First Mbox Problem

I encountered my first Mbox Pro Tools problem yesterday. I was converting a massive dialog session from BWF to SD2 via “Import Session Data” and it seemed to stall at the very end. I tried to force quit and it ended poorly. I had to hold down the power button to shut down my laptop and reboot. A second test wound up with the same result.

I wasn’t sure what what causing it but I thought I could figure it out so I tried it one more time. This time I kept the Task Window open and the arrow on the process turned down so I could see the complete list of audio and fade files it was working with. Sure enough, as soon as the last audio file was reached the end of its conversion, Pro Tools hung again. This time however I fired up Terminal, which took a really long time. I was starting to suspect that maybe Pro Tools had managed to chew up all my processor cycles and was now stuck in loop and not freeing it up.

When I ran “top” from the command line, I was surprised to see 75% to 80% free CPU. But then I noticed that I was only showing 5MB of RAM free. When I went down to the Pro Tools process I saw that it had wound up with nearly 2GB of virtual ram. I don’t have 2GB of physical ram in my computer so it had written a lot of stuff to the swap space on the hard drive. As I watched, that number slowly dropped. Eventually I was showing about 250MB of free RAM and suddenly Pro Tools came back to life.

Obviously I need to install some more RAM in my laptop.

You Gotta Love The Mbox

My regular digital audio workstation that I use for my job is a Pro Tools 24|Mix Plus. It’s the old hardware, I know, but I haven’t really needed to upgrade to HD. (Though that support for breaking timecode in the 6.4 software makes it awfully tempting. Loading production sound roll DATs would be much easier.)

I’ve also been the owner of an Mbox for a while now but I never used it very much. I bought it with the thought that I could do work at home if I wanted to, but the situation never arose where I decided to do so. I also bought the DV Toolkit to unlock the timecode and feet+frames options so that Pro Tools LE is nearly identical to my full system in the office. Plus at $1450 ($450 for the Mbox and $1000 for DV Toolkit) it’s a far cry from $16K+ for a TDM system.

This job I’m working on over at Universal has me away from my main Pro Tools system that’s set up at Fox. So since my Mbox and a pair of Sony MDR-7505 headphones don’t take up that much more space in my bag, I’ve been bringing it to Universal and using it a lot and I’m really impressed. My zippy laptop is certainly a factor in this. I have a 15″ Aluminum PowerBook at 1.25GHz. But still, I’m amazed at the amount of things I’m able to do as an assistant sound editor with an Mbox.

I can’t load digital picture from videotapes since the editors use various MJPEG A cards (DC30+, Fuse, and Igniter) but if we were using DV picture with a box like from Canopus, I could. I can’t print cuesheets because I can’t get stupid Tape to work in OS X and my laptop doesn’t boot into OS 9. And I can’t deal with SCSI drives, but most of our editors I cutting off Firewire drives. (And if I really needed SCSI support, there are various SCSI PC cards I could use, or maybe even a Firewire to SCSI interface.)

But I can do everything else. It’s really fantastic. Titan 3 works great. The DigiTranslator that comes with DV Toolkit converts my OMFs to Pro Tools sessions. Soundminer runs well. It is a viable alternative to a full-blown system.

Of course I could always do all the paperwork-related assistant things with Excel, Word and BBEdit. I’m reallying digging this.

Hate The Tape

This program is the bane of my existence. Ugh! Tape is the worst piece-of-crap software I have ever had the misfortune of using. And I’m forced into it. There’s just nothing else for printing cuesheets from Pro Tools.

The whole “OS X” support is a big effin’ joke. I have tried on 4 different computers and cannot get it to work. Full of bugs, never out of beta and I have to own it. It totally sucks.

For years I used this other awful piece of software called Track-It. Thankfully it is no more. Why can’t anyone write a real cuesheet program that works with Pro Tools?

