Watch James Horner Play Piano, Talk Overnight ‘Aliens’ Climax

On a very personal note, I’m saddened this week to learn of the news of the death of the great film composer James Horner. See him talk about his approach to scoring Field of Dreams at top for some of his approach. Best of all, you get to see him at the piano. When I … Continue →

The post Watch James Horner Play Piano, Talk Overnight ‘Aliens’ Climax appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Rising Stars: Jonas Andreas Jensen

Rising Stars: Jonas Andreas Jensen

Another Rising Star on the scene, AMI spoke to up-and-coming professional Jonas Andreas Jensen, winner of both BAFTA and NFTS Sound Design Awards. Based in North London, he currently works with Sony Creative Service Group London as a sound designer on their Project Morpheus Virtual Reality headset. He chatted to us about his sprawling education and experience from Denmark to London, his admiration for sound editor Ren Klyce and his hectic and successful last few years.

How did you start out?

I attended a film course at The European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark, back in 2007. This was a crash course introduction to film making and within the first week I found myself preferring the role of sound recordist and sound designer rather than any other role on the film crew. This course let to an internship in the Copenhagen based sound production and postproduction company Gilyd.

There I started as a trainee working both on location as a sound recordist and in the studio as a sound editor.

During my 3 years at GiLyd I started spending more time in post production than on location recording. The skills that I learned there and responsibility given was really a unique learning curve. I gained invaluable experience working on a wide range of Feature Films, Short Films and TV productions, both as a sound editor and sound designer.

The experience and portfolio I worked up during those years let me to apply for the MA in Sound Design at The National Film and Television School just outside London. This was a very intense and challenging two year course, and really gave me the opportunity to elevate my skills and explore creative storytelling through audio.

What made you want to work in pro-audio?

As many other people working with sound design, I started out playing music. This led to a more technical music creation using software like Abelton Live, Reason and Cubase. This, plus my passion for film and animation, took me to The European Film College where using audio in visual story telling really showed me what fun and exciting it was to combine all these passions. 

Who would you say are your biggest influences stylistically?

The work of the American supervising sound editor Ren Klyce is something I find very inspirational. In particular his collaboration with Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor on David Fincher's films are both exciting in mood, style and techniques they use to create their soundtracks. Two standout films are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the more recent Gone Girl

Can you tell us about any recent projects? What are you working on currently?

After graduation from NFTS in January 2014 I started working as a freelance sound designer. I was lucky enough to win a Sound Design prize from Avid which really helped me setup my studio. From there I worked on a variation of projects including a feature documentary: Dead When I got Here, an audio installation with the Bristol based duo ANAGRAM: Door Into The Dark, which premiered at the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival and recently was on show at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York where it won Bombay Sapphire Storyscapes Award. The graduation animation I did the sound design on, The Bigger Picture: directed by Daisy Jacobs, went on to win a BAFTA, and was nominated for an Oscar both in the short animation category. Currently I am working at Sony Creative Service Group London as a sound designer on their Project Morpheus: Sony's Virtual Reality headset. 

Can you tell us about some of your favourite gear? What do you find yourself relying on for projects?

The DAW I am relying on is Pro Tools. Pro Tools is the dominant force in Film and TV post production, so I have naturally spent a lot of time with this. My preferred workflow also makes me very dependent on a good mixing console. For this I am using my AVID Artist mix. 

If you could work with one artist/group, who would it be and why?

It would have to be working for Ren Klyce on a David Fincher film. Recording bespoke source material for sound design work is something I really love doing and it opens up a much wider creative output. The ambience work going into Ren Klyce's work always have them recording unique and interesting audio. Being a part of this would be amazing. 

Where do you want to be in ten years?

In London working on new challenging projects. I love the collaborative nature of the film industry and my ambition is to continue being involved in creative, technical and challenging audio teams. Freelance is the most likely nature of sound design work, but working in-house would be another ambition.

Audio Media International is on the lookout for the industry's top up-and-coming audio professionals as contenders for the Rising Star prize at this year's Pro Sound Awards. If you think you or someone you know qualifies and would like to be involved, please see here for more details.

Alternatively, please contact Audio Media International staff writer Matt Fellows on or +44 (0)20 7354 6001.

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Iconic venues upgrade with Funktion-One

Iconic venues upgrade with Funktion-One

Funktion-One has upgraded sound systems at four iconic venues - Cielo and Output in New York, Beta in Denver and Berghain in Berlin.

