What’s more American than apple pie? Captain freakin’ America. After transforming from a scrawny wannabe to a star-spangled super soldier in Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was accidentally frozen in an iceberg. In The Avengers, he was thawed out and recruited by ultimate crime-fighting agency SHIELD, joining forces with his badass buddies to stop an alien invasion.
Now Captain America is living it up in the most American of all cities, Washington DC, working alongside legendary eye-patch clad agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and SHIELD’s new head honcho, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). He’s still adjusting to the modern world, his wholesome 1940′s sensibilities often clashing with today’s aggressive approach to crime-fighting. He’s also probably trying to comprehend the cultural importance of hashtags and twerking.
When one of his fellow agents is attacked, Captain America jumps into action. He joins forces with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johanssen), aka the Black Widow, who knows how to use a skintight jumpsuit and a Russian accent to her advantage. They also team up with a new ally, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), aka The Falcon.
As they begin to reveal a dangerous conspiracy, the agents are confronted by hordes of deadly assassins. Who’s behind all of this madness? Apparently it’s Captain America’s old BFF, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). After being indoctrinated by the Soviets and outfitted with a bionic arm, he’s become a very formidable menace. Apparently the name “Bucky” wasn’t ominous enough, so he has become “The Winter Soldier”, a masked supervillain who’s up to no good.
The Winter Solder is coming. Will Captain America beat him up till he’s red, white, and blue? Find out when Captain America: The Winter Soldier marches into theaters on April 4, 2014. Enjoy the trailer below.
A few years ago, I was the re-recording mixer on MTV’s The Challenge: The Island and I nearly lost my sanity trying to clean up the production dialogue tracks. It seemed every audio clip from an exterior shot was plagued by the incessant chirping of what I assumed to be the world’s largest orchestra of crickets. I spent hours trying to take out their noise, but nothing had much effect.
So when iZotope came out with their RX 2 Audio Repair bundle, I felt as if I had been thrown a life preserver. With the Denoiser, Spectral Repair, and other modules, I could take out not just crickets, but electrical hum, car alarms, and air conditioner noise with relative ease and little artifacting.
Now iZotope has released their RX 3 and RX 3 Advanced bundles, both with updated versions of the repair modules from RX 2, and two new ones exclusive to the RX 3 Advanced: Dialogue Denoiser and Dereverb. The Declipper, Declicker, Decrackler, and Hum Removal worked well in RX 2 and continue to do so in RX 3 without much change, though the results tend to sound a little smoother.
The Denoiser is similar as well, though it seems more powerful. My user default reduction curve in the RX 2 Denoiser Modular was at 18.4, but with the RX 3 version, I’ve found a 10.3 curve setting gives me a similar reduction in the background noise.
For me, the biggest improvement in the updated modules is in the Spectral Repair tool. In RX 2, the module allowed the user to repair only 10 seconds of audio at a time. That meant that to remove background noise throughout a three minute scene, there were about 20 chunks I had to repair and process. However, in the RX 3 version, the user can repair up to 45 seconds of audio at a time, depending on the bit rate. At 48k, I found I could grab 40 second chunks of dialogue, or only about 5 sections in a three minute scene.
In addition to the updated tools from the RX 2 bundle, the RX 3 Advanced bundle comes with two new repair modules: Dialogue Denoiser and Dereverb. The Dialogue Denoiser automatically analyzes the background noise on your tracks and gives you real time noise reduction as you play down. I’ve been using it on my current show and it seems to help… a little. Its reduction curve doesn’t respond as quickly as I would like and is not as specific as I need, and neither response time nor resolution quality are adjustable. Hopefully, there’s an update to the software in the future.
The Dialogue Denoiser in action
The types of noise it does reduce are along the lines of a loud room tone or airy movement, which, for the shows I work on, are generally covered by the music of the episode anyway. It didn’t eliminate my need to use the Denoiser or Spectral Repair tools on any of the noisy clips in my show. However, I did have a scene with no music and the Dialogue Denoiser did help eliminate some of the slapback and movement sounds in the scene. This module would be beneficial for use on podcasts, or if you’re mixing a presentation at a conference. But for any project that uses wall-to-wall music, the benefit seems minor.
The other tool exclusive to the RX 3 Advanced package is the Dereverb. If you’ve ever had to work with poorly recorded ADR or voice over, you know how impossible it can be to make it match production tracks if there’s any reverb in the recording. But with the Dereverb tool, matching the recordings has become much easier. I’ve used it to take the reverb out of a poorly recorded ADR track that was a little too live compared to my production tracks, and I’ve done the reverse and used it to take reverb out of the production tracks to help match a very dry and dead ADR line.
