the official quarterly of the cinema audio society
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FEATURES Broadcast Versus Broadband . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 A digital traffic jam
Reality TV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 A typical day in North America
Oba: The Last Samurai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 An American-Japanese collaboration
EXPERIENCE MORE .: INNOVATION :.
DEPARTMENTS President’s Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Social networking is on the rise
From the Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Technically Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 All about DSD recording
Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
A Sound Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The search for dialogue stability
Been There Done That . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 In Remembrance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
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The Lighter Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
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Cover: Oba: The Last Samurai
THE PRESIDENT’S LETTER
Many of us on the CAS Board recently have observed that one of the ways we all have come to work is changing. No, we still set up in similar ways when we start our workday. The preparations we go through to get from script to recording are still the same. In post, we still assign the inputs to the console in much the same way. The engineering basics of recording sound to achieve clear distinct and undistorted sound have not changed. Some of the technology has moved forward as it always does, and the membership of the CAS and our community respond by educating ourselves and then informing our employers about the changes. What is in a huge state of flux is the “social-ness” of our community. More production is being done away from major studios and on locations for features and television. Even when there are many productions working at one of the major facilities, the tightened schedules are making it harder for all of us to stay in contact. In other times, it was easier to be social and know who is where and doing what and if you needed some help, you could easily reach out to discuss a solution. This was, at one time, a staple for our industries. The recent upsurge in social networks is the manifestation of this issue. No longer is it easy for many crews to manage to get together in the commissary at lunch for example. This used to happen at least once a week if not more often. Now, we rely on Facebook and Linkedin and many other online sites to keep us all connected but out of sight. It does have an upside but it does present some awkward situations. One of the ways in which your membership and association with the Cinema Audio Society can be of assistance is to help you in staying in contact. The CAS is currently completing the update to our membership directory. We hope that you made sure that your listing was correct. Many of our members have started to generate small get-togethers for just staying in touch, face to face. These small social meetings have occurred sometimes over coffee or lunch with no major agenda beyond getting together. One of the missions of the CAS is to educate and inform both the public and ourselves. I have talked before at length about being able to stand on the shoulders of those that have come before us, and this is just a small part of the process. After someone has earned their membership in the Cinema Audio Society, it is imperative that they help continue our mission. Many of our members have been drawn into the formal education system and they do their part in educating the next generation but it is up to all of us. As we move into the fall and the upcoming awards season, it is very important to not lose sight of these goals of interaction and education. Many times we have discussed how important volunteering is to the CAS. This fall, our Board elections will take place and there are as always some important seats to be filled again. The Board is very proud of all its work and looks forward to maintaining its direction. Please consider how you can help when the Board nominations forms come to you. Remember too, that the 47th Annual CAS Awards are scheduled for February 19, 2011. We are looking forward to having another fabulous evening with our own after-awards gathering place and hope you all will be able to join us. To all of our members that have been nominated for Emmy Awards this year, we congratulate you again and wish you the best of luck. We thank you for all of your efforts and support for the Cinema Audio Society. Regards,
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.
Notes From the Board years ago ago, the CAS Board X Several elected to drop the periods between the “C,” “A,” and “S” in our professional designation. Please update all of your communications to reflect this change. are finding that many producers X We are now using IMDb.com to reference credits for mixers. Please make sure that your IMDb page is accurate and up to date.
1-8 ch Playback/
SUMMER 2010 • NEW MEMBERS Active Michael Beiriger, CAS Peter Bentley, CAS Jordi Cirbian, CAS Colette Dahanne, CAS Henry Embry, CAS
Chris Hiles, CAS Tony Lamberti, CAS John Reynolds, CAS Cory Rizos, CAS
S-4000R 1-8 ch Mic/Line
John Anthony Philip “Adam” Hawk
Edward L. Moskowitz, CAS President of the Cinema Audio Society
Student Drew Donaldson
Audio Field Recorder
1-8 ch Input Playback/ Communication Recording Position
FROM THE EDITORS...
Hello everyone! We hope you’re enjoying your summer so far and hope to provide you with some interesting reading while it wraps up. To assist with this task, Karol Urban, CAS brings to our attention the current bandwidth tug-of-war between broadcast and broadband. Michael Alexander, CAS brings us inside the world of production mixing for an activity-based reality show. Additionally, Paul Vik Marshall, CAS gives us access inside the set of a Japanese production titled Oba: The Last Samurai. John Garrett, CAS discusses DSD recordings in his “Technically Speaking” column while Matt Foglia, CAS gives our student members some dialoguemixing pointers in the “A Sound Discussion” column. The “To Mix or Not to Mix” article that Pete Damski, CAS wrote for the last Quarterly gets some responses in the “Food for Thought” section. Check in on the happenings of your fellow members in their “Been There Done That” and “The Lighter Side” submissions. Finally, we say goodbye to CAS President’s Award recipient, Manfred Klemme. The CAS Quarterly is produced as a service to our members on a voluntary basis. We greatly appreciate, and want, your feedback and suggestions—so send them in! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, our sponsors are professionals like you, who understand the business and needs of our industry. We encourage your commitment to them.
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President: Edward L. Moskowitz Vice President: John Coffey Treasurer: R.D. Floyd Secretary: David J. Bondelevitch
Peter Damski, CAS
Peter Damski Matt Foglia PUBLISHER:
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And Now for Something
Completely Different by G. J ohn Gar r et t , CAS
In the last journal, I wrote about PCM digital file types and recording, something we work with every day but don’t often get to look under the hood, so to speak. This time, I’m going to talk about an ultra-high fidelity recording system that doesn’t even really have a word length. It’s DSD or Direct Stream Digital recording. Now, it’s not likely that you’ll have to sell all your PCM .wav recorders and editing gear and convert anytime soon, but there are definite advantages to the format, and there are plenty of high-end music recordings being made with DSD nowadays. With a dynamic range of 120dB across the 100kHz frequency response, plus the lack of aliasing, filter and error-correction distortion, the difference between even 24/96 PCM recordings and DSD is significant. DSD recording is a high sample rate (2.8224MHz and now sometimes 5.6448MHz ) at one bit, using Delta Sigma modulation. Delta Sigma was first described in 1954 by C.C. Cutler1 and early work was done in the 1960s by Haruhiko Yasuda et. al2 in Tokyo and the converters and early development were done by Ed Meitner of EMM Labs http://www.emmlabs.com/. Sony and Philips worked together with Meitner to perfect the technology and also created the Super Audio CD (SACD) format for playback. SACDs often have a multi-channel DSD layer of up to six discrete channels and a stereo PCM layer so the program material can be played on a standard CD player or an SACD player. Now, how the heck does a one bit data stream work? With Delta Sigma modulation (and without the algebra or probability theory here), a lot of the information in the stream is about the difference between the last bit and the next bit that’s coming, and looks similar to pulse-width modulation. The high sample rate means there are no measurable aliasing products in the audio passband, and indeed, something like a single pole filter around 80kHz is all that is often used. So the lack of alias1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Stream_Digital 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-sigma_modulation 8
ing plus no filter distortion are notable sonic improvements. Another benefit is that with standard PCM recordings there can be intermodulation distortion (IMD) between the fixed sample rate and the audio program material. This is no longer an issue with DSD. The effective sample frequency changes nearly 3 million times per second, making IMD unmeasurable too. Instead of quantizing audio at a fixed sample rate and assigning a numeric value to each quantization level, the more positive the instantaneous voltage, the more ones in the stream, and the more negative the instantaneous voltage, the more zeros there are. So the density of ones and zeros changes over time, and in proportion to the analog waveform. DSD creation/editing platforms are made by a few folks. Sonoma http:// www.superaudiocenter.com/Products. htm ($14,000–$90,000) claims to do every operation in the one bit domain while Pyramix http://www.merging. com/ (about $800–$10,000) and some SADiE systems can convert the stream to an 8-bit word at 358.2kHz for doing DSP processes and then “down convert” to one bit and reinsert that chunk of modified data back into the one bit stream. The reason for this is that the only way you can do things like EQ is to go into the PCM domain because existing hardware just can’t do it in one bit in real time. So the Sonoma and other one bitonly platforms can only do crossfades, and rely on pristine mic placement, mic pres and room acoustics for tonal balance. Later versions of Cubase also support DSD recording, and it can be assumed that for doing DSP they break the stream into 8-bit chunks too. The beauty of something like Pyramix or Cubase is, of course, that you can mix and edit regular PCM .wav material on it as well. There are DSD recorders available and at reasonable prices too, like the Tascam DV-RA1000HD http://www.tascam.com/ products/dv-ra1000hd.html (about $1,700), Korg’s various hard disk–based DSD recorders http://korg.com/Products. aspx?ct=6 (from $800) and SACD players start at about $200. If you haven’t listened to SACD program material, go hear a demo at your local stereo store. You’ll be surprised by what you hear. •
Manfred N. Klemme March 13, 1939 — July 2, 2010
Sometimes while they are asleep...
