Saturday, December 29, 2007
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TRENCHES 2ND VBLOG ENTRY
Catch the new exclusive second Trenches Vblog entry here. This edition deals with the location shooting of Trenches and the various places we shot the film to give you all the looks it has. Editing and shot by Jon Minor.
Video courtesy of: Jon Minor, Errol Spat Oktan, and Cat Simone.
2008 looks like an exciting time and we hope you will be with us when we release Trenches. Be patient, we are working on it, and I think you will enjoy the results!
Friday, November 09, 2007
Mark did all the sound work for Pitching Lucas and has uber years of experience in his field of audio. I am so glad he joined me again to work all all things audio for Trenches.
Here is his knowledge and convention coverage notes for your enjoyment.
Take it away Mark!
Report from the 123rd convention of the Audio Engineering Society
Jacob Javitz Convention Center
By: Mark Edmondson
Conventions are a funny thing. In order to truly get a sense of what one has to offer, of its place in the world, one must try to attend a few, year after year. In this way, patterns begin to emerge; what people want, what the industry can (or in many cases, can not) seem to accomplish, and how, year after year, manufacturers manage to stay afloat by (no surprise here) trying desperately to offer higher quality at lower prices, and more importantly, continuing to refine each of their little niches.
And really, if one had to begin thinking of ways to characterize the audio industry of the 21st century, it is just that way- niches. The industry has, it seems, accepted a few things of itself. For starters, the Home Studio is no longer a revolution. It is more than a fact of life, more than a “necessary evil”; it is the standard. The most respectable, and respected, recording artists, producers and directors now perform anywhere from some to all of their audio-related work in some manner of home studio. And the Big Rooms aren’t scoffing any more at those who work in home studios- because they’re… well, they’re sorta gone.
Oh sure, Mix Magazine still manages to have a new picture of some sweet, unbelievably über-hip recording space on its cover every month (and one must wonder… where exactly are all those facilities, 6 months after their cover story?). Of course, there will always be a need for the Abbey Roads of the world, to handle those moments when only John Williams and the LSO will do. And maybe, just maybe, the era of the Big Room will make a comeback.
Or then again- maybe not.
For now, the point is that it is no longer seen as anything other than completely and perfectly acceptable- many would say preferable- to hire a freelancer with a Pro Tools system in a town house to perform your sound design, track your band, compose or record your score, master your disk, or even perform full-scale film re-recording, ADR or foley. The tools are just that good, just that reliable, just that affordable.
And if there was one message at AES- it was that the industry isn’t about to sit around and cry about the passing of an era.
Rather than simply embrace the needs of the small/home studio market, audio manufacturers have set out to redefine it, make it… professional.
Virtually every type of system being demonstrated at this year’s AES offers, in some way, shape or form, the ability to be scaled and customized and adapted to small offices, bedrooms, garages- and to give those spaces the same properties and specifications that used to cost millions.
Acoustic treatment, for example: thanks to CAD-assisted acoustic modeling and design, there are now available at least 10 competing systems for acoustically tuning your average 10X12 space to accommodate advanced recording and mixing needs; duties that only a decade ago would have been solved with carpet remnants and egg cartons. Everything from bass traps to HF absorbers to midrange diffusors can now be brought home in a ready-to-install box for about the price of taking the family to a dinner and movie. And man, does this stuff look cool.
Cabinetry, consoles, racks and stands have also turned the corner. These are not your father’s dusty pressboard and laminate gear racks of the 90’s. Today’s consoles are available in virtually every design aesthetic, from classic to modern, of nearly the same sturdiness and reliability of custom-fabricated woodwork.
But in the end, it’s about the gear. And by gear, of course, one means, software.
While there will probably always be some degree of appeal for small, dedicated hardware-based studio recording systems, it is becoming quite clear that for the foreseeable future, studio recording is now the domain of the desktop computer.
