I can work on your project.

Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Thursday, December 12

The Creative Process

I feel as though this entire conversation can relate directly to sound design, client relationships, the caliber of the studio you work at, the creative process.  Just an amazing conversation.   Take an hour and enjoy.  :)

Sunday, July 14

fun with pzms

I've had access to a nice pair of crown PZM mics for several years, but only recently have I really been running them through their proper paces.

My interest was really piqued a while back when I decided to mount one to the license plate of my motorcycle and take it for a drive.

The fact that the mic could go 80mph with zero wind noise and capture that much punch and detail really impressed me.

Later on, we had a gun recording roundtable on Tonebenders featuring Charles Maynes and Frank Bry.  Charles spoke very highly of the PZMs in his rig for capturing punch and low end there as well.

With all of that in mind, I took the mics out a few times in recent weeks to really get a feel for how they would react in a few different situations.

The first test was the explosive percussive impact test.  Every fourth one of my coworkers lights off some giant mortar style fireworks at his lakehouse, and this year I decided to bring the pair of PZMs and just run those exclusively.

here's what it looked like:


That's cool. Here's the unprocessed recording:

Then to hear the boom I used some parallel limiting to make it much louder, and eq'd some more low end into the crushed channel. The main takeaway for me is that the PZMs really have super fast transient response, and very tight low end response.  They really don't require any wind protection even outdoors in moderate conditions, and they caught a surprisingly small amount of the reverberation in the space out at the lake house.

The next test was to run out and get some ambiances with them.  For both of the following recordings I had the mics on the ground about 8 feet apart.

First up was a residential neighborhood at about 8 am on a Sunday. I eq'd out some of the low end to reduce the traffic rumble, and left the high end untouched.

Second was some rain out by a business park.  similar eq to reduce traffic rumble down low.  high end untouched.  Mics were vertical against a wall.

In both of these cases I got what was a very detailed but not very binaural sounding recording.  Very wide and flat compared to ORTF and XY techniques.

After all of this I certainly feel like my PZMs are underused in big percussive recordings, but I feel like I need to experiment more with placement to get the ambient sounding recordings working just right.  I could try jecklyn disk style back to back placement, but before I do that I need to place some of this stuff against picture and maybe try panning it around a bit in the surround field to see if I like what it's doing.

Thursday, June 20

Ishi - Mother Prism music vid

So, I shot and edited a new music video:

Here's the story behind it:

Ishi is the creation of one of my coworkers - Brad Dale, and his friend John Mudd.

A few years back I filmed their CD release party on a whim and the video turned out very well.  In the interim they've refined the look and sound of the band, and they have a heck of a following in the DFW area.

For the release of the new CD, they asked me back.  I was a little hesitant at first because I know how much time and effort it takes to produce something that looks good, my edit rig was coming apart, and at first I felt I could only commit to shooting the footage.  Once I got the footage in place I was intrigued again though, and I couldn't resist putting an edit together.


The entire video was filmed on my Canon 7D through my 50mm 1.4 lens.  I went handheld 100% with zero lights.  I used the cinestyle flat color profile from Technicolor to shoot with the widest latitude since I knew it'd be a dynamic looking show.

On the day of the shoot I was given full access to backstage, the stage itself, and anywhere on the floor of the Granada theater.  My plan was to spend the time during the opening act backstage shooting the band hanging out and getting ready, and then to hit the floor and shoot the fans prepping up and getting beers.  That worked out great, and I got a number of very intimate moments from the band that ended up making the final cut.  That was also the time I got coverage of the facepainters outside as well as the exteriors and the marquee.

Once the show was underway I knew I had at least two songs that I wanted full coverage of from the perspective of John singing - Mother Prism which eventually was the one used, and Slowly But Surely.  Mother Prism was requested by Brad because he felt it would best represent the show, and Slowly But Surely for me because it was my favorite album on the new disc.

I spent a fair amount of time actually onstage with the band shooting crowd and cool moments over their shoulders, and it was here that I got some of the killer shots of Becky singing into the light and Rocky jamming on the guitar.  Brad was much more difficult to get coverage of during the show because of where he was positioned on the stage, but in the end I got just enough.

Getting the band's faces from down on the floor was much more difficult.  The crowd was standing room only and bunched into a huge knot down the middle.  My attempts to get down low and shoot up at the band generally just resulted in me getting beat up and shooting a bunch of shaky cam that I only kept very small parts of.

After the show was over, I parked by the hallway where everyone was walking out and just shot a 13 minute take of fans streaming out after the show. I got some of the really cool moments of happy people from that one shot.

By the end of it I had shot 40 gigs of coverage, used two batteries, and drank three beers.