Responses to Food
In the last issue, I read an article that Peter Damski wrote on the subject of a new workflow popping up around the business; providing isolated tracks without a mix. I had to read it twice because I thought I was having a nightmare or something. I personally have had this same issue cross my path in the last year. Having won one battle and lost one, I actually have handed in no mix on a show with no boom operator. I felt like a wicked sellout but I needed the cash. At the time, I pawned it off on low-budget producers who didn’t know squat and didn’t care to know anything other than their bottom line! So imagine my surprise having read Peter’s article in the last issue. It seems like this workflow idea is spreading like a virus corrupting all that we work for. Why would you try to reinvent the wheel? I understand that wireless technology is getting better every year, people are getting better at wiring actors, actors are getting used to wearing a wire all the time, wide shots being turned into tight shots, six cameras on set. But at some point, aren’t the sacrifices made for such things just cheapening the art? “The image is flat and the sound is thin ... who cares, we maximized our profits!” says one producer to the other. When I first got into being a production sound mixer, I was a young tyke. Still am really. I was eager and straight out of the studio. So having read a book on time code, I was ready to go. Let’s make a movie! And so in the beginning, as a standard operating procedure I would wire everyone all the time and mix those mics on one channel of the DAT. And have the boom and or booms on the other channel. Then one day while day-playing, I got my first real-world education. The boom operator simply asked me why I am wiring the talent all the time. That it wasn’t necessary. And so for the next few days, we talked and talked on the varying subjects of what it is to provide a proper mix. Later, I met his regular mixer and we had similar conversations. The biggest being that one of the most important fundamental ideals of this proper mix is that it reflects the perspective of the camera. Otherwise, it just doesn’t sound natural. Like what we would hear in the real world as if we were standing in that very spot in that very moment in time. So over the years, I practiced this art. Over and over and over. Later, the multi-track recorders became available in eight tracks. This made my mixing skills grow in leaps and bounds. I felt like having the mics isolated and recording freed me up to take chances with that perspective mix that I didn’t take before as my mix was it, the final stop. If I messed it up, it was messed up. End of story. But now if I messed it up, at least someone could fix it later. That being said, to only provide these isolated tracks for someone to mix later, I think is a very bad idea. And one I hope fades away like clear Pepsi. Man, that was a nasty soda! 10
Would we have to change our classification to YO and not be in the CAS? Take a pay cut and have no boom operator? I think people are too good at mixing for this workflow to stick but who knows. Maybe it’ll end up a hybrid of sorts. Where we wire everyone all the time so if things get twisted in the edit bay, we’re covered while still providing a mix all the time for the other 99% of the cuts.
...they dream of being shiny objects. But when you wake them up, they remember that instead they are rugged little workhorses with a job to do. Check out the SMV Series variable power miniature transmitters. The latest features include automatic wakeup and restore when you are using external power. Engineering calls the design “cute,” but marketing is still fascinated by the idea of shiny objects.
–Will Hansen, CAS www.lectrosonics.com I read with interest Peter Damski’s article in CAS Quarterly Spring 2010. I was reminded of a T-shirt that circulated among NYC sound mixers in the ’80s, after ‘our’ producers would return from a job in Los Angeles, all pumped up about the video assist that West Coast mixers provided: IS IT YOU OR THE EQUIPMENT?? We all know the answer to that question now. There is no reining in technological advances or the degree of control and creativity an ‘all iso’ shoot provides producers and the postproduction sound crew. I recall with infinite pleasure the balletic magic of camera operator and sound mixer, the old Aaton grinding away (the Schoeps nimbly avoiding it) of the documentary ‘set’ or ‘mixing’ actors through a really big scene, successfully threading them through planted & boomed microphones. And those microphones were boomed by folks who were judged on their skill with the stick & knowledge of mic pattern, not just how well they could lav up.
Made in the USA by a Bunch of Fanatics.
THE N E W SHOTGUN FROM SANKEN MICROPHONES
–Cabell Smith, CAS
Regarding your article “Mixing: Use It or Lose It,” I blame the sonic atrocities of reality television and the compression of streaming video. In the wake of amazing new technology that can increase quality, it seems the industry as a whole and the viewing population are more interested in technology that provides more media cheaper and faster. I find it annoying to watch SD at this point but I know scores of people who love to watch a streaming crushed version of high-production shows on a slow wireless connection or a pirated YouTube recording. They are virtually loosing all the beauty of the sound and picture this way but ... it’s quick and convenient and they have become conditioned to accept the lack of quality. They look past it. I am not sure I’ll ever personally understand it. It’s quite scary. Great article!
The unique CS-2 is another Sanken step forward in shotgun mics: Supersharp directivity and extended reach in a standard 10” length Rich and natural tone Available now
–Karol Urban, CAS
by Mat t Fogl i a , CAS
At the center of our profession is the art of mixing. While knowledge, technique and experience may lead us to other roles (supervisor, consultant, etc.), we’re usually hired to make multiple occurrences of sound blend appropriately together. On the production side, we are to take multiple sources of (usually) dialogue and make them sound as natural as possible without noticeable phasing or level shifts, regardless of location or onscreen action. On the re-recording side, we are to take this dialogue and retain its clarity amongst a backdrop of sound effects and music. The most obvious common denominator between production and post is the presence of dialogue (not to say that some effects and music aren’t recorded on set). It is this dialogue that is (typically) the center of the soundtrack. For this article, I’ll be discussing some general considerations when addressing dialogue levels (Note: This is geared to our student members.) With music mixing, the lyric is the most important thing (assuming that you’re not mixing an instrumental). Everything else plays a supportive role. If you can’t understand the lyrics, then it’s difficult to sing along (although we do manage to sing along with “Louie Louie” even though we don’t know what the heck they’re saying). Usually with sound for picture, it is the same scenario. Not to minimize the importance of effects mixing by any means, but if the audience can’t understand what is being said, then a portion of the storyline is lost. It is the job of the re-recording mixer to make sure that the audience can understand what is being said. The ability to bring out the clarity of the dialogue and maintain a comfortable loudness level for the listener is a difficult thing to do “correctly,” and tends to be the item that will bring a client back or have them calling someone else for the next gig. When I discuss mixing approaches with my students, I ask them to consider the dialogue as an “anchor”—the item that keeps the sound stable. There will be crests and troughs, like the 12
waves of an ocean, but we generally need to keep the dialogue at a somewhat consistent loudness level. This idea, as those of us working in television know, has become “law” at a number of networks thanks to the Dolby LM100 Loudness meter. Why? It is very easy to lose perspective when mixing. As clips from different sources work their way into your mix, their voice projection (or lack thereof) and dynamics can skew your reference point. This is where an “anchor” can assist. For example, if I’m mixing a show with narration, then I use the narration level to guide all other dialogue levels. Narration is the most straight-
forward source since, typically, it is recorded in a controlled environment (VO booth) with a consistent overall level. I’ll EQ the narration track appropriately and adjust the level of the track so that it is hitting the VU meters within the requested guidelines. (A note on calibration reference levels for our stateside student members; -20 dBFS on your digital meters equates to 0 on the VU meters.) From this point, all other dialogue is mixed at a relative level to the narration. If I happen to lose my point of reference after a long stretch of on-camera dialogue, I’ll go back to a narration clip, play it, and make sure my dialogue is still being “anchored” by the narration.