Well today I discovered a handy little trick for Tape. Tape finally supports Pro Tools 5.1 sessions. (Don’t blink or look at it wrong or it might stop working. Crap ass software.) I forget when that was added in. Sometime in the last year I think. Even though Pro Tools 5.1 has been around for something like 3 years. Whatever. It’s bullshit. Anyway, Tape only works properly with SD2 Pro Tools sessions. Well, maybe it works with AIFF but it certainly won’t deal with Broadcast Wave—even thought it’s a perfectly legit sound file for Pro Tools 5.1. Like I said crap-ass software.

So here’s the way around it.

  1. Take your BWF Pro Tools 5.1 session. Open it and make sure it’s all set for cuesheets. Save if you need to and close it.
  2. Make a new Pro Tools session with SD2 as the file format. Make sure the bit depth and sample rate match your BWF session.
  3. Select “Import Tracks” (Pro Tools 5.1) or “Import Session Data” (Pro Tools 6) from the File menu. Highlight all your tracks for importing.
  4. Make sure you choose “Reference original media” for the audio. (Or whatever that pull-down menu says. I can’t remember the exact wording off the top of my head. Don’t use “copy” or “consolidate”.) And click “Ok” or “Import” or whatever that button is labeled.
  5. No audio should have been copied. If media was written, you probably didn’t use the same bit depth or sampling rate as the original. Start again at step 2.
  6. Save and close the session.
  7. Open it in Tape and print away.

Basically, it seems that Tape can’t deal with the “BWF” header in a Pro Tools 5.1 session. It only likes ones with an “SD2” header. However, you can mix and match supported audio formats in Pro Tools. So as long as you have an “SD2” session at the same bit depth and sample rate, you can import BWF audio into it without having to rewrite the media and Tape will print your cuesheets.

Stupid program.

More At Eleven

Xeni, the author of the “Wired” article about spatial sound, wrote me a nice letter this morning about yesterday’s post. She basically said I should go read Iosono’s website and my technical questions would be answered. I was a bit abashed at first. Here I was proclaiming the problems I thought I saw with this new technology and I hadn’t even read their website. (Hey, our president has fully admitted that he doesn’t watch the news or read the paper because he doesn’t want to be exposed to those lies and biases. Can I use the same excuse?)

So I read it. I still have questions. Just more of them.

The one thing I noticed was that their theater system supports all the standard sound formats. You can feed it Dolby Digital, DTS, SDDS—even stereo—and it’ll happily play it back. You won’t get its super-bonus positioning features but you will get its “every seat in the theater sounds as good as every other” feature. That’s certainly nice. I have my doubts that theater chains will be willing to fork over cash for that feature alone. “We gave them their stadium seating. What do they want from us, blood?” People care about good sound to a certain extent. The “sweet spot” in every chair might be too much to ask. But maybe I’m wrong.

The workings of the “spatial sound” part of this new Iosono system sounds like it is basically audio files plus metadata—the master track plus information about where to place it and move it and whatnot. That makes sense. Their website says that their workstation can take up to 64 sound files and place them or move them through the theater sound space.

I have to admit I’m still confused. What is their master sound format? Is there a master sound format? Is it simply an open-ended thing? Up to 64 tracks plus meta data and that’s it? No built-in hard speaker assignments? So let’s assume that it’s something like that. How do you turn it over for encoding? Eight 8-track hard drives off the Tascam MMR-8 recorder? A firewire drive from Pro Tools with all 64 tracks on it? Maybe most people don’t care about these things but this is the nitty-gritty tech stuff that I like to understand. Now after it’s encoded, what gets shipped to theaters with the prints?

When you’re dealing with a 5.1 master sound track it’s pretty simple—6 channels of audio. That easily fits onto a hard drive. Since many stages make use of MMR-8 recorders, the drive from that machine will usually be sent to the NT Audio or one of the other facilities around Los Angeles that will encode the soundtrack on to the film. Dolby shows up on the dub stage with their own encoding gear and they’ll generate a couple of MOs (Magneto-Optical Disks) with their Dolby-encoded master audio. These disks get shipped to the lab facility as well.