Since its inception in the early 90’s, Pro Tools has reigned supreme as the de-facto method of recording and manipulating sound on a computer. However, during this time, not all were enchanted with its system of (relatively) expensive and proprietary hardware cards and rack units; so, for the last decade or so, a large number of very smart, talented people have been developing… perish the thought… alternatives to Pro Tools. And if anything is clear, it is that those alternatives have arrived.
In large part buoyed by simply ridiculous increases in desktop horsepower (a quad core Mac Pro is something like 32 times more powerful than the G5 processors of just 2 years ago), it is now completely realistic to want- expect- a desktop computer, running an alternative system such as Nuendo or Logic Pro, to equal (make that rival) a respectably-stocked Pro Tools HD system… with, um, no additional hardware.
And oh yeah- the Mac Pro is $40,000 less.
Case in point: Apple Computer’s Distributed Audio technology quite literally turns a Gigabit-Ethernet network of Intel Macs into a DSP farm; being infinitely scaleable, this can rapidly be made to outperform even the most high end TDM system.
The added benefit is, of course, that the network itself becomes the processor. Meaning, that simply by virtue of constructing a computer network (weren’t you going to do that anyway?), one creates an audio processor-sharing environment- one that is always on, requires no supervision or task management… it just works.
And who would have guessed that, thanks to an “if the user wants it, it will be coded” mantra, Steinberg’s Nuendo has become, virtually overnight, the film mixing platform of choice? Its offerings of custom macros (and nested macros), combined with its completely programmable and customizable key commands, its compatibility with every single I/O and control hardware made, to say nothing of its integration with the elegant and powerful Euphonix System 5 MC console, is simply too powerful, too accessible, for any creator of TV or film sound to ignore.
Put simply, users want power- gobs of it- and whoa, is it available. The key to power? Scalability and compatibility: let users expand their systems whenever they want, with whatever they want. Don’t make them buy new hardware each time a new Rev comes out. And especially, don’t limit your hardware’s compatibility to one application.
These are areas in which the industry standard, legacy systems, have begun to truly show their “old school” loyalties.
As the concept of the single, large-format mix facility has gone by the wayside, so too has the idea that any one DAW will or could ever meet the needs of everyone. A walk around the floor of the Javitz Center makes one realize, quickly, that committing to any single workflow concept or hardware platform is, frankly, just not a choice people want to be made to make. And starting now, it’s not a choice people have to make. There are just too many options- too many good options, to expect users to want anything other than full compatibility between hardware and software- all of it.
To that end, Solid State Logic quietly announced the release of Pro Convert- which, as it turns out, may very well break more ground, and open the door to complete software universality, than any conforming- or translation utility before it. Pro Convert, rather simply and elegantly, performs a task many had deemed impossible- it converts timeline files, of any DAW format, to a timeline file of any format. Pro Tools to Logic, Nuendo to DP4, Logic to Nuendo… it’s all possible with this dongle-based application (projected price $1000USD). Pro Convert intelligently manages all plugin, automation, MIDI and other data, and asks questions during the conversion process any time it encounters a potential compatibility issue. Been putting off a purchase of that new, super-affordable DAW app because you didn’t know how you would get your Pro Tools files in to it? Go for it.
Long live open standards
As manufacturers once agreed on standards such as ¼” tape, 48V phantom power, and the guitar cord, so have they now hammered out standards such as USB 2.0, firewire, audio file formats like WAV and AIF, interapplication standards like Core Audio and ASIO, VST, XML, SMF, AU… the list goes on. The progressive hammering out of these standards have allowed the computer-based recording world to share the same level of compatibility, and the freedom to choose hardware and software based on needs and budget, as has existed in the analog world for decades.
Manufacturers of DAW’s based on the proprietary hardware concept are realizing their need to not only support open standards, but that any goal of “owning” the recording industry, of establishing “the standard”, is simply no longer realistic. The recording studio of the future will be based on many platforms, all speaking the same language.
