FEATURES 43rd Annual CAS Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Meet the winners and then some
Technical Achievement Awards 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Using Rechargeable Batteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 A look into the future of production sound
Pro Tools Learning Curve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Three mixers share their views
Where the Wild Things Are . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Gary Wilkinsâ€™ adventures in Australia
DEPARTMENTS Presidentâ€™s Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Greetings from newly elected Edward L. Moskowitz
From the Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
To the Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Technically Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 G. John Garrett discusses grounding
Been There Done That . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 CAS members check in
The Lighter Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Cover photos: Dreamgirls Photo: David James/Paramount Award winners Michael Minkler (left), Willie Burton and Bob Beemer Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
38 C A S Q U A R T E R LY
THE PRESIDENT’S LETTER
The Cinema Audio Society has always been surrounded by advancements. In the very early years, the original name “Cinema Sound Society” was changed to the Cinema Audio Society. Our philosophy: “Dedicated to the Advancement of Sound” is on our masthead. From Little Johnny Jones to 42nd Street, Don Juan, The Jazz Singer to today’s complex sound productions, all of us have a keen understanding of the impact audio makes upon the entertainment experience. From early wax cylinder recording experiments to advanced digital techniques for recording, storage and distribution. While we now watch and listen for future technologies, our industry is constantly advancing. Education is one of the cornerstones to advancement. Many years ago, the Cinema Audio Society’s Board of Directors decided that seminars which would educate the members in each others discipline were a priority. The importance of post-production understanding some of the logistics that production members faced was going to assist everyone in doing better work. Production too was going to benefit from open forums with post production by understanding what they had to contend with on a regular basis. These forums and seminars are the basis of our informational and educational programming which benefits all of our membership. We continue to present educational workflow programs. They draw upon our expertise by including users, manufacturers, and some of the creative people that we work with in many phases of production. I thankfully acknowledge all of the previous administrations
and their hard work. They have laid out a great path for us to follow. Our Corporate Sponsorship Program is a great illustration. In recent years we have seen great improvements in the way the Cinema Audio Society communicates. The improved Internet presence and the great strides we have made in the CAS Quarterly are just a few examples. The work that the Board of Directors and members do for the CAS as volunteers is done for the enrichment of the CAS. Each of us has a responsibility to the rest of our community to assist in everyone’s advancement. We cannot do this alone—we must work together as a team. I am looking forward to the Cinema Audio Society’s Board of Directors leading our team forward. We have already started to work on informative and educational seminars for this term to strengthen and grow our membership with knowledge and enlightening exchanges. We want to continue to expand the Cinema Audio Society, our recognition, and our respect for all of our community. Together, we can make the Cinema Audio Society a stronger, larger, more acclaimed group. Join me and the rest of your peer leaders with pride and dignity on our journey.
Edward L. Moskowitz, CAS President, Cinema Audio Society
The CAS Board of Directors: Back row, from left: Chris Elam, Aggie Andrianos, Chris Haire, Richard Lightstone, Ed Greene, Michael Minkler, R.D. Floyd and James Coburn IV. Front row, from left: Paul Marshall, Edward L. Moskowitz, Peter Damski, David Bondelevitch, Sherry Klein, Marti Humphrey and Fred Tator. Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage 4
C A S Q U A R T E R LY
FROM THE EDITORS...
The Awards season is now complete and a new Board is in place. Thanks go out to the outgoing Board officers and members for all of their hard work and dedication. In “The CAS Celebrates Excellence in Sound Mixing,” we recap the 43rd Annual CAS Awards. There were some familiar faces and a few newcomers to the awards. In our annual Meet the Winners feature, you will have an opportunity to meet the individuals behind the great work. In his article, “Pro Tools Learning Curve,” David Bondelevitch, CAS, MPSE interviews three re-recording mixers who discuss their move to Pro Tools 7.2. James Coburn IV, CAS contributes a great story on the use of rechargeable batteries on production. In our continuing effort to bring informative and entertaining content to all of our members, we will attempt to maintain a balance between our production and post-production articles. Australian production mixer Gary Wilkins, CAS offers an interesting story on a recent project which presented several challenges in Where the Wild Things Are. We welcome submissions from all members and encourage you to share any stories you think may be of interest to the membership. As for our regular columns, G. John Garrett, CAS discusses grounding issues in his “Technically Speaking” contribution, our members check in with their “Been There Done That” submissions, and the “The Lighter Side” continues with photo and caption contributions from the members. If you feel the need or desire to communicate with us, please feel free to contact us via e-mail at <email@example.com>. We welcome all of your input and ideas for future articles in the CAS Quarterly. Thank you for your continued readership! Sincerely,
Edward L. Moskowitz, President David Bondelevitch, Vice President Peter R. Damski, Secretary R.D. Floyd, Treasurer BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Agamemnon Andrianos Brydon ‘Beau’ Baker Richard Branca James Coburn IV John Coffey
Chris Elam Ed Greene Melissa Hofmann Sherry Klein Michael Minkler Fred Tator
Joe Foglia Ken S. Polk Paul Marshall Greg Watkins OFFICE MANAGER
Robin Damski EDITORS:
David Bondelevitch Peter Damski PUBLISHER:
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©2007 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. 6
C A S Q U A R T E R LY
LETTER TO THE EDITORS IN APPRECIATION OF ALETHA RODGERS
Thank you, Aletha, for your efforts the past few years. Your articles and dedication have been much appreciated. I quite enjoyed the article you wrote in the last issue of the journal (CAS Quarterly) on my adventures filming in India, and I am proud that I was your last regular contributing story in the long line of real dignitaries you have interviewed in the past. I can appreciate the commitment and challenge you and all the other journal staff have kept up consistently over the years. I hope you enjoy more of the much-deserved family time, but I also hope you will still give us something of yours to read again occasionally. Much happiness and fortune to you and yours! Thanks again. Jim Machowski, AES, CAS PS I look forward to the next New Yearâ€™s Day Black-eyed Peas Party, now nearly legendary!
Corrections There were a couple of errors with the listing of nominees for the 2006 CAS Awards: Kevin Burns, CAS was incorrectly listed as a member of the sound mixing team of Desperation. Glenn Berkovitz, CAS was incorrectly listed as a member of the sound mixing team of Bring It On: All or Nothing. William Skinner was incorrectly listed as the production mixer on Flight 93.
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. C A S Q U A R T E R LY
Grounding or the
Big Brown Marble by G. John Garrett, CAS
ast time I talked a little about electromagnetic shielding and twisted pair signal wiring. This time we’ll take a brief look at some of the sources for hum and interference in our signal flow, as well as some safety issues you may have thought were settled because of grounding. First, there are two different reasons for grounding things on the soundcart. One is known as the signal ground, and the other is the equipment (or safety) ground. The signal ground is the return path for voltages in the electronic circuits we use; in a balanced system this can be the shield on a cable, or a trace on a circuit board (but isn’t always either
one!). T-powered microphones use the shield as one side of the powering circuit. Pin 1 carries the VDC+ and pin 3 carries VDC—to power the mic. Like the Nagra, we refer to this scheme as positive-ground. Since its DC, it doesn’t matter which side you call “ground,” as a matter of fact, many older Japanese cars and some much older American cars used to attach the positive battery terminal to the chassis and all the equipment ran with a negative voltage input. The device floats (the case does not have to be referenced to earth ground) so it doesn’t matter. You get into trouble when you start connecting positive-ground and
negative-ground gear together and create a circuit path between metal cases though! As with the car example, unbalanced circuits use one conductor for signal, and the other for the return, or ground reference. Sometimes the (shield) return wire is connected to the equipment (or safety) ground, something to think about. The equipment ground, also called the case ground or the safety ground, is the thing that saves our lives and gets us into trouble. Some manufacturers cut corners and save costs by tying the equipment ground to the signal ground, so the metal case becomes part of the signal circuit, and induced ground currents from the safety system show up as voltages on your signal. That’s one reason that unbalanced gear, especially consumer electronics, tends to create hum problems when its connected to professional gear. Better-designed stuff, by and large, and correctly designed balanced audio equipment uses a separate path for safety ground and signal ground. This does a couple of things. First, it keeps the metal case of the equipment out of
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your signal path. Next, it turns a metal case into a Faraday shield around the signal components. Finally, it is the lowimpedance path to ground (that big ball of dirt underneath us) for electrical safety. The hum you hear usually comes from equipment that is grounded at different places. If you’re on a practical set with a generator for the electrics and someone plugs, say, the video monitor into a practical outlet, you might well hear (or see on the monitor) 60-cycle AC hum. This is because the generator and the house are grounded at different places. One of those places has a better connection to the big ball of dirt that we live on than the other, and current flows from the genny ground to the house ground (or the other way), through the ground wires. This current induces a voltage on the wire, and all the stuff we do involves voltage amplification. Voila, hum. Remember earlier where I said the safety ground and the equipment ground is usually the same thing in unbalanced equipment? The shield on the monitor is in some way referenced to the safety ground! If the dolly is plugged in to, say, a practical outlet and you’re hardwired to the video tap but getting power from the genny, you can be running lethal voltages through the video coax shield. Which goes right through your cart. Where there might be gear that has the metal case tied to the signal ground. Which could blow someone or something up. Wolf Seeburg talks about touching the video coax connector from video village to a dolly and drawing an arc. So you might want to think about a video isolation transformer for your monitor. Generally when I find a ground loop because of a picture monitor I lift the electrical ground on the monitor, if it has a plastic case. That keeps video village safe (no metal = no way to get in the ground path) and keeps currents from flowing in the coaxial shields. The better alternative is to find which device is using the different ground and replug it. Sometimes you may run into the problem where one piece of gear has the case attached to signal ground and another unit has the case attached to the safety ground (which is generally the better design, in my opinion). This will cause ground current to flow into your signal path, inducing hum. Of course there’s no way to know this by just looking at the box. If you’re using shielded cable, that ground current is on the shield. The answer is to connect the braided shield in your cable to pin 1 at the sending end, and disconnect the shield from pin 1 at the receiving end. The electrostatic shield is still working just fine, having its connection at the sending end, you’re just not connecting the two different grounding schemes together. Grounding is one of those topics that is simple but can become complex right away. Bill Whitlock, the president of Jensen Transformers, has written extensively on signal and safety grounding and presents to groups like the AES. I recommend we have him present to the CAS. He has invited us to check out the links to some of his excellent teaching materials, and I recommend you read it all. <http://www.jensentransformers.com /an/generic%20seminar.pdf>. This is probably the most comprehensive grounding paper in existence. Here’s his FAQ on audio transformers too: <http://www.jensentransformers.com /an/an002.pdf>. Stay safe!•
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C A S Q U A R T E R LY
The CAS Celebrates DVD Excellence in Sound Mixing
Award Winners for
by Peter Damski, CAS
O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR MOTION PICTURES
Dreamgirls Michael Minkler, CAS Re-recording Mixer R o b e rt B e e m e r, CAS Re-recording Mixer Willie Burton, CAS Production Mixer