While the tool certainly does not provide a perfect match, it does make the transition from production to ADR much smoothe.
If you don’t have an RX Audio Repair bundle, and you ever need to clean up dialogue from the field, I highly recommend purchasing the RX 3 package (MSRP: $349).
If you currently have the RX 2 bundle, I recommend upgrading to the RX 3 bundle, though the tools you have in the RX 2 are certainly good enough, so upgrading isn’t essential.
However, I think it’s hard to justify spending $800 more to purchase the RX 3 Advanced bundle (MSRP: $1199), for just the additional Dialogue Denoiser, Dereverb, and Insight Audio Metering Suite tools.
For more information on the Emmy winning software visit: izotope.com
The friendly folks over that the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) released its TV nominees this morning. The show recognizes outstanding achievement in visual awesomeness and will be held on February 1, 2014 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood.
HBO’s Game of Thrones collected three nominations – David Franco, Jonathan Freeman, ASC and Anette Haellmigk. It’s great seeing Anette on the list, we really enjoyed her work on Showtime’s Big Love, but where’s Rob McLachlan, ASC, CSC at for the The Rains of Castamere? Maybe he didn’t submit, I don’t know.
According to ASC President Richard Crudo, “The new heights that storytelling has reached on television are in part because of the tremendous artistry and outstanding work being done by the shows’ cinematographers. It was difficult for our members to narrow down the field to these nominees given the high caliber of the submissions.”
Freeman is an ASC veteran collecting three previous wins. Franco has also been nominated on several occasions for Boardwalk Empire (2012), Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2008), Intensity (1998), Falling for You (1996) and Million Dollar Babies (1995). Both Pierre Gill and Kramer Morgenthau have won, so will it pave the way for a newcomer on the one-hour front? Steven Bernstein, ASC, David Greene and Haellmigk are all first-time nominees, but my initial instinct is Gill for The Borgias.
On the half-hour side, DP Blake McClure scored a nomination for Comedy Central’s Drunk History – which is exciting. I’ve known Derek Waters, one of the creators of the show since he acted on the 2003 sitcom Married to the Kellys. To watch his web series go from the Internet to TV, and now to be recognized for their craft should be inspiration for all the young creatives out there. Peter Levy was also nominated for House of Lies, while Matthew Lloyd picked up his first for Amazon’s Alpha House.
The full list of nominees are:
One-hour Episodic Television Series:
Steven Bernstein, ASC for Starz Network’s Magic City (“The Sins of the Father”)
David Franco for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (“Erlkönig”)
Jonathan Freeman, ASC for HBO’s Game of Thrones (“Valar Dohaeris”)
Pierre Gill, CSC for Showtime’s The Borgias (“The Purge”)
David Greene, CSC for The CW’s Beauty and the Beast (“Tough Love”)
Anette Haellmigk for HBO’s Game of Thrones (“Kissed by Fire”)
Kramer Morgenthau, ASC for Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (“Pilot”)
Ousama Rawi, BSC, CSC for NBC’s Dracula (“The Blood is the Life”)
Half-hour Episodic Series:
Peter Levy, ACS, ASC for Showtime’s House of Lies (“The Runner Stumbles”)
Matthew J. Lloyd, CSC for Amazon’s Alpha House (“Pilot”)
Blake McClure for Comedy Central’s Drunk History (“Detroit”)
Jeremy Benning, CSC for National Geographic Channel’s Killing Lincoln
David Luther for Starz Network’s The White Queen (“War at First Hand”)
Ashley Rowe, BSC for Starz Network’s Dancing on the Edge (Episode 1.1)
For more information regarding the 28th ASC Awards visit: theasc.org
Our friends over that the HPA opened registration and are taking requests for demo room space for the 20th annual HPA Tech Retreat. The event is set for February 17-21st at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells, CA.
The retreat focuses on technology from all aspects of digital-cinema, post-production, film, television and video with the idea of exchanging workflow ideas and information. Last year, round table discussions and sponsors included: Avid, Company 3, Deluxe, Dolby, EFILM, Encore and Stereo D and Cloud Sigma, EMC® Isilon, Quantum, Sohonet and Technicolor.
Sunday, the Australian Screen Sound Guild announced the winners from the ASSG Awards. Great Gatsby was the big winner with four – sound design, mixing member’s choice and best sound track.
The production sound tream from Dead Europe headed by mixer Paul Finlay were recognized for best recording.