With a 5.1 master sound track, each channel of audio contains all the audio that is played from one speaker in a theater. Usually the layout is like this:

  1. Left
  2. Left Surround
  3. Center
  4. Right Surround
  5. Right
  6. Sub

That’s what I’m wondering about with my questions. How does that process work for the Iosono system?

You need to have at least the 5.1 covered with this new system so you can fill up the space with sound. Pretty much all the dialogue comes out the center channel along with some of the sound effects and foley. Most of the sound effects and music are in the left and right speakers. The surrounds are used for reverb returns on music to give it more presence, backgrounds to create the environment, and sound effects for movement (i.e. bullet bys past the camera into the surrounds). At a minimum you need to recreate that in Iosono. Everything else is bonus.

But here’s a problem that I see: predubbing. When the sound editors on a film show up on the stage for predubbing they have lots and lots of tracks of sound with them. This might be a typical breakdown:

  • Dialogue — 16 tracks
  • ADR — 24 to 32 tracks
  • Group ADR — 24 to 32 tracks
  • Foley (Footsteps and Props) — 32 tracks
  • Backgrounds — 96 tracks
  • Sound Effects — 32 to 200+ tracks

Sound Effects of course is the difficult one. If the film is a talkie, light romantic comedy, then you’re probably closer to the 32 tracks. If you’re dealing with an action movie you can easily go well beyond 200 tracks of effects. Foley could be similar. If you’re dealing with a sci-fi or a period piece with lots of objects that are not “standard” to our world there might be many, many more tracks of props.

Now these cut tracks need to be predubbed to manageable amounts for the final mix. We usually deal with 8-track predubs or at least think of them in groups of 8-tracks. So you might wind up with something like this:

  • Dialogue — 1 8-track predub
  • ADR — 1 8-track predub
  • Group ADR — 1 or 2 8-track predubs
  • Foley — 2 8-track predubs
  • Backgrounds — 4 8-track predubs
  • Sound Effects — 4 to 15 8-track predubs

So even on a light show you can be looking at 104 tracks of sound after predubbing—and we still need to add music in there. That’s more than the Iosono system can handle. You almost need to do a second predub to get that down to the 64 tracks.

It’s not an impossible workflow to manage but it would take more time. And that is one of the critical points from my previous post. How much is a studio willing to spend on this?

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me on this—it sounds like a very cool system. I just wonder how it can fit it our existing time frame to accomplish our goals and will studios and theater chains be willing to shell out the cash for it?

This One Goes Up To Eleven

Wired has this article about a new “super” surround sound which uses more than 300 speakers in a theater to truly recreate an environment and place sounds anywhere within the room. Three hundred speakers is a couple more than the 6 that most theaters have today. (Actually theaters usually have more than 6 speakers. You’ll often see many along the sides and in the back corners but they broadcast the same sound. There’s still only 6 individual channels of source material that get played through those speakers.)

It’s an interesting idea and those of us in the sound industry have often joked about the fact that eventually there will be speakers covering every single inch of space in theaters. (Obviously there was a bit of truth in that humor.) However without having actually seen the demo myself—someone please add me to the list next time 🙂 —I have to say that I have some doubts about this system.

I don’t have doubts about the fact that we will have more than 6 channels of audio in a theater in the future. That’s a given. In fact it’s the present. There is actually a 6.1 system (7 channels) from Dolby called Dolby Digital Surround EX which adds a center surround speaker directly behind the audience. Often only the “high end” first run rooms in a movie complex are setup for EX. Plus not all soundtracks are mixed to support that. But all that aside, we will probably see other additional speakers added in the future. (If I had my way we’d have a high center speaker on the ceiling of the theater in the front. IMAX makes use of it because the screens are so large but for regular theaters it would allow sounds to not just go side-to-side but also up and down. Try to imagine a jet fly by with a high center speaker. It could be awesome.)