On the evening of February 17, 2006, the CAS celebrated its 43rd year at the annual CAS Awards. The event was held in the Biltmore Bowl at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. There were around 400 participants at the gala event, many old and new friends spending a nice evening together. In addition to presenting the Awards for Sound Mixing, the CAS also recognized Edward J. Greene, CAS with its Career Achievement Award and Gilbert Cates with the CAS Filmmaker Award. The CAS also presented two Awards for Technical Achievement, one for Production and one for PostProduction. The evening began with a meet and greet in the lobby outside the Biltmore Bowl. This was the first year that the event was held in this venue and things got a little cozy as the participants started to arrive. Bandleader Nelson Cole provided a nice bed of piano music while the partyers lined up at the bar. The doors opened to a wide expanse of tables and cooler climes as the guests made their way to their tables for a fine dinner and conversation with Cole and the Jazz Band providing the background music. At approximately 8:15 p.m., our host for the evening, Robert Wuhl, took the stage. His entertaining and funny routine about the parking-attendant strike provided a good start to the pre-
O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR TV MOVIES AND MINI-SERIES
Flight 93 Mark Linden Re-recording Mixer Tara A. Paul Re-recording Mixer Liam Lockhart Re-recording Mixer H a rr y Snodgrass Re-recording Mixer O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR TV SERIES
Deadwood R. Russell Smith, CAS Re-recording Mixer William Freesh, CAS Re-recording Mixer Geoff rey Patterson, CAS Production Mixer O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR T V N O N - F I C T I O N , VA R I E T Y, MUSIC SERIES OR SPECIAL
Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us David Kahne Music Producer and Mixer Matt Foglia, CAS Re-recording Mixer O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR DVD ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING
Ultimate Avengers: The Movie Mike Draghi, CAS Re-recording Mixer Eric Lewis Production Mixer
Above: Host Robert Wuhl. Photo: John Schearer/WireImage Opposite page: 43rd Annual CAS Awards at the Biltmore Bowl in Los Angeles. Photo: WireImage C A S Q U A R T E R LY
sentations. First up was the passing of the gavel from outgoing CAS President Richard Lightstone to newly elected President Edward L. Moskowitz. Moskowitz spoke about his vision of the future for the CAS. Following the induction of Moskowitz, Glenn Berkovitz, CAS congratulated this year’s Emmy winners and Oscar nominees. The Technical Achievement Awards for Production and Post-Production were presented by David Bondelevitch, CAS, MPSE and Peter Damski, CAS. This was the first time that the CAS has presented two Tech Awards. Sound Devices won the Production Award for their 744T Digital Audio Recorder. Jon Tatooles and Jim Koomar were on hand to accept their award and gave thanks for the recognition. The software development team from Digidesign was also on hand to accept the Post-Production Award for their baby, Pro Tools 7.2. Digidesign Director of Worldwide Console Sales Rich Nevens and 7.2 team leader Danny Caccavo spoke on behalf of the team. All were proud of their accomplishments and pleased to receive the recognition. The next presentation was the CAS Filmmaker Award given to Gilbert Cates. Cates has had a prolific career as a director and producer and continues to work his craft at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, Los Angeles, near UCLA. His presenters were Richard Lightstone, CAS, Dennis Doty, a longtime friend and business partner, and Steven Lofaro, a longtime friend and co-worker. Cates graciously accepted his award and made way for the CAS Career Achievement Award presentation. Ed Greene, CAS has been mixing live television for many years and has gained the highest respect from his peers and his employers. The caliber of his presenters was truly amazing. Some of the most respected names in television were present to acknowledge Greene’s achievements. First up was Carroll Pratt,
CAS. Pratt is 84 years old and one of the founding members of the Cinema Audio Society. He was pretty much the first mixer to create audience reactions to “Sweeten” television programming. Greene was very excited to see Pratt. Following Pratt was Don Mischer. Mischer has produced countless hours of live-television broadcasts. Most recently, Mischer and Greene worked together on the halftime show at the Super Bowl this year, starring Prince. Director Walter C. Miller gave a prerecorded nod to Greene. Miller and Greene have worked together since the Golden Globe Awards, 30 years ago. Gary Smith was up next. Smith has also produced much of the live television we have grown up with, with his business partner Dwight Hemion. Following Smith was Louis J. Horvitz. When Horvitz and Greene first worked together, Horvitz was a camera operator. He has gone on to become a very successful live-television director and has done the Academy Awards broadcast for several years. The final presenter was another of Greene’s good friends, Gilbert Cates. Greene was on the verge of tears when he finally made his way up to the stage to accept his award. Greene accepted the award in his own humble way. He was honored to be part of such a great industry and group of professionals. It was time for the Sound Mixing Awards and the tension was building in the room. The outcome had some surprises and some repeat winners. The awards were graciously accepted and the evening came to an end. Thanks go out to entire CAS Board of Directors for putting together another successful event. The Board will continue to make changes to ensure that future CAS Awards are more enjoyable than ever!! The 44th CAS Awards will be held on February 16, 2008, in the Crystal Ballroom at the Millennium Biltmore. We hope to see you there!!
GIL CATES RECEIVES FILMMAKER AWARD
Louis J. Horvitz Photos by John Schearer/WireImage
C A S Q U A R T E R LY
O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR MOTION PICTURES
Dreamgirls by David Bondelevitch, CAS, MPSE Willie Burton In the end, Willie Burton won his first CAS Award and his second Oscar for his work as production mixer on the film Dreamgirls, but when he went to interview for the job, he considered himself a long shot. “It had been a while since I had done a musical, and the technology had changed from old-school Nagra to Pro Tools,” he explained. Burton had been working on the film The Pursuit of Happyness at the time of the interview, and producer Todd Black gladly volunteered to recommend him to Bill Condon. But with so many recent musicals, including Condon’s own Chicago (which had won the previous Sound Mixing Oscar), Burton still considered himself an underdog, especially when his interview ended with the producers telling him, “we still have a few more people to talk to,” he remembered with a laugh. Burton had won the Oscar previously for the biographical musical Bird, and said that it was such a surreal event to win for such a small film. He didn’t really feel like he had won until Dreamgirls, which had been seen by many more people and was well reviewed. He had also won the CAS Career Achievement Award for 2004. Burton was also the first black person to become a member of Local 695, and he graciously thanks the late Jack Coffey. “Hats
ED GREENE RECEIVES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
From left: Michael Minkler, CAS, Willie Burton, CAS and Bob Beemer, CAS Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
off to Jack for getting me into union; remember, this was before there was a push to get minorities in.” At that time, virtually the only way to get into the union was with the assistance of somebody who was already a member, so it was very difficult for someone outside to break in. Burton is also very thankful to his crew: Marvin Lewis, his boom operator, and Gary Theard, who was utility sound and second boom. Mark Agostino handled Pro Tools playback of the numerous pre-laid music tracks, and music supervisors Randy Spendlove and Matthew Rush Sullivan were helpful throughout the process. The shoot took 12 weeks, but virtually every day was a 14- or 15-hour day. Many days involved moving from soundstage shooting to location later in the day. The crew was in charge not only of music playback through headsets and speakers, but also the huge PA system used for a large crew. “One of the most difficult tasks was constantly making sure that time code was functioning properly,” Burton explained. In order to be sure, redundancy was used as much as possible. A Denecke synch generator functioned as master and was sent to the slate as well as the recorder. Pro Tools time code output was used as user bits. “Even then, they still thought they had synch problems early on, when there was a problem in transfer with some dailies.” Burton recorded onto a Zaxcom Deva V with a Cameo mixer, which can use as many as 10 tracks, but he usually used no more than 6–8 tracks. He used both Schoeps & Sennheiser microphones, along with Lectrosonics Wireless mikes. Because of the number of wide, theatrical-style shots, combined with bright spotlights on the performers, many times it was almost impossible to boom, especially with loud fans keeping the stage cool with so many lights on. In addition, many shots required playback for a portion, then production dialogue that had to be recorded, then more playback, all in the same shot. Burton is quick to point out that the actors were very talented and great to work with. “They were very good at lip synching and got even better as the shoot progressed,” he explained. “I’m always very happy to be on a set with a talented crew and cast. There were no problems getting mikes onto anyone. They frequently sang for real on the set and were all fantastic, particularly Jennifer Hudson.” Burton is currently working on a completely different type of film, the thriller Prom Night. C A S Q U A R T E R LY
Michael Minkler & Bob Beemer Michael Minkler won his first CAS Award and his third Oscar for Dreamgirls. Having won the Oscar for Chicago, it was a natural progression for screenwriter-turned-director Bill Condon to return to Minkler for Dreamgirls at the urging of music supervisors Randy Spendlove and Matthew Rush Sullivan. Minkler is both a former President of the CAS as well as a recipient of the CAS Career Achievement Award and is still active on the Board of Directors. Minkler’s mixing partner on the film was Bob Beemer, who has won the CAS Award three times, with wins for Road to Perdition and Gladiator in the past. It is his fourth Oscar. Beemer & Minkler had worked together for five years previously and were reunited on this project. Music was delivered to the dub stage in excellent condition, having made a first pass for the CD release before arriving at the stage. Minkler requested that any dynamic range compression or reverb be left off, but that the EQ and approximate levels be left in place in the session. This meant that the music crew had a mix that they were already happy with, yet Minkler was given numerous splits, including 42 music tracks, eight solo vocal tracks and eight background vocal tracks, allowing him to remix for perspective on any shot. “We went over and over the music tracks many, many times, making sure the perspective always matched. In addition, we wanted every song to have different feeling, a different mood, and a unique sound, so that the music would remain fresh throughout the film.” There were six temp mixes on the film, three of them done by
Minkler & Beemer, and the other three done by Jon Taylor and Chris Minkler. (Ironically, Mike ended up being nominated against his son Chris, who was nominated for Babel.) Three weeks were allocated for a dialogue premix, and four weeks for the sound effects premix. The film was mixed on a Euphonix System 5, of which Minkler adds, “I love it. It’s a great console.” The dialogue premixes were more complex than one might imagine for a musical, as there were often many mikes used in a single scene. Dialogue tracks numbered about 24 per reel. In addition, Minkler explains, “There was a huge amount of production dialogue in the crowd sounds, which were supplemented by many tracks of group ADR.” Because of the theatrical style of shooting, there were the typical problems with production sound including set noise, fan noise and light buzzes. In the final mix, there were shots that started with production sound, went to ADR, then to singing, then back into production all in a single shot. Given that there were literally hundreds of sound effects tracks for the film, Beemer explained that the biggest challenge was covering the crowds for each scene. In addition to production, crowds came from library sounds, and group ADR. “There were female crowds, male crowds, whistles, clapping, black audience members, ‘uptight white’ audience members, ‘sophisticated’ crowds, women screaming, and much more. Every performance required a different crowd and different reactions.” The final mix took about five weeks. Minkler & Beemer got their first pass alone, then did a pass with editor Virginia Katz, then another with the director, and then a final pass with the music supervisors joining the director. “A large part of the mix time was spent constantly adjusting synch as finely as possible. We mixed to a hi-def picture, so the resolution was great throughout. We had a great crew on the film and with the director and music supervisors, we were able to come up with a mix that pleased everyone,” said Minkler. Beemer added that he learned a lot from the experience. “I would have thought, like many others, that mixing a musical would be easy work compared to a big action film. It’s not the case. There are different challenges. Remember that in the musical sequences, there is no production sound at all, so everything has to be replaced, and everything must seem believable. Mixing vocal music is in some ways harder than mixing spoken dialogue because we are so attuned to the singing voice that we see the flaws more easily. Yet, at the same time, it’s common for there to be a ‘fantasy’ element to the musical mix as well. Foley needs to seem gentle and round. You have to have a complete illusion.” Beemer added, “We always like to thank all the sound editors, from supervising sound editor Richard Yawn to supervising music editor Paul Rabjohns, who had to micro-edit all the lip-synch.” Both feel lucky to be honored with the awards. Beemer added that, “The awards are a big thrill, and are also an affirmation of the director, who was such a wonderful man who was otherwise overlooked at the awards. We contributed to the creative mix of the film, but he was the driving force and was very sensitive to everything that we did. We were lucky to have the opportunity to work with him.”
