December 6, 2009

Shutters Inc – episode 141

We’re baaaack!
Finally (after the death of my soundcard last week and the subsequent purachase of a new card which is SUPPOSED to be the successor to the card I had, but which has LESS features… grrrrrr!), we managed to hook up this week to catch up on all that has happened in both our lives over the last 6 weeks.
Shelton talks about India, the 4 day workshop in Brisbane, and the Creative Photo Workshop world tour planned for 2010, including visiting Los Angeles for the PMA trade show in February.
Also, Bruce’s photography career is slowly ramping up.
Info on the Bruce Williams Photography 2010 calendars, and the 5MP/Shutters Inc New Year party.
And no, I still haven’t forgotten about the HonlPhoto giveaway. In fact, this is discussed in the podcast. It may have to wait until the new year…. but it WILL happen!

September 16, 2009

George Massenburg at Integrate ’09

Filed under: Building the Pod,Integrate '09,Sine Language,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 21:05

As you may recall, in August I attended the inaugural Integrate pro audio, video and lighting trade show here in Sydney.
At that show, George Massenburg was the keynote speaker, and thankfully, the guys at Integrate have just released George’s keynote discussion as a 2 part video on YouTube.

But fear not. You needn’t go searching for them, because you can see them both right here.

This (or ‘these’ if you prefer) is (are) definitely worth watching!

July 19, 2009

Sine Language – episode 116

This week, a short episode featuring a heap of positive feedback on the Integrate ’09 vendors episode.
Then, Bomar asked if he should buy an audio interface with some DSP that he can track through, or should he just record clean and use plugins later,
and David McKeitch brought us up to speed on his indie-film tracking project.

Oh, and a reminder that there’ll be no podcasts at all next week, as Cath, Max and I are away on holiday.

July 9, 2009

Recording interviews with field recorders

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve recorded several interviews at 2 different trade shows. Those interviews have ended up in episodes of both Shutters Inc and Sine Lanugage.
In the wake of this, I’ve had a couple of enquiries from listeners as to my technique for recording interviews on flash-based field recorders like the Zoom H2.
These listeners have commented that they never seem to achieve the same level of results as I have managed, and have asked for some insights.
So, I shall endeavour to outline the pitfalls as I understand them.

First off, tempting though it may be, do not record to mp3!
Remember, mp3 is a lossy format, and we don’t ever want to save production audio (clips which still need further work before release) in a lossy format.
And for that matter, don’t record at 16 bit wav either.
No, your preferred option is to record 24 bit wav.
Yes, it will chew up your memory cards quicker, but memory cards are really not that expensive these days, so carrying a couple of extras shouldn’t represent too much of a burden, either physically or financially.
If your recorder of choice does not offer 24 bit wav, then fall back to recording 16 bit wav instead.

Secondly, your recorder SHOULD offer a choice of microphone gain sensitivities.
The Zoom H2 offers low, medium and high.
Low will turn the sensitivity down (useful for really loud sources), medium is what it sounds like, and high turns the sensitivity up (for really quiet sound sources).
I have found that the medium setting usually works well for these trade show interviews, but obviously, judge each on a case by case basis.
Remember, we are recording at 24 bit, so we don’t NEED to peg the meters at zero!
Peaks of -20dB to -12dB are just fine!

Third, if your recorder of choice has a headphone output (I don’t imagine there’d be any which do not, but you never know), then absolutely have some form of monitoring with you when you are recording.
This may be a set of lightweight street headphones, or even a decent set of earbuds.
Me? I use my trusty old Sennheiser CX300’s, with just one earbud stuck in one ear.
The reason for that is that through that ear, I can hear what the microphone is picking up, and through my other ear, I’m hearing the world around me.

Now, because you are monitoring (via your earbud) what the microphone of the recorder is hearing, you are able to move the recorder around as necessary througout the interview to make sure the talent stays ‘on mic’.
Now, you might be thinking that people aren’t going to like having a flash recorder stuck in (and moving around in front of) their face.
I would contend that if they have agreed to do an interview, then they are probably going to be ok with it.
My technique is to hold the recorder at chest height between myself and the talent.
That way, you SHOULDN’T get any plosives (pops), but the mic should be able to hear the talent fairly well, while keeping the ambient noise reasonably under control.
If you talent is a very soft speaker, then you may have to move the recorder closer toward them, and that may feel a little uncomfortable at first.
If the talent keeps backing away from the mic, stop the interview, explain to them that you NEED the mic that close in order to hear what they are saying without being drowned by background noise, then recommence the interview.
Thing is, MOST of the time, the person you’ll be interviewing is from the marketing department or the sales team and they generally don’t speak that quietly!!

