strived to meet our mission of dedication to the advancement of sound. Many of our members have been on the leading edge of technological changes within the motion picture and television industries, both in post-production and production recording. Producers have come to depend upon the advice and consultation of Cinema Audio Society members at large. It is with that level of sophistication that they are proud to have CAS members working for them on their productions as demonstrated by the inclusion of the CAS initials in our members’ credits. This is because the right to use the CAS initials is an earned privilege that represents both experience and time working in our related crafts. This year, our Digital Gameplan Seminar is continuing to demonstrate our goals of dedication to the advancement of sound by discussing digital workflow rules and procedures for navigating the digital highway; following up on previous seminars of several years ago. As the fall season is upon us and we head into awards, it is also time for the Cinema Audio Society to hold its annual elections. If you feel that you wish to participate, would like to help make a change, and help steer the Cinema Audio Society on its path of dedication, now is the time for you to stand up and be counted. The CAS is a peer-group-volunteer-run organization, and we welcome and encourage your participation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteer Board members, Officers, and staff of the Cinema Audio Society that I have had the honor to learn from and work with over these past few years. The support I have received from each of them, and from all of the members at large, is extremely gratifying. I look forward to my continued participation on the Cinema Audio Society Board of Directors. I also look forward to the opportunity to share a fabulous evening with you on February 19, 2011, when we hold the 47th Annual Cinema Audio Society Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Sound in the Crystal Ballroom at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
Edward L. Moskowitz, CAS President of the Cinema Audio Society 4
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47TH CAS AWARDS TIMETABLE Entry Submissions due by 5 p.m., Fri., Nov. 26, 2010 Nominations Ballot mailed Sun., Dec. 12, 2010 Nominations Balloting closes 5 p.m., Fri., Dec. 31, 2010 Final Five Nominees announced Thu., Jan. 6, 2011 Final Ballot mailed Fri., Jan. 14, 2011 Final Voting closes 5 p.m., Sat., Feb. 12, 2011 47th CAS Awards Sat., Feb. 19, 2011
THE DIGITAL GAMEPLAN: Real Workflow Solutions: On the Set Thru Post! WHEN: WHERE:
Saturday, January 8, 2011—Free admission Sony Studios in Culver City at the Cary Grant Theatre
ALL MEMBERS OF CAS, MPSE, AES, SMPTE, IA LOCALS 600—EDITORS, 695—SOUND, 700— CAMERA, DGA, PRODUCERS, FACILITIES, MANUFACTURERS, FILM STUDENTS and anyone involved in the motion picture film and television industry is invited to the industry’s most complete seminar event in years!
SEMINAR: Part I: 10–11:45 a.m. Workflow Rules and Procedures for Digital Cameras
Speakers for Arri Alexa, Canon 5D, RED, Panasonic, Panavison Genesis, Sony F35, Avid and Pro Tools. SEMINAR: Part II: Noon–1:45 p.m. Digital Workflow Rules for Production Thru Post
Speakers for production and post-production representatives. Avid and Pro Tools experts will discuss proper integration methods and actual rules to follow from the set thru the entire post process. A “Workflow White Paper for the Pros” will be handed out. Navigating the Digital Highway from the Camera and Sound on Set Through Post
Learn the newest rules, procedures and techniques to remain problem free for 2011. This is an industry-wide seminar concerning proper workflows to use along the entire chain for the camera, production sound & the post-production departments. Hear from the experts all in one room! Teaching, training and discussion on mastering the constant evolution of the digital process today. Be prepared for higher expectations as the technology continues to evolve. Note: The latest industry cameras will also be on display in the lobby for hands-on experience. Attend one or both seminars. Topics will address the processes and rules it takes to stay in total sync through the whole progression of a film, episodic or reality show, including the 3D and HD issues, proper codecs, sample rates, bit depth, file formats, metadata, cross resolving, sample rates, track assigning, Polyphonic, monophonic, USB, Firewire, SDII, UDF, OMF, AAF, FAT 32, BWF, UDF, MXF, iXML, NLE, ALE, time code, the EDL, metadata, audio to the camera, impedance, signal quality, tri-level sync, off-sets, new media, delivery, commercial compliance, wireless spectrum update and much more!
FROM THE EDITORS...
