Archive for the ‘ Film Sound Design ’ Category

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Mixing Sound for Film

Below is an interview with multiple Oscar winning sound mixer Russell Williams by NPR. Very cool stuff:

Sound Works Collection

I just ran across this amazing web site which features great video interviews conducted by Michael Coleman:


“If we do our jobs well and throw in a little evangelizing, we can make sound as important a part of filmmaking as it should be.”

-cool quote I found from Gary Rydstrom from  Let’s start evangelizing a little bit.

Traphouse Thriller

I had never worked on anything anywhere close to Traphouse Thriller.  So, when I was asked about doing the production sound for a thriller re-make featuring the rapper Chill “Wealthy” Will, I knew I had to do it.  The concept was good, if obvious, and the rapper had a great voice to boot.  But I have to admit that it was breaking out of my comfort zone combined with the fact that I had just moved to Atlanta and felt this was the proper first project to work on that really made me want to jump on board.  The production sound, it was decided, was not worth the cost (although watching some of the awkward production sound, I kind of wish they had splurged), and so I became an actor instead (That’s me getting chased by a machete-wielding crack-zombie).  All in all, a fun Saturday night.  Now it’s time to get back to my decidedly chamber-rock roots and Wii-mote wanking.  Enjoy!

Creating an ADR three beep

To create a three-beep, start by creating a mono Aux track and a mono Audio track and inserting a signal generator onto the Aux track.
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Use a bus to send from the Aux track to the Audio track.

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Use the signal generator to create two 500 kHz sine tones and a 1 kHz sine tone that are each 50 to 100 milliseconds long.

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Next, use the Grid mode to place each tone one second apart (one second is arbitrary… if this rhythm is too slow, go with a faster spacing).

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Then highlight the track from three seconds all the way back to the beginning of the session and go to Edit and the Consolidate to create one long region with all three beeps.

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The consolidated region should look like this:

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This three beep region can now be placed directly before the line the actor is being cued for, so that the imaginary ‘fourth beat’ one second later is their cue and their entrance to the line.

You should copy this region and place it in front of all the ADR cues in the session.  That way the session will run much more smoothly.

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For overlapping beep regions, you will want to select the region and press Apple (Command), M in order to mute the overlapping beats.

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These guidlelines will save you a lot of time and anxiety in your ADR sessions.

Will Oldham on Movie Music


I love this friggin’ guy…. and wholeheartedly agree with these views on movie music:

“AVC: You mentioned talking to Richard Linklater and Caveh Zahedi about your ideas on movie music. Can you summarize those ideas?

WO: Well, for a while, it seemed like you were always seeing movies where all the music was determined by the music supervisors and their special relationships with certain record labels. And I just felt like, “Wow, I’ll bet they spent months or years writing this screenplay, and I’ll bet they spent months shooting this, and I’ll bet they spent months editing this, and now they’re spending no time at all picking these completely inappropriate songs with lyrics to put under a scene that has dialogue.” How does that even work? How can you have a song with someone singing lyrics under spoken dialogue and consider that mood-music, or supportive of the storyline? As somebody who likes music, when that happens, I tend to listen to the lyrics, which have nothing to do with the movie. And then I’m lost in the storyline. Not only is that a crime, but it’s a crime not to give people who are good at making music for movies the work. It’s like saying, “We don’t need you, even though you’re so much better at it than I am as a music supervisor.” Like the cancer that is that Darjeeling guy… what’s his name?

AVC: Wes Anderson?

WO: Yeah. His completely cancerous approach to using music is basically, “Here’s my iPod on shuffle, and here’s my movie.” The two are just thrown together. People are constantly contacting me saying, “I’ve been editing my movie, and I’ve been using your song in the editing process. What would it take to license the song?” And for me it’s like, “Regardless of what you’ve been doing, my song doesn’t belong in your movie.” That’s where the conversation should end. Music should be made for movies, you know?

AVC: So there aren’t many contexts in which you can imagine licensing one of your songs to a movie?

WO: No. I mean, I could see—

AVC: Over the closing credits, maybe?

WO: Right, the closing credits. But again, someone wrote me recently and said, “We wanna use your songs in our movie, and we’ve already got this artist, this artist, this artist, this artist.” And I was thinking, “Well that makes for like, no integrity to your movie. All these different voices combined with the actors’, writer’s, director’s and DP’s voices. That sounds like the worst place to be. That sounds like a music festival.” [Laughs.] I liked it when those crazy, dirty, Rhode Island brothers made movies like There’s Something About Mary.

AVC: The Farrellys?

WO: The Farrelly brothers. Was it Something About Mary that had nothing but Jonathan Richman songs in it? I like Jonathan Richman a lot, and while those weren’t my favorite Jonathan Richman songs, I liked that whole idea of lacing one voice throughout the whole movie and having it be a conscious decision made somewhere during the writing and pre-production, and not during post-production. “This is the voice that we wanna have, and these are how we want songs to work with this movie.” That’s all I ask for, that a little bit of time and respect is given to the musical part of filmmaking.

AVC: So do you think of your songs as inviolable? If you want to understand what the song is about, then you have to consult the song?

WO: Yes, essentially. Like sometimes we’ve made film clips or video clips to go with the song, but honestly, the only reason to do that is to get the music to other places where people could hear it. And I’ve never done a video where I feel like the images have anything to do with the song, except in the most vague way possible, because I feel like the song is its own complete thing. People who put songs in movies like to think of a song as a sphere that you can cut a huge chunk out of. “Well the movie’s gonna take up most of that sphere, or half of that sphere, or a fraction of that sphere.” When you’re writing a song for a movie, you only have to fill in a part of the sphere, knowing that it’s gonna go with the other content that’s already there. But ideally, a song is a complete sphere like the Earth, where if you were an alien with a huge, huge finger, you could stick your finger into the middle of the ocean and make an impression on it. It’s not an impregnable sphere, but it is a sphere.”

Read whole interview at The Onion AV club:,26498/