The more things change, the more they stay the same
One area which seems to have gained little to no ground is the ongoing debate over how to measure loudness. In a 3-day panel, experts from TC Electronics, the (recently defunct) ITU, Dolby, CBC, and others firmly dug in and held their ground, as they have for the past few years; loudness is too subjective to measure… it’s easy to measure… it’s hard to measure… we should just compress everything, we should all just buy this one box… we should just give up…
If anything did in fact change this year, it was in the length and, at times, pitch of the debate. Short of finger pointing and name-calling, it became clear that no conclusions would be unanimously agreed upon by the end of this year’s panel. With the exception, perhaps, that it may simply be time for the AES to step in, establish some standard (one that many would certainly reject), and encourage the industry to continue moving forward.
If anything, it seems that the current level of disagreement can in large part be attributed to the fact that virtually all those on the panel were, in fact, representing an equipment manufacturer, or at minimum had a vested interest in some piece of gear or code.
One thing’s for sure: where there’s money to be made, there’s an agenda. Or sixty. Hence the loudness debate seems to be something that broadcasters will continue to be forced to shoulder, and push forth on standards, alone, for some time to come.
In that spirit, Dolby Labs has announced their automated quality control system for broadcast, the DP600. Based on the LM100 loudness monitoring technology, it is able to, via network, ingest, correct and output any program content, all in a fraction of real time. Their recent adaptation of the ITU response curve in future iterations of the LM100 might indicate some concession that there are at least a few valid ways to measure loudness, rather than just one.
Dolby was also discussing their soon-to-be released Dolby Volume - a technology aimed at the consumer market that corrects, or “smooths out” uneven broadcast audio levels, while reportedly, not utilizing any form of compression or audible alteration of program dynamic range. Dolby Volume would likely be installed in mid- to premium- priced consumer receiver units, and depending on implementation, may or may not offer any degree of user control. They were clear to point out two key facts- Dolby Volume is not based on the LM100 engine, and, it is not a “loudness button”.
While it remains to be seen whether the LM100 will “win” the loudness debate (or, certainly, at this point, if anyone will win), Dolby is clearly willing to go the long haul and stand behind their unit, and offer support to all customers who choose to utilize this standard.
“Standard”, of course, as in “one, somewhat contested and hotly debated, way of doing it”.
The take home
The real question, always, is this- how does one cull all the information bouncing around the halls of an AES convention, and get a sense of where we’ve been as an industry, and where we’re going? And will that sense be realistic? Will it hold true?
Trying to predict the future of audio is like, well, trying to predict the future. But, one thing is clear: we have turned a few corners.
The Big Rooms have closed; the Home Studio is now just The Studio. Hardware is software, and software is king. Including the word Digital in your company’s name now elicits the response, “um, duh…?” Networks are now multiprocessor grids.
Great stuff. Unfortunately, still nobody can agree on what the word “loudness” even means, much less how to measure it.
The best news is this: despite the decade of fears of the dumbing down of the industry by affordable, accessible computer technology, one thing is clear: no matter how many low-end players enter the market, Pro Audio ain’t going away. In so many ways, the low end is the high end.
But the concept of the convention itself seems geared against making that very type of judgment- so let’s look at this another way. If you realize that you’ve been working a certain way, with a certain toolset for a long time because it suits all of your needs- economically and in terms of productivity- if you are happy, then, by all means do what the “high end” is no longer positioned to scoff upon; keep doing what you’re doing. You’re the small time engineer/mixer/composer, after all, and you’re the sheriff in these parts.
Article by Mark Edmonson
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
A typical night or day for me will be say this past Sunday. I edited for about 9 hours straight and got about a little over a minute of footage done. Yeah, good times locked in a dim edit room for hours on hours. but it's getting there.
Some of you have emailed and asked "So when is Trenches coming out!?"
Well we were shooting for an end of October release (Even I felt that was very ambitious.. ok impossible really) but that has been pushed out due to life, studio, technical difficulties, and simple hard-man working time. This happens a lot in production but one I am not familuar with as i do not tend to be behind schedule to much. Of course past film I set the schedule and deadline and simply got it done when I got it done.
Will Trenches come out at all? Oh yes, you better believe it! After almost a little over a year working on this, yes it will be finished. I am projecting for the beginning of 2008 or 2080 , which ever comes first.