The loudspeaker manufacturer’s latest development is having a positive impact on owners, operators and their clientele. Company founder Tony Andrews revealed: “Funktion-One's continuous quest for fidelity has led to a breakthrough in cone stabilisation, almost eliminating diaphragm breakup and its associated non-linear acoustic behaviour.”

The upgrade has been applied to a variety of Funktion-One loudspeaker models at the venues in question. Andrews visited each of the venues to personally deliver the improvements: “We were able to carry out these upgrades, which are the subject of a fresh patent application, to some of the high profile US club installations,” he explained. “The sonic result is outstanding and has taken the Funktion-One sound to a new level, particularly in the vocal range.”

This has been warmly received at Berghain. Technical director, Krischan Makswitat, recalled: “After the first club night on the main floor and especially after the 10th anniversary concert, we received ecstatic feedback from FOH technicians, guests and employees.” Berghain also upgraded its monitoring system – bringing in Funktion-One PSM318s to replace the old set-up. Makswitat commented: “These monitors are absolutely convincing in every aspect.”

Beta’s executive director of operations and production Michael McCray commented: “The audio system was the first decision we made - before the venue or name. The music and the sound were the number one priority - it is everything about our personality. We provide an upscale classy interior, with an amazing staff and all of the benefits of a world-class club. But if you ask our guests what element gave them the biggest enjoyment on a given evening, they will talk about the sound and the music first.”

Discussing the resulting performance at Beta, McCray said: “The combination of the upgrades and a very special visit from Tony Andrews to tune the system has resulted in a noticeable difference. The midrange has clearer, more defined detail. Our employees were the first to comment on it, however, the guests are really appreciating the enhancements made last month. It was fortunate that we were able to receive the upgrades, and the visit from Tony himself. This really shows the level of commitment from the company, which ultimately benefits the people coming in and the business itself.”

McCray further explained: “From the very beginning, we were treated with respect and with an individual personal experience. Funktion-One was the first choice for us, and both Funktion-One and [US distributor] Sound Investment were very accommodating in allowing us to work with them on the design, and allowing us to do the installation and tuning.

“The product performance speaks for itself, however, there is always the need for support in the pro audio world. Funktion-One has always been helpful when we need it, but they are also proactive about maintaining their products’ performance in the field. This shows a pride in their work and their clients’ venues. It’s a level of service not commonly found in the pro audio world.”

Matar added: “I thought that our sound systems couldn’t possibly be improved before the upgrade - I was wrong. The clarity of the mids and highs has been taken to an unprecedented level.”

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PLASA Show 2015 reveals new website design

PLASA Show 2015 reveals new website design

The PLASA Events Team has launched a brand new website for PLASA Show 2015, which takes place at London’s ExCeL from 4 - 6 October.

Following a redesign of the PLASA Show branding with an updated look and a new focus to the event, the new website has been developed to provide enhanced features and easier navigation, helping show visitors to find information more quickly and efficiently.

“We have undertaken extensive research to find out what our audience wants,” explained Rosie Geyman, senior marketing manager at PLASA Events. “The result is a host of exciting new developments for this year’s show that will give it that added edge.”

The website reflects this, highlighting the many new initiatives for the 2015 event, which reassert the PLASA Show’s position as ‘one of the most important exhibitions for the fast-moving and innovative entertainment technology industry’.

As well as visitor registration (attendance is free for all registrations completed before August 1st), a downloadable show floor plan and FAQs, a news feed keeps both visitors and exhibitors up to date with the latest developments from the industry and the show itself.

Other highlights include Focused Hubs to aid visitor navigation, with five sector-specific zones on the show floor for Lighting, Audio, Stage, AV and Live Broadcast;five sector specific seminar stages will host over 150 speakers throughout the show, giving case studies, examples and technical advice on Lighting, AV, Audio, Broadcast and Staging; Sector Specific Demo areas, where the latest products and new innovations from exhibitors will be the subject of hands-on sessions by the industry leaders and later opening hours on Monday 5th October (to 8pm), the return of the show bar and focused zones will encourage peer-to-peer networking.

“Our seminar sessions are always a real draw, but the addition of this year’s focused zones and demo areas will significantly increase the benefits to our 11,000 plus attendees, who will also be able to discover ground-breaking products from over 300 brands on the show floor,” conluded Geyman Rosie. “PLASA is changing. If you’re not already part of it, now is the time to get involved.”