If a project does not have narration, then I’ll try to find a clip featuring someone who speaks at a somewhat constant level— not too whispery and not too projected. I’ll then set their level so that it is at a proper loudness level and adjust the other dialogue clips relative to the selected clip. This ensures that all clips are being perceived at a somewhat similar loudness level. Now this sounds easy enough, but let’s not forget that the human voice, through normal speech, will fluctuate loudness levels very frequently. This is where the term “mixing” comes in to play. One of the most important things I learned when I was at Sony Music Studios in NYC was how to mix with your hand. Sounds stupid but there are many folks who just let a compressor “do” the mixing for them; run all of the dialogue into a compressor with some aggressive settings and there you go. Tomlinson Holman, CAS in his book Sound for Digital Video (the required text for my “Sound for Picture” class), discusses the idea of “Hand Compression.” If I may quote, “Good postproduction mixers ride gain, and they do a better job of smoothing out level variations than any device because they can anticipate action and follow the intensity of the script in a way that no equipment can” (p. 235). When I interviewed Hurt Locker rerecording mixer, CAS Award winner Paul N.J. Ottosson this year, he stated: “Compression, to me, muddies up the dialogue. I would start each scene by trying to get the dialogue to sound relatively even with volume alone and then I’d go back and ride EQ. I don’t ‘set it and forget it.’” One of the things that I found difficult when I began working with other mixers (after I left Sony and PostWorks expanded), was dealing with some of these different approaches to dialogue. Clients who were used to working with me but would have to mix with other folks would soon realize which other mixers they preferred to work with and which ones they would pay overtime to not work with. The thing that stuck out to me when analyzing this was that the mixers they liked really mixed with light compression while the mixers they didn’t want to work with again would heavily compress. This is very easy to do given the easy access of multi-band compressors. The harshness of these units, when engaged inappropriately, really irritates my ears— and apparently, many clients’ too. Obviously, we all use compressors, but it’s to what degree do we use them. In my mind, compression, while very generic in theory, is the most difficult effect to get a firm grasp on, let alone master. For some projects it may be desirable (and appropriate) to compress heavier than others. Music mixers, for example, tend to compress vocals heavier than documentary-film mixers compress dialogue as these are different sources with different dynamic ranges. You will only truly understand their affect on different sources after much exposure and experimentation. So, as you develop your mixing skills, try letting your hand do the “talking.” Keep your dialogue discernable and level (even if the sound effects are cooler sounding). Although in the end, you are at the mercy of the individual speaking. I remember mixing a DVD featuring Ozzy Osbourne and, no matter how loud you made him or how much you altered the EQ, you still couldn’t understand what he was saying (the producer ended up subtitling everything). Needless to say, I didn’t use Ozzy as the anchor on that project. •
Celebrating 35 Years of Precision!
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When Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009, it tasked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with developing a plan to blanket the United States with affordable broadband. The FCC went to the drawing board with multiple options on the table. Fiber, satellite, and wireless were the main contenders, and much of the industry waited nervously to see exactly what recommendations the FCC would make. On December 2, 2009, the FCC’s Broadband Task Force
currently utilized broadcast band illustrates long-term market trends. Based on the numbers, there is an undeniable increase in demand for mobile broadband. Meanwhile, the percentage of households relying solely on over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts for their TV viewing has steadily declined from 24% in 1999 to only 10% in 2010.
Broadcast Versus Broadband: The Digital Trafﬁc Jam Coming Your Way This year, I experienced a digital shakedown when I upgraded my phone. My carrier told me that to replace my phone with one of the same type, I would be required to purchase a data plan. Despite never activating the data plan on my previous phone and getting by just fine, there was no longer the option for me to refuse mobile Web services. So like it or not, I would be getting on the broadband bandwagon. Clearly, this is a sign of the times. Wireless broadband usage is on the rise with a smorgasbord of its own new technologies. From smartphones and netbooks to medical remote monitoring and Smartgrid, people are sending texts, data, and media-rich files through the digital airwaves at an incredibly increasing rate. AT&T alone reported a 5,000% increase in wireless data traffic over the past three years, mostly due to the release of the iPhone. And with analysts predicting that mobile secure data will increase anywhere from 25 to 40 fold over the next five years, this growing high bandwidth demand is reaching its capacity. A recent study cited $7–$10 worth of return in our GDP for every $1 invested in mobile wireless broadband networks. Providers currently employ approximately 300,000 people and have consistently increased their staff by 6% year after year over the last four years in the midst of the country’s general economic uncertainty. It is projected that by 2013, mobile communication will be a $30 billion industry. So, mobile broadband is big business. But, while the country’s mobile broadband providers are aiming to upgrade from 3G to the even more robust 4G network, this issue of capacity is becoming imminently paramount. How can they expand their data stream with their bandwidth already beginning to struggle under the demands of current users?
released the National Broadband Plan Public Notice #26: Uses of Spectrum. We’re going wireless and to do so, broadcast TV must reduce its bandwidth.
But Why Are They Coming After Television? While some pressure from the White House has signaled that the Department of Defense and other government agencies are looking for MHz to give up, television will be responsible for shelling out 120 MHz in the next five years. The spectrum used by television is particularly attractive for wireless broadband, as it has a proven ability to travel long distances and penetrate building structures. Using these frequencies will allow wireless broadband providers to reduce the number of radio towers needed to boost signal, saving money while increasing the signal reach. Besides, previous mandated reallocations of the television broadcast spectrum gave rise to the current mobile industry. In 1983, the FCC reallocated spectrum that was used as point-tomultipoint broadcast from the higher band of UHF stations (channels 70 to 83) to create the first cellular networks. Again in 2008, broadcasters turned over more than a quarter of their spectrum allocation, the entire 700 MHz band. This time, it was reallocated as part of the analog to digital TV transition. That long propagating, super-penetrating 700 MHz band was auctioned off in large part to the cellular market at an average value of $1.28 per MHz-pop. Verizon in particular, benefited greatly and plans to unleash its 4G network in select markets this year, covering a rumored 100 million subscribers with this bandwidth. The current market value of broadcast bands is estimated at $0.11–$0.15 per MHz-pop. And the FCC believes this wide gap in value between the auctioned 700 MHz band and the
b y K ar ol U r ban , C A S a nd St eve U r ban
We Are Not Amused Broadcasters were quick to call attention to the fact that households that rely solely on OTA TV aren’t the only ones who benefit from broadcasting. In fact, every household, regardless of the delivery method (cable, satellite or OTA), sees and is affected by any limitation enacted upon broadcast TV. And broadcasters are not only concerned that giving up spectrum licenses will cause a percentage of Americans to lose some of their free OTA TV programming, but that technology shifts will also increase their cost exorbitantly. But the FCC does not seek to limit the availability of free OTA broadcast TV. They recognize the important functions that it serves society at large (free access to news, entertainment, and local programming), and believes that broadcast and broadband can coexist within the confines of current technology, so long as a few efficiency measures are taken, seemly just by the television side. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. (MSTV) were swift to respond to December’s Public Notice #26, submitting a 28-page document addressing each of the Commission’s questions concurrently with their own 109-page Broadcasting and the Broadband Future: A Proposed Framework for Discussion. Throughout both documents the theme was identical: Broadcasting and broadband are not “either/or” propositions. Both provide services of high value to American consumers that are “essential and complementary parts of the nation’s communications ecosystem.” Going on the offensive for the industry, the NAB/MSTV contended that “the Commission should not assume that broadcast spectrum is the best or even a viable place to find” the bandwidth that wireless providers claim they need to advance their industry. They recommended that the FCC take an inCAS QUARTERLY
depth inventory of the complete spectrum usage and perform a cost-benefit analysis of reallocating spectrum from any industry including wireless, satellite, government, and broadcasting before moving further with their recommendations. They also cited that during the recent change to digital broadcasting, consumers recently invested approximately $109 billion in HD receiving equipment, an investment that the NAB/MSTV believes “should not be stranded.”