OK, so now you’re back at your desktop (or in your hotel room working on your laptop) and ready to edit and mix.
Drag the files into your DAW of choice.
DO NOT go and normalise the waveforms!
Remember, they’re 24 bit files, so it’s all good.
In your multitrack (which is also mixing at 24 bits or higher, right? RIGHT??), lay up your interviews where you want them.
Adjust the gain so you’ve got peaks around -20dBFS to -15dBFS off each channel. At this point, you should have NO processing on your master output.
Put in some per channel automation to keep each interview roughly in the bacllpark in terms of output level. You don’t have to get too finicky with it, just ‘in the ballpark’ will be good enough at this stage.
Now, if your final audio piece is going to feature other pieces of audio as well, I’d suggest setting up a submix (buss) for just the interviews to go through.
Then, slap a peak limiter across that buss with an output level set for -15dBFS, and the threshold set so that you’re getting about 4-6dB of gain reduction on that peak limiter.
Then, AFTER the peak limiter, put a compressor with a moderate attack (~20-30ms), moderate release (~100-150ms), a medium ratio (3:1-5:1) and again, enough threshold to give you another 3-6dB of gain reduction.
Your interview submix should now be exhibiting tightly controlled dynmaics, but not sounding squashed.
Go ahead and mix it in with all your other audio bits so that everything sounds roughly equal in apparent volume.
Slap a peak limiter across your master output, and you should be cookin’ with gas!
Have fun!

July 7, 2009

Sine Language – episode 115 (Integrate ’09 vendors)

In episode 115, I caught up with some of the exhibitors at Integrate ’09; a pro audio, video and lighting trade show in Sydney.

00:00:44 Ben Sneesby – Bees Neez Microphones
00:02:48 Andy Eastwood – Dynamic Music
00:07:59 Mick Wordly – Mixmasters
00:19:37 James Hicks – Oceanic Distribution
00:22:46 Ben Redzic – Lightsounds
00:25:04 Joshua Fielstra – Native Instruments
00:31:55 Steve Vranch – Yamaha
00:35:26 Maxwell Twartz – Technical Audio Group
00:39:50 Leon Hart – Amber Technology
00:44:22 Filip Saelen – Amber Technology
00:52:02 John Fuller – Sound-Music
00:55:14 Brian Zolner – Studio Connections Australia
01:07:23 Greg Cato – Major Music Wholesale

July 5, 2009

Sine Language – episode 114

In ep 114, how NOT to attend a trade show,
my man in Hollywood gets back to us on track laying for motion picture,
and JR asked about the best way to record some character interviews outside of the ideal studio environment.

A couple of links for you:

FMR Audio (makers of the RNC compressor)
The Wiki article on dBm,
the Wiki article on decibels,
the Wiki article on Dolby Surround (including info on LtRt), and
the Wiki article on downmixing (which also includes info on LtRt).

June 29, 2009

Homage to Nikon

Filed under: Nikon,PMA,Shutters Inc,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 11:29

This is scary stuff people… watch it at your own risk!

Shutters Inc – episode 131

Filed under: !Podcasts,PMA,Shutters Inc,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 7:30

What happens when 4 guys, 3 pizzas, 2 bottles of red, and one mega trade show reach their ultimate destination?
You probably DON’T want to know…. but if you do, then this is your podcast!
Shelton Muller, Nathan Muller, Richard Annable and myself sat down for a chat (after the PMA Imaging Technology Show wrapped up) to talk about life, the universe and everything.

No SL or BTP again

Filed under: Building the Pod,Integrate '09,Sine Language,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 0:24

Sorry guys… this weekend has seen the PMA Imaging Technology Show being held at Darling Harbour here in Sydney, so all of my time has been consumed by that (lots of ‘special’ episodes of Shutters Inc.)
However, the good news is that today (Monday) is the first of a 3 day trade show for the pro audio industry (along with video and lighting).
And my plan is to once again take along the hand held recorder and grab some interviews on the trade show floor, so hopefully, I’ll have a ‘special episode’ or 2 of Sine Language to release this week, too!
Stay tuned.

June 27, 2009

Shutters Inc – episode 130 (PMA vendors)

Filed under: !Podcasts,PMA,Shutters Inc,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 23:46

In episode 130, Bruce talks to various vendors on the floor at the PMA Imaging Technology Show at Darling Harbour, Sydney.