O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR TV MOVIES AND MINI-SERIES
Flight 93 by David Bondelevitch, CAS, MPSE Mark Linden is a sound editor and mixer at Stage 2 Audio in Burbank, a facility he also co-owns. Although Flight 93 is his first CAS Award, he has been nominated numerous times for both the MPSE Golden Reel Award and the Emmy. This year he had Emmy nominations for mixing Flight 93, and an Emmy win for sound editing on the same program. He was also part of the same team that had been nominated for both Emmys the previous year for director Peter Markle’s film based on the John McCain memoirs, Faith of Our Fathers. Markle was responsible for bringing Flight 93 to Stage 2, even though it was for a different network, this time A&E. “We appreciate his loyalty,” Linden stated. “Working with Peter is great. As a director, he is extremely precise.” Due to the nature of the program, it was necessary to be as realistic as possible to honor those involved with the actual events. Both the director and the sound crew went to great lengths to make sure that every line of dialogue was appropriate, even for background action and loop group. Concerted efforts went into making the film as much like a documentary as possible. In addition to using actual transcripts of cell-phone conversations, the film was shot primarily handheld, and virtually no music was used in the film. Everyone involved wanted to be as respectful as possible to the people who died that day. From a sound standpoint, the decision to use little music was both a bane and a blessing. Without music, it left every sound naked, leaving no room for mistakes. In addition, due to the documentary style, there was a deliberate attempt to avoid the typical Hollywood-action-film conventions. Not only was every sound naked, it had to be real enough to be believable, yet at the same time involve and emotionally capture the audience. This meant constantly walking a fine line in the final mix. From a production standpoint, the dialogue mix was very complex. Shot with multiple mikes and multiple cameras, including verite-style handheld camera, using semi-improvisational dialogue from some characters and overlapping conversations in the same shot, the dialogue edit and mix was not typical and resulted in a lot more choices on the dub stage. “In some cases, multiple conversations were happening at the same time and the director wanted to switch back and forth between which one was being featured in a single shot,” Linden explained One of the interesting elements of the sound design was the Foley done for the aircraft. Although the film was shot in Canada, the fuselage was a set in Burbank, so wild Foley was actually recorded on the set, allowing it to sound much more real than a typical Foley stage would. Most of this was recorded by Harry Snodgrass, who has been
TV Movie winners Mark Linden and Tara Paul Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
a sound editor at the studios for more than 15 years. He now works out of his editing facility in rural Pennsylvania, where his high-speed DSL line and Digidelivery allow him to keep in touch with his Los Angeles–based clients. On Flight 93 he was not only the primary sound effects editor, he came in as a sound effects mixer on an unusual four-person mix team. Although many television movies have short time schedules, the three-week turnaround for sound editing on Flight 93 was particularly challenging due of the film’s nature. Snodgrass delivered more than 100 sound effects tracks to the mix. “Peter gave us great guidance, yet at the same time allowed us creative freedom. He’s a great guy to work with. We had to make sure the film never went over the top; it had to be understated yet effective,” he added. The re-recording crew then had a week to mix the film. They did a first pass in three days, then played back and did fixes for another three days on their Otari console. In order to complete the film under this time frame, they used the unusual alignment of four rerecording mixers, with two splitting sound effects (Snodgrass doing effects and sound effects mixer Tara Paul doing backgrounds) and Liam Lockhart handling the 32 tracks of Foley. Lockhart has known Linden since the two of them were in high school together. He now resides in Santa Fe but comes back to town to work whenever necessary. He was for many years a picture editor before moving into sound. He describes working on this film as “an honor, a challenge and a blast.” Although movie work is usually a lively experience, all the mixers spoke about the difficulty of working on material this emotionally charged for several weeks at a time, in some cases, listening repeatedly to the desperate goodbyes of people who were about to die. Tara Paul added that it was “an emotional nightmare to work on the lengthy phone calls to loved ones.” The story is not told in real time, but it is all chronological and has a constant urgency about it. “Peter inspired us to do a good C A S Q U A R T E R LY
job,” Lockhart added. “His fine direction and judicious use of music made the film successful.” Tara Paul was also a dialogue editor in the film. She started off in sound like many of us, playing with tape decks as a kid and, with the support of her father, was encouraged to go on to recording school at Sound Master in North Hollywood. After working briefly as a runner for a few studios, she quickly moved up to assistant and then sound editor.
“We’ve done a lot of documentaries and nature shows at Stage 2, so it was a natural fit for us to do a documentary-style mix on this show. It was not sensationalized at all.” The crew is proud of their first CAS Award. Lockhart said. “We’re honored that people who have been doing sound for their entire lives chose us to win this award.” Linden adds that: “We hope our work was a fitting remembrance of the people who died that day.”
O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR TV SERIES
Deadwood Earns Hat Trick
by Peter Damski, CAS Our friends in the Great White North will know what I’m talking about. When a hockey player scores three goals in a single game, the fans throw their hats on the ice as a tribute to the accomplishment. This year, the sound mixing team from HBO’s Deadwood has the honor of collecting the hats in celebration of their third consecutive win in the Best Sound Mixing for a Series category. The team consists of production mixer Geoffrey Patterson, CAS and re-recording mixers Rusty Smith, CAS and William Freesh, CAS. Smith and Freesh continue to work out of Dub Stage 6 at Sony Studios. Last year saw the end of the Deadwood era, and the re-re’s are currently working on the 18th season of The Simpsons, the second season of Big Love, and will be starting a new HBO series, John From Cincinnati, in a few weeks. The entire team will be reunited on John as Patterson has spent the last several
TV Series winners from left: Geoff Patterson, CAS, Rusty Smith, CAS and Bill Freesh, CAS. Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
months as the show’s production mixer. Patterson describes the show as “a very offbeat show that roughly revolves around surfing.” Sounds like some nice days at the beach! The team is honored to have their work recognized by their peers. In his acceptance speech, Freesh acknowledged that the door is now open in the TV Series category for all takers. It wouldn’t surprise me to find John among them.
O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT F O R T V N O N - F I C T I O N , VA R I E T Y, MUSIC SERIES OR SPECIAL
Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us by Peter Damski, CAS The award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for Television, NonFiction, Variety, Music Series or Special was given to two talented and personable gentlemen for their work on the A&E special Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us. David Kahne produced 16
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Matt Foglia, CAS in his studio. Photo: Courtesy of Matt Foglia
and mixed the music from the live concerts and Matt Foglia, CAS took on the rerecording duties. This A&E project was produced by a regular client of Foglia, Mark Haefeli Productions. Haefeli shot, directed and produced the concerts as well as the interstitial material that was included between the musical performances. The concert footage came, primarily, from two nights at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. David Kahne has worked TV Non-Fiction winner David Kahne with Paul McCartney since Photo: Courtesy of David Kahne 2001, when he produced the album Driving Rain. Kahne has been involved with the music industry for many years, first as a musician and then as a phone answerer, recording engineer, producer, A&R person for Columbia and Warner Bros. and is now back to producing and recording. He is currently working out of his own studios, SeeSquaredStudios, in lower Manhattan. Kahne’s producing career began in the 1980s when he worked with bands including the Bangles (Ed. note: “Walk Like an Egyptian” was one of my favorite ’80s songs.), Fishbone, and Pearl Harbor and the Explosions. Kahne embraced the new digital software explosion and has worked with Logic, Sequoia, Nuendo, Cubase and Pro Tools. He is currently working in Cubase and is just upgrading to the Windows Vista operating system. The tracks for The Space Within Us were recorded in Pro Tools and Kahne was given up to 60 tracks of audio to work with for the music mix. The tracks included music and audience reaction mic’s. On “Blackbird,” as few as 12 tracks were used but there were several songs with the full band and multiple keyboards that used most of the 60 tracks. The music was mixed in stereo and in 5.1. Kahne had taken some cues from his previous work with Foglia on Paul McCartney: In Red Square as to what works and what doesn’t work in 5.1. Kahne prepared stems with all of the elements and delivered them to Foglia to be incorporated in to the A&E special. Foglia loved that Kahne would deliver elements for the show on his motorcycle, curbside. Matt Foglia won the CAS Award in this category last year for his work on Bruce Springsteen: Hammersmith Odeon, 1975. Foglia continues as chief audio engineer for PostWorks in New York City. His track record reflects his talent in this genre. Clients such as McCartney and Springsteen continue to bring their TV– and DVD–distributed programming to Foglia for the final mix. This particular project presented a “real balancing act” for Foglia. “There was a big difference in the dynamics of the concert footage versus the dialogue driven interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. The most difficult portion of this show was probably right before the opening number, ‘The
Magical Mystery Tour,’ where there is a big montage of clips and music cut together to build up to the start of the first song. I had to be careful not to make it too big because you didn’t want the excitement to drop when the song began.” This program was aired in stereo on A&E but Foglia shares, “the opening sounds really cool in 5.1,” as heard on the DVD release. Kahne provides his mixes, stems and often iso’s to Foglia for the audio conform. “I used to use time code all the time to get sync but now I prefer to align waveforms from the files,” says Foglia. “The client gave us the time and resources to do the job right. The show was shot over two consecutive nights with 13 HD cameras. The camera positions were changed between the first and second nights giving 26 possible camera positions.” When asked if he had to create surround ambiences for the documentary portions of the 5.1 mix, Foglia stated, “I don’t like to use too much of the standard-documentary surround techniques. I would mix the underscore in quad and send the occasional iso to the rears when the scene demanded it.” In some of the interview footage, Foglia added a little reverse pre-echo to McCartney’s voice during the transitions giving the passage an ethereal quality. “I do stuff like that for my own entertainment and the client usually approves of it.” The delivery requirements for the network were varied and Foglia had to mix for both stereo and 5.1 simultaneously. “It was a pleasure to listen to Kahne’s music mixes in stereo, they are so big. David really knows how to use the frequency spectrum,” added Foglia. You know you have a good team when each participant can’t say enough good things about the other members. The final product is the result of countless hours of attention to details and cooperation on every level. I congratulate you both on your superb accomplishment on The Space Within Us.