Has Video Killed the TV Star? The current use and projected increase in demand for mobile video on wireless devices is one of the key services behind the wireless industry’s request for increased spectrum. Noting that projected increased usage, Spectrum Director of the National Broadband Taskforce Rebecca Hanson favors a dynamic solution and comments, “The answer may well be to find an innovative way to do what broadcasters do best—deliver video wirelessly to receivers—to solve one of the biggest challenges facing mobile broadband today—delivering video wirelessly to receivers.” Many broadcasters believe that innovative way has already come about in the form of mobile DTV, a new standard for transmitting digital TV signals to cell phones and other portable devices ratified by the ATSC in the fall of 2009. The NAB/MSTV claim that with the advent of mobile DTV, digital broadcasting will reduce the capacity demands on wireless broadband systems “more quickly, less expensively, and in a more spectrally efficient fashion.” With the transition to DTV complete, broadcasters now have the ability to offer a combination of different video and data
nine analog television channels in the D.C. metro region prior to the DTV changeover, the current DTV operations of those nine stations now offer over two dozen programming channels and eight mobile DTV services. But regardless of who is responsible for delivering the data— broadcasters or wireless broadband providers—it is becoming clear that the vehicle that will be used is the spectrum that broadcasters use today. In March 2010. the FCC Task Force presented their 360page National Broadband Plan (NBP). In it the FCC states that they want to preserve free OTA TV as a “healthy, viable medium going forward, in a way that would not harm consumers overall…” But in an effort to attain their goal of 300 MHz available for terrestrial broadband by 2015, they aim to repurpose 120 MHz from the broadcast TV band. How exactly do they think they can achieve that?
They Make It Sound Soooo Easy According to the NBP, by changing current technical rules and channel assignments, broadcast TV could reduce the amount of spectrum it uses without impacting the bandwidth of any individual station. This would allow stations to operate “at currently prohibited spacing on the same or adjacent channels without increasing interference to unacceptable levels.” With the same number of stations operating with 6 MHz licenses on fewer total channels, the FCC could “repack” channel assignments in order to free up spectrum. According to the report, repacking alone could make over a quarter of the sought-after bandwidth available.
Ultimately, the writing on the wall points to a converged medium where broadcast TV and broadband Internet are seamlessly integrated. streams within the 19.49 Mbps per 6 MHz channel capacity. The bit rates for HDTV, SDTV, multicast streams, mobile DTV, and supplemental services can all vary within their respective constraints and can all be transmitted in various combinations wirelessly to receivers. For example, in Washington, D.C., the local NBC affiliate carries (1) a 1080i HD channel containing national programming, local news and weather, (2) a 24-hour weather channel, (3) an SD multicast of programming, and (4) Mobile DTV experimental operations all in the same 6 MHz channel, where previously there was just a single analog broadcast of NBC. In total, in the frequencies where nine stations broadcasted 16
So how do they propose we make up the other 90 MHz? Three little words: Voluntary Channel Sharing. Current broadcast TV licenses provide a 6 MHz channel that is capable of transmitting at a data rate of 19.39 Mbps. With HD having a data rate of between 6–17 Mbps and SD approximately 1.5–6 Mbps, the FCC sees no reason why two or more stations couldn’t share a single 6 MHz channel. According to the NBP, “Two stations could generally broadcast one primary HD video stream each over a shared six-megahertz channel.” Additionally, “More than two stations broadcasting in SD (not HD) could share a 6 MHz channel.” And to reassure broadcasters, the NBP clearly states that “all stations that broadcast
a primary video signal would continue to serve existing public interest requirements.” After these two solutions are enacted, the reclaimed spectrum will hit the auction block. But while the ploy of big bucks for volunteering spectrum may sound enticing to some broadcasters, the FCC has yet to receive the necessary permission from Congress to share the auction proceeds with broadcasters. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has brought forth its own plan for using the proceeds: promote public safety, jobcreating infrastructure investment and deficit reduction. Of course, the NBP does recognize the ever so slight possibility that even the best-laid plans can fall short. So in the event that their simple-to-follow plan for reallocating spectrum away from broadcast TV does not yield “a significant amount of spectrum,” they’ve included the option to explore alternatives, including but not limited to “other innovative solutions that may emerge.” But the NAB/MSTV asserts that despite searching for new innovations that can increase the 19.39 Mbps data throughput limit, it is notable that currently two streams of full-quality HD programming cannot share a single 6 MHz channel. They see a potential of broadcasters being unable to provide fullquality HD signals and abandon (or never begin) multicasting or mobile DTV services, essentially crippling the legislation that was just adopted in the DTV transition before it even has a chance to blossom. Even though the process of releasing spectrum licenses will be voluntary, balancing the market demand for multicasting against the potential incentives gained in auction proceeds could sway broadcasters. Revenue generated from multicasting was reported as only 0.9% in 2010 and is only projected to rise to 1.9% in 2011. But again, stations are just beginning to deploy such services, and it is not yet clear whether the public is aware of them and if they will become widely accepted. To further complicate the issue, there’s the possibility that some OTA consumers may still lose reception through other avenues. One or more stations may voluntarily go off the air as they hand over their spectrum to the auction. And if a station chooses to share channels with another station, their service area may change. While the bandwidth must be found, the effort is to establish a voluntary, market-based relocation system that shows “respect to competition, diversity and localism.” The FCC does not seek to force stations to offer less service to the consumers but to provide another factor to consider when choosing new business models like multicasting and mobile DTV. They maintain that the overall result will be increased service to local communities—the “broadcast TV that consumers have always received along with more and better mobile broadband connectivity.” Ed Lazarus, FCC Chief of Staff, laid out their case in an interview with Larry Magid of CBS News/CNET. “[W]hat we’ve tried to do is set up a win-win situation, where broadcasters can share spectrum with other broadcasters. In some cases, they might relinquish their spectrum, but all on a voluntary basis in order to free up additional spectrum to put to mobile
uses. We think we can do that in a way that does not harm the interest of broadcasters, does not deprive communities of the terrific services that broadcasters provide, and that can be a winwin for both sides.”