Happy holidays everyone! With leaves and temperatures falling, we bring you the fall CAS Quarterly. In this issue, the CAS is proud to announce this year’s Career Achievement Award recipient, Jeffrey S. Wexler, CAS. Also in this issue, Karol Urban, CAS brings us an excellent article discussing the parallels and differences between sound for linear media (like television & film) and game sound. James Ridgley, CAS shares some on set experiences of his most recent film, The Possession. G. John Garrett, CAS discusses soldering considerations and approaches in his “Technically Speaking” column while Will Hansen, CAS explores a non–time code–driven synchronization software application. In the “Food for Thought” column, Matt Foglia, CAS discusses how improved video editing system audio tools sparked a discussion of the post-production process. And Gary Bourgeois, CAS shares his experience of participating in this year’s MPSE Golf Tournament. As always, you can check up on the happenings of your fellow members in the “Been There Done That” and “The Lighter Side” sections. The CAS Quarterly is produced as a service to our members on a voluntary basis. We greatly appreciate, and want, your feedback and suggestions—so send them in! Email us at CASquarterly@CinemaAudioSociety.org. Also, a special “thank-you” goes out to those taking the time to contribute articles. And don’t forget, our sponsors are professionals like you who understand the business and needs of our industry. We encourage your commitment to them. Peter Damski, CAS
Matt Foglia, CAS
President: Edward L. Moskowitz Vice President: John Coffey Treasurer: R.D. Floyd Secretary: David J. Bondelevitch BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Agamemnon Andrianos Bob Beemer Gary Bourgeois David E. Fluhr Ed Greene Tomlinson Holman
Frank Morrone Lee Orloff Lisa Pinero Greg P. Russell Jeff Wexler
Bob Bronow Joe Foglia Peter R. Damski Paul Rodriguez OFFICE MANAGER
Patti Fluhr EDITORS:
Peter Damski Matt Foglia PUBLISHER:
IngleDodd Publishing 11661 San Vicente Blvd., Ste. 709 Los Angeles, CA 90049
CAS FALL 2010 • NEW MEMBERS Active Ray Beckett, CAS James Berek, CAS Patrick O. Bird, CAS Anup Dev, CAS
Petr Forejt, CAS Eric Freeman, CAS John W. Frost, CAS Charles Hunt, CAS
Shawn Ian “Chili” Kerkhoff, CAS Gilbert Lake, CAS Leigh Uttley, CAS
James A. Osburn, CAS
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS:
Cinema Audio Society 827 Hollywood Way #632 Burbank, CA 91505 Phone: 818.752.8624 Fax: 818.752.8624 Email email@example.com Website www.cinemaaudiosociety.org ADVERTISING:
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.
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Dan Dodd 310.207.4410 x 236 Email: Advertising@IngleDodd.com ©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.
No, this isn’t about keeping your wife/husband/other happy, this is about soldering. I’m constantly amazed by the number of sound mixers who don’t do any maintenance on their cables or other gear, and I realized a good tutorial on soldering might be in order. What is soldering? It’s the process of joining two conducting components (wire+connector, resistor+circuit board, etc.) with a molten conducting metal that has a lower melting point than the initial components. Plumbers solder copper pipes together and the principles are the same. Along the spectrum of metal joining, soldering is the lowest temperature option, where the solder melts at below 752° F (400° C). Next is brazing (above 450° C), where the filler material is stronger than tin/ lead, and then welding, where the two metals are directly liquefied and bonded as one thing, which is analogous to adding water to the ice cubes in your ice-cube tray and putting it back into the freezer. So the basic operation of soldering is to touch your soldering iron (of appropriate wattage for the job) and the two clean parts to be soldered together at the joining point, heat them and touch your solder to the joint until the metals rise to the melting point of the solder. When the solder melts, it gets drawn into the joint by capillary action like any liquid. Flow solder onto the joint to cover both parts (i.e., connector and wire) adequately, leave your iron in place for a moment, then remove the iron without moving any of the joined parts. You need to start with clean metals, but some metals oxidize rapidly and even the soldering iron can contribute to this oxida-
by G. J ohn Gar r et t , CAS
tion. How do you make and keep the metal clean for soldering? First, you have to remove any coatings or insulation, like lacquer on some magnet wire, for instance. This can be done with solvents or often some abrasion from sandpaper or a ScotchBrite pad. I prepare copper straps in broadcast ground systems with Scotch-Brite all the time, it works like a charm. But once the soldering iron hits the joint, you will need some kind of flux or rosin, which is made to clean and deoxidize the solder joint. Rosin also promotes wetting, which means the solder will flow much better into the joint. The good news is that solder can be easily found that comes with rosin already in it, carried in a tiny channel inside the solder wire itself. There are a few kinds of rosin available. The three kinds of rosin core solder are called non-activated (R), mildly activated (RMA) and activated (RA). I recommend RMA solder, and you should not use RA solder, as it is corrosive. Acid-core solder must be avoided at all costs. It is mostly used in plumbing, but the acid is corrosive and will destroy the joint and the components. With some metals, you can use peanut oil as a flux, and in some cases you need to use this or some more exotic fluxes, but in cable-making and basic repairs, you will probably never need to worry about it. Most solder in use today is a mixture of tin and lead. The ROHS guidelines call for lead-free solder in lots of consumer products, but we are going to talk mostly about mil-spec soldering, which uses lead solder. The most common solder alloy is 60/40 solder, which is 60% tin and 40% lead. This mixture has a melting range from 361° F to 374° F (183° C to 190° C) and has been in use for many decades. If you do any soldering, look
