Sunday, April 13, 2014

Timbers Crowd Field Recordings

Since I started working for Comcast SportsNet, I've realized that I've been neglecting my blog! However, I recently had a fun field recording experience I wanted to share. And expect future posts on my current film project that will be premiering later this year at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival.

So some of the very first recordings I ever captured were from the hoop and key mics I'd set up at McArthur Court during Ducks basketball games. I've recently been covering Portland Timbers home games for CSNNW, and I wanted to capture some of the great crowds at Providence Park.

I  left my Zoom H1 set up in the in the press box, positioned out of an open window and aimed across the field at the Timbers Army.
I did have some issues with other media people talking in the background during some of the better recordings, which is to be expected since I had the mic in a public place. What I'd like to attempt next is to position a shotgun mic at the Timbers army section from the press box, perhaps hanging out of the box.

Anyway, for not having a bunch of gear with me to position around the field, there were some nice surprises that came from the recordings. Although because of the almost constant drumming, even the good distant perspective cheering/booing reactions aren't practical to use on a project.

Here are a few of the recordings to check out:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Bit of Sound Design

Crystallizer is a unique echo/delay plugin and I find it to be an amazing tool. I've been getting more familiar with its wide range of presets and using it to manipulate sound.

It's a bit difficult to describe what it does but it all makes sense when you hear it. The versatility is almost endless. Whatever sound you splice up can be pitched, reversed, delayed and filtered before being sent to the output.

I'd like to tell you I have some unique creative process to how I went about this, but basically I started out with importing a tonal hum sound effect into my session and began experimenting. As I processed the sound more it became apparent that I was going in the whoosh direction and kept on tweaking. Feel free to take a listen:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thoughts on Foley

I try not to just fill up my blog with links, but Charles Maynes recently wrote an excellent article I have to make an exception for.

Maynes discusses the importance of Foley in elevating the overall sound design despite its lower standing in the post sound hierarchy. I couldn't agree more with his perspective, and Douglas Murray has a great point in the comments that Foley adds the "detail and weight that are helpful for believability and to glue the sound effects together."

As an editor, I have spent a lot of my time focusing on Foley. I find it important to communicate with a client the need for Foley and as others have pointed out in the article, Foley can be a great medium for character development and emotional elements.

I had the opportunity as an intern to check out Gary Hecker's work during the post production of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2. It was amazing how an experienced Foley artist and mixer can sync sounds for virtually anything. I could go on and on, but it'd be better to just check him out in action:

I definitely suggest reading the full Designing Sound article and comments section. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

JFK: The Final Hours - The Soundscape

JFK: The Final Hours will be airing soon on National Geographic Channel (November 8th).

[Via press release from National Geographic Channel] "To help in bringing JFK's last day to life, the creative team behind JFK: The Final Hours restored an extraordinary color film, shot by a professional White House film crew that documented JFK's movements during his final day. By stripping off the original, now unusable audio, and converting the footage to high definition, this restored film is a haunting, immersive experience for viewers."

Before it airs I wanted to share a couple of my experiences on working with this restored footage and building the soundscape -

SFX & Research: Studying history at the University of Oregon finally paid off for me! In all seriousness though, it was important to maintain the accuracy as much as possible with the period of the documentary and that was true with the sound effects. As the Assistant Sound Editor, one of my tasks was to research what models Air Force One, the police officer's bikes and JFK's limousine were at the time so that we would work with appropriate material from our effects libraries.

Backgrounds: There were quite a lot of crowd BGs needed for this documentary. At many points JFK is being greeted by crowds at various airports or giving speeches to an audience. I was lucky that in my first week working on the project, the Portland Rose Festival was going on and I was able to go and record some great crowd ambiences to use.

Field recording at the Grand Floral Parade.

Foley: I was having a conversation with Sound Designer David Hughes about wanting to try a technique that I heard about Lon Bender's team using on The Hunger Games for making the outside Foley more organic. David was all for it and we put some quicktime clips onto an iPad to perform clapping and various other Foley elements in sync with the picture. It saved a ton of time by just having to nudge these recordings a bit instead of editing individual things in. In particular I liked the clapping, it really added some great material to play along with the wild clapping in the BGs.

That's it for now, but I'll see about updating the blog further after the documentary airs. Overall, it was an absolute pleasure to work with everyone involved on this project!

Monday, June 24, 2013

PT11 First Impressions

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from blogging the last couple months. I recently moved and I'm very stoked to be back in Oregon.

So the big recent news is that Avid has released Pro Tools 11:

The first thing I did was dive into the system requirements and make sure that everything was compatible.

There are definitely some cool new features in this version (Of course some of which have been available for quite some time in other DAWs).  I particularly like the new video engine. Hopefully no more transcoding videos!

One concern for me and a lot of others is making sure that all plug-ins, interfaces and peripherals would be supported. Having to wait for plug-in developers to port their plug-ins to the 64-bit AAX format is a big inconvenience at the moment. But I'm confident that this issue will be corrected in time.

Perhaps the biggest thing for me in holding off from upgrading right away is the ongoing documented issues with the iLok License Manager software. I know that at some point I'll upgrade to PT11, but being deep in the middle of a project is simply not a good time to be updating. My setup does everything that I need at the moment for my workflow. For the time being I'm good with that!

Lastly, Ceri Thomas has a great blog post about what PT11 does for post. Recommended reading.