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post #31 of 39 Old 01-10-08, 10:01 AM
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Re: New video camera

It was of course an exaggeration but, lke the "kiddie Cam comment" earlier, a sincere one. Audio has always been for me a black science. When I started 2nd Unit, of all the people I enjoyed having on the set, a guy by the name of Tip McPartland was probably my favorite. He knows the dials and, when it came to audio, he had the same perspective as I do; You don't "fix it in post", you get it right the first time and I would marvel at the way he could get something so esoteric as soound just right. For film or video, there's something to see; something to judge by. I know the argument rages about "seeing sound" and there being no difference between mixing colors and mixing sounds but fr me it's simply a black art. But, like shooting a shot, when you get it right, I mean absolutely right, you know it. You feel it in your heart and your gut and unless you've experienced it, it's impossible to explain. I've just never been able to get sound that right like some people I work with so I just stay out of the way. You all are just amazing. So, after reading the manual last night, it's time to try this morning setting up the Onkyo. I'll let you know how it's going along the way if I have any problems so everyone reading this, leave your computers tuned into this thread. Don't move. Don't touch anything. Just put on your HD-Dvds of 24 or the Unit and wait for that fa,iliar call of "HELP!!!"
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post #32 of 39 Old 01-10-08, 10:35 AM
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Re: New video camera

OK, first issue. Am I correct is understanding that both players, HD-DVD and BluRay, and the Mitsubishi 833 HD directly to the Onkyo via HDMI and then lastly connect the Onkyo back to the Mitsubishi via HDMI from the Onkyo out to Mitsu in and then control the 2 DVD/Blu Ray decks through the Onkyo?
post #33 of 39 Old 01-11-08, 12:03 PM
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Re: New video camera

Sometimes a piece I find that just really fits a discussion. This one is relative to filmmakers' thoughts on audio.

Exploiting Sound, Exploring Silence
by Dennis Lim
For all the raves and awards that have so far greeted Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men", there is one term of praise that does not apply: It is not a popcorn movie. Which is to say, it is especially ill-suited to the crunching of snacks or the crinkling of wrappers or any of the usual
forms of movie-theater noise pollution. There is virtually no music on the soundtrack of this tense, methodical thriller. Long passages are entirely
wordless. In some of the most gripping sequences what you hear mostly is a suffocating silence.

By compelling audiences to listen more closely, this unnervingly quiet movie has had the effect of calling attention to an underappreciated aspect of filmmaking: the use of sound. (Several critics, including A. O. Scott of The New York Times, have singled out the sound design for commendation.) Even in a movie like this where people think the sound is minimal, Ethan Coen said in a recent interview, it's actually maximal in terms of the effects
and how they're handled.

What is unusual about "No Country for Old Men" is not simply the level of audio detail but that it is a critical part of the storytelling. Skip Lievsay, the sound editor who has worked with the Coen brothers since their first feature, Blood Simple (1984), called "No Country" "quite a remarkable experiment" from a sonic standpoint. Suspense thrillers in Hollywood are traditionally done almost entirely with music," he said. "The idea here was to remove the safety net that lets the audience feel like they know what's going to happen. I think it makes the movie much more suspenseful. You're not guided by the score and so you lose that comfort zone."

Joel Coen credits his brother with the idea of minimizing the score. "I was skeptical at first," he said, but when they watched their first rough cut, "It pretty much told us that we didn't need any."

That decision was made with the help of Carter Burwell, the Coens' regular composer, who has also been part of their stable since "Blood Simple." (Mr. Lievsay introduced him to the Coens.) "My first suggestion was that if there's music, it should somehow emanate from the landscape," Mr. Burwell said. He tried a few "abstract musical sounds, just the harmonics of a violin or some percussive sounds," but found that even these small touches "destroyed the tension that came from the quiet."

Like film editing, film sound remains a somewhat misunderstood craft, partly because at its best it tends to be imperceptible. The better we do our job, the less people realize what's going on," Mr. Lievsay said. "I think a lot of people think the sound just comes out of the camera."

What actually happens is a labor-intensive process of editing and mixing that combines dialogue and sound recorded on location with effects that are added during post-production. The on-set sound is handled by the production sound mixer, in this case, another Coen veteran, Peter Kurland, who started out as a boom operator on "Blood Simple."