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at your solder to see if yours is 60/40. If it is, I’m going to recommend you sell it or take it to the metal scrap yard. Now I’m going to tell you why. The whole concept of soldering is alchemy in action. If you don’t heat the joint adequately, you can get a “cold joint,” which will fail in some time. You can sometimes tell a cold joint when you see the solder puddling and not flowing over the entire joint. Reheating can fix this, but inadequate reheating can also create a cold joint where a good joint once was. The reason for this is that the tin and lead don’t change state from liquid to solid at exactly the same temperature when they are combined 60/40, and tin dendrites, or tiny crystals, can begin to grow in the completed joint, eventually causing weakening and failure. This is why I refer to a melting range above because the metals solidify at different temperatures! What’s the answer to this? It’s easy. Use solder that has a tin/lead ratio of 63/37. It’s really that simple. This kind of solder has behavior which is called eutectic, which means at this ratio, the tin and lead solidify at virtually the same temperature, 361° F (183° C), and at a lower temperature than any other ratio of tin and lead. 60/40 solder exhibits some plastic behavior and the tin and lead don’t solidify at the same temperature (which is where you see puddling and other problems). Besides melting at a lower temperature and being easier on your components, it’s almost impossible to make a cold joint with 63/37 solder! One note on ROHS standards: There is no truly eutectic ROHS solder, though modern metallurgy has been trying for decades. The standards may have been pushed by manufacturers and here’s why: The difference is that a few grams of lead go to the landfill (which has containment for heavy metals) or recycling when you throw your old TV out. With ROHS solder, the joints fail in just a few years (or less) and you get to throw out (and buy!) a lot more TV sets over your lifetime. So in summary, make sure your components are clean, use an iron that will heat the joint adequately without destroying the components, use 63/37 RMA solder, and you will be making great, long-lasting solder joints from now on!•
Get Thee to the Mix Room
Off the heels of the “Mixing: Use It or Lose It” article Pete Damski wrote for the spring 2010 CAS Quarterly addressing the current increase in iso-only record requests, the post side is seeing a little paranoia itself. Into my inbox the other day came a notification of a new topic on the Post Sound Mixers LinkedIn group. One of the plug-in companies with a very high penetration (no names, please) announced a new audio bundle aimed at video editors trying to improve their in-the-box audio. “Are they trying to put us out of biz?” quipped one concerned member. “Mix it in the Avid—I’m seeing it more and more,” responded another. Like some other members who have commented, I’ve had gigs pulled for budgetary reasons (usually Web-based projects) and, usually on the next financially strapped gigs, they’ve asked me if my rate could be a little more flexible than usual for a particular series or project. I’m sure this scenario rings true for a number of our membership. And while, with additional quality tools becoming available, the potential for gigs to not progress out of the video suite becomes a reality, so does the potential for some god-awful mixes to sneak by a mix-deaf EP or two and actually make it on the air (I’ve heard mixes on the air with lav on the left and boom on the right—really!). On the other side, I know a handful of video editors (who are closeted audio geeks) whose Avid mixes could kick the butts of half the post pros out there from a quality standpoint. The funny thing is, they are the folks who want us to mix their shows—because they know the difference and they know how their scratch mix can be elevated to the next level (assuming they don’t send it to that bottom 50 percent!). I find editors and post coordinators paying more attention to the mix too. AE’s on a show I mix prep the audio layout for me 12
by Mat t Fogl i a, CAS
before sending the OMF—checker-boarding the music, splitting tracks, dropping the volume of rendered mixdowns so that the source audio can be heard (and the affected mixdown heard if a reference is needed). One production company I do work for sent out a new spec sheet for their producers to distribute to the audio mixers (in addition to the network specs). It actually states not to combine the boom and lav together, but to pick the most appropriate channel for the particular scene. And, perhaps more shockingly, for cable TV, “do not over-compress audio.” I love it! It’s like they want to make sure the mixers make the mixes sound, well, like real mixes. “Owning a set of brushes and paints does not automatically make one Michelangelo,” wrote one of our members on the thread—and I’m seeing it more often. Picture editors who are uneducated in sound may understand what compressors or limiters do in theory, but to make them work effectively, takes a little more than setting, say, that brickwall limiter to -10dBFS and starting the mix pass. Having a better quality plug-in, but not knowing how to utilize it appropriately is just going to make “worse” sound a little cleaner. “Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two,” commented one member— and there you go. Even the video editors who are competent
with audio require time to make the mix sound decent—which runs up the cost of mixing. And with mandated specs via CALM on the horizon, I believe that knowledge, understanding and experience will allow the art of mixing to continue to triumph over the ease that technology sometimes brings. •
CAS congratulates the following mixers for receiving a Primetime Emmy Award at this year’s gala held August 21, 2010. OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (ONE HOUR) Glee “The Power of Madonna” FOX
PHILLIP W. PALMER, CAS Production Mixer JOSEPH H. EARLE, CAS Re-recording Mixer
DOUG ANDHAM Re-recording Mixer
OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (HALF-HOUR) AND ANIMATION Entourage “One Car, Two Car, Red Car, Blue Car” HBO
TOM STASINIS, CAS Production Mixer ALEC ST. JOHN, CAS Re-recording Mixer
DENNIS KIRK Re-recording Mixer TODD ORR Re-recording Mixer
Modern Family “En Garde” ABC
STEPHEN TIBBO, CAS Production Sound Mixer BRIAN R. HARMAN, CAS Re-recording Mixer
DEAN OKRAND Re-recording Mixer
OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE The Pacific Part Two HBO
ANDREW RAMAGE Production Mixer MICHAEL MINKLER, CAS Re-recording Mixer
DANIEL LEAHY Re-recording Mixer
OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR A VARIETY, MUSIC SERIES OR A SPECIAL The 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert HBO
CARL GLANVILLE Music Mixer BRIAN RIORDAN, CAS Re-recording Mixer BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN Music Mixer
JAY VICARI Music Mixer AL CENTRELLA Production Mixer JOHN HARRIS Music Mixer
The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards CBS
TOM HOLMES Audio Mixer ERIC JOHNSTON Audio Mixer ERIC SCHILLING Music Mixer MICHAEL PARKER Monitor Mixer BOB LA MASNEY Playback Mixer MIKAEL STEWART PA Mixer PABLO MUNGUIA FRANCO Playback Mixer PAUL SANDWEISS Post Production Mixer
JOHN HARRIS Music Mixer TOM PESA Monitor Mixer RON REAVES FOH Music Mixer
OUTSTANDING SOUND MIXING FOR NONFICTION PROGRAMMING (SINGLE OR MULTI-CAMERA) Deadliest Catch “No Second Chances” DISCOVERY CHANNEL
BOB BRONOW, CAS Re-recording Mixer
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Receives CAS’s Highest Honor
by D or ot hea Sar gent
Edward L. Moskowitz, CAS announced that the organization will honor production sound mixer Jeffrey S. Wexler, CAS with the Cinema Audio Society’s highest accolade—the CAS Career Achievement Award. It will be presented at the 47th CAS Awards on February 19, 2011, at the Crystal Ballroom of the Millennium-Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles. “The Cinema Audio Society’s Career Achievement Award honors excellence and longevity and Jeff’s career of 40 years and more than 70 feature films, hundreds of commercials and numerous documentaries, certainly deserves this recognition,” said Moskowitz. “He has been at the forefront of innovation and embracing new technology in sound mixing, which exemplifies the mission and goals of the Cinema Audio Society.” Honored with a BAFTA Film Award for Best Sound for Almost Famous, Wexler has been nominated twice by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Cinema Audio Society for his work on The Last Samurai and Independence Day. He was also nominated for an Emmy and a CAS Award for the HBO movie 61*. Wexler was the first production sound mixer to get a single card credit up front on the film Being There. As a vanguard in sound, Wexler was among the first to use digital audio tape (DAT) format for production sound recordings and worked with all the major post facilities to develop workflows for this new format. He was also a pioneer in using file-based production recorder with the original Deva I, which ushered in the next big technical transition in motion picture sound recording and the way virtually all sound is recorded today. He has not stopped there and is constantly involved in new technology such as using 16
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recording cards in wireless mics and making a seamless path to post. During his career, Wexler has recorded some of the most iconic film lines ever: “Show me the money!” Jerry Maguire, no. 25 on the AFI Top 100 Film Quotes. And these quotes from the AFI Top 400 Film Quotes: “You complete me” & “You had me at ‘hello’” from Jerry Maguire; “First rule of Fight Club is—you do not talk about Fight Club” from Fight Club; “I like to watch” from Being There; “It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you” from Ghost; and “You make me want to be a better man” from As Good as It Gets. As the 29th recipient of the Cinema Audio Society’s highest honor, Mr. Wexler joins an illustrious group of past honorees that include Ray Dolby, CAS; Robert Altman, Jack Solomon, CAS; John Bonner, Bill Varney, CAS; Don Rogers, CAS; Walter Murch, CAS; Jim Webb, CAS; Richard Portman, CAS; Tomlinson Holman, CAS; Mike Minkler, CAS; Ed Greene, CAS; Dennis Sands, CAS; Dennis L. Maitland, Sr., CAS and Randy Thom, CAS. KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin will be returning as master of ceremonies at the 47th CAS Awards dinner, which will also honor Outstanding Achievements in Sound Mixing in five categories: Motion Pictures, Television Movies and Mini-Series, Television Series, Television-Non-Fiction, Variety or Music Series or Specials, and DVD Original Programming. The Cinema Audio Society, a philanthropic, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1964 for the purpose of sharing information with sound professionals in the motion picture and television industry. •
BEST SOUND MIXING RE-RECORDING MIXERS:
MICHAEL SEMANICK, TOM JOHNSON SOUND MIXER:
WILLIAM B. KAPLAN, C.A.S.
BEST SOUND EDITING
SOUND DESIGNER /SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR:
STEVE BOEDDEKER SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR:
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A New Honorary CAS Member by E dw a r d Mo sk o witz, C A S [Following are excerpts of a speech presented by President Edward Moskowitz, CAS at the IATSE Local 695 Quarterly Membership meeting on September 25, 2010, in the Meeting Room of IA Local 44 in North Hollywood, Calif.] I have been a proud member of Local 695 for more than 30 years. I have served on the Board of this Local for close to 90% of that time. But I am standing before you this morning rather as the President of the Cinema Audio Society. The CAS is an organization of professionals in the motion picture and TV industries whose goals are to educate and inform the public and the industry regarding EFFECTIVE
MPSE Golf Tourney b y G a r y B o u rg e o is, C A S This year, I had the great pleasure to be sponsored by the CAS at the MPSE Golf Tourney. My once-a-year sojourn into the golf world was complete! I was deeply concerned when I found out that two of my partners were scratch (or better) golfers ... a daunting situation. Much to my delight, all in the foursome were kind, understanding and positive and made me feel like one of the team. We did quite well and enjoyed a beautiful day running into old friends and colleagues. The evening events were hosted by Per and ran smoothly. Everyone seemed to have a really great day. I look forward to my next golf outing (next year). I hope in the future that more CAS members consider coming out for this well-attended event. Thanks to the CAS and also the organizers at the MPSE.