The entire list of winners:
Greg Bell Student Encouragement Award Sponsored by Amber Technology
Jonathon Tooke (SAE)
Best Sound for a Television Commercial or Promo Sponsored by Sound Devices A Day in Creative
Kathleen Burrows, Bruce Heald
Best Sound for Interactive Media Sponsored by the SAFC Catapult King
Daniel Visser, Shannon Trottman
Best Sound for an Animated Short Film Sponsored by Sounds in Sync Woody
Wayne Pashley, Libby Villa, Emma Mitchell, Ines Richter, Peter Purcell, John Simpson
Best Sound for a Short Fiction Film Sponsored by AFTRS Abalone
William Ward, Andy Wright, Ann Aucote, Diego Ruiz
Best Sound for Lifestyle, Reality or Live Television Sponsored by Rastorder Tony Robinson’s Time Walks
Tristan Meredith, Clytie Meredith, Dale Cornelius
Best Film Sound Recording Sponsored by Rycote Dead Europe
Paul Finlay, Nicole Lazaroff, Szabolcs Gáspár
Best Film Sound Design Sponsored by Fairlight The Great Gatsby
Wayne Pashley, Derryn Pasquill, Jenny Ward, Fabian Sanjurjo, Mark Franken, Emma Mitchell, Damian Candusso, Rick Lisle, Damon Mouris, Andrew Miller, William Ward, Libby Villa, John Simpson, Lisa Simpson, Peter Smith, Sam Rogers, Tim Ryan, Craig Beckett, Jason Ruder
Syd Butterworth Lifetime Achievement Award GFGary Wilkins and Mark Wasiutak
ASSG Members’ Choice Award Sponsored by CDA Pro:Audio The Great Gatsby
Best Film Sound Mixing Sponsored by StageOne Sound The Great Gatsby
Steve Maslow, Phil Heywood, Wayne Pashley, Glenn Butler, Sam Hayward, Duncan D. Mcrae
Best Sound for a Television Drama Series Sponsored by Lemac Better Man
Scott Findlay, Keith Thomas, Livia Ruzic, Rainier Davenport, Gerry Long, Scott Heming
Best Sound for a Documentary Sponsored by Sennheiser Paul Kelly: Stories Of Me
Nick Batterham, Richard Boxhall, Adam Rhodes, Paul Charlier, Ian McLoughlin, Brooke Trezise, Andy Wright, Ben Travers, Chris Frith, Chris McCallum, Gregory Bye, Chris Boyd, Chris Thompson
Soundtrack Of The Year Sponsored by Avid The Great Gatsby
There is a complete list of nominees and winners names on our website www.assg.org.au.
The Entertainment Technology Expo (ETE) held by Createasphere has quietly snuck its way into its 13th year, and each time we’ve visited, it’s always been a genuine experience. The alcohol is free. The crowds are smaller. And the manufacturers don’t have that crazed “this-is-NAB” look on their faces. Fujifilm, FreeFly, NewBlueFX, and Azden all had gear worth noting.
The PL-friendly 14-35mm Cabrio ZK light weight zoom lens was on display. It’s the latest in the 35mm family that houses a 19-90 and 85-300mm lens as well. The flexibility of the glass impressed us the most.
Built for speed and designed for 4K cameras, a specially implemented servo drive unit allows operators to use the lens ENG style, or if detached, it carries the standard 0.8mm cine gearing for the traditional filmmaking route.
The lens itself was light – about 6lbs. The operating rings were just what you’d expect from Fujifilm – smooth, easy to read and adjust. The T.29 wide angle zoom lens features a 2.5 zoom ratio, close focus up of 24” (0.6 m / 2′) and has a 114x231mm diameter/length.
I asked Fuji if we could give one away… their only response was just a smile.
IS0-mini / IS-100 Fujifilm also had their coveted IS-mini box coupled with the IS-100 CCBOXX. The IS-100 allows you to create LUTS, live color grading on set live with a camera image. The CCBOXX uses 16bit ACES color space and the information can easily be exported for a regular REC709 workflow.
When paired with the IS-mini, viewing an accurate color profile over HD-SDI or HDMI on a monitor is fast and simple. If you’re in a multi-camera shoot, onboard LAN ports allow up to 300ft of additional coverage. Each camera would need its own IS-mini, but Michael Bulbenko of Fujifilm mentioned that a recent production used 48 different IS-mini devices without a hitch.
The IS-100 comes with its own free color software for use on an iPad. The user friendly curve tools and menus are easy to understand and have great response from software to screen. If you’re a DI, it’s definitely work checking out.
I mean, what can I say about the MōVI that hasn’t been already typed since the Seattle based company broke onto the scene? If you’ve been hibernating, the MōVI is a 3-axis stabilized gimbal that gives operators a new space to create magnificent shots. At first touch you want to run away with it in hopes no one catches your license plate number. The thing is kickass.
