Blog, business, graphic design, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video

Are we in good times or bad?

film-reel

Wow, it’s hard to get a hold on where the economy is, for entertainment companies both big and small. The L.A. Times has a story on how the toy industry is looking to large blockbuster films like Transformers to drive more and more toy sales, especially in the off-peak summer months. A story about the success of the movie industry? But a day earlier, the Times looked at how smaller production and support companies were being squeezed by runaway production — filming moving to cheaper locations out-of-state — and how it’s going to be hard for the SoCal economy to absorb the loss of work.

And is NBC-Universal for sale or not? Who knows. They have been having a hard time, both on television (Knight Rider) and at the moviess (Land of the Lost). But what happens to the big affects even us small companies.

But look at total box office figures for the last few years. We’re on track this year to at least keep up with last year, if not surpass it. People are still spending money on entertainment.

With all of the bad things that are going on in the economy, it’s good to look at a few bright spots. When an economic shakeout happens, the competition in the market becomes fiercer, allowing strong companies to strengthen their position and weaker ones to be weeded out. Interestingly, it’s not always those that stay out of bankruptcy protection that are the safest. And sometimes, especially in the entertainment industry, it becomes hard to capitalize on a successful business — like British films.

A few quick links:

  • My new friend Petrea from Pasadena Daily Photo did a series of pieces on our building in Old Town Pasadena last week. Interesting stuff, if you are into the history of old neighborhoods and buildings. Here are the three posts: 1, 2, 3, & 4.
  • Homage or plagiarism? Lots of designers are up in arms about this website for a Republican candidate for governor, including Print‘s Daily Heller blog. Is it plagiarism? I don’t know. But the similarities to Obama’s well-designed site for his candidacy are striking…
  • Copyblogger has a great little article about my favorite ad guy, Lloyd Ogilvie. Even though he wrote Ogilvie on Advertising decades ago, it still rings true for me as a marketer and graphic designer.

Happy Monday to you, wherever you are!

Blog, post production for film and video

Transformers flick does sound right

Honestly, unlike millions of you others I won’t be seeing Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen this weekend. But I enjoyed the technical achievements of the first movie, even if I didn’t care for the editing or storytelling. Pro Sound News has spent the whole last week detailing different aspects of the sound work on the new movie, with interviews from major players:

  • Part One: Mixing and Sound Editing: “This new movie features twice the action, and many, many more robots than the series opener, he continued. “In normal movies, there are two, three, even four set pieces. Eight years ago, one or two of those set pieces would have made this a big sound movie. We have several in each reel. It’s challenging.”
  • Part Two: Dialog Editing and Effects Processing: There was relatively little ADR in ROTF. “Michael doesn’t like using ADR; the majority of ADR will be for extra lines and line changes,” said Hopkins, adding, “I’ve got probably 30 or 40 ADR cues because of bad background noise.”
  • Part Three: Music/Effects/Dialog Mixing: “The music is really driving and the effects track is very detailed. Because you have this animation and special effects that you need to sell, sound is so powerful for doing that. It brings a sense of reality to it all and engages the audience into the whole story. Michael sees that; he sees how powerful it can be and how it can bring these animated things to life, and give them a sense of weight and power and character.”
  • Part Four: Connecting Sound to Picture: With so much mayhem onscreen, it was important for Van der Ryn and Aadahl to constantly strive for clarity and make some critical choices early on in the process regarding what remained in the mix. “If we were to not make choices until [the mix stage], it would be a wall of noise…Everything you hear connects to something on the screen, and if there’s anything that is muddying things up or washing things out, we do that in the editorial process.”
  • Part Five: Getting Effects to Sound Good: “When you have multiple sounds happening in a sequence, we really broaden the scope of frequencies so that things aren’t living in the same range. That separation is necessary for clarity, as well as panning things and rhythmically having things syncopate so that they aren’t stepping on each other. Even if you offset ever so slightly, it creates separation.”

That’s it for today; I’m crazy-busy finishing off a few projects right now.