The Fantastic Four: Steven Corbiere, CAS; Ed Cherney, music engineer; Gary Bourgeois, CAS; Tom Marks, CAS
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James Osburn (left) and Edward Moskowitz, CAS sound. We strive to: Provide a society of master craftsmen in the ART of cinematic sound. Assist in advancing the field of cinematic sound by knowledge exchange. Achieve recognition for our members as major contributors to the ART of motion picture & television entertainment. Membership in the CAS is earned by dedication to a person’s craft, which is demonstrated by the duration of service performing their craft. The CAS Board of Directors, upon review of a member’s credits and contributions, grants membership. It represents a level of RESPECT that has been earned after many years. It is important to understand that knowledge, experience, preparation and teamwork are traits that the Board of Directors considers when granting membership. Our Bylaws state that membership is to be granted to someone whose achievements are deemed sufficient to be recommended for membership in the Cinema Audio Society. We have more than 650 members in the United States, Canada and around the globe that are representative of some of the world’s best sound professionals. There is a member of Local 695 who has worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to demonstrate these many goals of the CAS. He has worked in many parts of the sound industry and has been a leader to many people in this room today. His production credits cover a broad range, including The Great Gatsby, The Wild Bunch, Chinatown, Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Marathon Man, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Titanic. The CAS has a long and fine tradition of respected membership. Amongst our ranks we have industry leaders such as Leo Chaloukian, Richard Topham, Sr. and Ray Dolby, whom we have bestowed upon Honorary Memberships. The Bylaws of the CAS state that to become an Honorary Member of the CAS one must be a person deemed worthy of such a membership by the UNANIMOUS vote of the Board of Directors. I would like to ask that Mr. Jim Osburn join me now. It is my duty, privilege and HONOR to inform you that the CAS Board of Directors, by UNANIMOUS vote, has bestowed an Honorary Membership upon Mr. James A. Osburn, whom I can now publicly, for the first time, call Mr. James A. Osburn, CAS. CONGRATULATIONS, JIM! •
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I was excited to arrive at Priscilla’s Coffee House in Burbank, Calif., one recent Saturday morning to meet with producer Robin Cowie to discuss the upcoming feature The Possession. Robin is one of the guys that brought us The Blair Witch Project. The Possession is their shot at being hit by lightning twice. It will be shot in Hagerstown, Md., not far from where Blair Witch was shot, on a four-week shooting schedule. It’s a very good script and I was happy to be asked aboard. AND yet, I will tell you the first thing I asked Robin after we said, “Hello” and sat down was “I’m very curious, I’m glad to be here and happy with the contract but I’m very curious: Didn’t you make a sh*tload of money on Blair Witch?” GASP! Ballsy of me, huh? Should’ve been fired on the spot, huh? Robin and I had talked on the phone a few times and I felt we were comfortable enough with each other and when they said they didn’t have enough money to fly my boom op out to Maryland for the shoot I felt I had to ask. Robin took a quick breath—he was taken aback, rightly so—and explained that this project was all self-financed and much bigger than Blair Witch. He told me that all their projects are self-financed so that they have total control and don’t have anyone breathing down their necks. I accepted it and we drank coffee and talked specifics about the shoot and felt very much on the same page. DP John Rutland joined us and we ironed out all the sound/camera issues—basically, a wireless send for each of the RED cameras and a ClockIt box for each with my master time code. I would fly out in one week. I fly in from LAX to Baltimore, meeting the 1st AC and B camera operator quite by accident at LAX and we strap in for our five-hour flight. From day one, everyone is really nice. It goes without saying that I want to do a good job and, more than that, I think most of us crew want to find a “home.” Directors and producers that call you for every project they do. One hopes for loyalty, which is not that common in the Hollywood Industrial Machine. I’ve worked with a few directors and have done their first, second, sometimes third films and then that’s it. If they don’t become successful enough, they don’t end up doing another one. I wish they would think of me in that moment and do one more film just so they can hire me again. I don’t want to sound desperate, but I’ll do audio on your kid’s birthday video. When you do get “in” with someone who continues to work, it helps your career to befriend him or her in some way. I usually buy them a gift at the end of the shoot. Nothing too big; usually a few business cards and a 5x7 of me winking, with the caption “Remember me!” What gifts to get directors really depends on the directors. Someone like Steven Spielberg already has everything so I’d get him an African baobab tree. Not a whole tree—that’s too expensive; baobab seeds. Let him plant them himself! Do I have to do everything for the guy?! I’ve talked with my friend Willie Burton about an option I’ve been toying with, which is to change my last name to Burton and tell people I’m Willie’s brother and give ME your next $100 million movie, please. The first day on The Possession, we shot the first 10 pages of the script—a wedding, the reception and the hotel room
James Ridgley, CAS (right) and director Eduardo Sánchez
afterward. It was definitely guerrilla. I had my ENG rig over my shoulder with my boom op on a short cable. It was an odd mixture of crew—keys flown in from Los Angeles—others from as local as possible—some who drove in from the Washington, D.C., area. The first day was first-person storytelling; three handheld Sony prosumer cameras operating on and off whenever they wished—so I rolled as often as I could with my ‘hero’ camera—no smart slate—it’d slow us down. They were nice and didn’t bother needing Comtek headphones, which was good because my ‘local’ boom operator’s name was Blind Lemon. He has great ears but I had to point him toward the action all the time. We shot for four hours before our call for lunch. By the end of the 12-hour day, we shot 900 minutes of stock—the equivalent of 82,000 feet of film! That’s three Clint Eastwood movies. I had more than seven gigs of two-track poly-file audio. And my boom op, who drove in from Virginia, turns out to be pretty good. I did talk with him on the phone and checked out his resume before telling production he was the one. Robert “Red” Corbett, not Blind Lemon. What’s interesting about Red is that he has the same feeling as I do about making a “home” with producers and directors; hoping for their loyalty. This often gets tricky however, as we both vie for their attention. Red: “That was a great take for audio, Ed.” (Eduardo Sánchez, the director). When I hear that, I immediately get over to our executive producer Andy Jenkins. “Andy, great take for us. Gregg, nice audio on that take, buddy.” (Gregg Hale, producer). Then I look over and Red is running off to the script supervisor—“Hey Brian, really nice boom work on that take, can you make a note of it please?” So I run over to the 2nd AD and tell him there’s an important note to put on the P.R. (production report): the sound mixer worked really, really hard today. On Friday of the first week, I notice Red has brought two six packs of imported beer (we drive to the set together). “Who’s that for?” Red: “Oh, nobody really.” At lunch, I sneak off to the mall and come back with eight bottles of 1998 French Cabernet CAS QUARTERLY