Available in a variety of flavors, M10, M5 and the MR – “Majestic Mode” allows for a single operator to control the unit all by his lonesome. The motorized systems – pan, tilt and roll follow the movement of the operator and can all be adjusted via bluetooth connectivity.
The M10 and MR can hold up to 10lbs, which includes cameras like the RED EPIC, Scarlet, Canon C500, C300, 1DC, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, Panasonic GH3, Black Magic Cinema Camera and the Sony FS100.
So what’s the difference? They say if you’re looking to do more handheld work, the M10 is a better fit while the MR (multi-rotor) is preferred for aerial work.
While the motor/drive system is quiet to the ears, I haven’t been able to test it with a microphone to hear exactly what’s picked up. The creators say it’s virtually inaudible, but I wouldn’t take their word for it just yet if you’re a production mixer.
I’ve been a Red Giant Magic Bullet guy for 11 years or so now, and haven’t looked at anything else out of laziness to learn something new. My color correction requirements are not as robust as most professionals, but the NewBlueFX ColorFast software grabbed my attention.
A color correction, color grading and color enhancing plugin for Premiere, Final Cut, Vegas, Avid or EDIUS, the primary and secondary color correction controls were quite advanced. With the secondary correction, you have a variety of controls for highlights, midtones and shadows. You can also create and work with masks within the plugin. This is great, as you don’t have to add additional tracks to your timeline for one instance of using ColorFast.
The skin preservation mask was very precise, allowing grading without touching skin tones. With the combination of its counterpart, shape mask, you can fine-tune and adjust specific areas in a background that the skin preservation wasn’t allowing you to grade. Both of these tools are key frameable so you can change them at any time in a scene.
Besides ColorFast, NewBlueFX has software bundles for transitions, titling, motion and audio. Check out their entire line: http://www.newbluefx.com
For the budget-conscious DSLR operator looking for quality audio, you might want to consider the FMX-DSLR mixer and SMX-20 stereo microphone from Azden.
The SMX-20 is an onboard microphone that’s easily mountable to a hot shoe. The mic is just under 5 inches long and has an attached 3.5mm output stereo cable. It carries a sensitivity of -40db and a frequency response of 100-20,000Hz.
While the signal to noise ratio is 60db, to us, this is more of a directional microphone, picking up what’s in front of the camera up to 5ft, and a left or right shift of about 3ft. Anything outside that range, I would be conscious of unusable audio or a higher noise ratio.
For power, the SM-20 uses a LR-44 battery and comes complete with windscreen and shock mount.
The FMX-DSLR mixer has inputs for two XLRs, headphones, a 3.5mm stereo input and can supply phantom power. The mixer also has line/mic input switches, adjustable knobs for level, can kill AGC and has a 3.5mm unbalanced output switchable to stereo or mono.
Last night, the always entertaining and “plug-filling” Leon Silverman of Walt Disney Studios ushered out one of my favorite award shows of the year – the Hollywood Post Alliance Awards. “Celebrating the Art of Post Production,” the 77 minute reception paces a stellar evening honoring sound, visual effects, editing and color grading.
As we tweeted along with the statue passing, Pacific Rim grabbed top honors for feature film VFX and Oscar winning editor William Goldenberg, ACE won for Argo. The Ben Affleck directed film snagged two awards during the evening, the other being for sound by Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn.
Game of Thrones won two as well with VFX work from Joe Bauer and for sound with Tim Kimmel and the team over at TODD AO. A few of my favorite moments were when David Cole took home the prize for color grading Life of Pi and when Anthony Smith was pleasantly shocked for his color grading win on Castle – Hunt.
During the ceremony, the HPA presented Avid with the Charles S. Swartz Award for their revolution on nonlinear editing that dates back 25 years ago. Louis Hernandez Jr, CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the technology savvy company.
Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post Production was honored with the HPA Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation in Post Production for their next-gen HFR 48fps stereoscopic 3D work.
Four engineering excellence awards were also handed out. They are DTS, Inc for MDA, NVIDA for Visual Computing Appliance (VCA), Sony Pictures Imageworks and The Foundry for FLIX and Telestream for the 16 bit 4:4:4:4 transcoding technology.
The full list of winners:
Outstanding Color Grading – Feature Film “Life of Pi”
David Cole // Technicolor
Outstanding Color Grading – Television “Castle – Hunt”
Anthony Smith // Encore
Outstanding Color Grading – Commercial Under Armour “Brought To You By Under Armour”
Tom Poole // Company 3
Outstanding Editing – Feature Film “Argo”
William Goldenberg, A.C.E.
Outstanding Editing – Television “Breaking Bad – Dead Freight”
Skip Macdonald, A.C.E.