Thursday, June 28, 2007

Randy Thom on "Ratatouille"

[video: NBCNC Report]

Sound designer and supervising sound editor Randy Thom says:

"People who go see movies have this vague idea that there's a microphone on the set, and they add some music later, and that's basically the deal for movies, and it couldn't be further from the case."

"Though we use a lot of technology in movie sound, it's really not about the technology."

"We have to decide, moment to moment, what set of sounds the audience will hear, and it's very much like orchestrating a piece of music."

[read more - via]

Monday, June 25, 2007

U.S.O. Project: Eco-Topic

How do you synthesize the sound of hundreds of tiny insect feet rapidly descending a blade of grass? Hamilton Sterling used Kyma to accomplish the feat for 11th Hour, Leonardo Di Caprio's feature-length documentary on the global environment described by Variety's Justin Chang as "a ruminative essay on what it means to be human in a scarce world." According to Sterling, "I quite liked using various granularized samples in a sequencer with a quick tempo to mimic the tiny feet of insect colonies rapidly moving up and down a blade of grass.


[2 films by Leonardo Di Caprio: Global Warming, Water Planet]

The Evolution of Apple's Products

[click on the photo]

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pixar’s WALL-E Revealed

The teaser then shows a brief snippet of footage from the film, with a narrated explanation. The camera pans to show the saddest, tiny robot you’ve ever seen collecting garbage on a flat, empty planet underneath a huge, starry sky. The cute little robot picks up garbage, compresses it, and deposits it in cubes as a narrator talks about how he’s faithfully done his job for 700 years, but never found his true purpose… until now. The robot looks up at the stars, and the title “Wall-E” flashes across the screen, and is then said by a heavily synthesized, sort of squeaky robotic voice which sounds like it’s not used to speaking.

[read more - via]

The main roles will be “voiced” electronically by Ben Burtt, the sound designer behind Star Wars.
The Kyma Sound Design Workstation became part of Ben Burtt's arsenal of sound production tools when he first started work on Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace.

[View Trailer]

Creature Sound Design

The most straightforward way to create original creature sounds is to remix and process recordings of animals, a technique pioneered by Murray Spivack, head of the sound department of RKO studios who mixed sound for the 1933 release of King Kong. Kong's roar consisted of a lion's roar played back at half speed, layered with a tiger played in reverse. This technique was mind-blowing for a time when silent films were still being released.

[read more - via Darren Blondin]

OMax - The Software Improviser

OMax is a software environment that can learn in real-time typical features of a musician's style and that can play along with him interactively, giving the flavor of a machine co-improvisation. OMax reinjects in several different ways the musician material that has gone through a machine-learning stage, allowing a semantics-level representation of the session and a smart recombination and transformation of this material in real-time.

[Home page]
[Learn More]

The Future of Media

This 5-minute video takes some educated (and imaginative) guesses at how the Web and media will evolve over the next 40-50 years.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007


A multidisciplinary art project beginning in Rome: for the revival of rivers internationally.

The Tiber is to Rome what the Seine is to Paris and the Thames to London, a landmark that bisects one of the great cities of the world.
Motivated by the conviction that art is a potent catalyst for environmental awareness and urban renewal, TEVERETERNO is a unique, free, multi-disciplinary project that aims to contribute to the revitalization of Rome’s Tiber River by establishing a lively public gathering place — the Piazza Tevere, on a central section of the Tiber between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini.
Each year, international artists are invited to create innovative, site-specific art installations, stimulating a dialogue between nature and the urban construct, between history and present.

The project has been adopted by Rome’s Department of City Planning as a cornerstone to the revival of the Tiber, and it is now officially part of the new City Plan of Rome. Through the creation of evocative environmental works, TEVERETERNO aspires to contribute to the revival of rivers worldwide.

2007 Upcoming Events in Rome

'Flussi Correnti' - June 22nd - (9 P.M. to 2 A.M.)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Digital 3-D Experience

[click here to enlarge]

3-D is back, packing sophisticated, highly refined, and most importantly, affordable technology courtesy of a company called Real D, and it's here to stay.

Real D Cinema mimics the way you actually see—in depth.

[Meet the Robinsons - Making the 3D/Stereo Film]

Meet the Robinsons it's not the first film to be released using this technology, but it's the first to be designed from the start with both 2-D and 3-D versions in mind.
Forget the old style glasses, as Real D takes advantage of digital projection technology by needing just one projector, which rapidly shifts between images for the left eye and the right eye, so quickly (144 times per second) that the brain is not even aware of it.
Using polarized light, the images are crisper, clearer and more immersive than any 3D process in history.
The images are “decoded” by viewers wearing comfortable, lightweight glasses that are a lot like sunglasses:

[from left to right: George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Randal Kleiser, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron]

[Lenny Lipton discusses the REAL D digital 3D system]

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Surround for Pro Tools LE/M-Powered

Introducing Mix 51 - 5.1 Surround Panning And Surround Mixing For Pro Tools LE And Pro Tools M-Powered.

Mix 51 is a powerful 5.1 surround panning and mixing plug-in for Pro Tools LE and M-Powered systems with six or more outputs such as Mbox 2 Pro, 002, 003, and M-Audio interfaces. Unlimited mono Surround Panner and stereo Surround Panner plug-ins can be placed on track inserts to pan, mix, and send to the Mix 51 Surround Mixer busses.


Monome - 40h/special edition

  • internal accelerometer detects motion and tilt which can be dynamically mapped to different parameters
  • white powdercoated top plate
  • bright orange leds
  • custom grey or white base enclosure
  • hand-felted wool case
[read more - via]

Dolby Lake Processors @ Skywalker Sound’s Stag Theater

SAN FRANCISCO - Dolby Laboratories announced that Skywalker Sound has installed Dolby Lake Processors to optimize the nine-channel loudspeaker system in its Stag Theater. Located in the Technical Building at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California, the 300-seat Stag Theater supports any film playback format and provides a state-of-the-art showcase for filmmakers working at the unique, full-service postproduction sound facility.

[read the article - via]
[Stag Theater: high resolution photo]

Friday, June 08, 2007

Where’s the Other Half of Your Music File?

So what exactly is a bitrate? Simply put, it is a measure of the amount of data used to represent each second of music. A higher number means that more sonic information can be used to recreate the sound. To careful listeners, or those with good audio equipment, more data can make a big difference.

[read the article - via]

Monday, June 04, 2007

Why music really is getting louder

In recent years, record companies have been increasing the overall volume of commercial albums (particularly rock music and pop music) by using higher and higher degrees of compression during mastering, sometimes impacting sound quality (this may even include "hard clipping"). This phenomenon has been referred to as the "loudness war".

Most television commercials are compressed heavily (typically to a dynamic range of no more than 3dB) in order to achieve near-maximum perceived loudness while staying within permissible limits.

[read the article - via]
[Why records are getting louder - via musicthing]

Friday, June 01, 2007

George Lucas Interview @ D5 Executive Conference

The “Star Wars” creator’s presentation touched on many of the economic problems associated with the film business — including that only 10% of movies break even financially, by his estimation. He said he plans to shift much of his own efforts to TV, including both animated and live-action versions of “Star Wars.” At some point, he added, he expects to begin making artistic movies of the sort that never get mass-market distribution.

[George Lucas gallery]

Favorite Intermissions - C. DeLaurenti

Music Before and Between Beethoven - Stravinsky - Holst

Secretly recorded at orchestral concerts across the country, this collection of intermissions teems with unusual soundscapes, startling (and unintended) collective improvisations, and surprising, sometimes gritty sonic detail from the sacred space of the concert hall.

[listen to SF Variations - 4'31"]