TV Non-Fiction winner Matt Foglia with his wife Stephanie. Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
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O U T S TANDING ACHIEVEMENT FOR DVD ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING
Ultimate Avengers: The Movie by David Bondelevitch, CAS, MPSE
DVD winners Eric Lewis and Mike Draghi, CAS Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
Eric Lewis won his first CAS Award this year for the excellent work on the Marvel film The Ultimate Avengers in the relatively new DVD category (it was introduced only last year). He recorded all of the original dialogue at Studiopolis, where he is senior recording engineer. The studio’s previous relationship with Marvel led to an agreement creating a package of four new films using their characters, including Ultimate Avengers II, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange. The four films are all for DVD distribution, a burgeoning new market. Lewis did a group recording of the entire cast using 12 German Microtech Gefell MT 711a microphones. “They are similar to a Neumann and have a excellent range and good presence to pickup even the quietest performance,” he explained. Only Michael Massey was recorded separately due to scheduling considerations. Lewis estimates that about 75% of the dialogue that was used in the movie was from the initial session. “Actors really bond when you record as a group; there were no ego problems and there was plenty of excitement in the room, which added to the quality of the final product,” he explained. “It was a dream to work with these people; eight hours with the cast is just an awesome day, it’s like the Super Bowl for us. Everyone brought great ideas to the table.” 18
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Lewis has worked at the same facility for more than eight years, beginning as ScreenMusic and surviving the transition to Studiopolis, where they work with a wide variety of clients. Lewis is also working on their new series Wolverine, which he expects “will blow away fans of the comic; it is extremely wellwritten and very exciting to work on.” Re-recording mixer Mike Draghi is also a first-time CAS Award winner. Draghi is no stranger to awards, having been nominated for the MPSE Golden Reel Award several times and winning for the 2004 film The Ark. Draghi has worked at his own facility, Absolute Post, for more than 10 years. There he has worked on animation for Saban and Marvel as well as live-action material. He has been both a sound editor and re-recording mixer on many of his projects and will also be doing the package of four films for Marvel. He got his start in animation on the HBO animated series Spawn. Draghi enjoys working on animation because of the unique nature of the work. “Other than the original dialogue, animation is a blank slate where you get to be creative. There’s never a production track that forces you in a certain direction. You get to start from scratch.” There are other challenges in animation as well. Sound designer Ron Salaises delivered more than 120 sound effects tracks for the final mix. There were also 22 tracks of Foley and more than 20 tracks of dialogue. Constant changes in animation resulted in a number of lines being re-recorded to better fit the new picture, which was also done by Lewis at Studiopolis. In addition, loop group was also recorded in post. At one point they attempted to mix at Studiopolis on a Control 24, but due to the complexity of the tracks, it was necessary to move to a larger system at Absolute. Draghi generally works alone on a Pro Control at his studio using three Pro Tools HD systems (one for recording) and Virtual VTR. Since he mixes alone and his clients rarely visit the stage before playback, he cannot commit to recording predubs, and instead prefers to stay “in the box” until the final. This also allowed him to accommodate picture changes very well, many of which involved timing changes. In fact, picture changes on the project were so regular that one person was hired to conform changes at night (by editing the mixed Pro Tools session) so that each day the mix could be done to the most recent version of the picture. “Virtual mixing works very well this way; it was the only way to keep that workflow happening,” Draghi explained. Originally slated for only a six-day mix, the film was still mixed on a very fast 12-day schedule. Final checks to DVD were absolutely necessary to confirm that the final online matched the mix. “This prevents anything unexpected from happening too late in the process to correct for it.” Draghi added. Draghi summarized by saying, “It’s an honor to win the award because it is voted on exclusively by the CAS members, and it’s something I never imagined happening.” Lewis added, “I’m very honored to get the CAS Award. It might have my name on it, but the award is really for the whole crew at Studiopolis who did fantastic work on the project.” •
Technical Achievement Awards 2006
Counterclockwise from top: The software development team for Pro Tools 7.2. Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage Digidesign product manager Danny Caccavo at the podium. Photo: John Schearer/WireImage Technical Award winners Jim Koomar and John Tatooles from Sound Devices. Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
The Sound Devices’ 744T Digial Audio Recorder was chosen as the 2006 recipient of the CAS Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement in Production Technologies. Jim Koomar, director of sales, and Jon Tatooles, managing director, were on hand to receive the award. “We are honored to be recognized by the CAS and greatly appreciate their efforts in building a close community of sound mixers and manufacturers,” said Tatooles. He added, “Because the markets we serve are so specialized, having a close relationship with our customers allows our products to be a reflection of their requirements. The CAS is instrumental in bringing us together.” In post-production, Digidesign’s Pro Tools 7.2 software was the recipient. “Digidesign is exceptionally proud to be recognized by the Cinema Audio Society, one of the industry’s most important professional associations,” says Danny Caccavo, product manager for Digidesign who was on hand to accept the award. “Pro Tools 7.2 was the direct result of a remarkable synergy between our customers, beta testers, product specialists, and the incredibly talented development team at Digidesign. This award acknowledges Digidesign’s commitment to the needs of our post customers.”•
Using Rechargeable Batteries for
b y J a m e s H . C o b u r n I V, C A S
or the past year I have been making the switch from primaries to rechargeable batteries for most of my power needs in both my ENG bag system and my regular location and studio-cart system. I began using rechargeable NiMH AA’s in my slates, and that was so successful I felt encouraged to expand the practice. NP1 batteries power the entire portable rig. However, I also use iPower USA 9V Lithium 500 mAh batteries in my Comtek transmitters and receivers, as well as in all of my 400 series Lectrosonic wireless transmitters. NiMH AA batteries juice my 442 Sound Devices Mixer as backup power. I highly recommend the SANYO AA 2700mAh NIMH cells. I use them in my slates and the 744T. For my 744T Recorder, which I use in both bag and cart, Sony Lithium Ion rechargeables have been great, while in my “old school” Soundcraft mixer 10K mAh NiMH D cells give days of usage before needing recharging. Perhaps a little unusually, there is no quad box on my cart. One of my goals is to operate free from hard line power whenever necessary. A large rechargeable battery pack powers the entire cart. NP1 batteries and a BDS (Battery Distribution System) power the Lectrosonics receivers. For most pieces of equipment I have three sets of batteries. This way there is always one set ready to go, one set on charge (which takes 2–3 hours), and one set in the units. The 9V Lithiums have a very low self-discharge rate. Comtek receivers do fine with two sets. They last considerably longer in use than they take to charge. One of the consequences of using so many different sizes of batteries is the need to carry and have available numerous different chargers. All the different machines go on to the follow cart and are placed in the The ZTS tester is the ONLY tester which care of the utility will allow you to get the most out of your sound person. Lithium 9-volt cells. It will accurately test The Maha pretty much any battery in use on a film set.
The iPower US 9-volt battery and charger. Note handwritten dates.
MH-C808M eight-bay multi-size charger for AAA, AA, C and D sized cells has been invaluable during the shoot. Also essential to success is a reliable battery tester. The ZTS is the only tester that accurately tests Li-Ion batteries, and works with all the batteries that may be used on the set. Using rechargeables is good economics, both for me and my producers. Standard Ultralife (up to 500 mAh) Lithium primaries cost about $5.25 each. 9V Lithium rechargeables cost around $15 each but are good for at least 200 cycles vs. one cycle and then into the trash. The iPower 9V Lithium batteries are serialized so it is easy to keep track of them, and rated to 300 recharge cycles, making them extremely economical. I always write the first date the battery is used on the cell, in order to anticipate the replacement date. If a battery is used regularly, the expectation would be replacement after one year of use. NiMH and lithium cells should be disposed of properly at a recycling center. Often your equipment vendor is a collection point. Probably the greatest deterrent to the widespread use of rechargeables is the fear of sudden failure or drop off. Initially I monitored the battery voltage very carefully, as I continue to do with my wireless receivers. Over time I became more confident with my system operation, and now I have a good feel for how long the charge will last, while still erring on the side of caution. I have avoided problems by changing out my Lectrosonics transmitter batteries after about four hours of use. I will add that although a lot of people do, I personally have never used Alkalines in my 400 series (because it is not recommended to do so) therefore I can make no comparisons between them and the rechargeables in those units. Larry E. Fisher of Lectrosonics highly recommends using rechargeable over primaries in any of their products. He says, “Rechargeables are now as good as primary batteries. The only battery that is better is the disposable Eveready Lithium AA. A few years ago I couldn’t say that, but battery technology has advanced quite a bit.” Lectrosonics has been engaging in fairly extensive comparison testing of rechargeables’ performance, and the company is planning to ship rechargeables with some of their new equipment. C A S Q U A R T E R LY
According to Fisher, Lectrosonics is shipping the AA NiMh Eveready 15-minute charging system with the SM, SMD and SMQ transmitters. He says, “A quality 2500 mAh NiMh AA battery will run the SM for more than four hours, the SMD for eight hours and the SMQ 1/4 Watt for six+ hours.” He adds, “We will ship the iPower 9-volt Lithium Poly Ion (lithium polymer ion) batteries and a charger with the UM450 transmitter units as a standard item. The iPower battery actually has more capacity (500 mAh) than the best 9-volt alkalines in our units. They work very well at low temperatures and can deliver the high currents for our 1/4 Watt UM250 series. This will be the only battery that we recommend for them.” More information about run times and actual user experiences can be found at the Google newsgroup RAMPS where Fisher has posted about Lectrosonics battery tests. <http:// groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.movies.production.sound.> (See Battery Tests) Another URL that has a lot of info on AA rechargeables, an aptly named “NiMh shootout,” is <http://candlepowerforums. com/vb/showthread.php?t=79302>. There is also a lot of helpful data at the Lectrosonics FAQ page.
<http://www.lectrosonics.com/faq/faq1byref.php?id=89>. Fisher is sympathetic to concerns about unpredictable drop-offs. “I can understand the hesitancy to use rechargeables since they have been notorious for failing at the worst time. I can also understand that a fresh primary battery is 99.99% reliable and I would certainly use one in an absolutely critical application,” he says. “I think sound mixers should try the batteries in low-risk situations to gain confidence in the performance of the new generation of rechargeables. I’d still keep primary cells around for those make or break situations. “It does take a little more care to use rechargeables. You’ve got to keep track of what batteries are charged or discharged and you have to make sure the charging cycle was completed. Eventually you have to throw the older batteries away as they lose capacity. None of this is rocket science but it does require a little more organization.” Ralph Belgique of Comtek also recommends rechargeables for all their products, and products are in development to extend the use of integral rechargeable batteries through using jacks for charging. According to Belgique, “The receivers and transmitters all
B AT T E R Y T E S T S Here are the results of the new version of the iPower 500 mA rechargeable Li Ion Polymer battery tests. We also ran tests on the Ultralife 9 Volt single-use lithiums and standard Eveready alkaline 9 Volts for reference. The batteries were run down multiple times in a UM450 because it is a power hog, 125 mA at 8 Volts or 1 Watt (!). We then ran the batteries down in a UM400 (a power piglet) just for further reference. In all cases the transmitters were run continuously until shut down of the transmitter. The batteries were then put on the charger and recharged. It made little difference if the battery was charged for one hour (green indicator just came on) or overnight. The runs were at 72 F ambient. The first iPower battery in UM450: The second iPower battery in UM450: Brand new from the factory Ultralife Lithium in UM450: Few months old Eveready alkaline in UM450:
3:18 3:23 1:57 2:08
3:18 3:10 (double charged. See end of post.)
The Ultralife does not like the high current demands of the UM450 and does worse than an Eveready alkaline. The 500 mAh iPower has almost exactly 50% more capacity than either, at this high current load. If you remember the previously posted cold tests, the iPower also did quite well, though that was on a 400 mAh battery. Below are tests in a UM400, a more normal load: The first iPower battery in UM400: The second iPower battery in UM400: Two brand new from the factory Ultralife Lithiums in UM400: Two (few months old) Eveready Alkalines in UM400:
5:32 5:09 7:11 4:27
Here the Ultralife Lithiums come into their own, since the current drains are more reasonable and show a 62% increase in battery life compared to the Eveready alkalines as standards. The iPowers still show a good 20% increase over the alkalines. This UM400 was a block 29 and seemed to pull a little more current than the average UM400. The ratios of battery life should still be valid. If you are getting a particular battery life on alkaline Eveready’s, simply add the proper percentage. If you are using ProCells (Mallory,) the iPower improvement will be an additional 10% more (30% instead of 20% for example).