There are a couple of things that confuse me about this system. The first is how many channels of sound do you actually have? Ok, sure it has over 300 speakers. Does that mean there are 300 channels of sound? When we finish our final mix on a movie we wind up with a 6 track master. Dolby encodes that into data that sits between the sprockets of the 35mm print for Dolby Digital. DTS writes those tracks onto a CD-ROM which gets shipped with the print for theaters that support that standard. And SDDS writes it to both edges of the film—outside the sprockets. (Actually SDDS is a 7.1 system with 5 speakers up front instead of 3, but very, very few theaters have it anymore. Yet another proprietary format that Sony botched.) What do you do with a 300 track master?

Three hundred channels of sound is a completely unreasonable amount of material to turn over at the end of the mix. I’m certain that they actually use fewer but the question remains: how many?

Another big problem I see is their current interface. I have been on the stage with pretty much every big-name mixer in town and I cannot imagine any of them wanting to play with a light pen to place sounds around the room. It seems like it would take way too much time. Even though movie budgets are balooning to huge numbers, the vast majority of that goes to actors’ salaries and special effects. Sound budgets are often smaller today then they were 10 years ago. You no longer have 30 sound editors on a crew cutting film and 5 assistants helping them. More often than not it’s 10 editors and 1 or 2 assistants. And it’s a similar thing on the dub stage. Typical films today predub in 3 or 4 weeks and final in 2 or 3. That’s it. Seven or eight weeks on the final dub stage to create the master track.

Again, I wasn’t actually at the demo so I don’t know how easy it really is to use. But when I think of the time it can take on a stage just to pan a bunch of stereo car bys through the center speaker because an editor didn’t turn it over as an LCR—not to mention the time involved to create a large action sequence like a gunfight bullets and debris flying all over the room—it seems that the light pen positioning would be awkward and slow. The pictures included with the article show a Pro Tools system sending what appears to be a single sound into their positioning system. That’s not a realistic test for time, ease and usability. They should try it with the hundreds and hundreds of tracks that get turned over for your typical action sequence. How long does it take to do it then?

A final problem I see is the home theater market. DVDs are huge business for the movie industry. Lots of people have little 5.1 systems in their living rooms. How do you take a 300 channel mix and bring it down to a 5.1 for the DVD release? How many weeks are you willing to spend on that? And I do mean “spend”. How much money will a studio pay for that down-mix? That’s what it will really come down to. Your typical home theater cannot possible recreate the same range of frequencies that a good theater can, but at least the speaker assignments are the same. Now try to untangle a mess of sounds spread out over 300 channels and focus it down to 6. It seems to me that it would take weeks to do that.

After a day to do the printmaster on the final stage we usually spend 2 or 3 days making all the versions—Dolby Stereo, Dolby Surround, Mono, plus the M&E (music and effects) for the foreign versions. Now you need to extend that by what? A week? Two weeks? Just to get a 5.1 for DVD release? And what about the theaters that can’t afford the “super” surround system? You’re still going to need a 5.1 version for them.

It’s a pretty cool idea. I’m not sure how soon we’ll actually see it in action. Or if we’ll ever see it in this incarnation. (I’m telling you, they should have invited me to the demo. I’d tell those Germans what they need to focus on. 😉 )

Thanks (once again) to Boing Boing for making me aware of this. (It’s kind of like the old “Are you a Beatles person or a Stones person?” question. Only this one is “Are you a Boing Boing person or a Fark person?” I’m a Boing Boing person.)

A Couple Of Semi-Audio-Related Things

A few notes of interest for the audio pros in the house:

Marathon has released a horizontal rackmount for G5s. When Apple unveiled the G5 at WWDC 2003, several sound editors were gathered in my office, watching the streaming Quicktime and drooling. But as soon as the specs came out we saw two big problems: only 3 PCI slots—4 slots is really optimal for Pro Tools systems, and a height of 20″. The standard size for rackmount gear is 19″. The new computers were an 1″ too tall. You couldn’t secure them in a rack with all your other gear. And all over 1 stupid inch! It seemed so ridiculous. Doesn’t Apple realize that the music and film industries are some of their biggest clients? Lots and lots of people in these industries like to rackmount their gear.