The edit took a couple of weeks of on again off again work, but in the end I'm very happy with it.

Step one was to log all of the footage.  I just did this in the finder, naming all of the clips something logical and putting stars in the names of the clips that I really liked.

There were some clips that were straight away triple star clips and I knew they would be from the moment I shot them: brad popping up from behind the console during soundcheck, Rocky hugging his dad, the band having a moment before going on stage, the closeup of rocky noodling on the guitar, John's dark back walk with the lightup glasses, and a few others.

Other shots just turned into cool things through serendipity: the silhouetted girl with the butterfly wings perfectly overlapping Rocky clapping in the opening shot, the slowed down shot of Becky turning and singing, catching John playing drums on a perfect beat in a different song that I could overlay onto this one, the big blue and purple blooms that happened near the end, the perfect framing of one fan's cell phone cam on Becky dancing, etc.

The last few touches had to be manufactured a bit: the balloon popping right on the climax of the song was speed ramped into place and then had the color cranked to death at the moment it popped.  The marquee needed a focus effect to make the ISHI part stand out.  various speed ramps and shifts were done throughout to make things hit the beat that were filmed during other songs that night.


I edited entirely in Adobe Premiere CS6, and it was my first experience with it - having come from Final Cut 7.

The transition was seamless and very intuitive, and I really enjoyed just drawing opacities across the clips and weaving them in and out of one another on the timeline.  I did almost zero color correction, just cranking up the contrast and adjusting brightness throughout.  I really liked working with the native footage that was shot and not having to convert, and titles were very simple to do the way that I wanted to.


In the end I had a blast.  I enjoy shooting these types of things on occasion, and the band put on a hell of a show.

Monday, April 29

quickie editing and navigating in protools vid

After a twitter conversation last week I decided to shoot a quickie video covering something that wasn't discussed - how I tend to navigate around in protools without constantly zooming in and out.


Monday, March 4

living vicariously - my friends trip to mexico

go ahead and hit play, then listen while you read.

Last month my friend Mario took the whole month off and traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico for a vacation.

Before he left, he generously offered to take one of my recorders and roll some audio when he was down there.  Now, Mario is a brilliant chef but he's got about zero experience rolling audio so when he made the offer to take some gear down there with him I figured my Sony PCM M10 would be the best choice for a few reasons:

- The M10 has top shelf battery life.  I figured he'd need to change batteries one time max for the whole trip, and that's if he was recording a TON.  The more likely scenario was that he wouldn't have to change batteries at all.  Battery life on this device is the best of any that I own, and far superior to most others on the market.

- The M10 has the most storage.  It has 4 Gb built in, and another 8 on the micro SD card that I have in it.  The storage also rolls over seamlessly from the internal to the SD card with no user interaction required.  Thats an advantage it has over my PCM D50, and over many other handheld recorders on the market.

- The M10 doesn't require wind protection.  Sure, if it gets up to 15 mph or so it'll blow out, but south of that the built in wind protection works fine.  That can't be said of my D50 or of most other devices with exposed electret condenser mics.  In fact, my D50 often requires wind protection indoors, since even the slightest AC gust will blow it out.

- The M10 is about the size of an iphone, and can easily fit in a pocket.  Its about half the size of the D50 or H4n.  

-The M10 costs about $200.  If it gets destroyed for any reason I won't feel too hard of a loss.

So low maintenance, high capacity, super portable, and moderatly expendable.  I have higher resolution rigs obviously, but this is the only one I could really send out in this capacity with a non-audio guy as the recordist.

And oh man did Mario deliver.  I've only posted a small compilation of some of the stuff he brought back to me, but it really was impressive.  Mario took great pride in his recordings, he just nailed his gain structure and technique, and enjoyed taking some time in the various locales to just sit and listen to what was going on around him.

This horse was pulling a cart that rode on the railroad tracks.  He had pretty good speed too!

Great peacock recording right at the outset.

That's Mario on the right.

Even the traffic ambiances had a smattering of jungle creatures in them.  I love it!

I couldn't be more happy with how it went, and I'm super impressed with the quality that the internal mics on the M10 were able to deliver.

When an opportunity arises, you have to be ready to seize it.  The process of sorting out and listening through all of his recordings from that trip is one of the most enjoyable things I've done all year.

Thanks Mario!

Tuesday, January 1

happy new year!

a little gift on new years - turn your speakers up so the voices sound right, and you'll get a feel of how loud the fireworks were. :) at the beginning of this year I set a goal to blog once a week for the whole year - and I fell short of that. The launch of tonebenders made some of my blog ideas redundant, but I think it'll help re-define what I do in this space a bit.

here's to a happy 2013!