Thursday, August 30, 2007

Young Indiana Jones Comes to DVD

The Emmy®-award winning series The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones makes its long-awaited DVD debut on Oct. 23 with an unprecedented array of all-new bonus materials, which allow viewers to dig deeper into the real-life events behind young Indy's globe-trotting coming-of-age.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Volume One is the first of three collections of the series and is released by Lucasfilm Ltd., CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment. The first 12-disc set includes seven feature-length episodes as well as 38 in-depth companion documentaries, an historical overview, an interactive game and an interactive timeline.

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Words & Pictures: Pixar's Gary Rydstrom

KBOO.FM interview with director of Lifted, Gary Rydstrom.


Monday, August 27, 2007

George Lucas To Receive Prince Rainier III Award

On October 25, 2007, the Princess Grace Foundation–USA, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will host the annual Princess Grace Awards Gala at Sotheby’s in New York and present awards to emerging artists in theater, dance and film.
George Lucas is being honored with the Prince Rainier III Award for his philanthropy as well as his 40-year film career. In 2006, his foundation donated $175 million to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Lucas's alma mater.
James Earl Jones will introduce Lucas at the gala.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Mycenae Alpha

Iannis Xenakis formed CEMAMu (Centre d'Etudes de Mathématiques et Automatiques Musicales / Center for Studies in Mathematics and Automated Music) in Paris in 1972.
Xenakis' interest in graphical interfaces, led him to invent the UPIC (Unité Polyagogique Informatique du CEMAMu) in 1977.
Instead of a keyboard to perform the music, the UPIC's performance device is a mouse and/or a digital drawing board. These are used to trace the composer's graphic score into the UPIC computer program, which it interprets the drawings as real time instructions for sound synthesis.
Mycenae Alpha is the first work entirely realized on the UPIC.

[Xenakis, UPIC, Continuum - Electroacoustic & Instrumental works from CCMIX Paris]

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Chat with Frank Oz

Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Cookie Monster and of course Yoda are just three of the voices that Frank Oz is famous for creating, but since the days of "The Muppet Show," he's established himself as one of the top comedy directors with movies like In and Out, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Bowfinger.
For the radio dramatizations of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Yoda was voiced by John Lithgow, while Tom Kane voiced him in the Clone Wars animated series and several video games. had a chance to sit down with Oz to talk about the origins of the latest project Death at a Funeral, and a few of the other things he's done.

CS: Your most famous character besides the Muppets is Yoda, which began as a puppeteering job and has now become more of a voice-over gig.
Oz: Just a voice, easy.

CS: How was that transition?
Oz: It was fine. For me, it's easy. I did the first three, I think it was, it was very tough work, very sweaty and hard work, but then George went to CG, which is exactly what he should have done. He could not have done anything else, then I get all the credit and these two dozen people who've worked for a year of their lives at ILM, they don't get any credit at all. And they're the ones who work, I don't.

CS: That's funny because in both cases, George has pushed for you to get a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the role.
Oz: You know who did that? George. He was the one who pushed and it was very nice of him. I know that George was the one who instigated that and it was very nice of him to do that.

CS: How do you tend to work with him on that? Do you do all of the lines before they animate or do you go in and do some afterwards?
Oz: With CGI? Or as opposed to the puppet? With CGI, and I don't do it anymore, what we used to do is George would give me a script and we'd lay down a scratch track and we'd work with that scratch track for about a year and then they'll come back to me and I'll fly somewhere and loop it and correct the scratch track, and that's pretty much how it is. For me, it's a few hours of work, it's nothing. At the end, for these two dozen people who work their ass off, and they don't get any recognition at all, it's odd.

CS: Do you keep in touch with George, especially now that he's doing his animated TV show, which presumably will include the Yoda character?
Oz: We're very, very friendly, but I haven't talked to George for a long time, but I have no idea. I have no involvement at all with it that I know of.

CS: Do you feel proprietary about the voice and playing the character if there is an opportunity?
Oz: I feel proprietary to the character that's in my heart. I don't feel proprietary. It's just in my heart. The actual Yoda character is owned by George, so he can do what he wants with it and whatever he does is probably not the same as what's in my heart, but nevertheless, it's close.

CS: Hopefully you'll get a chance to reprise the role for the series.
Oz: Well, I don't care. Actually, I think George Lucas did Yoda once years and years ago on a recording. That's what happened, but Yoda is a dear and powerful character, but it's really George's.