Seriously, Trenches is looking now at a release in Febuary or so. Bear with us and I think your wait will be worth while. There is some great work being done. Below I have posted here for you a little treat to show you a test CG shot from the film. This is a first pass render test from two of our Trenches FX team: CG Supervisor Lee Stringer and FX Artist James Hibbert.
Trenches scifi CG Evac Ship Test Render
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Friday, September 28, 2007
Check out the Spike TV promo they are running, and low and behold they are using a great deal of Pitching Lucas in the Promo..
For my cast and crew out there "Look your on TV!" Did you ever think taking a chance with a little guy like me making silly fan films would get your there? I didn't, but I am so glad you guys are being shown! the Ewok is actually my 6 year old son Ian who was only 4 at the time when I filmed him for Pitching Lucas... I know he will get a kick out of this.
For me I do not get a chance to watch much TV these days as I work on Trenches so I was surprised to see this promo, and I have no idea if they aired Pitching Lucas or just used it for the promo. You tell me if you know more. Thanks Trey for posting about this.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Trenches VBlog is a Behind the scenes look at the making of the film, the people that go into it and some glances at the film as we were shooting. See all the crew & cast that makeS up Trenches, and keep checking back with us as we release more and more. Other then the dork director in this first Vblog episode, hopefully you guys will enjoy it. Your cure for Trench Rot :)
(You know if this film is bad (and from what I am seeing I do not believe it will be) but if it is, I can so see critiques using that wit in a write-up "Trenches is as good and feels as good as Trench Rot!" yeah .. just remember I said it first - but it's not true I tell you :)
Trenches VBlog edited by Jon Minor who was our BTS videographer, thank you Jon!
Video courtesy of: Jon Minor, Errol Spat Oktan, (look Spat I posted your name) and Cat Simone.
So I hope that cureS any itch you might have for now on Trenches, otherwise if you are still having problems you might want to see a doctor about that or get some ointment or something. in the meantime we will keep working over here as Fall is creeping up on us way to fast!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Well I have made some movies and even have seen myself on the big screen, the whole fireman thing didn't work out and astronauts have to be smart, not really me.
But Topps, one of largest makers of sports and entertainment trading cards, has just put out a new Star Wars trading card set celebrating the 30 years of Star Wars, and I am amazed, honored and stunned that my film "Pitching Lucas" is on one of these cards. # 117 to be exact.
The card kindly features on the front a nice picture image from the closing of "Pitching Lucas" and even has a very kind write up about the film on the back of the card and printing my name for all star wars collectors, fans, and kids like me to read.
(Click on card images below to see larger size)
I have to say I never thought one of my films would be on a trading card or my name printed on one. How kewl is that!
A special and huge thank you to Topps and Lucas film for even recognizing fan films, as there are a total of three cards in the 120 card set, showcasing Star Wars fan films such as Pitching Lucas.
Each card has a main picture from a select film on the front, and then a short write up and then another short blurb and small picture from another fan film. My card #117, titled "Welcome to my world" shares the back with renowned and popular fan film "Pink Five" Directed by Trey Stokes. A guy I think I can call a friend now that we talked a good deal at the last Star Wars celebration event. Way to go Trey and Stacey!
Other films include:
Front image- Star Wars Gangsta Rap
Back Image - Escape from Tatoonie
Front image - Jar Jar's walking papers
Back image - Christmas Tauntaun
What can I say, but what an honor and a thrill! A childhood dream! If only trading cards still came with gum, now that was something, and I always loved the smell.
If you guys want a copy you can pick up the Star Wars 30th anniversary trading card set from Topps at comic stores and retailers who sell trading cards, your favorite and mine.. Ebay, or here is a place to order online.
The set includes 120 base cards spanning all six movies, TV movies and appearances, deleted scenes, fan films and some other little treats such as Artist Sketch and Autograph Cards. But the one you really want is card #117 - my new number :)
If you guys want to check it out, Slice of Scifi has put out their latest podcast interview with me online. A great crew of people, Slice of Scifi was one of the first to interview me back in the day when I released Revelations and they have continued to follow my films.