The President Commits to the Effort On June 28, a presidential memorandum was released committing to the effort of making 500 MHz of spectrum available to broadband in the next 10 years. The White House clearly believes that the benefits of robust wireless broadband connectivity will be seen across multiple industries including healthcare, energy, education and public safety, which will keep the United States from falling behind in technological innovation and create 21st-century jobs. Fortunately, they don’t expect broadcasters to fork over the entire 500 MHz. Still, 120 MHz is a rather substantial share of it, the largest chunk from any single industry. However, the White House has optimistically followed the FCC stating that broadcast TV will not suffer due to new technological advances and regulatory changes that have yet to be implemented. As of now, the broadcasters are playing nice but still holding their ground. On the same day in June that President Obama released his memorandum, the NAB released this statement: “We appreciate FCC assurances that further reclamation of broadcast television spectrum will be completely voluntary, and we’re convinced that America can have both the finest broadband and broadcasting system in the world without jeopardizing the future of free and local TV service to tens of millions of viewers.” Concurrently, representatives from the MSTV and the NAB addressed a letter to Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the FCC, stating, “We look forward to working with you, your fellow Commissioners, and agency staff in a fact-based process founded upon the engineering realities of sound spectrum management,” while at the same time, fervently supporting “that any spectrum reclamation must not force a reduction in the number or quality of services potentially offered by broadcasters or a reduction in number of television homes served by broadcasters.” Ultimately, the writing on the wall points to a converged medium where broadcast TV and broadband Internet are seamlessly integrated, but we simply are not there yet. Currently, point-to-multipoint business models, like a mobile DTV solution or traditional broadcast, are more efficient and effective at reaching a larger audience with rich video content than pointto-point broadband. While we can fully support the responsible, efficient use of bandwidth by digital broadcast, it is clear that broadband needs to look at its own spectrum efficiencies and delivery methods as well. Personally, I would like to know why my cell phone provider is requiring that I pay $30 a month for a service I don’t want, so they can threaten one that I do. •
Reality TV: From the Elora Gorge in Canada to Drag Queens in L.A.
by Michael Alexander, CAS
I’m typing this on a break on a Canadian frigate in Nova Scotia. The cast of the reality show I’m working on is preparing to do a challenge inside a big, metal ship that’s not RF-friendly at all. Imagine thick steel doors and the cast running up and down different decks. Later today, one of the challenges has the cast entering a room that is an emergency-repair training room where the military practices fixing pipes and patching up holes in the hull (mimicking what would happen if an enemy torpedo struck). Water slowly fills the room and blasts out of the wall so hard that, during the rehearsal, the waterproof B6s blew clean off the stand-ins. I ended up planting them out of sight, which was probably what I should have done in the first place. Work and learn, right? At least the mics were rentals! There is one thing I truly like about every reality/unscripted television show (and I’ve done a lot of them): it’s seldom boring for the sound department! Of course, “reality” television is created in the field as things are happening, there’s no firm script (though—surprise, surprise— sometimes there is a sort of script) and the shooting schedule is created late the night before. I’ve found that it’s essential to be as prepared and organized as possible. My experience in reality television has varied a lot. Sometimes there is a full control room built and I’m working on a stage. This time out, though, I’m doing a reality/challengebased show that’s a cross between Fear Factor and Survivor (OK, what reality show isn’t, I guess). Here’s a sample of a typical day. CAS QUARTERLY
Day 1: I tracked 20 kids and a couple of guests on a Tyrolean traverse (sort of like a zip line) crossing the Elora Gorge in Ontario. When they hit the ground on the other side of the tree line, they ran 100 yards to the finish line. We had to contend with the gushing Grand River and the limestone cliffs, but also, when hiding mics, we had to deal with harnesses and other climbing regalia. Of course, the first episode always has the most cast members and setup time is usually tight. I discovered at the scout that I couldn’t set up my rig on the other side of the gorge and have the cast run to me. I had to figure out my positioning so that I was close enough to capture the send-off, but I wouldn’t have the cast literally run out of my RF field once they reached the other side. I did have a setup/test day, so I felt pretty confident that I could do it successfully. It’s always challenging to throw RF cleanly that far, but it’s more critical this time because there are no ENG mixers on this show (yup, the budgets for reality television have shrunk too)—just two local A2s and me. Being that this is a competition-based show, if the dialogue isn’t captured cleanly during the challenge, there’s no do over (there’s a 416p mounted on the camera and that’s it). I felt relieved when the first 15-hour day was over without a single hit or a transmitter lost in the waters below. The next day, we’re off to the Olympic Hockey Arena in Lake Placid, then back to Montreal in a restaurant for a cooking challenge. On this show, I’m using the Shure UHF-R wireless system. It’s not my reality show wireless of choice, but it’s all the rental house in Montreal had. They’ve worked great though. I’ve used the 100-milliwatt setting, gained the paddles up 10dB, and have had amazing coverage. I don’t think I could have thrown the RF that far in Los Angeles, though. In Elora Gorge, there was next to nothing in the air DTV wise. I do all of the RF coordination with Professional Wireless Systems software in my hotel room beforehand. Doing the frequency coordination for the entire season takes just an hour or so and it’s super efficient. The software gives me a very solid place to start with freqeuncy selection. I can choose which brand of wireless systems that I plan to use—Sennheiser, Lectro, Comtek, etc.—and it will recommend frequencies within the band that I’m using. It’s based on longitude and latitude and 20
what is known to be in the air in those areas. I consider it an indispensable tool. On this show, I’m also using my Pro Tools HD2 rig with a Tascam X48 as a stand-alone backup. I have 32 analog ins and outs on both units with a small frame Midas Venice 320, so it’s all very easy regarding clocking and patching. I use Glyph drives for the primary record drive and for daily session copies. The transfer drive travels with the boxes of videotape back to postproduction and they leap-frog them to the next hotel for me. I also have a UPS that will switch me from A/C to D/C power, just in case my power gets yanked or the little Honda generator runs out of gas (I’ve actually never had this happen yet, though). Pro Tools was postproduction’s request because it works best for their workflow. Before gearing up for any show, I introduce myself to the post supervisor and ask what he/she would like to have delivered file-wise, and how the show is to be edited. I then design the gear components that will fit that workflow. I don’t really feel like I’ve done my job successfully till I make the ingest process seamless for them and they are all smiles. I’m a Pro Tools nut so I’m very comfortable with the platform. If there’s any drawback at all in using Pro Tools, it’s when the session gets really long (eight hours and beyond). In this case, it may take Pro Tools longer to find a sync point before it can be put back online. It hasn’t been an issue on this show, though, because our scenes haven’t been long by reality standards. We roll for 45 minutes and then cut. I do a quick save and put the transport right back online. In general, I try to keep the Pro Tools sessions shorter rather than longer. I create a new session at lunch to keep any session from going 12 hours or more. (Pro Tools has a session-length limit of approximately 12 hours and 25 minutes when running at 48kHz. –Ed.) Typically, all the cameras have Ambient Lockit boxes and I have one as well. This time, I’m using the word clock out of the Ambient to supply word clock and to drive time code to both Pro Tools and the X48 via my Sync I/O. Video is using the Panasonic HD900s, all outfitted with Sennheiser 416p shotguns. There are 10 of those cameras with a bunch of smaller Z1Us and seven very small HD cameras called the Go Pro.