[read the full interview]

Worth a listen: Stockausen in 1972

Excerpt from Karlheinz Stockausen's May 1972 lecture to the Oxford Union on 'Four Criteria of Electronic Music'.

[via audiolemon]

Related post:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Matthew Wood to create the voice of General Grievous

After the completion of 'There Will Be Blood' as supervising sound editor, Matthew Wood, voice of General Grievous, kept himself busy in Mexico City for "Expo Coleccionistas 2" from 3rd to 5th August at Mexico City's World Trade Center.

[photos via]

Matthew held a conference speaking about The Clone Wars animated series, showing Star Wars fans around the world how he used Waves UltraPitch to create the villain’s ominous voice. Please note his three-tracks Pro Tools LE session with a Q10 paragraphic EQ, followed by a Digidesign Sci-Fi (analog synth-type ring modulation, frequency modulation, and variable frequency resonators).

Movie notes

Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, the character was voiced by John Di Maggio (Chapter 20) and Richard McGonagle (Chapters 21-25); for Revenge of the Sith, the Revenge of the Sith video game, and Star Wars: Battlefront II, he was voiced by Matthew Wood. With Matthew Wood's portrayal, Grievous has a stereotypical heavy Russian accent. The character was initially going to be voiced in Revenge of the Sith by actor Gary Oldman; however, he later learned that he was unable to do so, as the movie was being made outside of the Screen Actors Guild, of which he is a member. The audio effects for the coughing were taken from director George Lucas, who had bronchitis during principal photography.


The official Star Wars website released for Halloween of 2005, a Halloween-themed audiocast featuring Star Wars sound effects along with new dialogue specifically recorded for the file by Matthew Wood. Initially, it was available only to Hyperspace members, but beginning October 2006, it was made available for download to all readers of the site. Slip on your headphones and listen to this 18-minute audio file to enter Ben Burtt's magic soundscape.

[read more: Waves Artists | Matthew Wood]

Related posts:

[Ben Burtt reveals some of the Episode III's sound secrets]

[a video-interview with Matthew Wood]

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Sound of Touch @ Siggraph Emerging Technologies 2007

Hybrid Percussion: Extending Physical Instruments Using Sampled Acoustics

Roberto M. Aimi has developed an array of digital/acoustic percussion instruments that convolve the audio output of damped semi-acoustic physical objects with recorded impulses of real and synthetic instrument sounds to create highly expressive hybrid instruments.

Enhanced Life
The Sound of Touch enables people to manipulate sound samples in a way that is much more immediate and intuitive than current digital tools. The system's technology and interface designs adopt characteristics of acoustic instruments, making samples that are recorded on-the-spot malleable and flexible through continuous gestural interaction with physical textures and resonant objects.

To demonstrate a system that gives children and adults a truly new way to interact with sound.

The Sound of Touch builds on a technique for continuous digital convolution developed by Roberto Aimi for creation of semi-acoustic musical instruments. A stand-alone wand incorporates both a microphone for recording samples and a piezoelectric sensor for stimulating the samples. A "texture kit" enables sonic experimentation with a wide range of physical textures and resonant objects.

Because it makes sonic exploration so intuitive, a generation of musicians could adopt this system as their preferred synthesis technique in the next 10 years. Ultimately, the system could become a commercial product that would enable people to paint with sound wherever and whenever they want, either for professional sound-design projects or just for play.

[Thesis pdf - 13 MB]
[Videos and demonstrations]

IGN Exclusive Interview: Andrew Stanton

The director of Finding Nemo and the forthcoming Wall-E talks about his latest cinematic creation.

How much of the voice cast in Wall-E was driven by Ben Burtt, the sound designer, as opposed to recruiting familiar names and faces?

Stanton: I think if you look back at the last couple of movies we don't go for names just for names' sake. It's pretty random if we happen to catch somebody that's on the up; even Tom Hanks and Tim Allen weren't as big in '92 as how they became by '95 -- even that was chance. So we just found that the only way to guarantee that the movie was going to be good was that you get the best voice cast for that character, so that when you watch them you're not going, "Oh, that's Jim Carrey." You want to go that's the character. It's great if it's somebody famous and can help the marketing of the movie, but that's never going to drive why we choose the talent.

[read the full interview]

JazzMutant @ Siggraph Emerging Technologies 2007

Digital innovations that change the way we work, live, and play.

