Archive for March, 2009

Hollywood Knows Houston



Houston – Sound Works provided ADR services for Summit Entertainments film “Knowing” starring Nicolas Cage. It was on the top the box office with about $24.8 million in domestic ticket sales its first week according to industry estimates.

Chandler Canterbury

Chandler Canterbury

This must-see Sci-Fi thriller is a big movie featuring slender blonde aliens, imitations of apocalypse, clairvoyant children and Nicolas Cage as very intense astrophysicist. Eleven year old Houston native Chandler Canterbury plays Caleb Koestler, Cage’s son. Sound Works provided dialogue replacement on several scenes with actor Chandler Canterbury.

The ADR process requires the actor to watch pre-production footage and lip-sync his lines. ADR can be used to fix sound problems including distortion, background noise, diction and interpretation. Sometimes ADR can be used to add new character – just altering a few words for phrases an actor can change the whole emotional feel of a shot. It also can affect the bottom line because dialogue replacement is less expensive than shooting a scene over again.
For “Knowing” Sound Works provided a CD quality digital patch to post production company SoundFirm in Sydney, Australia so they could direct Chandler’s lines in real-time. See these related ADR articles.

Tools like digital-patch and ADR software plus experience on hundreds of films and TV shows has put Houston’s Sound Works on the Hollywood “A” list for post production sound. Smaller regional and local documentaries, commercials and training videos also benefit from this Houston/Hollywood sound connection. Sound Works uses their abilities to work within budget on projects of all sizes. You can always direct your work remotely but if you are producing in Houston, bring your swimsuit; the pool and HOT TUB are always available.


March 23, 2009 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

Solved by forensic audio detection

Some TV crime scene investigation programs tend to be more fiction than reality for the sake of drama. But even if you disregard the drama, today’s audio evidence restoration possibilities are truly amazing.


What is audio restoration? It’s more than someone running your audio program through an equalizer (a glorified tone control with multiple frequencies). The process actually seeks to repair the sound. If you are faced with restoring audio evidence, here are some aspects in regard to the process to familiarize yourself with before speaking with a forensics audio engineer:

Audio Recording

Audio Recording

  • Decide exactly what sections of the evidence need to be restored.
  • Know the time length of the audio to be processed.
  • Identify the media format of the recording (example: micro or standard cassette).
  • Provide the original recording, if possible (copies introduce more noise).
  • Make sure the restoration process is non-destructive to the original recording.
  • Get an evaluation sample and listen to what can be done to improve your recording before you commit to having the whole recording processed.
  • Have the restored audio supplied in a trial-ready format.

There are many resources in a forensic audio engineer’s restoration toolbox: volume leveling, analogue and digital EQ, compression, expansion, scientific filters and advanced analysis software. Many projects require a combination of these be applied. Even projects that are less demanding or cost-sensitive may still benefit in the intelligibility aspect of the recording.

What can be restored? Conversations made on hand-held recorders, audio from video tape, phone conversations, and surveillance recordings. An experienced forensic audio engineer can repair, improve or eliminate unwanted noise and improve the intelligibility of a recording suffering from issues such as:

Get rid of the NOISE

Get rid of the NOISE

  • AC hum

  • HVAC units
  • Cameras
  • Generators
  • Motors
  • Noise from mechanical damage to the recording
  • Wireless microphone noise
  • Distortion caused by overload
  • Ambient room noise
  • Buzz
  • Fixed frequency noise
  • Clicks and pops
  • Crackle
  • Background noises

SoundWorks has over 25 years of experience in forensic audio and has restored hundreds of sound recordings. We also supply expert witness services and have testified in local, county, state and federal cases

March 18, 2009 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

Dirty Harry is not P-C

Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

Clint Eastwood ~ "Dirty Harry"

Movie star Clint Eastwood does not see anything that is funny about political correctness. Dirty Harry tells Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that today’s society lives in fear of being labeled racist when we mention jokes with regards to ethnicity or nationality. People have lost their sense of humor. In former times we constantly made jokes about different races. You can only tell them today with one hand over your mouth otherwise you will be insulted as a racist. I find that ridiculous. In those earlier days every friendly clique had a ‘Sam the Jew’ or ‘Jose the Mexican’ — but we didn’t think anything of it or have a racist thought. It was normal that we made jokes based on our nationality or ethnicity. That was never a problem. I don’t want to be politically correct. We’re all spending too much time and energy trying to be politically correct about everything. Do I hear an Amen?

March 17, 2009 at 9:30 pm Leave a comment

Get a gadget, stay informed

_gangsta_gadgetAs a tech guy I am always looking at new gadgets. I will admit I rarely look to buy because electronics are not cheap, especially on the cutting edge. But, I love to keep up with what could be “The Next Big Thing” out of personal curiosity.

If you one of these people and you have not found yet, well there it is (<= over there). Go get it. Want to know more? Okay, let me explain. has a simple premise: it is just a blog about personal electronics. It has an utterly simple design and is updated daily by multiple writers. It’s long on nice pictures and will not waste your time with overwritten multi-page articles, though it occasionally links back to these on other web sites. It covers just about everything from trendy smart phones to new laptops, from next-gen cars to alternate energy. It even has a whole sections dedicated to mobile devices and televisions. For my own use I am researching possibilities for a new laptop and a replacement for my dreadful MotoQ. makes it easy for me to keep up with all that is new in tech easily, without having to scour multiple tech sites.

I subscribed to several months ago based on the recommendation of a friend and haven’t been disappointed.

March 5, 2009 at 1:13 am Leave a comment

Marketing Trivia Questions ~ Blackberry vs. iPhone

Perception is 99% reality! Marketing can make the difference to a product or business. It’s all about consumer awareness. What is the difference between marketing, PR, propaganda and communications? Is the Blackberry vs. the iPhone like VHS-Beta war of the 1980’s?

Continue Reading March 3, 2009 at 5:12 pm Leave a comment

Playing Russian roulette with your image

Recovery from a virus attack or corrupt OS (operating system) can be a challenge. Don’t play with fire, no matter what your system, run an antivirus, do regular recovery images and have some basic recovery tools.

Some Windows examples are below but similar solutions exist for Apple and other OS based machines.

Just yesterday a client informed me that the Geek Squad wanted to charge him $300 for fixing his laptop after getting a virus. You can fix it yourself. If you have backups it will save you hours of time. My client had not made backups. The fix was time consuming and really a good value considering what had to be done:

  1. Backup all the documents and media
  2. Remake the hard drive and install the OS
  3. Install an antivirus
  4. Install any OS updates and fixes
  5. Restore the previously backed up data
  6. Install all the programs again
Acronis True Image

Acronis True Image

Third party software is one of the main reasons that cause system instability. Windows has an automatic system restore feature that allows you to roll back to a time before you installed the software that created instability. That’s an easy fix for simple corruption.

Don’t backup your system – image it! I recommend that you run disc images to an external hard drive. There are many programs that will image, I prefer Acronis True Image but if you are computer savvy try TeraByte Image For Windows and save some money. Image For Windows has improved and simplified their interface but it helps if you are a geek.

Image For Windows

Image For Windows

An imaging program makes an image of the entire drive will allow you to restore an entire drive image or individual files. You can even successfully restore an image of your boot drive. Both of these image solutions allow you to backup your computer while it’s operating. A backup program without imaging replaces step one and five above – but you still must perform the other steps to fully recover

Russian RouletteAre you feeling lucky? Don’t play Russian roulette with your computer. You need to have a recovery solution in place and make regular reoccurring images.

March 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment


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