The sound effects are created by the sound designer. On "No Country" the Coens worked with Craig Berkey, new to the fold but a frequent collaborator of Mr. Lievsay's. In addition, there is the so-called foley process during which foley artists add sound effects that synchronize with the on-screen action, like footsteps or rustling clothes. In the final stage, known as the re-recording mix, all the aural components - dialogue, effects, music - are combined and adjusted to produce a seamless soundtrack.

There are two Oscar categories for sound: best sound editing, for which Mr. Lievsay would be eligible, and best sound mixing, for which Mr. Lievsay, Mr. Berkey, Mr. Kurland and Greg Orloff, who did the foley mixing, would be.

As on most films, the sound effects in "No Country" can be divided roughly into emphatic (gunshots, the beeps of a tracking device that connects hunter and hunted), and ambient noise (engine hums, the whistling prairie wind).

Mr. Berkey had to create a range of sounds for the array of weapons used in the film, which observes a cat-and-mouse triangle among an average guy who has found a bag of money (Josh Brolin), the hired killer on his trail (Javier Bardem) and a world-weary sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones). For the air-tank cattle gun favored by Mr. Bardem's psychotic Chigurh, Mr. Berkey used a pneumatic nail gun. "I wasn't looking for authenticity, so I didn't even research cattle guns," he said. "I just knew it had to be impactful, with that two-part sound, like a ch-chung."

The silencer-equipped shotgun, which features prominently in the bloodiest scenes, was more complicated. To get an effect that was at once muffled and explosive - it is described in the original Cormac McCarthy novel as sounding "like someone coughing into a barrel" - Mr. Berkey layered several disparate sounds together. There's no actual gunshot that's part of that sound, he said. Instead he paired "high-end spitting-type sounds, like pitched-up female screams" with an accidental, bass-heavy thump that Mr. Lievsay had detected on an on-set recording.

"The essence of sound design is you can't record the sound," Mr. Lievsay said. "You have to take a lot of sounds and put them together. You can't just go somewhere with a shotgun and a silencer. It wouldn't be the sound that Joel and Ethan wanted anyway."

The other big challenge for Mr. Lievsay and Mr. Berkey was getting the right roar for the vehicle engines, reflecting the film's roughly 1980 period. We needed big-sounding, high-horse-powered trucks, Mr. Lievsay said. The more gas mileage and the newer the vehicle, the less distinctive the sound.

The nocturnal driving scenes are occasions for the composer Mr. Burwell's near-subliminal drone to creep into the sound mix. The idea was to use the music to deepen the tension in some of these transitional scenes, when there's not much going on," he said. The sounds are snuck in underneath the wind or the sound of a car. When the wind or car goes away, the sound is left behind, but you never hear it appear."

Mr. Burwell found that most musical instruments didn't fit with the minimalist sound sculpture he had in mind, so he used singing bowls, standing metal bells traditionally employed in Buddhist meditation practice that produce a sustained tone when rubbed. For one of the few interior scenes with score - Chigurh menacing a service-station owner with a fateful coin flip - he tuned the music's swelling hum to the 60-hertz frequency of a refrigerator.

The sonic precision and cohesion of the Coens' films have much to do with the close collaboration between Mr. Lievsay and Mr. Burwell. Extensive discussions between a film's sound editor and composer are rare, given typical post-production schedules. It's customary, Mr. Burwell said, for the two parties to meet only at the final mix where everyone will be arguing about what should be the loudest. But Mr. Burwell and Mr. Lievsay, having worked on all 12 Coen films, have figured out a cooperative approach. "We try to be complementary, or we stay out of each other's way," Mr. Lievsay said. On some films, like "Barton Fink," they have gone so far as to divide up the sonic spectrum for individual scenes, so that one of them tackles the high end and the other the low end.

Mr. Burwell said he was pleased that his sound-department colleagues are getting the bulk of the attention this time. "If you ask film composers - and I have - whether they feel there's too much or too little music in the average film, they will all say too much," he said. "I'm very happy this time to be on the other side of that balance."

His work on No Country for Old Men is by some measure the most self-effacing of his career. (My self couldn't be any more effaced, he said, laughing.) Including end credits, there are a mere 16 minutes of music in the film. But after learning that it meets eligibility requirements (he initially assumed it didn't), Mr. Burwell has submitted it for Oscar consideration, partly at the request of the distributor, Miramax, andpartly, he joked, to stand up for all the minimal scores in the world. (Mr. Burwell also wrote the scores for two other 2007 releases, Sidney Lumet¹s Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Lasse Hallstrom's Hoax.)