Emerging Technologies presents creative, innovative technologies and applications in many fields, including but not limited to: displays, robotics, input devices, interaction techniques, computer vision, sensors, audio, speech, biometrics, wearable computing, information, data and scientific visualization, biotechnology, graphics, collaborative environments, and design.

And in several domains, including but not limited to: medicine, music, entertainment, education, home, business, aerospace, communication, transportation, security, military, and technologies for the aging and/or disabled.

[Emerging Technologies Video Preview - Windows Media, 10.2 MB]

Jazzmutant is proud to have been selected by the Siggraph Emerging Technologies Committee in San Diego to demo a new prototype device for digital imaging involving multi-touch control. This solution will go beyond mere finger-drawing and clearly illustrate a new way to interact and improve productivity with drawing and video editing software. Furthermore, the solution presented will be the very first multi-touch enabled Tablet PC shown to the public.

New Multi-Touch Interaction Techniques for Visual Content Creation

The latest development of JazzMutant's multi-touch technology with a particular focus on visual and graphic arts, and some new advanced interaction techniques involving a multi-touch display in combination with other input devices.

Enhanced Life

Because of their versatility, multi-touch displays are appropriate for both productive and entertaining computing. By providing ergonomic design with optimized workflow, they improve user experience and make interaction with computers much more intuitive, playful, and efficient.

JazzMutant delivers advanced control solutions for musicians and sound engineers, but video and graphic artists have requested similar systems for their applications. This system demonstrates early attempts to fulfill those requests.


The JazzMutant resistive technologysystem differs from optical systems in its form factor. Because it is both scalable and portable, it can be integrated in a wide variety of devices. It is exceptionally reliable, even in harsh environments. And it can be used in conjunction with other pointing devices such as stylus. This enables richer interaction techniques that can not be achieved with touch input alone.

In the past two years, many good multi-touch interaction techniques have been introduced, but most of them are merely focused on zoomable user interfaces. This approach is only the tip of the iceberg. The key to success for future multi-touch systems is multi-modality: appropriate integration of several input devices.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Ryōan-ji: The Temple of the Peaceful Dragon

"After a visit to Japan with David Tudor in 1962, John Cage became fascinated by Soami's 15th century Zen dry garden at Ryoanji, in Kyoto. The emptiness of the sand, the placement of the stones, and the illusion created by the five islands of 15 stones, rising out of moss within an ocean of white sand, seemed to confirm certain of his ideas about music. In 1983 he began to produce exquisite graphic works entitled Where R = Ryoanji, using stones, pencils and the chance methods of the I Ching. At the same time, he composed pieces for a variety of solo instruments, also entitled Ryoanji." [David Toop]

[Ryoanji official website]

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Featurette: Randy Thom on Forrest Gump

"Through The Ears Of Forrest Gump".
Randy Thom describes how the sound was designed for the ping-pong scenes across the movie.

Academy Award Nominations 1994:
Best Sound Effects Editing - Gloria S. Borders, Randy Thom;
Best Sound - Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis S. Sands, William B. Kaplan.

Around the world: "Whispering Galleries"

Wallace Clement Sabine (1868 - 1919), was an american physicist, who founded the field of architectural acoustics, the science of controlling sound within buildings. Sabine was acoustical architect of Boston's Symphony Hall, widely considered one of the two or three best concert halls in the world for its acoustics.

He described numerous examples of whispering galleries.

What is a whispering gallery? It's a gallery beneath a dome or vault or enclosed in a circular or elliptical area in which whispers can be heard clearly in other parts of the building.

[St Paul's Cathedral, London]

A whispering gallery is usually constructed in the form of an ellipsoid, with an accessible point at each focus. When a visitor stands at one focus and whispers, the line of sound emanating from this focus reflects directly to the dish/focus at the other end of the room, and to the other person. Circular whispering galleries may provide "communication" from any part on the circumference to the diametrically-opposite point on the circumference.

The most famous ones in Sabine's time included:

"Most, if not all, of these galleries are architectural accidents resulting from curved surfaces presumably designed for their visual impact. If you are the visitor, the sound of a distant speaker's voice is focused directly to you, as if the speaker were right next to you. The experience is unforgettable."

[source: Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?: Experiencing Aural Architecture - by Barry Blesser, Linda-Ruth Salter]
[take a photo tour via]

Funny Corner: Toyota Loch Ness