FINAL NOTES: Doing a 100% discharge on Li Ion Poly batteries (iPowers) is worst case for usage. The iPowers work well in the cold. We tried a “double” charge on the iPower with no big effect. We charged it completely, removed the battery, and started the charge cycle again. It took about an hour for the charging light to go from red to green again. I don’t know what that means, but it didn’t look good. However, the capacity of the battery went down only four minutes. I don’t think it was significant, but.... We will ship the iPower system with the UM450 if we can get the transmitter’s application out of its paperwork limbo with the FCC. 22
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have charging input through either the audio earphone output jack on the receiver or the Aux input jack on the transmitters. We are developing a charger that will allow the [iPower 500mA Li-Polymer type] battery to be charged through the earphone jack or Aux input like the NiMH and should offer more that twice the operating time of the NiMH.” Again, reliability is one of Belgique’s greatest concerns. “The long-term reliability of the Li-Polymer–type battery is really based on the type of charger used and the discharge rate. Li-Polymer batteries are more delicate than Li-Ions that are normally used for industrial types of applications (such as cell phones). So the charger becomes a very important part of the reliability of the battery. Time will tell if the Li-Polymer batter-
ies will hold up under the vigorous environment of the motionpicture industry, but we are willing to give it our best shot to try to use them.” The earth-friendly nature of rechargeable technology is the greatest side effect. Over my career I have taken hundreds of pounds of used-up 9-volt, AA, D and CR123A cells to the hazardous waste-collection facility at the Dockweiler Sewage Treatment Plant, so that they wouldn’t end up in a landfill. I am probably the exception to the rule in this since I live nearby; I’m sure most mixers don’t have the time to lug copious quantities of used batteries to a safe and relatively environmentally sound end. Instead of using up the massive resources needed to create all of these disposable batteries, I have chosen to use rechargeable and recyclable technology. At the end of my last job, I did not have a single battery to discard. While initially expensive, the switch over to rechargeable technology has already paid for itself many times over. The bottom line is that the use of rechargeable batteries on movie sets is an idea whose time has come. It is something to be embraced not feared. This really is a win-win-win action we can all take.•
The Maha MH-C808M charger reliably charges up to eight AAA, AA, C, and D cells in any combination.
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Learning Curve by David Bondelevitch, CAS, MPSE
or this article I interviewed three mixers who work on Pro Tools control surfaces. Sherry Klein, CAS is on the Board of Directors of the Cinema Audio Society and currently working at Larson Studios in Hollywood. She currently mixes Jericho and The Riches on the Control 24 work surface. Larry Benjamin, CAS currently works on an Icon at Novastar in Hollywood where he does Shark and Standoff. Frank Morrone, CAS works independently and mixes Lost on an Icon at Disney. All three have been nominated in the past for CAS Awards. I interviewed them separately.
Neve Capricorn, Harrison, and SSL 5000 consoles, with moving fader automation. I was used to mixing linearly. I had no Pro Tools experience at all when we moved to the Icon at Technicolor (formerly EFX). I had used Waveframe quite a bit, but it was completely different. I was a traditional mixer who has become a control-surface advocate. I can’t imagine going back. I learned Pro Tools by downloading the free version, then I bought an MBox. What was very useful was going to Video Symphony and taking a two-day course on Pro Tools for control surfaces.
How did you get involved in mixing with Pro Tools on control surfaces?
Sherry: After my class at Audiograph, I downloaded Pro Tools free, and then purchased an MBox, but I feel that most of my learning took place once I got on the C/24 worksurface.
Sherry: I’ve been using Pro Tools since 2003 so I’m still a relative “newbie.” I really enjoyed the challenge of something new. I had been working at Sony on a Harrison Series 12 console when a couple of my shows got canceled. All of a sudden I had all this free time so I decided to enroll in a two-week class at Audiograph Studios in Santa Monica for Pro Tools. Luckily, I also had the time to check out different stages working this way to see how other people were working on the various control surfaces. I was a music major at Berkelee College of Music in arranging and composition, and moved into electronic music, which eventually led me into the world of sound. I started in this business as a music engineer where you start with the vocals or lead instrument, bass and drums and then add in the other instruments. The same thing happens in post, you start with dialogue, then add music and effects to fill out the frequency spectrum. Frank: I worked in music recording for six years, then moved into recording Foley, then into editing. Eventually I went into mixing. This facility was one of the first to use 24-track for mixing for film and television, so we were ahead of the curve. I came out here in 2004 from Todd AO, where I had done mostly film but also had done Sex & the City. When I saw Lost, I wanted to do it. We had been on another console that we outgrew, so we looked at several consoles and eventually settled on the Icon. Larry: I went to Emerson and worked on WERS Radio, and worked for bands. I’ve always been an audiophile. There’s nothing I miss about the old style of tape editing. I’ve been working on the Icon since the third Icon, serial number “3” at Technicolor. We went to Digidesign and spoke with Scott Wood and Tom Graham, and they called me a “Legacy Mixer,” because I had come from traditional mixing background, working on 24
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How did you find the transition from traditional consoles to controller surfaces?
Larry: Early on, I still had “legacy thinking,” wondering how I could conform Pro Tools to the old way of mixing, when what you have to do is wrap your head around a new way of thinking and accept it, and realize the controller surface is nothing more than a giant mouse. You have to learn the software to learn the control surface. Sherry: Everybody has their own method when they work with on a traditional console, so when they move to a control surface, they want it to be a familiar experience. When you realize that you can basically design your own console from scratch, it takes a little time getting comfortable with that, but once you embrace it, you realize you can take it anywhere. At Larson we work on a two-mixer stage with four systems. I put dialogue, ADR & walla on one system, and the other system has music and stems. My effects mixers either work on a single system or spread it out between two surfaces. Most times one of the systems is used for our record machine. I’m working with Fred Tator, CAS on Jericho and The Shield. Frank: All in all, we’re still working with the same principals as previous consoles. We use six Pro Tools systems for playback, and a seventh for recording, with two Icons. We don’t do everything “in the box.” We can have two mixers work separately, one using headphones while the other listens to playback of a previous pass. This works well with clients so they hear their film. On Lost, we have a tremendous number of tracks coming to the stage. We have 16 tracks of dialogue, usually multi-miked,
12 tracks or ADR, boom and lavaliere, and 10 tracks of Group ADR. Sound effects may have as many as 180 tracks. The thing I like about the Icon is the way the plug-ins map out on the console. 7.2 has created tremendous flexibility with custom faders, and preview mode, which we use constantly.
Larry: I went from Technicolor to Sony, where I worked on a Pro Control, and now I’m at Novastar working on an Icon with Kevin Valentine. We do the CBS show Shark, starring James Woods and Standoff for Fox. We work with two mixers on two systems and record back into an MX-2424. This allows us to work independently, offline on two different scenes at the same time. At first it’s a little bit odd to the clients, hearing me notch a dialogue line while the FX mixer is mixing backgrounds in a different scene, but this is a huge timesaver. I try to keep clients in the loop and remind them not to listen to the wrong thing. You can set everything up the old way, with a dialogue chain and sends, but now everything is staying “inside the box,” even the Cedar DNS-2000, which is controlled through Pro Tools. You can work nonlinearly and determine presets, so that for episodic television, since you revisit the same locations every week, you can determine reverbs and futzes and call them up instantaneously. Sherry: I often set up “show packs” with pre-sets that I revisit on my regular shows. It saves me time and I can always count on giving the client what they liked in a previous week’s show. I’ve been lucky to work on all of the Digi work surfaces. What I liked best about the Icon was that you could use it anyway you want. In the beginning I felt there were many improvements to be made with the software to make it more like a traditional console. I have to hand it to Digi, they sent reps and really opened their minds to what I, and others, were requesting. With the release of 7.2, a major release for post production, Pro Tools now incorporates the best tools that traditional workflows have to offer. The new VCA–style grouping, preview, capture, and touch/latch modes and other new features help make the transition from a traditional style console to Pro Tools work surface an easier changeover.
Top to bottom: Sherry Klein, CAS, Larry Benjamin, CAS and Frank Morrone, CAS.
Larry: Prior to 7.2, linking or grouping tracks did not function well, but it’s a grown-up control surface at this point. What really allows the Icon to earn its stripes is its ability to handle fixes. Everything always matches. In addition, on a traditional console, if you don’t like the EQ or the compressor built in, you have no choice. On the Icon, there are many choices for EQ, compression, or reverbs, so you can always get the sound that you want. The initial cost is much less than large digital consoles. Handling picture changes is much easier. Conforming automation on other consoles is a pain. On the Icon, your edit conform also edits the automation, so changes are done smoothly. There are some compromises. Some of the compressors are several pages deep on the software. Digi’s EQ III maps out nicely on C A S Q U A R T E R LY
Being able to use the metadata to look for alternate takes is a huge timesaver on the stage.
Sherry: The new metadata feature is great … but production mixers will have to adapt to what’s needed to make it all seamless, and that will take time. Larry: Digi delivery also allows us to download changes from other locations. the center section of the Icon, but not all plug-ins do. Custom faders are great. You can use the console only from the controller surface and not use the mouse at all, which is a lot slower. On the Icon, the keyboard is part of the controller, so it’s very ergonomic. I’ve done both television and film, including temp dubs for films. It’s every bit as reliable as the other large-scale consoles I’ve used. It works better for the feature workflow because it means
temp dub work can be kept throughout the process.
Larry: A lot of using the Icon is just changing the way you think about things. I was stepping out of my “comfort zone” to learn a new editing system as well as a new console. You do find that the job titles become a little more blurred, but it means that you don’t have to stop mixing to send an editorial fix to the bench. If it’s something that needs a huge reworking, it will still go to an editor, but simple fixes are much easier directly on the console.
Frank: We have all takes available to us over the network. Do you use cue sheets?
Frank: We use PT as the cue sheets, but I’ve got monitors for each system in front of me. We designed a platform for the monitors that works very, very well. Larry: I use the monitor as cue sheets all the time now, I don’t even use cue sheets. They need to be in an eye-line to the screen to be useful. Do you ever edit the automation data?
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Frank: Sometimes for a word of dialogue, but 95% of the time I would not work that way. I like Trim Mode and usually use Touch-Latch. Larry: I hardly ever edit the automation data directly, but I know some mixers, particularly effects mixers, will do some fixes that way. I hardly ever bring in automation data from picture editors, because it usually has no relevance to anything. If I do, I add a group master or use Trim Mode to get it into a useful range. Sherry: Volume-graphing is time consuming for most editors and I’m rarely sent sessions that need to retain their automation data. If requested, I just stay in touch/latch mode and add an auxillary channel or another sub-master. Since creating new faders/modules is no problem, you really don’t think of adding them as a limitation anymore. Other manufacturers are adding
Pro Tools control functions to their existing lines.
Sherry: One question I have about many of the newer consoles hitting the market with the stated ability to control Pro Tools is that they are using a third-party MIDI–based protocol. This brings up latency issues. As sessions get loaded down with more and more automation data, this becomes a major concern and I’m just not convinced they can pull it off as well as the Digi offerings. Larry: Whatever tool accomplishes the job is valid. I can understand some mixers’ disdain for moving over, and I was that way, but I could see the writing on the wall, and once you’ve worked on it, it’s hard to go back. There’s no perfect single solution, but it’s very good, period. Remember, Pro Tools was originally intended for the music market; the post market is still in a growth stage and the software is probably going to
continue to progress.
Sherry: I’ve never seen a company work so hard to accommodate a user base as Digidesign. They definitely have a focus on post production these days, and I believe we’ll see more growth in this area in the coming years. Larry: There are now more than 1,800 Icons in use. It’s the fastest-growing format in history.