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Ridgley and boom op Robert ‘Red’ Corbett
Sauvignon, with four handmade gold-plated cork removers. He is NOT going to outdo me! By day four, we were a well-oiled machine—too bad Red only boomed one 5/8-page scene while I was in the trunk of a car for a three-page scene and then in the back of a pickup truck for a one-page scene and set up four mics for a Christian rock band playing in a 280-year-old church as our young couple lead characters enjoyed some solace before the storm. This film is
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called The Possession. Red helped in other ways like getting the sound cart out so we could ‘feel’ like we weren’t working out of a bag. It seems to be the trend now. Now that the Canon D5s and D7s and even the RED cameras can go handheld so easily and shoot with such low light levels that locations lit themselves, mostly with overhead lighting that is already in place. This trend kills an otherwise easy boom job, turning it into a multi-character lav job in almost every scene—yes, I understand for most exterior scenes but most interior scenes as well? It’s getting ridiculous. Plus, since the cameras are also mobile, it seems expected that I also be. Why can’t my wireless boom op be the mobile one, you ask? 1. I hate wireless boom sound in my headphones. 2. Lately, everything seems to be on the move faster than any two-man sound crew can get organized. Forget lighting, forget rehearsal, forget blocking even—just throw lavs on and stick a boom in for whatever IT can get with two to four cameras descending on the scene. Therein lies the challenges and also perhaps, the satisfaction when it does work well. And yet, what’s more satisfying: to rush to shoot a scene and be amazed that all the lavs worked and your mix of the shooting rehearsal was surprisingly good OR to block, light, rehearse and then shoot a scene where one overhead boom mic caught it all without a flaw? Out here in Hagerstown, it’s a combination of the two. The first week was mostly practical location shooting with just a few night scenes to actually light. Then three weeks of shooting at the old scary house where The Possession really begins. That, my friends, will be Part 2. •
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Could you imagine a world without time code? For the last year or so, from time to time, I’ve run in to people talking about not needing sync slates for multiple video camera shoots. At first, I just thought that these people were out of their minds! That it was like people saying, “We’ll fix it in post.” Frankly, it scared me that I had to fight to get a slate on set.
by Will Hansen, CAS
That being said, I did some research on a program they were all talking about, called PluralEyes. I was actually quite surprised by what I found. A little over a year ago, Singular Software, out of Toronto, came out with an application that claims it can automatically sync multiple video files to a singular audio source without the use of time code! For use with Final Cut Pro, Vegas Pro and Premier Pro (Sorry, Avid guys, no support for your platform yet). And it really works. The basics of their approach is that the original video file has an audio waveform recorded in sync when the camera roles. A guide track essentially! Whether it is the camera mic, a hard-line feed from the mixing board, a Comtek feed. It doesn’t matter. Also, this feed amazingly can be pretty badly distorted and still serve as useful to the application. So this guide track is then analyzed and the audio from the Deva, Sound Device, Fostex, Boom Recorder, etc., is analyzed, then compared to the original guide track and moved into place. Thus, we end up with two waves in sync with the video feed.
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Recently, I had a rare opportunity to work on set with the editor of a music video for a day. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to talk to my friend and see if he had heard of this tool and if he would want to use it on the shoot. He hadn’t and agreed to put it to use and talk about it after the edit was done. So what’s your name, who do you work for and what do you do? Vahe Douglas, Outfit Editorial LLC. I’m an editor and cinematographer. What was your initial response to hearing about PluralEyes before you used it?
(Note: I sent a feed to the camera so PluralEyes would work.) As we were filming, I was binning the footage on set, Later, I would use PluralEyes to sync the footage to the master audio track. And not use the time code for sync. Did it simplify things or add complication? Simplified and made life easier, so the next music video I did—no slate on set at all, just the playback reference track recorded on camera. Did it work like it claims to? Yes. There were a few times it didn’t work, possibly there was not enough sound to reference some of the smaller clips, so I did a manual sync. How do you think the program can be better? I would like to be able to sync an existing sequence, instead of PluralEyes creating a new sequence, but I like how the new sequence PluralEyes makes is already highlighted to quickly find. Will you use it in the future? Yes, this Sunday on another music video Can you imagine a world with no time code? No, not at all! Let’s not forget, we still go to the online bay and master to HDCAM. Plus, I like to edit using time code that matches my bins to my master cut—I would be lost without it (well, super slower).
Skeptical. I thought it would be time-intensive and had never really thought about what I would do in a world with no time code, maybe be at the beach all day. How did the program fit into your workflow? On our music video, our Pro Tools session served as the master that jammed the slate, but when we went to jam the RED, it (being the RED) was behind by a full second. Or sometimes it wouldn’t even jam. Ahh, the RED camera with all its time code ability, how can it fail? Even though the time code between sound and camera was deemed useless, we continued to use the slate because digital slates look cool anyways! And ultimately, as long as sound is solid, it doesn’t matter where the camera is.