Well Marathon has finally released a solution. I figured they eventually would. Unfortunately the installation instructions include the use of a hacksaw.

This isn’t new but I just recently stumbled on to it:

Fxpansion makes a few audio wrapper applications including a VST to RTAS Adapter. This software allows Pro Tools and Pro Tools LE, software which only supports its own native audio plug-ins—Audiosuite, Real-Time Audiosuite, and TDM, to run VST plug-ins as RTAS plug-ins. What a great idea! And for under $100.

They also make a VST to AudioUnit Adapter which is nice for Logic users who might have been annoyed by Apple’s decision to drop support for VST and only support the native OS X plug-ins standard AudioUnits. (Of course in fairness to Apple, they have offered a VST to AU SDK. And I’ve read stories of the conversion only taking a couple of hours to clean up code.)

And they have a third adapter which is VST to Rewire. This one sounds very interesting. Rewire is an inter-audio app bussing standard. It allows you do do things like design some techno masterpiece in Reason and send the sound directly into Pro Tools for recording. All internal. All digital. In Pro Tools Rewire is a plug-in that gets activated on a track. So in essence its VST to Rewire might be very similar to VST to RTAS. However, Soundminer allows you to audition 5.1 audio straight from Pro Tools by running 4 Rewire plug-ins—2 stereo and 2 mono. Maybe you can do similar things with this adapter. It would interesting to check out.

The Sound Of His Voice

I need your help. As you may know, I’m an avid listener to audiobooks. During the 2 hours of commuting I do every day, I typically spend my time listening to others read books to me. When I do get into the office, I’m a sound guy. I, along with the other people on my crew, make the movies you go and watch sound good. To do this I have all kinds of gear (boys’ toys) in my room.

You may remember when I mentioned an effort by Telltale Weekly to make audiobooks of the public domain works from Project Gutenberg. This got me thinking. Audiobooks—I like audiobooks. Sound—I’m a sound guy. I’ve got microphones and computers and whatnot. These guys are looking to record audiobooks. Hmmm…

So here’s where you come in. Today I recorded my first audiobook. (Did I ever mention that I used to be a radio DJ in college?) I haven’t played it for anyone yet. In fact I literally just finished the final mix on it. I haven’t submitted it to Telltale Weekly. I’m actually not sure if I can—the public domain status on this particular work is a bit tricky. I need some constructive criticism from everyone. I’d love for you to post comments or send me email letting me know what you think. I’d would like to emphasize the constructive part of that prior sentence. If you think I read too fast or my diction is bad or my voice is too nasaly, I’d like to know. Of course I wouldn’t mind a few “good job” emails either. It would be great for some opinions on the sound quality too. Not just the tone of my voice, but how is the recording? Too loud? Too bright? Too noisy? (I’m really glad that Telltale Weekly exists, but I do have to say that some of their recordings are a bit on the poor side.)

So without further delay, I present to you, “The War Prayer” by Mark Twain. (We can fight about my politics too if you like.)

Mackie 1604 5.1 Surround Layout

As I said before, I recently bought a Mackie 1604 mixer and added it to my Pro Tools workstation. I came up with what I consider to be the ultimate layout for the mixer. Obviously everyone has their own needs and their own gear so this won’t work for all. But it might give you a few ideas of how you can improve your own audio monitoring.