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DPA hits the Fury Road for new Mad Max movie

DPA hits the Fury Road for new Mad Max movie

After a wait of 30 years, Mad Max fans have recently been revelling in the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth in the successful cult action adventure film series, which started all the way back in 1979.

A hit with the critics as well as movie-goers, Fury Road was filmed on location in Namibia and Sydney and directed, produced and co-written by George Miller. It stars a host of famous actors including Tom Hardy (who takes over the title role from Mel Gibson), Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult.

DPA microphones played a key part in capturing the sound for the high-octane movie. Award-winning Production Sound Mixer Ben Osmo (main picture) chose the company's d:screet 4063 miniature microphones to record dialogue during the shooting of action scenes that involved fast, furious and bumpy chases across the Namibian desert. He also used DPA d:screet 4062 Miniature Microphones for cabled recordings of various vehicles, such as the mammoth War Rig driven mainly by Theron's Imperator Furiosa.

Osmo has worked on every George Miller film since 1987, and has won numerous awards, including a Golden Reel Award for Babe.

On Fury Road, his brief was to record dialogue and FX while in motion. "We set up three multiplex systems to give me range of 1 to 3 kilometres," he says, "but after the first run through, when the vehicles in the film took off at speed, it became apparent that I needed to relocate my equipment into a small 4WD van and follow the action. If you watch the film, whenever you see vehicles travelling through the desert, we were there in an adjacent vehicle or hidden with the cast and stunts. It was a wild ride!"

The choice of DPA microphones was not a difficult one for Osmo, who has used them many times in the past, and is a fan of their durability and sound quality.

"I love DPA mics because they have a transparent sound and are the best for wind noise," he continues. "For this film, Leon Hart at DPA's Australian distributor Amber Technology suggested I use d:screet 4063 miniature microphones because they matched the voltage outputs of my Lectrosonics SMV and SMVQ transmitters. I have been using DPA lapel mics for many years because they have the most transparent sound of any lapel mic currently on the market."

Loud and clear

During filming, the vehicle noises often drowned out the dialogue, particularly if actors were in the vehicles or standing near them. The only way to get usable guide tracks in these situations was to close mic everyone.

"We used low-sensitivity d:screet miniature microphones to mic the eight principle cast members who were inside the War Rig cabin and these provided all dialogue and all transmitted sound FX," he explains. "At the same time we placed a lot of hidden DPA d:screet mics in the cabin for FX and for catching the action. We also positioned them around the engine bay, near the exhausts and transmission and up on the top of the War Rig, and they were used in other vehicles and on the vast supporting cast."


The DPA and boom mics were required to withstand less-than-ideal environmental conditions on set

Although the film did need a substantial amount of ADR, a decision was made early on to provide as clear a soundtrack as possible to facilitate ADR in the future.

"There is limited dialogue in this film, so George preferred to have the action real," states Osmo. "Even when on simulated travel, the wind machines were blowing a gale and the special FX motion of the vehicles was also very loud. The point, though, was that we all had to hear something, so George could make creative and performance decisions. We were able to provide George, first AD PJ Voeten and cinematographer John Seal with their own radio mics and IFBs, so George could have conversations on the move and in different vehicles – sometimes 500 metres to kilometres apart. At this point, the camera operators and assistants were also in the mix so that they could receive instructions and acknowledge them.  

"The system worked really well as George could be in his van with a few monitors, travelling behind the action and still be able to discuss shots with PJ and John and with the Edge Arm crew who were shooting other angles. Sometimes George would be in the Edge Arm vehicle to set up shots, while PJ and the crew were on the War Rig or other tracking vehicles. This was also good for some cast members – for example Immortan Joe (Hugh Keys Burne) would be in the extremely loud Gigahorse vehicle and would have a DPA d:screet 4063 miniature microphone and an ear piece inside his mask. This would allow us to have conversations with him, despite the noise."

Placing the DPA miniature microphones inside the actors' costumes so that they remained invisible was the task of 'costume genius' Andrea Hood who was present for all of the African shoots.

"We worked together on previous projects including Peter Pan and The Sapphires, where we also had challenges hiding microphones in costumes," Osmo recalls. "She was an immense help on Fury Road because she would sew the mics into costumes and make small pouches on the key costumes, especially those worn by the wives and Furiosa. We came up with a couple of interesting positions to place them in Max's jacket and inside his t-shirt. We couldn't tape them to his outfit because it was covered in oil and dirt, so Andria sewed them into the back of his shirt.