Outside of what time lunch is being served (that’s crucial, right?), sync is a primary concern. All has been pretty smooth considering how many cameras get slated before action is called. (Yes I know but they seriously do call “action” and “cut” on this reality show.) The first day was crazy with the slates and making sure everyone was on the same page. But it was mostly because I’m the only one from the United States and this is a primarily French-speaking part of the world! Why did I spend all my youth playing drums when I could’ve been learning à parler français? Oh well. It has worked out. The Canadians are some of the kindest crew I’ve ever met. They’ve made what ends up being organized chaos actually fun. I’ll be back home in Los Angeles in a couple of days, mixing/supervising a stage gig called RuPaul’s Drag Race. On Ru’s show, we have 32 inputs and I’m using the Metacorder (again, post’s preference). I’m using the Yamaha DM2000 and sending out nine mixes to nine cameras wirelessly, which is kind of crazy at times, but it’s fun and challenging and also makes the day fly by. By the way, if you haven’t caught the show, don’t prejudge. It’s actually crazy funny and, honestly, RuPaul is hilarious—besides being an extremely cool person to work with. Sometimes I think this is just a strange job with very long hours, eccentric personalities, challenging work environments and a bunch of technical hurdles to jump over. But then again, what other career offers so much diversity? •
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Oba Gurapan day one Above right: Paul Vik Marshall, CAS and sound van Right: Oba U.S. sound
The Last Samurai Day 1
by Paul Vik Marshall, CAS
A Japanese World War Two epic feature shot in Thailand is the setting for my latest adventure in sound mixing. I could write on about all the great experiences on this shoot, but I think a description of our first day of shooting will give readers a little taste of what our shoot was like and how I got to meet a great Japanese sound crew. Let me set up the story. My friend, Cellin Gluck (director of Sideways Japan), asked me and my crew to join him on a Japanese production titled Oba: The Last Samurai. My sound team would be part of an
American unit shooting the English portion of the film. Obaâ€™s true story took place on the island of Saipan, but because of the logistical challenges of shooting on that island, the coproduction companies, Protean Image Group (PIG) and Cine Bazar, Inc., decided to shoot in Thailand. The story is about a Japanese officer, Capt. Oba Sakae, who refused to surrender to the Americans after the Japanese Empire had been defeated in World War Two. Having received no orders from his superiors to lay down his arm (all the higher CAS QUARTERLY
Rin Takada and DP Gary Waller
Director Cellin Gluck and script supervisor Kazuko Shingyoku
ranking officers on Saipan had committed hara-kiri and taken their own lives), Oba continued to battle despite the overwhelming American presence on the island. For a year, Oba and around 46 Japanese soldiers, eluded, evaded and reeked havoc on the American Marines and Army. Our American unit would be filming the Marines that would be searching for Oba. Word would finally reach Capt. Oba from a Japanese admiral to cease fighting. Oba finally gave in. It is a tale of survival, cunning, ingenuity and honor. Oba: The Last Samurai would be the most challenging, fun and rewarding 12 days of my mixing career. I was fortunate to have boom operators Paul Romo (Aqua Dulce, California) and Rin Takada (Tokyo, Japan) join me on this project. We had been a good team on Sideways Japan and I wanted that same chemistry on Oba. Romo is the best I have ever worked with when it comes to putting lavalieres on talent and Rin can hold his own against the best boom ops in the business. I was in good hands. After a 16½-hour direct flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok, Romo and I were driven directly to the city of Rayong, an industrial city two hours south of Bangkok, near the Gulf of Thailand. Takada would join us two days later. I had this visual image of Thailand, cosmopolitan Bangkok, beautiful beaches, stunning Buddhist temples and what I got was the industrial city of Rayong. It is like visiting Los Angeles but staying in the City of Industry. Every day we would have an hour drive, sometimes a two-hour drive to our sets. We did a lot of jungle work and snake wranglers would beat the bushes and trees to clear out the venomous snakes before we could move in and set up. We also shot on a Thai Marine base where Richard Lowe, our production designer, built an American Marine base, 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, and a refuge camp for the displaced Japanese civilians on Saipan in the script. It would be later, after shooting our portion of the movie, that I would discover the beauty of Thailand. 24
Day one was one of the craziest days you can imagine. It was a true mixture of cultures and languages. We would be working side by side with the Japanese A and B units along with a majority Thai crew. It was a shock getting to the set. There must have been at least 50 production trucks and the eating areas were jampacked with hundreds of extras, featured actors and crew. It was a scramble to get set up because of all the confusion around us. Our American 1st assistant director Stephen Buck (“Bucky”) shouting in English, our Thai 1st AD “O” Inthira Sawantra shouting in Thai and the Japanese AD department shouting in Japanese all at the same time. The layers of sound were so intense that my brain rattled. We had four RED cameras and several Cannon 5Ds all working at the same time. (A) camera was on a crane on a process trailer and the other cameras were pointed in all directions. The set was supposed to be the area of Garapan on Saipan. Devastation and destruction surrounded us. Burnt-out homes, buildings and destroyed military vehicles littered the landscape. Four hundred extras played a defeated Japanese community walking slowly along a dusty road to the refugee camp. Along the road, the refugees were passed by the triumphant American troops in jeeps and troop carriers. I have to say our military adviser, Harlan Glenn, did a spot-on job with the American uniforms, equipment and maneuvers. It was more than 100 degrees and the special effects smoke and burning tires gave us teary eyes and had us gasping for air. The humidity was intense and our clothes were drenched from our own sweat. Strong winds kept us from using umbrellas and the searing sun beat down on us. My gear was literally getting fried and so were the cast and crew. Paul Romo said it best, “It’s like we were going into a real war zone.” A couple of hours into the day, we bonded with the Japanese sound crew. Production and postproduction sound mixer Masato Komatsu, chief soundman Toru Nishiyama, and boom operator Takashi Nakazato saw how we were struggling with our cart and
Rin, Paul Romo, Paul Marshall and Masato Komatsu
equipment. They were there to record effects and mix a couple of small scenes. The set covered a large area. It was difficult to navigate my small backstage cart over debris and soft sand so Komatsu and his crew helped us throughout the day, lifting my cart and gear about a dozen times. Despite the overwhelming conditions, together we worked hard and had fun. Production had decided to shoot the toughest day on the schedule on the first day and, thank God, the Japanese sound crew was there to help us. We could not have done it with out them. As the shoot went on, we got to know the Japanese sound crew and found them to be extremely professional and very savvy about sound equipment and mixing techniques. Mr. Kamatsu approached recording with the RED camera a bit differently than I did. We both rolled at 24 frames and that is about all we had in common. Komatsu was using a dumb slate, no time code, no lock-it boxes, and no audio signal to the RED cameras. He would sync-up his sound manually later in the post process. It is very common in Japan for the production mixer to be the postproduction mixer as well. Mr. Komatsu’s sound package was impressive. Using the DEVA 16-channel recorder and a Sonosax 8-track board, he would record iso tracks on 1 through 8, track 9 was a boom mix and track 10 was the lav mix. His backup was a 4-channel Edirol. He also had everything nicely packaged in a SKB-like case that could be easily lifted and moved around. Komatsu hard-lined to his boom operators, I on the other hand, was cart bound and completely wireless. I mixed off of my Cooper 208 and recorded my multi-tracks onto a Sound Devices 788T. My mix tracks were on 1 and 2 while my iso tracks were 3 through 8. For backup, I recorded on a Sound Devices 744T. Our editor, Jim Munro, was with us in Thailand. He was asked to edit our English-speaking portion of the film while we were shooting. Munro wanted me to send audio to the cameras so that he could avoid syncing-up audio
This way to set.