1/2     (Open)
3/4     Video Deck Out
5/6     DAT Out
7/8     (Open)
9-16    Pro Tools Out 1-8

Aux Returns


1       Computer
2       Ipod
3       Laptop
4       DVD



Main    L/R
Sub1/2  LS/RS
Sub3/4  C/LFE

Direct Outs


1-6     Pro Tools In 1-6

Aux Sends


1/2     Pro Tools In 7/8
3/4     Video Deck In
5/6     DAT In



In      VCR Out
Out     VCR In

There are a few key ideas behind this layout. The first is the use of Inputs 9-16 for the Pro Tools. This came straight from the 1604 manual itself. It has a layout for an 8-channel multi-track recorder that does the same thing. Typical post-production sound thought is to put your Pro Tools on 1-8 since it’s the single most important piece of gear. However, by moving it down to 9-16, it opens up the Direct Outs 1-8. These take the signal coming in on Inputs 1-8 and pass them out, post-fader, through the Direct Outs. This way you can send those into your Pro Tools and not use up your sub-outs.

The second key idea is Aux Returns and Aux Sends as additional Ins and Outs. Often these are thought of as paths to send signals for effects processing that then returning them to mixer. A channel insert will run an effect on a single channel like a compressor on a microphone. But an Aux Send and Return can be used to add reverb to many channels at once.

That’s all very cool for working with a band but not very useful for a digital audio workstation. So forget it. The Aux Returns are 4 additional stereo inputs. You can see that I used them to patch in my computers and what not. It’s mostly about listening to music. You can put anything you want here. It doesn’t have to be stereo. In some cases, especially Aux Return 1 and 2, they can be sent into a “record” path were they would go back into your Pro Tools. But for the most part use it for gear that you simple want to listen to on your speakers.

The Aux Sends give you 6 mono channels out to whatever you patch. They are accessed on the Input channels themselves. This is an easy way to do something like send a stereo pair from Pro Tools to be recorded on a DAT or a Video Deck. I also put Pro Tools itself on a pair of Sends. It’s for greater flexibility. I can’t see myself using it much but it would allow me to loop a sound out a Pro Tools through the board and back in. Maybe I wind up with some amazing analog reverb unit. It could be patched into a channel insert and sent right back into Pro Tools for recording. That’s the idea. As I said before about Direct Outs, it also frees up sub-outs.

You need the sub-outs for speakers. This is the third key idea. Typically I’ve set up 5.1 surround sound on mixers with 8 sub-out busses. Six for the speakers and 2 to go back into Pro Tools. But with this setup we’ve already handled all the paths back into to Pro Tools—and other gear for that matter. Put your left and right speakers on Main Out. Most other inputs like Aux Returns and Tape In all monitor by default on Main Out. Then use the four sub-outs for your 4 additional speakers, Left Surround–Right Surround and Center–Sub.

By using this setup I was able to extend the 1604 (16 ins, 4 sub-outs) to 22 Ins and 14 Outs. And I didn’t touch the Control Room Outs which could probably be used for something else. Plus I have 4 open Ins right on faders on my mixer.

Now if only my video path were so easy.

New Toys

Recently I’ve been adding some new audio gear to my Pro Tools system. A couple weeks ago, I upgraded my speakers. I won’t tell you what I was using before—it’s a bit embarassing, and I’m supposed to be a “professional”—but my new Blue Sky speakers are awesome. (In all fairness to myself, prior to this recent purchase if I had to do really critical listening, I would do it on headphones.)

I spent last weekend and a couple days this week assembling a phasing dialogue tracks for a show that’s just starting up. My friend needed a little extra help and I don’t mind picking up a little extra cash now and again. Phasing dialogue tracks—especially after a fairly good assembly with a program like Titan—is pretty much just hours and hours of zooming in close on waveforms and nudging production into sync. If you want to get it done fast, there’s not much actual listening going on. It’s all done visually. That means you can listen to music to keep your mind active. So I’ve spent several days listening to my favorite albums on the Blue Sky ProDesk speakers in my room and I can honestly say they sound fantastic.