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Do you prefer crunchy or creamy peanut butter? Crunchy on toast, creamy on a celery stick! So, a new tool for the land of music videos. I’m not sure how well this would work for dialogue sequences, as some takes are small by nature but who knows? I hear it works but I haven’t tested it. Pretty cool though and I, for one, am glad to hear that there’s always going to be a use for time code. •
B E S T
A N I M A T E D B E S T
B E S T B E S T
S O U N D S O U N D
F E A T U R E M I X I N G E D I T I N G
O R I G I N A L
S O N G
For screening information, visit WaltDisneyStudiosAwards.com ÂŠDisney
Thatâ€™s a Game?!
A Glance at the World of Game Sound from the Ears of a Linear Mixer
by Karol Urban, CAS
Oba Gurapan day one Above right: Paul Vik Marshall, CAS and sound van Right: Oba U.S. sound
Watching the most recent Halo Reach and Fallout: New Vegas trailers this season, I find myself momentarily confused as to whether they are promoting a movie or a game. Vast improvements in animation and sound have elevated the gaming industry from the jagged blocky figures accompanied with 8-bit music of the past, to dynamic, cinematic story lines featuring elaborate visual worlds, complex characters, welldefined missions, and layers of convincingly realistic interactive sound elements.
With sales and production quality continuing to soar, it is clear that the gaming world means business and even Hollywood is doing its best to get in on the action. In late May, Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films released Prince of Persia, based on Ubisoftâ€™s Prince of Persia franchise. To coincide with the release, the iTunes Store participated in a strategic tie-in to boost sales by also selling Prince of Persia Retro, the original Jordan Mechner game that started it all. This summer, it was also nearly impossible to escape the CAS QUARTERLY
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promotions for Resident Evil: Afterlife presented in IMAX 3D. The movie is the fourth in a series based on Capcom’s incredibly successful Resident Evil game franchise, which has sold more than 34.5 million units across 50 multiplatform titles internationally. Each of the three previous Resident Evil films averaged $126.5 million worldwide. As the top-grossing movie in its opening week, Afterlife 3D seems to be right on track with its predecessors. With growing production quality, complex story lines, profits, and demographics, games are beginning to truly resemble, in business and from the perspective of the gamer, cinematic features. But how similar are they from our standpoint as audio professionals? From a linear perspective, it can be mind-blowing to even conceive of how to create a mix in the open-ended, ever-changing environment of games versus the concrete narrative voice of a film script. So after taking my own vision quest through the smoky realm of game sound, and after much reading, tutorial watching, and gaming (for research purposes, of course), the mist has begun to clear and I have been very fortunate to come across these amazing guides: Charles Deenen is Senior Creative Director for audio at Electronic Arts for the Need for Speed franchise. He’s also worked on various films including The Fast and the Furious and The Incredible Hulk and continues to work on many high-profile theatrical trailers. He has worked in the gam30
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ing industry for more than 25 years and has more than 200 titles to his name as sound designer, director and/or mixer. He’s given several industry lectures regarding game mixing techniques. Zachary Quarles, audio director for id Software, is a composer and sound designer for the gaming industry. He has worked on various AAA titles including Soldier of Fortune II: Double-Helix, Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast, X-Men: Legends, X-Men Legends: II, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, FEAR 360, Quake 4, and Fracture. He is currently working on the next installment of the industry shaping and immensely popular Doom franchise. Cory Hawthorne is owner/lead sound guy at Cormagic with more than 10 years of experience contributing to titles at Propaganda Games, Disney Interactive Studios, and Radical Entertainment. He has worked on titles such as Clash of the Titans and Simpsons: Hit and Run. His most recent title release was Prototype for Radical Entertainment. Justin Bell, sound designer at Obsidian Entertainment, is a sound designer and composer who has created audio for many gaming titles as well as engineered for music and mixed for post production. His most recent title, Fallout: New Vegas, was just released on October 19 and debuted at the top of North America’s multiplatform charts for sales in its first week. It is expected by many to outsell its predecessor, Fallout 3, which sold more than 4.7 million copies worldwide in its first week alone.
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Where Is the Starting Line?
Some franchises, like Need for Speed, for which Charles Deenen is Senior Creative Director, have exceeded sales of more than 100 million copies. That comes to around $4 billion–$6 billion in gross sales, before any promotions or merchandizing are considered. With possible revenues like that, how much consideration is given to audio throughout the development process and how are roles in the team defined? Charles Deenen explains, “In some cases, an audio lead (similar to a sound supervisor in film) will be brought in as early as day one. As part of the concept and design crew, they help shape the game design, help prototyping, and foremost, become a critical asset in shaping the feel of the game through the power that audio can bring to an experience.” However, he also goes on to explain that in the gaming world the jobs are often less secularized. “In film/TV, there’s been a long-standing production line [of a] recordist, editor/designer, pre-dub, and mixer. The roles, as you know, sometimes overlap and with big productions are pretty well- defined. In gaming, it can be virtually anybody doing any of these tasks.” But it also seems even games suffer at least occasionally from the production underestimating the role audio can play in successful storytelling. Zachary Quarles, Audio Director for id software, adds that there are companies that secure outside vendors to design assets and “may or may not get an audio
consultation or they may just ask for assets to be thrown over the wall and hope that it works.” Justin Bell of Obsidian also cites that at times “It’s quite common for audio to become an afterthought in the development process, mainly because the sheer effort of getting a game from the idea stage to a bugfree and fully functioning piece of software is so monumental that it takes dozens of programmers, designers, artists, animators and producers months, if not years to achieve.” In addition, even though games are often narrative, no story element is sacred. All on our panel remember situations where vast amounts of sound design were trashed due to script rewrites and character redesign. It does truly seem as if the plot and characters of gaming manifest themselves throughout the development process. Perhaps game sound may be most easily compared to creating sound for an animated feature. Audio may be allowed to influence the project’s development and sound designers may be brought in considerably early in the process, but final visual renders may not actually be available until close to the end of overall production. Charles Deenen describes a situation where a key “star” is swapped out at the last minute. “In film/TV, that wouldn’t happen since that would require a total re-shoot. In a game it’s as easy as changing the name … and the associated visuals. Naturally, sound then has to adapt as well and often that’s not as quick and easy.” These changes may sound severe, but Deenen describes
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the situation as “part of development to create a 20- to 40-hour experience.”