Talking about minimal film scores, he recalled his initial preparations for Blood Simple. Because he had never written a score, he decided to tape the
Hitchcock classic The Birds off television. At the end of every intense scene I would slap myself and go, OEOh, I forgot to listen to the music,
he said. Rewatching the film, he realized there was no music, just a blanket of electronic bird sounds. (Hitchcock's composer, the great Bernard
Herrmann, supervised the sound design.) That was an interesting first score to pay attention to, Mr. Burwell said.

There is at least one sequence in No Country for Old Men that could be termed Hitchcockian in its virtuosic deployment of sound. Holed up in a
hotel room, Mr. Brolin's character awaits the arrival of his pursuer, Chigurh. He hears a distant noise (meant to be the scrape of a chair, Mr.
Berkey said). He calls the lobby. The rings are audible through the handset and, faintly, from downstairs. No one answers. Footsteps pad down the hall. The beeps of Chigurh's tracking device increase in frequency. Then there is a series of soft squeaks only when the sliver of light under the door
vanishes is it clear that a light bulb has been carefully unscrewed.

That was an experiment in what we called the edge of perception, Mr. Lievsay said. Ethan especially kept asking us to turn it lower and lower.

Ethan Coen said, Josh's character is straining to hear, and you want to be in his point of view, likewise straining to hear.² The effect can be lost,
he conceded, if it's a louder crowd and the room is lousy.

Joel Coen interjected, If it's a loud crowd at that point, the film isn't working anyway.
post #34 of 39 Old 01-11-08, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New video camera

Hmm, I wondered why when everytime I watch a car chase on Cops I always here the same engine sounds and tire screeching even when the cameras on a helicopter and the cars on a gravel road. you would think that from a helicopter you cant hear a cars engine and tires dont screech on gravel.

I hate it when I notice bad foley last night I watched Death Sentence and noticed the guys gun clicking when he pulled the trigger because he had no more bullets, but how does a .45 dry fire when the magazine is empty and the slide is locked back

Last edited by jwhite8086; 01-11-08 at 06:29 PM.
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post #35 of 39 Old 01-11-08, 08:48 PM
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Re: New video camera

OK, now I know you're a filmmaker at heart. Stuff like this bothers people like us and the other 99% of the world goes, "Mmmm, yeah, that's interesting. Now pass me that popcorn."

So I got the Onkyo istalled but the sound is just not right. I gotta get an audiophile in here. Any volunteers? Fix my new system and explain this black magic to me and I'll take you on set and let you play with some outrageous million-dollar production equipment!!!
post #36 of 39 Old 01-11-08, 09:12 PM
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Re: New video camera

Update on the Canon. The lower priced systems usually fail to include battery and charger systems, tape or card (whatever media the camera is using; in this instance, tape) and, most importantly, customer service, warranty, repair time and shipment charges. From what I understand, buy a lower priced unit, have it go bad or be damaged in shipment and play chaos trying to get satisfaction. I know that there's alot to be said about the savings and with a camera of this price point you don't really have to worry about the customer support so the choice is up to you. I hope this helps.
post #37 of 39 Old 01-14-08, 02:35 PM
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Re: New video camera

Wow, this thread got interesting!
Great post on "No Country", jlames!
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post #38 of 39 Old 01-14-08, 05:03 PM
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Re: New video camera

Thank you. That's what film and any discussion of it or its parts is supposed to do. It's why filmmakers make film. I saw bits and pieces of it during shooting but am heading out to see the theatrical release this evening which is a rarity for me. I've always disliked having to drive to the theatre, fight the crowns, pay the prices they demand and then be tossed out for complaining about screaming children, un-funny hecklers and various other sundrie noise makers. I guess that's why we all have home theatres.
post #39 of 39 Old 01-14-08, 11:18 PM
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Re: New video camera

Now that I've totally hijacked this thread (sorry), here's a question. I have the new SR 705 Onkyo. 1) Should I have gotten the new 905 complete system advertised on the front page of this Shack instead and 2) for 5, 6 and 7.1, do I need to hook up separate analog cables or does the HDMI take care of that?


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