When they got wind of Trenches, they kindly asked if I would be interested in speaking about the project and the making of. I am always happy to and Slice of Scifi has always been there and a great program.
So if you want some further insight, the general ramblings of me, and the making of Trenches, go check out Slice of Scifi's latest podcast release #124. I understand they also broadcast on XM Radio. A special thank you to Michael, Summer and the crew over at SOSF. You guys are great and thanks for all the kind interest and support!
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST INTERVIEW NOW
Let me know what you guys think of.
Also be sure to join friends with the Trenches Myspace.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
But I will not be going to DragonCon sadly :(
No, my excitement is staying home by myself and watching over my 3 small children as my wife gets a much needed break and heads off to DragonCon for all the fun it holds.
OH, something like this.. more or less, but often more.
Anyway, fair is fair, as my wife takes the blunt of it when I have to go off to ComicCon and other events to promote my films or for my 9-5 work. So she will get to go and have some fun this time.
For me I will be fixing woobies, changing diapers, yelling "stop that", "take that out of your mouth", "leave your brother alone" as well as putting out fires. Oh yeah and editing Trenches at night... Oh yes, and exciting jam packed weekend in store for me with great fun to be had!
But if YOU are at DragonCon this weekend, and I hope you are, then be sure to look for my wife as she will have on hand and giving out FREE "Trenches" posters and Dog tags as they last. I think she might even have a few "Trenches" trailer DVDs.
Editing "Trenches" has been going slow but I am making some progress and I have actually added a new editor to my team. Marc Linn, who has been a very good friend of mine from Linn Production, has agreed to throw his hat in the "Trenches" ring and help me out. Linn production has just finished their feature film "Imprint" and it should be releasing to various theaters soon.
I am thrilled to have Marc and Linn Productions join us on the team of "Trenches" as they are very talented and good friends of mine. It's always great to work with your friends.
So everyone be safe, have fun this holiday weekend and send me some pictures from DragonCon!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I hoped in a cab, checked into the hotel and then met some of the studio reps for drinks in the lovely US Grant Hotel where I was staying. Then it was off for a wonderful dinner with the studio at Bertrand at Mister A's, an excellent 5 star restaurant with a stunning view of downtown. The food and company were excellent and at this point the drinks were starting to take their effect. Those that know me, know I am a cheap date when it come to the drinks, so I was feeling pretty good by this point. :)
Next we all piled into cabs and jetted off to a bar for an industry party hosted by one the large talent agencies. It was open bar and that is never good for me. who was there? Well I met a good deal of great people working in the industry, producers, directors, animators, actors, and some stars even showed up like Liv Taylor, & J. J. Abrams to name a few. But at this point I was finding it hard to tell my left foot from my right so to help we went to another bar that was on the rooftop of a hotel and drank a bit more.. it's the best I can recall for you. Now bear in mind my body is on east coast time, so when I finally went to bed at 3am or so .. I was pretty beat.
I woke around 11am with my head complaining about it, showered, dressed and then headed on over to the convention. The whole reason the studio brought me in was to promote Trenches, and I was signing poster for an hour in the Inkworks booth. Jennifer Love Hewitt had just finished signing in the same seat I then sat in, so that is about as close as I got, other then in passing. Guys, she really is very hot, and the fans really enjoyed seeing her.
So I signed autographs for an hour and people actually lined up. I figured I would be sitting there for an hour like a dork, but the line actually stayed filled for the hour. A few camera crews came over and covered the event like, Xbox Live, The Daily Reel, ABC.com, etc. I bet people passing where like,
"who the hell is this guy?"
"I don't know but he is giving away posters and signing them .. let's get one"
So there ya go. You can watch the interview The Daily Reel did with me there on the con floor.
(I sound like a dork and not one of my better interviews) and a good friend of mine who has an Xbox said he was watching the Xbox Live Marketplace that was covering Comic-Con, saw me and jumped up scaring the hell out of his girlfriend yelling "holly crap that's Shane!"