Sherry: Switching to Pro Tools mixing made me love mixing again; you have more creative tools in your hands with much faster to access those options. Learning something new was not an everyday occurrence at this stage of my career. Once I took the chance and switched over, I found a whole new world opened up with a great community of Pro Tools users who didn’t hesitate to share their tips and tricks with each other. It’s a good move to make … and PT mixing won’t be going away anytime soon! •
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have been recording sound for drama in Australia and around the world for nearly 40 years but until I met Spike
Jonze when he came to Australia in 2006, I had never envisaged the kind of production he and producer Vincent Landay had planned to shoot at Central City Studios here in Melbourne. We had a 20-minute-Sunday-breakfast meeting in which Spike outlined what he wanted in the way of sound for his project. Basically the movie of the popular children’s book by Maurice Sendak would be peopled by giant puppet creatures some taller than seven feet which would interact with a live child actor. The boy chosen to play Max who is also Max Record in real life was not a trained actor and Spike’s intention was to capture his reactions as spontaneously as possible to maintain an air of innocence. To do this he needed the creatures to be as lifelike as possible.
ment you need off the shelf or get it for you, and I have other contacts who can help you with the specialized things. Go home and draw up a list of what you want and send it to me.” My first step was to draw a mud map of the number of characters in the movie and the anticipated number of other people who would be connected into the communications network as required. I divided the project into two sound sections. The recording side which would still be basically the same—characters who will each need a wireless transmitter and the boom for on-set use. I had already started using the Zaxcom Deva IV on a previous Australian film and so was confident that I had enough tracks available for recording. I settled on a mix on Ch 1, Max dialogue ISO on Ch 2, the boom Ch 3 and playback/live puppets on Ch 4 leaving the other four available for whatever assignments that may be needed. Later we added Spike’s wire-
The creature dialogue had already been pre-recorded on videotape and close miked as both a reference for movement and the main performance by well-known actors in the United States. Spike wanted the dialogue for each creature to emanate from the actual puppet itself while at the same time all performers including Max had to be able to hear the playback track for the whole scene. Fundamentally, Spike wanted to capture as much of Max’s performance live as possible with minimal looping, at the same time he wanted to be able to speak discreetly to Max to guide his motivations. Also, there was a possibility that each creature performer inside the suit could go live with their dialogue at any time according to Spike’s direction if he wanted to change or improvise the performances and maybe even have himself patched through to any particular creature speaker. The question put to me over breakfast that Sunday morning was, “Can you do it?” My honest answer was, “I am fairly sure I can but I need to work out exactly how and if the equipment is available to do it as well. Can I give you my answer tomorrow morning?” Outside I immediately rang my friend and equipment supplier Murray Tregonning at his home in Sydney. “Good morning Muzz. How is your breakfast? I hope I’m not going to spoil it for you but there’s this job....” I then outlined the brief I had been given and asked if it would be possible to do all this? There was a momentary silence and then Murray’s answer was confident. “Sure! We have the support of Lectrosonics. We can supply all the wireless equip-
less to Ch 5 as a guide to editing to help them wade through the masses of material we were shooting and with Ch 6 still spare I used Ch 7 and 8 for a sync stereo ambience via a remote mike where possible. Now to the comms section! My first instinct was that the videotaped playback track would not be very flexible for use on set. We all know that dialogue lines can be dropped or substituted so we would need a more versatile way to handle this. Also my reasoning was that an actor in shirt sleeves in a studio can move about more easily than a puppeteer in a seven-foot suit in a rainforest at night so the lines may well have to be able to be spaced out and cued separately as required. We would need a nonlinear system. A computer was the obvious choice because it enabled the tracks to be edited as we required and also made individual cues possible with instant access and virtually no re-cue time. As far as the creatures were concerned there were several problems to deal with. All creatures needed to hear all the dialogue. The creature operators requested that they get a warning beep in their headphones half a second before their line to enable them to anticipate the gestures and movements they had to do. At the same time each creature’s line had to come from a loudspeaker in its body—this without the beep. It looked like each creature would need two receivers on board, one for comms and one for the loudspeaker. Since there would be six main creatures with dialogue plus one mute creature who needed to listen only, that would be 13 IFB units for a start and each creature needed a mike so that made six transmit channels.
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Now to Max. Obviously he has to have his own wireless transmitter but the problem of the earpieces remained. Murray suggested I contact audiologist Anthony Plumb at Australian Hearing Laboratories Pty. Ltd. who makes surveillance communications equipment. Anthony was able to provide very small custom-moulded in-ear digital induction earpieces which would do the job perfectly and could be driven by another discreet Lectro IFB channel. One for each ear was made along with several spare induction loops. These were usually hard to see on camera and worked exceedingly well with only the occasion-
by Gary Wilkins, CAS Photos by Matt Netthelm
al need to replace a few damaged loops. Maxâ€™s IFB channel needed to carry not only the playback but Spikeâ€™s instructions as well so I decided to fit Spike with a dedicated Lectrosonics wireless mike channel so he would be able to speak discreetly to Max and the creatures. Already I needed eight IFB transmit channels, eight Lectrosonics wireless mike channels and 15 receivers just for the director and cast. My mud map was beginning to look complicated but the main issue was how to control all this. I first thought of using a mixer but Murray came up with his Clear Com Computer Martix switching system. This was able to route any individual channel to as many outputs and inputs as we needed at the click of a mouse. I soon learned to love the versatility of this machine which we called the matrix. Next section on my mud map was to deal with the usual outputs for producer, script, three camera crews, puppeteer support people and video village. Another Lectrosonics T1 IFB transmitter would do the job and we could connect it directly to the output of the video split mixer so all interested parties could watch and hear the replay audio at their nearest video monitor without putting the added burden on us to manage it. The sound department also needed its own discreet channel so my trusty Lectrosonics T2 IFB transmitter became the workhorse for my crew of three. First AD Thomas P. Smith also requested a wireless PA mike on set along with some speakers. A Shure handheld system coupled to the matrix and fed to 2x300 watt self-powered units mounted on stands worked admirably well. We were also able to feed music and sound effects through C A S Q U A R T E R LY S P R I N G 2 0 0 7
either or both speakers when Spike frequently requested it. The calculations now ran to 10 IFB transmitters, one handheld wireless unit, eight wireless mikes and 30 IFB receivers eventually rising to 40 units. The boom mike would also need a channel for its UM 200 transmitter. I was able to give my answer by Sunday afternoon. “It will be complicated to do but yes!” We actually used every available frequency in blocks 26 and 27 and quite a few in block 24 as well. Second unit eventually required an extra T1 transmitter and 10 IFBs as well so we had to manage their frequency spectrum in case we were working nearby. This was made easier by the Lectrosonics frequency calculation software. Now I needed to pick my crew. My first choice was Mark Wasiutak as boom operator since we have been working together for more than 30 years. Mark’s ability to work the floor and assess situations is second to none so he would be my representative on set as I looked like having plenty to do at the cart. Chris O’Shea has worked with Mark and myself for more than five years on such jobs as Kangaroo Jack, Ned Kelly, Anacondas II and Ghost Rider. He is a first-class boom operator in his own right and an absolute wizard at fitting wireless mikes and hiding lavs. He came up with some clever designs for mounting and managing packs in the puppets and on Max. Chris’ triumph was when he and Mark supplied and fitted 19 pupeteers with IFBs and headsets in 31⁄2 minutes one day and was still ready to attend to Max’s packs almost at the same time. Murray recommended Conrad Hendricks to be the playback/matrix operator and this was a fortunate choice. Conrad brought with him a wealth of experience from live-theatre and special-event television production. He was the absolute master of the comms/matrix system, the playback computer and thanks to his live-to-air television experience, remained totally calm and level headed under fire. Often the playback tracks would be revised overnight so some times the dialogue for the day’s shooting would come from the editing department to the set just before we were ready to shoot. Conrad would calmly go about loading them individually into his playback program, synchronizing the cue beeps on a separate track with the lines and check and recheck his work with a minimum of fuss. He was so good at cueing in the lines that Spike usually allowed him to roll them in at his own discretion with just the occasional adjustment to timing required. The wireless mikes were routed through two Lectrosonics Venue 6 channel receivers which allowed for a degree of redundancy in the system. I mounted one Venue on my cart with the Cameo mixer and the other was rack mounted on a specially constructed comms cart. Both receiver units were able to be connected through a common antenna system saving setup time. Since various feeds were required to be sent through the matrix both carts were loomed together. But some channels were duplicated on the Venues and used as split feeds for various monitoring purposes. The Venues made working with so many receivers very convenient as there was minimal setting up and tuning of wireless equipment to be done. I liked the Venue so much I bought it rather than have to return it at the end of the shoot. Conrad designed his cart so that the doors of each end could 30
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be used as tables to support the computers and as workspace for Chris and Mark when fitting wires. The cart contained a Shure transmit antenna combiner which allowed us to feed eight of the Lectro T1’s through the one aerial. This was extremely convenient and time saving for setups. I still had to work out how to get the creature speakers to work. I explored several possible ways and eventually found a kit marketed by a local company based on a TDA151A IC amplifier used for car radios. This clever little package was actually two amplifiers which could be coupled together to deliver 10 watts off a 12-volt supply and was relatively indestructible. All I had to do was add a few capacitors and it was ready to go. The power supply came from eight AA alkaline batteries and based on intermittent use with dialogue these proved adequate for the job. I was able to build up 10 of these packs and rather than change the batteries in the unit I built the whole amplifier and battery holder into a box which could be rapidly unplugged and exchanged for a new unit rather than struggling with batteries in an awkward suit on set. The output levels were controlled by the settings on the IFBs and primarily at the matrix end of the chain. An oval 10-watt car radio speaker built into a belt had a thin profile and was easily fitted into the creature suit under the furry skin. We made the baffles for the speakers out of stiff leather so that they could meld more readily into the belly shapes of the creatures while still being easy to fit and remove. This speaker/amp combination was able to deliver audio at levels good enough to be heard on set while not being too heavy as weight and balance were major considerations for the operators. Fortunately, Mark, Chris and myself had previously worked on puppet productions and so were aware of some of the problems involved. For those who have not worked with puppet suits before there are several logistical considerations to make. The first of these is ease of access to your equipment. Many suits are heavy and difficult for the occupant to get into and out of and you will not be popular if they have go through this time consuming process every time you need to get to your pack. So mount your packs high near the neck or some point where you can get to it easily to change the batteries etc. Ankles are often a good place to hide a pack as a boot or foot can be removed easily and is away from the body heat and mass.