Garapan smoke and refugees
Above: Taking a break from the battle. Below: From a statue in a temple in Bangkok.
off of my master Broadcast Wave Files. Using a Lectrosonic SM transmitter, I would send the best mono mix that I had, boom or lav, to Lectrosonic UCR 100 receivers that would be on the cameras. I had special cables made so that I could plug two TA3 male connectors into the camera with a split mono signal. Audio to the camera was not always pristine or even laying down, but there was always my Compact Flash cards and my iomega hard drives that Munro could use to retrieve anything that was missing. My booms were wireless and we covered ourselves by radio micing all the talent all the time. There was a lot of pre-fade multi-tracking but in the end it saved me. I had been asking production for about a week for a pop-up tent to keep me dry from all the rain. I was given trash-bag liners and a small umbrella. When the real rain hit, two of the Thai crew became dueling umbrellas as they both were trying to cover me while a torrent of rain was coming down. The Cooper board got wet as well as some other equipment. I was able to get the board to fire up back at the hotel, but the master module was giving me a lot of distortion on output. My individual channels were holding up and the pre-fade feeds to my SD 788T were just fine. It was a workaround. Yes, the shoot was a doozy, but it did get better and I did meet a great Japanese sound crew, a great Thai crew and some very cool ex-pats that worked with us. One of the ironies of the script and our shooting in Thailand was that in the script Saipan was bone dry. Water could not be found anywhere and people were dying of thirst but in Thailand during our shoot, it rained almost every day, sometimes three or four times a day. I have to tip my hat to the Thai crew, through the rain, heat, humidity and long days; they were the hardest-working, most humble and most helpful crew that I have ever worked with. Thanks to George Yamamoto, our DIT, and Martin Landsburg, our assistant DIT, for spot-checking audio on the RED cameras. Kazuko Shingyoku, our script supervisor, was always there to make us smile. Gary Waller, our director of photography, camera operators Picha Srisanesee and Moo, and first assistant camera August Thurmer did a marvelous job. The stuff they shot is amazing. Garet Gluck, thanks for taking care of me when I was having hunger issues. Thank you, Cellin Gluck, for inviting me to another great party—you are one hell of a director. I did manage to make it to a beach and, after we finished shooting, I made it to Bangkok with my crew and had a wonderful time. Finally, I’d like to ask Paul Romo and Rin Takada a question: You guys up for another one in Thailand? Let’s do it!!! • CAS QUARTERLY
Sylvain Arseneault CAS worked on Nativity (2010), a four-part minise-
ries for BBC in Ouarzazate, Morocco. On the team were Sylvain, Norman Bernard (boom operator) and Brahim Ait Belkas (utility). Also set for release in October 2010 is Score: A Hockey Musical, an indie feature, starring amongst others, Olivia Newton-John and Nelly Furtado.
Philip Perkins CAS worked on the doc series Making Stuff (WGBH/
PBS), recorded the symphonic piece “Ashtavak” for the score of the new PBS doc Chasing the Light, continued location music recording for David Brown’s 3rd Rocks and Keeper of the Beat film projects, delivered a production sound workshop for PBS producers sponsored by the PBS Quality Group and mixed the new international version of the doc Loretanos. Don’t really know if we have been here and done that before, but we are definitely on the cutting edge. We are shooting 10 cameras, live-action feature release in 3D for DreamWork’s
Fright Night, with Colin Farrell and Toni Collette. I will write an article about this one. Lori Dovi, CAS (production mixer), Mike Scott (boom), Jay Collins (utility tech).
Michael Olman CAS and Kenneth Kobett CAS have been busy wrapping
up their final season at NBC Universal Studios. In addition to completing the series finale of 24, they also wrapped Season 6 of Desperate Housewives. Currently, they are mixing the SyFy series Caprica and Warehouse 13, while getting ready to transition to Warner Bros. this fall.
Steve Morantz CAS finished up mixing Season 2 of Parks and Recreation and after a short break, got a head start mixing the first six episodes of Season 3 before going down for a few months. Mixing the Disney film Prom in my downtime. With me as usual are Aaron Wallace on boom and Mitch Cohn as second boom/utility. I’m just completing Monte Carlo for Fox. We started in Budapest, Hungary,
in April and shot on the brand-new Raleigh Sound Stages just outside the city. Then, Paris for one week and finally, two weeks in Monte Carlo. Home by July 10 and then off to USA for a holiday. It’s a tough life! –John Rodda CAS
Brett Grant-Grierson CAS, who starts another season on Medium for
CBS TV, spent a long hiatus upgrading and reconfiguring the equipment in the rack and was very excited to be using some new gear. His crew, Kevin McClellan and Gary Boatner, will be happy that the cart is about 80 pounds lighter.
Curtis X. Choy CAS was last seen working on Surrogate Valentine for Tiger Industries.
It’s been a very busy summer for Jon Ailetcher CAS. After finishing up a successful first season of ABC’s Cougar Town, with Adam Blantz swinging boom and Fred Johnston at utility duties, there was no slowing down. Lots of day-playing on commercials,
ENG, reality, and a few music videos. Early August will bring with it Season 2 of Cougar Town and a regular schedule again. Between the airing of his mix of the acclaimed HBO documentary Sergio and the upcoming PBS special Rock Prophecies, Mark Rozett CAS teamed up once again with Kelly Vandever CAS to re-record Gregg Araki’s latest feature Kaboom for its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Michael Keller CAS and Scott Millan CAS are currently working on The Other Guys at Sony Studios in the Burt Lancaster Theatre. From Universal Studios Post: Chris Jenkins CAS and Frank Montano are starting pre-dubs for Universal’s Your Highness for director David Gordon Green. Jon Taylor CAS and Bob Beemer CAS just completed the mix for Universal’s Charlie St. Cloud for director Burr Steers. Gerry Lentz CAS and Richard Weingart CAS
are in Studio 5, mixing the fifth season of Eureka for NBC. ADR mixer Jeff Gomillion is in ADR 4, currently working on Your Highness and Desperate Housewives. ADR mixer Paul Drenning is in ADR 6, looking to mix House and Special Victims Unit at the beginning of August. ADR mixer Alan Freedman CAS is in ADR 7, currently mixing ADR for Machete.
Daniel Monahan CAS back in town after completing The Killing Game for MPCA in Baton Rouge, La., starring Kellan Lutz, Samuel L. Jackson and Daniel Dae Kim. Thanks so much to New Orleans’ stick man, Steven Huerstel, doing the work of two in half the time! Now, that’s a Louisiana lagniappe. Life at Technicolor Montreal has been busy. Gavin Fernandes CAS has been mixing the miniseries Pillars of the Earth for Tandem and Scott Free films, with director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan. It has been an epic mix process (week 11 and counting), with help from Louis Gignac (FX) and Dominic Delguste
(Dial-Walla Predubs). Assistants Vincent Riendeau and Isabelle Lussier stepped up to the plate for mixing deliverables ... all this happening simultaneously on different episodes with multiple versions, on multiple shifts, in many rooms over many 80-hour weeks. This was followed by sleeping many hours and consuming many beers. Great job done by all. A local feature, NDG for Jacob Tierney, wraps up the summer.
Stacy Brownrigg CAS has enjoyed a rare home gig in Dallas this year. Fox TV’s The Good Guys, with Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford, has been keeping us laughing since February. Thanks to boomers Thadd Day and Scott Streetman. Eric Batut CAS will be mixing Season 3 of Fringe for Fox. Boom operator is Danny Duppereault and sound assistant is Millar Montgomery. Scheduled shooting July 8, 2010, for 22 or 23 episodes. Jay Patterson CAS along with R. Joe
Congratulates our Emmy Nominees Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) • Frank Morrone, Re-Recording Mixer • Scott Weber, Re-Recording Mixer
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series • Thomas E. deGorter & Crew
CAS QUARTERLY Reedsburg, Wisconsin l 800.505.0625 l www.sounddevices.com
Michalski and Steve Sollars (CAS Associates) are revving up for CBS’s The Defenders, having completed the half season of Miami Medical at Warner Bros.
to say, CBS decided not to pick us up for Season 6. There is a lot out there, and we have a lot of good friends so we’ll be working soon... To all our friends, have a great season!