It’s All in the Mix
There aren’t many differences between the pure sound designing process of game sound verses film/television, but there are more than a few differences to consider with implementation, which quickly in my research, I began to recognize as the “mixing” stage of gaming. This realization led to a description of what is perhaps the most significant difference between our two worlds: the interactive mix. Everyone was able to make parallels between the roles of the TV/film sound designer and re-recording mixer and game sound designer and audio implementer. The amount of similarity depended on the scope and size of a project and company’s philosophy on sound. Many times there is a person who works as a sound editor/mixer, assigning sounds and processors as well as adjusting and tweaking levels for the final mix. Other times, there is one person who is defined as the game mixer and is employed to make final tweaks to the overall balance of the mix after elements have been placed. But, this implementation stage always involves the general assignment of volume parameters, effect processing, and the addition of any artistic swells and dramatic shifts in the balance of elements. By definition, this resembles my responsibilities as a linear mixer. Contrary to a linear mix, where we assign a sound to a specific moment in time and mix it appropriately to describe an object or atmosphere being displayed at that moment, audio implementation involves the assignment of the sound design to a specific space or object that emits the sound during portions of game play. A linear mix is created for the viewer to hear and experience the director’s perspective of a story. A game mix is a collection of assets with complex, deliberately written variables playing back within set parameters triggered by the unique perspective of the player. As Cory Hawthorne of Cormagic puts it, “In a strange way, the player is the one who determines the final mix of the game, and it’s a different game for every player.” To understand this best, consider that a game mix is being played back through its processors, panners, and volume faders each time the game is played. There is no final mixdown.
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At first, this may seem like an implementer is simply throwing sounds into a box and letting pandemonium ensue. But, as Hawthorne sees it, sound is “the thing that brings the player into the world and lets them be the character.” Throughout my panels’ responses and my personPhoto: Charles Deenen al research, I continue to notice the repetition of the words “iteration,” and “trial and error.” Quarles describes his process of perfecting a final mix. “I constantly have the game running and have all of my tools running all at the same time. And it is very much a real-time type of adjustment. If I am sitting in a world and the soundscape mix is driving me up a wall, I will start selecting the entities that are the offenders and start adjusting from there. Right there in front of me.” There is much to consider with three-dimensional space. Hawthorne explains that “unlike film mixers, we have no way of knowing where the camera will be from one second to the next as that depends on what the player is up to. It’s auto-
mated to a point, but if it were truly automated, we’d just plug our sounds into the game and say, ‘Great. Let’s go for drinks!’ and walk away, but it’s certainly not that simple.” Real-time processors and volume dippers are employed to modify assets to emulate realistic manifestations of sound, such as the effect of physical distance and environmental reflection, as well as subjective elements, such as what should be the sonic pinnacle of the scene based on the narrative nature of story. Deenen elaborates on the former. “Gun close sounds like ‘X’, Gun far sounds like ‘Y.’ Depending on the distance of the object, the sound will go gradually from ‘X’ to ‘Y.’ Secondly, you set up control from other influencers:
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Photo: Charles Deenen
location, other sounds playing at the same time, overall mix density, story elements, special modes, etc. Each of these can control volume/EQ/verb, design, pitch, etc., of the gun. In the end, when you’re done, you basically have created a mix that mimics what you’d do as a human [mixer] in a linear mix but adapted for an interactive world.” But there is also a nec-
essary loyalty to the narrative of a game’s story. Bell explains, “We may decide to boost the music above the effects here for added drama, or do away with music entirely there to punctuate a poignant event, stacking or distilling the soundscape as we see fit to satisfy the functional, emotional and artistic needs of the moment.”
Subjective aspects to a mix are not only important from an artistic point of view but from a practical perspective. Sound helps to guide the characters decisions through the story line. Quarles describes one such situation. â€œIf you, â€˜the user,â€™ are hanging out in the game too long and the game clock is cycling. It is obvious that the player is caught up and doesnâ€™t know what to do. It is not out of the realm of possibility to be able to control the busses at that point. You can start ducking stuff or applying a low-pass filter or a pitch shift on the ambient layer and start pointing out the specific scripted sound that is looping over into another area. This is getting a bit more subtle, but it is also leveraging the technology and the system to really show the audio directorâ€™s vision.â€? Hawthorne adds, â€œAnd while the mix is [ultimately] automated, it took a ton of work to set it all up with a great team of sound designers and sound programmers all working long hours to make it awesome.â€?
Tools and Technical Limitations
All these nonlinear creative considerations may themselves seem overwhelming, but sound for games still struggles with another type of hurdle as well: the still budding technology. Bell points out that â€œthere are also technical constraints that we need to constantly be aware of which limit the amount of sounds we can have in total (due to disc space) and the amount that can play at once at any given time (due to mem-
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