The other consideration is humidity. Many suits are made of foam rubber and dense pile materials which retain heat and moisture. The operator can easily lose several liters of fluid during the course of a performance and it can become quite tropical inside. Try to keep your equipment as close to the outside of the suit as possible to keep it dry and the antennas away from sweat filled foam which can soak up your signal. In each of our puppets there were 2x Lectrosonics R1a IFB receivers, one Lectrosonics Hybrid UM 400 transmitter and sometimes 2x video monitors, one for forward vision and one for camera split external positions. Added to this were the amplifier/battery box and speaker units and in some cases very heavy animatronics equipment. I always admired the strength and patience of those creature operators in their heavy cumbersome suits and it certainly did take longer for them to move about the set than the
playback actors had imagined. So having put this system together we had to take it on location as most scenes take place outdoors. We encountered the full range of conditions from snow scenes, rainforests at night in wintry fog to searing heat and blowing sand over massive sand dunes in the Australian summer. One difficult section was on a beach facing the Southern Ocean where the wind was howling straight up from Antarctica. Our system had worked well until this location and we had to cross several large sand dunes before reaching the beach setup. My first consideration was how to preserve the equipment for the rest of the shoot as the windy squalls with driving rain threatened to destroy our canopies. Also the handheld unstructured style of shooting meant that we had to be prepared to move out of shot at short notice. We borrowed a 3-ton truck which we were able to drive down among the dunes along a temporary portable road. Brian Cornish, Murrayâ€™s always helpful rentals manager, was able to send down some extended whip antennas which we raised up to give us line of sight to the beach. These vastly improved our wireless-mike coverage and lessened the number of times we had to move. Finally, we had to go to a location only accessible by 4-wheel drives. Luckily we were able to scale down the equipment we required as there were only two puppets involved by then. Conrad stripped his rack down and fitted it into a small road case for the trip. The overall flexibility of the system continued to amaze me
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and it seemed to develop its own life as we discovered it had capabilities never originally thought of. Even after the cameras were rolling Spike would frequently walk up to us with his iPod saying, “Can you put this music through to Max?” We had to mix the music in with the playback and Spike’s mike or whatever was going on at the time. We became quite used to dealing with these situations. Some times we would have to play scary sound effects or moody music to the floor through the PA speakers and Conrad could add these effects almost at will from a library already on his computer. Most shots were covered handheld on three cameras at once and hardly ever rehearsed or walked through even with stand-ins. The cameras would not stop and so would be silently reloaded and rolled again to keep the flow of the performances going. Twenty-five-minute takes were the norm with one sequence going longer than 45 minutes. The difficulty of working this way means that whatever gain structure you have set up on your wireless system may not be suitable when the dynamic range covers screaming to the softest of whispers—without warning. Quite often the lines would be so low in level that we could hear Max’s heart beating and the blood flowing through his arteries. After auditioning several types of lavaliers, I settled on the new Voice Technology VT 400 which offered small size and a good dynamic range which was also forgiving whenever those anticipated quiet lines became full throat screams instead. There were very few opportunities to use the boom as well since the shots were handheld on two or three cameras shooting
wide and tight at the same time and with very few edges of frame being locked in. We relied almost entirely on our radio equipment and it hardly ever let us down. On one occasion though Mark was doing his usual morning “walk of the course” with a Lectrosonics hybrid 400 radio transmitter to test the range over the vast sets we some times used in the forest. The signal strength on the Venue receiver showed a very low and barely reliable signal where it had previously been rock solid the day before over a distance of well over 300 feet. I was puzzled by this and remarked to him that we looked like we were having our first wireless problem for the shoot. “It will work but it’s not anywhere near as good as yesterday,” I said. Then he looked down at the back of my cart, smiled and said. “OK. I’m sure if we connect the antennas, that will improve things.” In general Where the Wild Things Are was a fascinating and sometimes terrifying ride and on the whole the producers and Spike expressed their pleasure with the way the system performed as it delivered everything and more than they expected. For my part, it was a stretching experience and I feel much better for having gained this kind of experience. It was very pleasing to be able to design and build a setup of such complexity and have it work well. This was due in large part to the support of my great team of friends and colleagues and the reliability of the equipment under exacting conditions. Where the Wild Things Are will be in post-production until 2008 and I certainly expect that it will be a remarkable film when it is released. I look forward to seeing and hearing it.•
Glenn Berkovitz CAS and boomers Mark Grech and Danny Greenwald are finishing a busy TV pilot season— Touchstone’s Football Wives and CBS’s Nice Girls... We’re hoping Oxygen’s Campus Ladies will reappear on our spring schedule as well. Busy for now—and hopefully, later... David Barr-Yaffe CAS has just finished Season 2 of Touchstone/ABC’s What About Brian with Tim Salmon and Jessy Bender. Dave and Tim are currently doing Marlowe, a pilot for the same with Tanya Peel, then Barr-Yaffe will start Season 6 of Monk with Tom Caton and Jessy. Mixer Patrick Hanson CAS, boom Srdjian Popovic and utility Yervant Hagopian continue working on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. We don’t know where we’re going, but we know where we’ve been!
Samuel T. Buckner CAS writes: I’ve been working at Walt Disney Imagineering mixing the music for the Voyages of Sinbad attraction at Tokyo Disney Seas Theme Park.
Scott Harber CAS has been busy like no other working on various projects like Religion Is Stupid shooting in Jerusalem, London, Amsterdam and Rome with Larry Charles directing Bill Maher and all the boys from Borat. Great family. We then all followed Larry Charles and Kanye West into a pilot for HBO called Inappropriate, which was funnier than work should ever be and complete mayhem to boot. Piling on the pilot thing also means working with Simon West and LL Cool J on a CBS pilot called The Man. Also looking forward to some test shooting this summer in Berlin to see if Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s next feature foray, is at all feasible. Here’s to a crankin’ year.
Gavin Fernandes CAS has just finished the local feature Ma Tante Aline. In February, Gavin and co-mixer Pierre Paquet picked up the Genie Award for Best Sound on the film Bon Cop, Bad Cop. He now moves on to the feature about Gen. Dallaire’s involvement in
Rwanda called Shake Hands With the Devil. He is proud to announce that in April, Technicolor Montreal will take possession of three new Euphonix MC-5 consoles to control their Pro Tools and Nuendo workstations.
Family for ABC and a multi-camera laffer, The Mastersons of Manhattan, for NBC. Still to come are the multi-camera pilots Action News for 20th Century Fox, Traveling in Packs, and the Untitled Mutchnick/Kohan project.
Kip Gynn CAS adds: I have been a little out of touch lately but here are some of my 2006 credits: My Soul to Take, My Soul to Take 2, Spider-Man 3, Christmas at Maxwell’s, 101 Salvations, Kalamazoo? The OH in Ohio.
I’m still on Babylon A.D. with Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh. I think I’ll be going on to Einstein next which is a period TV drama, shooting in the Canary Islands, UK and Hungary. Finally, in the summer, I think I’m going to be shooting main or second unit on the UK section of National Treasure II. –John Rodda CAS
Art Rochester CAS and his crew, Cary Weitz and Jesse Kaplan, took the sound department reins on New Line Cinema’s Semi-Pro.
CAS mixed Headstrong (Schecter Films), Nora and Claire, and Fandom (Susan Stern) for PBS and the PROPS: Supergood Series (MEgTV) for the Cartoon Network. He is currently mixing Emiko Omori’s 7500 Miles to Redemption for PBS.
John Pritchett CAS and crew, Dave Roberts and Kelly Doran, are once again in Los Angeles and this time on Jake Kasdan’s Walk Hard, a faux biopic of the “legendary” Dewey Cox and his rise and fall and rise and fall and rise and fall, etc. as a music icon. Starring John C. Reilly and a cast of dozens, this comic send up of all those “biopics” we love to hate promises to be the Spinal Tap meets Airplane biopic of all time. Jürg von Allmen CAS has just finished the Dolby mix of Bursting from the young director Michael Finger, which will be presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Now starting the film El Camino, a road movie from director Bruno Moll telling the story of a young guy walking with the pilgrims on the way down to Santiago de Compostela from Switzerland to Spain, 1,430 miles. All my best regards from a cold and white Switzerland.
Peter Damski CAS is in the midst of a busy pilot season. Just completed are a single-camera comedy American
Georgia Hilton CAS writes: Over the past quarter I’ve done the following: Built a recording studio for DJ Morillo in Miami Beach (famous DJ); Completed picture edit and sound edit for Twisted Fortune, a feature film starring Charley Murphy, Carol Alt, Dave Attell, Donnell Rawlings and some of the gang from Mad TV. We’re getting ready to do some pickups and complete the sound mix. Completed the Dolby 5.1 mix for Warner Home video’s And Then Came Love, a romantic comedy with Vanessa Williams and Eartha Kitt. Started sound design and mix for Gigantic Films feature Goodbye Baby.
Tod Maitland CAS adds: Mike Scott, Brendan O’Brien and I have entered our eighth month of filming Will Smith’s I Am Legend in NYC. I believe we all are becoming legend at this point. It is the biggest film ever shot in the city. After four musicals in a row, it’s a nice change. Production sound on this film is challenging to say the least—it all takes place in a postapocalyptic NYC. That means no humans and moreover, no humanmade sounds. The mayor’s office has given us unprecedented leeway to shut down massive sections of the city for filming, you can only imagine how happy the neighborhoods are to see us arrive. From the rough cut I have seen, this film has great potential and the final mix could be uniquely fascinating. I’m finishing up my second season on Grey’s Anatomy. We’re currently shoot-
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ing a two-part episode that’s a “back door” pilot spinoff thing. Thanks to Raul Bruce and Derrick Cloud for 24 episodes, and all of the “double up” sound crews that had to land on the ground running, including Ken Segal, Richard Hansen, Colin Campbell, Scott Stolz, Walt Martin. Hope I didn’t leave anyone out. – Beau Baker CAS
Susan Moore-Chong CAS writes: It’s been a very busy pilot season this year. Too bad all the shows want to shoot during the same 21⁄2 weeks. Been working very hard and very strange hours on a pilot for 20th Century Fox Television called Supreme Courtships, a behind-the-scenes look at the life of six law clerks working for the Supreme Court justices. My crew members are Steven Payne and Frank Zaragoza. We will move on to Weeds in April and look forward to a busy summer. Aloha.
Curtis X. Choy CAS has produced and directed Watada, Resister (sound by Jon Oh), a video recording of the historical meeting between 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq, and the WW2 resisters who contested the draft. It was posted on My Space and at YouTube days prior to his court martial. A mistrial was declared, but he will be double-jeopardied at a retrial in July. The companion outtake Watada’s Epiphany, in which he explains why he enlisted, is at YouTube. Justin Lin’s Finishing the Game played to a packed Castro Theater in San Francisco on March 15 (a docucomedy mixed by Curtis Choy, boomed by Josh Bissett and Jon Oh). You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make ’em drink. Hey, horsie! Go check out www.chonkmoonhunter.com. Aloha. Robert Anderson CAS is currently finishing Season 3 of Lost here in Oahu and looking forward to Season 4. Yes, I am going to do it again. I want an Emmy and the surf here is so good. I do miss my family though. Mahalo. We wrapped on the feature Sunshine Cleaning for Big Beach Films in New Mexico. Great crew and producers! Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin were in starring roles. Our sound team comprised of mixer Lori Dovi CAS, Laurel Bridges/1st boom and our ‘lynchpin’ 2nd boom/utility Cole Gittenger. 34
Greetings from the Carolinas. All is very busy here in the first quarter of 2007. The studios in Wilmington, N.C., are bursting at the seams with four projects underway and three more biding their time waiting to crew up. We lost many IA members to Louisiana, New Mexico, and other aggressive states the past five years, and with the influx of projects here, we are happy to get some of them back. South Carolina is also remaining steady with a feature, its first episodic series, and an ABC pilot. I, Jeffree Bloomer CAS am currently working on Cabin Fever 2 and am in negotiations with two more features. Mixers Mike Rayle, Carl Rudisell CAS, Jonathan Gaynor CAS, and Larry Long are also currently working. We also have Edward Tise and Whit Norris CAS bringing their talents to the Carolinas. We are gracious and thankful and hope all our CAS members enjoy a prosperous 2007. I just wanted to give you an update on what we’re doing. I, Larry Benjamin CAS, and my partner Kevin Valentine, just wrapped mixing the series Standoff for Fox. We’re currently mixing the series Shark and recently mixed the Lifetime MOW Staircase. We’re working out of Novastar Post Sound and work with Smart Post Sound and Wilshire Editorial.