I have been busy this summer with two back-to-back features, You, Me and the Circus and The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, both with musical/dance numbers and both ending with scene numbers’151, coincidence? Perhaps. Also had time to do some work on the domentary Sunset Strip and additional scenes on the Ewan McGregor/Melanie Laurent film Beginners, using boom op Mike Mesirow. The other films, using boom ops Steve Klinghofer and Steve Arcabascio. I also had a great pleasure in following the Glee tour for extra content and BTS as well as The Doctors and Dr. Phil before they ended their season. I’m letting more come my way for the second half of the summer. –James Ridgley CAS
Mark Ulano CAS here. Tom Hartig
Mark McNabb CAS along with boom operator Jeff Norton, spent the last three seasons on Ghost Whisperer. Sad
and David Brownlow are with me in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens for DreamWorks, starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. Came here straight from Venice, Italy, where we just wrapped The Tourist. Desert Recording for Sound Ideas, from CAS Associate member Brian Nimens. Charles Maynes joined David Lukezic and myself in the Nevada desert with a firearms expert to record everything from a .44 Magnum to a fully automatic military machine gun. And boy, did we have fun! All the recordings from that day are going into our new general HD collection that will be coming out next year.
Michael Hoffman CAS along with
Tom Pinney and Phil Schwartz, are
back at the ZIP code for Season 3 of 90210, beginning July 15. We’d like to thank all the people who filled out our crew on our many playback and doubleup days and look forward to working with you again. This past spring, Phil and I, with Todd Russell, Adam Blantz and Steve Evans sharing the boom swinging, completed the pilot Perfect Couples for NBC, which will be a midseason half-hour comedy.
G. John Garrett CAS writes: I’ve
stayed busy with productions for ABC’s 20/20, Hasbro, the Veterans Administration, and a French documentary as well as recordings for the Yardbirds DVD project and Boston Folk Fest. I am currently building a state-ofthe-art control room with Pro Tools HD and 64 channels of A/D for some well-known musicians.
I think it’s safe to say that for many of us the movie train has left the station, so Steve Nelson CAS will be riding the TV bus for awhile. We did two pilots this last season, Enlightened for HBO and No Ordinary Family for ABC.
Both will go to series and the decision was made to take the network show. By the time this goes to press, William Munroe, Chris Silverman and I will be well into Season 1 on stage at Disney and out and about in Los Angeles. I’m excited about starting a new show and also about inaugurating a new sound cart built by Backstage to accommodate a new Yamaha 01V-96 board. (After more than 20 great years, the wonderful Sonosax is finally getting a rest.) Wish me luck, and fellow 01V users can expect some calls from me! My daughter Ariel will soon be returning from her semester abroad in Santiago, Chile, to finish up at UC Berkeley. During my time off, I accompanied my wife on her return trip to Israel/Palestine to deliver a paper at Tel Aviv University. An amazing visit to a fascinating, beautiful and vexing place. Best wishes to all for a great summer, whether it’s working or spending time with your families or just watching the Tour de France!
Mathew Price CAS here, writing in from the endlessly sweltering northeast. We’re halfway through the second season of the caper-happy White Collar for USA networks, fighting every reflection known to man and the lowest angles ever devised, often both at once! The style of this show is what we call “vertical anamorphic.” Just visualize an anamorphic frame and rotate it 90 degrees and you’ll understand. My great crew includes the always-affable (while trying to dodge glass in every picture frame and the reflections of the reflected reflections of our hated FBI set) Frank Graziadei on boom and the ever-wonderful Timothia Sellers on 2nd boom and wielding her wireless magic. And thank goodness for the amazing and agreeable cast we get to work with.
Stott and utility sound Paul Sorohan are enjoying the heat and humidity of Atlanta with Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries.
Bob Israel CAS writes: Like so many CAS members, I was terribly saddened when I heard of Manfred Klemme’s passing. Manfred was a friend, guide, mentor and resource for me for more than 20 years and I will miss him greatly. Woody Woodhall CAS has just
completed mixing the first season of Battle of the Wedding Designers for TLC. Two feature docs, A Life Ascending and Next Year Country, both of which he was supervising sound editor and rerecording mixer for, tied for the win as Best Doc at the 2010 Docuwest Festival. From Sony Pictures Post Production Facilities: Paul Massey CAS and David Giammarco have completed James Mangold’s Knight and Day and are currently working on Battle LA at the Cary Grant Theatre. Andy
Koyama and Chris Carpenter have finished Jay Roach’s Dinner for Schmucks at the William Holden Theatre. Jeff Haboush CAS, Greg Russell CAS and Scott Millan CAS are wrapping up Columbia Pictures’ Salt, with director Phillip Noyce at the Kim Novak Theatre. At the Burt Lancaster Theatre, Jeremy Grody and Bill Benton have completed Screen Gems’ Straw Dogs; Scott Millan CAS and Michael Keller CAS are currently finaling The Other Guys. Tateum Kohut CAS and Greg Orloff CAS are temping Adam Sandler’s new feature Zookeeper, Gary Bourgeois CAS and Bill Benton are temping Love Don’t Let Me Down at the Anthony Quinn Theatre. Deb Adair CAS and Steve Ticknor CAS continue mixing The Priest on Dub Stage 6. Alan Decker CAS and Mark Linden CAS are mixing USA networks’ Covert Affairs and Psych on Dub Stage 11. Nello Torri CAS and Derek Marcil CAS are working on The C Word on Dub Stage 12. Nello Torri is also dubbing Time Heals on Dub Stage 12.
Mac Ruth CAS and regular team of Pal Szuros on boom and George Mihalyi as utility, have been enjoying the company of Sir Anthony Hopkins and cast on the New Line Cinema feature The Rite, shot on location in Rome, Italy, and Budapest, Hungary. Production sound mixer Patrick Hanson CAS, boom man Trevor 30
Supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer Christopher Barnett CAS and Geraud Brisson (associate picture editor) wrapped up the sound mix for Conviction, with Sound Oneâ€™s Dominick Tavella CAS in New York in late June. The Tony Goldwyn feature was previously premixed at Arri Sound, Munich, Germany.
Carl Rudisill CAS and boom op Jack Hill have been busy working on commercials for NASCARâ€™s Coke Harmony and ESPN. The team is currently working on the technically challenging feature film Bolden, which tells the story of Buddy Bolden and the beginning of jazz music. Carlâ€™s recording studio and ADR stage, North Star Post & Sound, located at Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, N.C., has undergone some major renovations this year, including the installation of Pro Tools 8, Final Cut 7, as well as new and vintage high-end equipment. A green room was also added. And just in time too, with One Tree Hill slated to commence shooting this month,
North Star is ready to welcome back the cast for its eighth season of ADR. Check out Carl and the studio at EUE/Screen Gems NC website under Onsite Support http://www.screengemsstudios.com/nc/onsite-support. html. And in South Carolina, North Star is wrapping up another season of ADR for the Lifetime series Army Wives.
Paul Vik Marshall CAS, boom operators Paul Romo (Los Angeles) and Rin Takada (Tokyo) joined their Japanese counterparts, production/postproduction mixer Masato Komatsu and his boom operators, Toru Nishiyama and Takashi Nakazato, on an epic Japanese feature, Oba: The Last Samurai, in Thailand. The Japanese had been shooting for a month and a half before we got there. We shot for 12 days and left the Japanese to continue shooting for another month. Fantastic experience. Great Thai and Japanese crews. I canâ€™t wait to go back.
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