I got the 2.1 setup—two 5″ speakers (that’s the size of the woofer) and an 8″ sub. They’re powered so there’s no need for a amplifier. Shielded so they won’t distort your video monitors. (I’m using flat panels so this isn’t an issue for me.) They aren’t full-range speakers. They shelve-off pretty steeply below 80 Hz but that’s what the subwoofer is for. They’re designed to work together, and they’re matched so well that I can’t tell that the really low frequencies are coming from under my desk. In the future, I can upgrade it to a 5.1 by adding 3 more speakers and Blue Sky’s own Bass Management system. The price is great too. Right around $1000 for the 2.1.

For years I’ve been using a little Mackie 1202 for monitoring. The ultra compact size was really nice. It didn’t take up much desk space. But it also didn’t have a lot of inputs and I kind of felt like I was sacrificing ease of use for a small size. With the new speakers and the potential of 5.1 in the future, I knew it was time to upgrade to the Mackie 1604. This is definitely the work horse of the digital audio workstation world, and I can see why. I spent nearly half a day plotting out my new audio setup with all the extra inputs and outputs. I think I came up with the ultimate setup. I’ll post information on it a little later.

Lots and lots of audio connectors

Of course after coming up with this great new audio setup, I had to patch it all through my new mixer. So I called up my buddy Sheldon at The Wired Kingdom to make me some custom audio snakes. His stuff isn’t cheap but the work is impeccable and the quality is outstanding.

About a month ago or so, I stumbled across a little blurb on a microphone that caught my attention—the Studio Projects C1. I started doing some research. I read lots and lots of reviews from people raving about this mic. Not every review was glowing—but you also have to understand audio people—everything they use is great and everything else sucks. There is very little middle ground. (You’ll get the same kind of responses when you talk to sound editors about the tracks on movies.) But at $200 it was pretty hard to say “no” to, especially since the microphone that most people compared it with, the Neumann U87, is a $2000 mic.

This just came in and I haven’t used it much. Just some test recordings of myself. I’m also not a record producer or engineer. I’m not laying down vocal tracks all day long. We mostly use mics to record sound effects. Every mic has different characteristics and very few are “bad”. Ok, maybe that’s not true. There are a lot of cheap and crappy mics. But the point is when you’re recording sound effects using different mics give you different sounds. And sound for film is all about have lots and lots of different kinds of sounds.

Studio Projects C1 Microphone

I made up an album of some of the pictures I took of my new gear and posted it to my .Mac account.

How To Make Those Big Hollywood Sounds

Now’s the chance for the people of Los Angeles to see a bit about what those of us in the sound industry do:

Los Angeles moviegoers will have an unusual treat this summer!  The Motion Picture Sound Editors and American Cinematheque will co-present “Big Movie Sound Effects: Behind the Scenes and Out of the Speakers.”

Here’s your chance to see – and hear – how those cool sounds for big science fiction movies are made.  Dane A. Davis, MPSE, and Gary Rydstrom, MPSE, will present excerpts from their Oscar and Golden Reel Award-winning work as supervising sound editors/designers/re-recording mixers on THE MATRIX and JURASSIC PARK.  In addition to discussing the processes they used to create the unique aural effects, our guests will also play sequences from both films with the sound effects only in order to give a clear and rare demonstration of the craft of motion picture sound.

So come and give a listen to what remains in these classic movie soundtracks after the dialogue and music are removed.  Experience the rippling waves from slowed-down bullets, the roar of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and every little detail that gets lost in the final mix; as well as the stories behind them.

“Big Movie Sound Effects: Behind the Scenes and Out of the Speakers” will be presented in the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre in the Egyptian Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14.  The theater is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California.

General Admission:  $9
Seniors 65+ & Students w/valid ID: $8
MPEG and other guild & craft organization members w/valid ID: $6

You can find out more about the Motion Picture Sound Editors at our web site: and the American Cinematheque at

Made possible with support from Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Worldlink Digital, DTS, and Dolby Laboratories, Inc.

Program subject to change.