Steve Morantz CAS has done two pilots: Sam I Am for ABC and Revenge Project for FOX. I have been doing quite a few second units and commercials in between to stay busy. With me are Aaron Wallace, Jeff Blehr and Mitch Cohn. Mack Melson CAS finished up Friday Night Lights and will be mixing Black Water Transit in New Orleans this spring. Alan “Danger” Freedman CAS has just finished mixing ADR for Grind House, directed by Robert Rodriquez and We Own the Night with Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix. Richard Branca CAS from Sony Pictures Studios reports … Kevin O’Connell and Greg Russell CAS are currently mixing Spider-Man 3 in the Cary Grant Theatre for director Sam Raimi. Jeff Haboush CAS and Bill Benton
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CAS are finaling Vacancy in the Kim Novak Theatre. Gary Bourgeois CAS and Greg Orloff CAS are mixing Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in the William Holden Theatre. Tateum Kohut CAS and Steve Ticknor are mixing the animation Surf ’s Up in the Anthony Quinn Theatre. Deb Adair CAS is presently mixing international versions of SpiderMan 3. Rusty Smith CAS and Bill Freesh CAS are currently mixing HBO’s Big Love on Dub Stage 6. On Dub Stage 11, Alan Decker CAS and Jon Wakeham are mixing Close to Home for Jerry Bruckheimer. Wayne Heitman and John Boyd CAS are on Dub Stage 17 where they are mixing Medium. On Dub Stage 12, Nello Torri CAS and Gary Alexander CAS are presently mixing Bones and Las Vegas.
Steve Weiss CAS is mixing the roadrace TV series Drive for Fox with Ron Wright on boom and Dennis Carlin handling utility. The road-race feature Redline is now screening. It has been a year of cars.
Eric Pierce CAS spent this season doing fill-in and/or 2nd unit on Scrubs, Unfabulous, Standoff, Bones, and Big Love. Just competed Untitled Liz Meriwether Project pilot for Fox with Laurence Abrams on boom and John DiSante utility. Columbia Pictures: Blackjack Project, shooting in Las Vegas and Boston, February, March and April 2007. Directed by Robert Luketic. Starring Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth. A story about a gambling ring of M.I.T. students who beat the system in Vegas. Production Sound Mixer: Nelson Stoll CAS, Boom Operator: Brian Copenhagen, Utility/Second Boom: Eric Thomas. This is a show being filmed on the Panavision Genesis II HD cameras. We are recording primarily on a Fostex DV824 in the dual disk mode to both a DVD-RAM and hard drive and delivering Poly BWF files on the DVD-RAM for direct import into the Avid. We send a radio feed of the mix for a scratch track to the cameras over a Micron 700 System. This gets used for dailies. For our portable work, like insert cars, we use our HHB PortaDrive. We use a GR-1 Master Clock, running 29.97 ND,
and jam camera sync boxes, sending TC to track two. The cameras run 23.98 record run so they can easily keep track of elapsed time. We are using Ambient Master Slates, displaying 23.98 TC, cross-jammed to the GR-1. The record path runs from my modified Neve 5422 mixer into hardware Waves L2 Ultramaximizers, providing high resolution A to D, and very fast digital limiting, set to a max level of -3 dbfs. The L2s feed AES digital to the DV824 over the DB25 connection. We are happy with the sound of this system and the way it handles extreme dynamics. I had to supplement my Audio Ltd. 2000 quad box with additional radios and have been unhappy with the DC-powered choices so far. Either compromised quality, hard to set up or expensive. After testing the AC only Shure UHF-R systems and being impressed with the sound, RF capability and ease of configuration, we added four radios using a couple of the single-rack dual receivers. These are an excellent value! We also carry a couple of the Micron 700 radios, which we can count on when we need to extend the package. Workflow, workflow, workflow. I came into this project late in prep and the situation reminded me how volatile the whole post process is at this point. Always submit your sample audio early to ensure efficient workflow, making sure you meet the needs of picture editing, telecine, dailies projection and sound post. Make sure the dailies sound projection is good and that there is
no analog clipping anywhere in the various chains. All the gear has worked well in the Boston cold weather, except the LCD display on the GR-1 Master TC clock. It output accurate TC, but took awhile to warm up for the display to work properly. It is a good idea to have a way to measure TC drift between all the clocks, as having sync issues is common and you need to trouble- shoot the workflow easily. We fed the DV824 external TC, making it easy to power down the cart as the battery-powered GR-1 kept the master TC. We added a Behringer mixer to the cart to handle monitor mixing for the various needs. Seems like the group of press pool, EPK, AD’s, producer’s guests and various studio reps keeps getting larger. As well as our IFB systems, we use a FM transmitter to feed up to 16 additional folks that want to hear. ...I finished the 12th season of Mad TV... There have been some other interesting days... Then, I was in Phoenix, Ariz., working on the George Lopez Live comedy show on HBO... It’s the same thing ... move fader ... get check. –Ish Garcia CAS Thanks for inviting us to submit our latest felonies! It has been kind of busy this last quarter. We recorded a number of Rolling Stones shows for a live album and DVD with Ed Cherney and David W. Hewitt CAS engineering on Remote Recording’s Silver Truck. Martin Scorsese
shot a series of special shows with the Stones for an upcoming film. It was an intimate theater setting at the Beacon in NYC with Bob Clearmountain and David W. Hewitt engineering. For the Country Music Awards, our new digital “White Truck” served as the production mixing platform with David W. Hewitt acting as facility engineer. Once again, we provided our Silver Truck to mix the live orchestra for the Oscars. Tom Vicari and David W. Hewitt, engineering and the master, Ed Greene CAS mixing production. The New York Metropolitan Opera has started a program to uplink live operas in HD video and Dolby surround sound to movie theaters in the USA, Canada, Japan and European countries. David W. Hewitt has been the recording engineer, while producer Jay David Saks does the live mix. Just this last week, we recorded Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s homecoming show at the Cobo Arena in Detroit. This was a reprise of the live album Nine Tonight recorded there in 1980. Hewitt recorded both of them 27 years apart.
Stephen A. Tibbo CAS and team, John R. Fors and Dan Lipe booming, just wrapped Season 2 of Ghost Whisperer.
Carl Rudisill CAS finished mixing two projects in South Carolina: Hyde Park Entertainment’s Asylum and Who’s Your Caddy? with executive producer Queen
Latifah. Carl is currently on the production Bolden! which began filming in mid-March along with Marshall McGee (boom) and Jenny Elsinger (cable puller). In addition, Carl also installed a remote ADR room in Charleston, S.C., for the Lifetime television show, Army Wives. North Star Post and Sound, Inc., Carl’s company, has been busy finishing the final mix for The List. Additionally, the company has provided ADR services and voice-over needs for One Tree Hill, and the Cartoon Network. North Star’s supervising sound editor and mixer is Alex Markowski. Best of luck to everyone this year!
Agamemnon Andrianos CAS will be completing Season 3 of Desperate Housewives with boom operator Douglas Shamburger and Alex Names as sound utility, 2nd boom. At Larson Studios’ Stage 3, Sherry Klein CAS and Fred Tator CAS are finishing up the season of Jericho for CBS. They recently completed the MOW Burn Notice and begin mixing the series for USA in the late spring. Sherry Klein and Mark Server are mixing The Riches for FX and recently completed Shredder Man, an MOW for Nickelodeon. Sherry and Fred will begin mixing the final season of The Shield this summer. After starting off the new year by helping get the CAS Awards organized, we worked on two pilots for the Fox network. The first, a drama called Them, and the other a comedy titled Deeply Irresponsible. Thanks to my great crew of Jack Nitzsche, Leonard Moskowitz and Dennis Kirkpatrick. In my spare time I still serve as President on the Board of the Cinema Audio Society. –Edward L. Moskowitz CAS
Gary D. Rogers CAS and Dan Hiland CAS finished mixing with director David Nutter the pilot, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the first week of April 2007 for Warner Bros. Television/Fox Network. They are also finishing up Season 7 of Smallville and the first season of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. They are gearing up for an aggressive pilot season with various projects including John McNamara’s sci-fi pilot Them.
Keith A. Garcia CAS writes: I would like to let everyone know I’ve been working on The Dark Is Rising for 20th Century Fox/Walden Media out here in Bucharest and Transylvania,
Romania, with my boom operators Peter Murphy and Liviu Lupsa, along with cable utility Magda Fulga. It was amazing to have my two daughters (Ava and Vivi) and wife (Missy) of 10 years (we had our 10-year anniversary while in Bucharest, shooting) here with me for the entire four months of shooting. Dave Hadder—boom, Steve Arcabascio— utility and I have just finished up a FOX pilot called Family of the Year and now have a few weeks off before we start Season 3 on South of Nowhere, which will take us through the summer. –Jon Ailetcher CAS
Peter V. Meiselmann CAS adds: Here is my newest project: Anna Nicole, directed by Keoni Waxman for the Nasser Group. Boom Operator: William Hansen. The Universal Sound Department is logging quite a few frequent fader miles this month. Coming off the big blockbuster 300 and the yet-to-be-released August Rush, Chris Jenkins and Frank Montano are busy working on Hostel: Part II, presented by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Eli Roth. On Stage 3, Andy Koyama and Chris Carpenter are about to start a film for Fox Atomic called The Comebacks, directed by Tom Brady. And on Stage 6, Steve Maslow and Gregg Landaker are reunited once again with director Tom Shadyac for the highly anticipated comedy Evan Almighty. On the Universal television stages, Roberta Doheny and Robert Edmondson CAS are currently mixing Criminal Intent and Ghost Whisperer, along with a new pilot for NBC called Lipstick Jungle in Studio 1. Bill Nicholson and Tom Meloeny CAS are mixing Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order in Studio 2. In Studio 5, Gerry Lentz CAS and Richard Weingart CAS are mixing House, Crossing Jordan, and the breakout hit series Heroes. Michael Olman CAS and Kenneth Kobett CAS have their plate full mixing Desperate Housewives, 24, along with two new pilots for FOX called Company Men and The Madness of Jane in BluWave’s Studio B. Our sitcom mixers, John Cook and Peter Nusbaum, are at full tilt working on Scrubs and The Office, as well as a slew of new pilots including Cavemen for Touchstone Television; The Rich Inner Life of Penelope Cloud from director James Burrows; and The Mastersons of Manhattan, Zip, and Wildlife for NBC.•
Sound Within Reach. Fuzzy Windscreens
ons i t a l ratu Cong Congratulations go out to Agamemnon Andrianos, CAS on seeing both of his sons graduate this summer. The oldest, Odyesseus, from San Diego State with a degree in sports medicine, and younger son Ethan Archimedes, from high school. Ethan will be starting this fall at UC Berkeley.
Ike Magal, CAS in
Left to right: Steven A. Morrow, CAS (mixer), Gail Carroll-Coe (boom) and Rich Bullock (utility sound) on the set of Untraceable in Portland, Oreg., spring 2007.
Gavin Fernandes, CAS (right) and co-mixer Pierre Paquet receiving the Genie Award for Best Sound on the film Bon Cop, Bad Cop.
his new digs.
David K. Grant, CAS recording in Toronto’s ”G-Spot“ Cherry Beach where sailboards fly.
Brydon (son of Beau Baker, CAS) with one of his biggest fans!
From left: CAS President Edward L. Moskowitz with past presidents Bob Deschaine, Carroll Pratt, Steve Hawk and Richard Lightstone. Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage Above: “Make it louder!” Ken Kobett, CAS and 4-year-old son Owen, checking out the mix on Stage B at Universal.
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