00:00:38 Fujifilm
00:04:05 Ricoh Business Printers
00:08:02 Canon
00:11:03 Olympus
00:18:31 Sony
00:30:21 Kodak
00:36:20 Momento Pro
00:38:28 Westwell
00:42:17 Nikon
00:50:00 Adobe
00:53:08 Lifetime Art and Photo
00:56:45 Wacom
01:03:16 Maxwell Australia
01:09:29 Epson

June 21, 2009

Shutters Inc – the state of play

Filed under: PMA,Shutters Inc,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

Hi there all you SI listeners,
I expected to have another episode to release this week, with Shelton, and talking about all those things we hinted at, at the end of ep 128.
However, with PMA coming up next weekend, Shelton is like a hamster on a treadmill at the moment.
So, alas, there will be no normal episode of SI this week.
Apologies for that.
However, as well as the pre-PMA teaser episode (#129) released a couple of days ago, I am also planning on taking a hand-held flash recorder to the show on Friday and recording some interviews with some of the vendors. Those interviews will then be chopped up into another special PMA episode.
Plus, we’re planning something else a little bit different for next week, as well.
So, the short version of the story (now that you’ve already read the long version!) is, it may be another couple of weeks before we get around to wrapping up the “going pro” series.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t have SOMETHING to listen to in the mean time.

June 18, 2009

Shutters Inc – episode 129

Filed under: !Podcasts,PMA,Shutters Inc,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 22:13

A special pre-PMA Trade Show episode.
Bruce talks with PMA spokesman, Paul Curtis about what to expect at the show, and why anyone interested in photography ought to be there.
Remember, you can still register for free access to the show, to save yourself $20.

May 4, 2008

Sine Language – episode 087

Filed under: !Podcasts,Control Universal,,Mackie,NAB,Sine Language,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 21:40

I’m back!
The 3 weeks in the States was an absolute head trip (in a good way)!
So, naturally, there’s a bit of discussion about that, particularly about the NAB trade show, which was amazing,
then a couple of e-mails to answer.
One from Mark Hobold at JapanesePod101 about whether or not we should peak limit before noise reduction.
Then one from Steve Fernino at djideasharing about what mics to use when conducting interviews on really noisy trade show floors.
Also, my new work commitments,
possible changes to the regularity of podcasts,
and my latest acquisition…. a Mackie Control Universal.

Shutters Inc – episode 109

We’re back!
After a chat about my trip to the States (see the last 3 or 4 posts on if you haven’t already), Shelton talks about 5 Minute Photographer,
how Richard Annable is one of the best photographic assistants he’s ever worked with,
some interesting wedding stories,
5 Minute Photographer (deja vu!),
where YOU should be after you’ve “found the light and put them in it”,
and then some other website about photography…. I think it was called 5 Minute Photographer, or something like that.

April 19, 2008

The post-NAB post

Filed under: Building the Pod,NAB,Shutters Inc,Sine Language,trade show — Bruce Williams @ 15:43

Well, what can I say about NAB?
What a head trip!!
For those who have never been, allow me to try and describe the scene.
Imagine a hall that is approximately 300 meters long by about 100 meters wide.
That would be the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre.
The Central Hall would be the same size again.
And wait for it… the South Hall would be the same size as well, except it is 2 stories high!!
So, if my math doesn’t fail me… that’s about 30,000 square meters multiplied by 4 halls, plus probably another 7500 square meters of outdoor exhibits, which would equal something around 127,500 square meters.
I don’t know what that is in acres or hectares, but my feet tell me that it’s a lot!
After 4 days, no matter how much fun you’re having… you’re over it.
It was an absolute blast given that I had never been before, but I can imagine how those people who have been going every year for 30 years might get a bit jaded by it all.
As for stuff to look at?
If it is in ANY WAY connected with the electronic media, it was there.
From USB jump drives right through to Bell Helicopter (see the pics).
From suppliers of mic cable to suppliers of satellite dishes.
Like I said at the outset… a total head trip.
I had a great time hanging out at the Lynda booth talking with people who came to have a look.
I also got to meet up with Andrew ‘Daryl’ Gungadoo (a long time BTP and SL listener). He’s posted a pic of the 2 of us on his Facebook page for those of you who are on FB and would like to check it out.
I finally got a chance to take the camera out in the last couple of days in Las Vegas, too.
Details on that in the next post.
But first, some pics from NAB 2008…

The entrance to the North Hall. This was the hall I enjoyed the most.... no surprises there! SSL, makers of some of the finest mixing consoles in the world. The NAB book shop, in between the North and Central halls. You want cars? We got cars!
Yep! That's a video camera mounted on a Segway! Hey, we even have helicopters! ...and satellite dishes! Adobe's lounge area, where you could check out the Adobe Media Player.
You should never believe ANYTHING you see on TV.... not even the existence of the set! The booth.
Next Page »