"Location assistant Brendan Allen and Andria came up with suggestions of where we could place the DPAs in his jacket and we trialled them all, with me listening for rustle and wind noise. Finally we decided to place two miniature mics on each side of his jacket so that when he turned around he would still be on mic. The high wind fluffies were also used and these were instrumental in keeping he wind at bay."


A small 4x4 vehicle – aka 'The Osmotron' – was used by the production sound mixer to capture audio for many of the chase scenes

Osmo adds that the d:screet mics were never a problem for the actors, and didn't get in the way of their performances.

"We just needed to be inventive in the pack placements," he comments. "Charlize Theron had a good outfit for hiding the pack and she would pre-set her mic in the costume department. When she arrived on set, we were able to quickly place the pack inside her leather belt pack."

Filming an action movie in a place as inhospitable as the Namibian desert did present some issues for the sound equipment, but Osmo was on top of this and ensured the equipment was constantly maintained.

"The earth had extremely corrosive qualities, but fortunately most of the hardware was either encased in temperature controlled road cases or inside my van. But the radio mic transmitters and DPA and boom mics were always out in the elements, all being hidden inside costumes or blimps. We never lost a mic due to the environmental conditions – they performed very well.  Of course, we did have some microphone casualties, but that was inevitable as we were filming an action movie and it was impossible to avoid mics being pulled from their connectors. Also, if we put a mic too close to an exhaust pipe we occasionally melted a cable. However, in most cases the mics were easily repaired and, if they were really badly damaged, they were replaced."

Inside 'The Osmotron' were:

  • 4 x Sound Devices 788T portable audio recorders with CL-8 control surface and 1 x 744T
  • 6 x Lectrosonics Venue receiver systems in a ruggedised road case
  • 2 x Lectrosonics Venue Field wideband receivers
  • 4 x Lectrosonics IFB transmitters
  • 1 x Mackie 1604 mixer for monitor mixes
  • 1 x Remote Audio Meon and Meon Life cart power system

The location sound team in Namibia included key boom operator Mark Wasiutak – a man with many years' experience and the boom operator on the first Mad Max movie; assistant Bendan Allen; action unit mixer Derek Mansvelt and boom operator Ian Arrow. Oliver Machin, a Brit who now lives in South Africa, was also drafted in to assist and Osmo gave him responsibilities including setting up the time code for multiple cameras and recorders. Towards the end of the six months the crew spent in Namibia, Machin took on the task of recording specific vehicles away from the main filming locations.

"Overall, the DPA d:screet 4063 miniature microphones were definitely the best choice for dialogue," Osmo summarises. "I've been using them for a few years and the older normal sensitivity, normal voltage ones are fantastic as well. In fact, since finishing Fury Road I have used them to record two television miniseries in Australia – Return to the Devil's Playground and The Kettering Incident. Both these projects have required minimal ADR. The feature film, The Sapphires, also had live vocals blended with playback and the mics worked very well at capturing this."

After his recent hectic film schedule, Osmo is happy to be working on TV commercials before he gets started on his next project later this year.  

"I'm also a singer-songwriter and I write and perform in Australia," he concludes. "That's my relaxation. In fact one of my latest songs that will soon be recorded is titled Namibia."




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Review: Akai Advance 49 MIDI controller with VIP VSTi host software

The Akai Advance 49 controller with VIP software puts all your VSTi plug-in sounds at your fingertips, at the same time in the same place. Imagine browsing many thousands of presets—every single one from your collection, including Native Instruments Komplete—narrowing them down to the perfect sound and then loading them onto a controller that’s pre-mapped for your controls. Then you load up to 8 sounds from different plug-ins to play together in one monster patch. The Advance 49 could revolutionize your music production workflow.

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“Raving with Tweens” Is What Dance Music Culture Needs Right Now

“When you grow up, you can be whatever you want. you don’t have to be a dj.” “This is lit.” “It’s just really fun dancing and stuff.” I’ve spent some time at Cielo and – all due respect to the residents – these kids. It’s funny, my Dad and I were on the phone yesterday … Continue →

The post “Raving with Tweens” Is What Dance Music Culture Needs Right Now appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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