So if you have and Xbox 360 check it out. I will post the video soon. I don't have and Xbox (how about hooking a brother up Xbox?)
The signing was fun and exhausting at the same time, thanks for everyone who came and for the kind support. It was great to see you and meet new people. I am always love to hear what audiences are thinking and meeting great people. It's a lot of fun and I am very lucky.
The only next highlight then was the Scifi Channel industry party that night, which I have to say was very nice and very well done. I got to meet and shake hands with Stan Lee and even Seth Green, telling him how much I like the Star Wars Robot Chicken special. There were actors from BattleStar there and a good deal of industry. It was a great time, too many drinks, and it was great company. Fun to be had, as I have never been to one of these industry party's before till this event at Comic-Con 2007.
So that is pretty much it gang. I was there for only 2 days and had to fly back home Sunday morning, then back to the 9-5 job on Monday and editing at night for Trenches.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
If any of you are going to be at Comic-Con this year, which it seems like a lot of you are, as attendance is at a record high, 4-Day and Saturday Single-Day Memberships have Sold Out! THERE WILL BE NO 4-DAY OR SATURDAY SINGLE-DAY MEMBERSHIPS SOLD ONSITE! . I hope you got your tickets and the hard to come by hotel!
Here is a link to the searchable Program Book
Well if any of you are going to be at Comic-Con be sure to come by and see me on Saturday on the exhibit floor. I will be at the Inkworks booth #2629 from 4-5PM showing off the new "Trenches" Teaser trailer as well as signing slick Trenches Posters for all 5 of you (ok 10 now) who want one. We will also be giving out some exclusive Comic-Con/ Trenches swag which is cool.
Anyway. I hope to see some of you there and be sure to stop by and say "Hey Shane, your OK in my book" or .. something better then that .. whatever the kids are saying these days :)
In the meantime, here is a good Comic-Con youtube video to watch about the people who dress up and what their day jobs are.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Well, finally finally.. I have some time and some news to share with you all. It has been a while since I was back on and sorry about that guys. I have been deep in getting a poster, and a teaser trailer and a website done to release my latest new film "Trenches." I have been talking about it for a while and now I can finally share something with you. I am proud to release for you the official film website and Teaser Trailer video. Go check it out and see what you guys think.
Please help support my latest adventure if your interested and spread the news. Here is a link you can put on your myspace or websites:
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Well this year LucasFilm and AtomFilms are doing the contest again and this year they have opened the contest up to Star Wars fan fiction! This is a big step for the fan community and fan film makers, as fan fiction or serious fan films have never been officially recognized or acknowledged. That has all changed this year thanks to the kind support of Lucas and AtomFilms.
This year they have changed the rules and "Revelations" is an official entry in the 2007 Star Wars Film Contest!
WATCH REVELATIONS ON ATOMFILMS
Go check out this years film entries and support "Revelations" if you enjoy it, and who know maybe this year we might be honored once again by the audience or George Lucas. The fact that "Revelations" still continues to live and be recognized is quite remarkable by me.
GO VOTE NOW
The dream of the little guy still doing what he does.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
It has been some hard work and I have to give great thanks to my wonderful cast and crew. Remarkable hard working people and the results of every one's effort really shows in what I am getting on film. I am very pleased with the performances and we are getting it all done. I have finished filming in the Quarry in Virginia, where we finally got to play with the creatures some, thanks to the designer and builder of the "Trenches" creatures Pete Mander.
I have also finished the bunker scenes and studio shoots in Maryland. So moving on.
Only 2 more days of filming and I will wrap principal photography and go heavy into post.
As always it has been a long hard road and some long hours, but 14 days to shoot a 55min film is really pretty damn good! Especially on the scope and scale for a film like "Trenches"
I will wrap filming on May 13, have a week break and then head to LA for the Star Wars Celebration IV event.
If you are interested here are some more BTS pics from day 7 of "Trenches" - CLICK HERE