Posts filed under ‘ADR’

Help a Genius Who Paints Sound

 mm_logo_300_v2As many of you may know, the DREAM Fund was developed to assist people in advertising, public relations and media industries whose lives have hit unexpected difficulties.  Today, we have a special need in the Houston Area; a need that requires immediate assistance.

Mark Meyer works as an audio engineer at SoundWorks.  He has been diagnosed with lung cancer and unfortunately the chemo treatments have not helped; thus, the current prognosis isn’t favorable.  For the past 6 months, he has worked on a reduced salary and is the primary provider for his family.  Mark has been labeled as a genius at painting sound; however, he is also a master of not making a sound when needing help.  To fight this battle, Mark needs not only encouragement but monetary support for his mounting medical bills and for the care of his family (wife, two daughters and grandson).

Should you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to assist this family in their time of need, please logon to:

click on: DONATIONS

select: Donate online

Fill-in all required areas (*) on the form, uncheck any pre-checked selections and under DIRECTED DONATIONS type: MARK MEYER



Once the donation transaction is complete, you will be able to print your donation confirmation and receipt.

Again, please spread the word and help a colleague in need.  Thank you for your support.

To send a note of encouragement to Mark – visit The Mark Meyer Fund on Facebook or Mark Meyer on Twitter.


November 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Movie Sound Stereotypes …..



Animals are never ever silent – dogs whine/bark/yip, cats meow or purr, cows moo, even in cases where most animals wouldn’t be making a sound.

Rats, mice, squirrels and other vermin always make the tiny little squeaky noises constantly while they are on screen.

Dolphins always make that same "dolphin chatter" sound when spinning, jumping, etc.

Whenever a cliff or mountain is shown, especially if it’s high, a hawk will screech.

In a horror film when there is a full moon there is either an owl or a wolf howling in the distance.

Dogs always know who’s bad, and bark at them. 

We hear the same cat scream in every movie. 



Bombs must always have big, blinking, beeping timer displays.

If something explodes, it takes about a minute for the explosions to stop 

Explosions always happen in slow motion. When an explosion occurs, make certain you are running away from the point of detonation so the blast can send you flying, in slow motion, toward the camera.

Bombs always "whistle" when falling from a plane 


Car brakes must always squeak. 

Car tires squeal when the car turns, pulls away or stops.

While in route we usually hear a large truck and a horn with Doppler effect.


Every button you press on a computer makes some kind of beep.

Text being spelled out on computer screen must make some sort of typing sound.


Storms start instantaneously: there’s a crack of thunder and lightning, then heavy rain starts falling. 

Thunder is always in sync with the lightning, and the explosion sounds are always in sync with the stuff blowing up, no matter how far away. The same holds true for fireworks. 

Whistling types of wind must always be used. 

We hear non-stop bubbles in underwater scenes. 

Doors always squeak.

When in San Francisco, no matter where you are, you always hear a cable car and or a fog horn. 

Exterior Ambiences: No matter where you are outside, if it’s not in the city, you hear a lonely cricket chirping.

Trains: we always hear the same classic distant train horn.

When a light bulb gets broken, there’s always an electric spark sound heard.

Whenever there is a fight or commotion going on in the upstairs of a house, the person downstairs won’t hear a thing because the noise of gunshots, chairs falling over and screams will be totally masked by the following sounds; the phone ringing, the washing machine beginning its spin cycle, the dog barking, a drink being whizzed up in the blender or the maid vacuum cleaning.


Helicopters always fly from surround to front-speakers or left to right. 

People standing outside a running helicopter can always talk in normal or just slightly louder than normal voices.

Every helicopter shutting down emits a chirp-chirp-chirp sound, even though modern helicopters don’t.

An approaching airplane or helicopter will make no noise until it is directly over the characters, at which point it will suddenly become thundering loud.

Characters never hear an approaching airplane or helicopter, even though in real life you would hear them approaching for at least a minute before they were close enough to see. Unfortunately for the characters this also holds true for approaching armies on horseback and tank battalions.

The tires of any jet must screech upon landing.

Any airplane in a dive will make a whining noise that will get louder and higher-pitched the longer the dive lasts. 


When a character pulls out a knife, even from his pants, you hear a sound of metal brushing metal.


Even when depicted as foreigners (including aliens from outer space) actors will usually speak and understand a common language (usually English).

The same women’s recorded voice is heard in every spaceship, space-station, government building, etc. announcing a self destruct countdown.

Kids can always whisper even if they’re two inches away from a villain – he won’t hear. If they step on a branch however, the villains will immediately know its not some animal, and catch them.

When villains fall to their deaths, you can hear their screams gradually fade out, even if they only fall a few feet.

When women run from a bad man they must scream, trip and fall.


Anytime a person speaks into a microphone, their first words will cause the mike to feed back.

The first spoken words must be either ‘Testing, Testing’ or ‘One Two, One Two’.


When the star travels to…

London, we see a shot of Big Ben and hear Rule, Britannia.

Hong Kong: a Chinese junk and wooden xylophone music (or a deep gong).

New York: a traffic jam on Broadway and frenetic music.

Paris: the Eiffel Tower and accordion music.


When listening to music on the radio in the car, the song on the radio never changes during a single scene. The scene rarely outlasts the song…if it does, one of the characters will turn the radio off before the end of the song.

There are never any commercials on the radio.

It’s always easy to find romantic make out music on the radio right when you need it.


The DJ always turns the music down when actors talk in disco and club-scenes. 

Those tiny people far, far away in that long shot on the beach should always sound like they’re talking directly into your ear – no matter how far away they are, even though they’re whispering . . . 

People in a wide open field or dense forest can make their voice echo if they yell loud enough.

When you get punched in the face, it sounds like you broke a salami over the back of a chair. 

Kisses need to sound sloppy and wet. 

Blood will always squish when oozing from a wound.

Dreams always require a lot of reverb. 

People never answer the door until the doorbell or knocking has sounded at least three times.


Explosions in space make noise. For more movie stereotypes visit:

There’s a deep humming in space, no doubt about it.

Sounds in space must have some element of a swishing sound or flanger involved. 


image For more movie cliches visit:





July 10, 2009 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

No Longer Science Fiction – Expensive Airport Travel Is Out!

Expensive airport travel is out and cost-effective online meetings and digital patch recording sessions are in!
Smart businesses are finding every opportunity to tighten their budgets. Now it’s cost effective to interact and collaborate over the web.

Interact -Web Conferencing solutions build interactions & collaboration with employees, customers and partners!

For conferences many businesses turn to cost-effective web conferencing to reduce travel costs while continuing to maximize employee and customer interactions! Web conferencing still allows for quality interactions and customer collaboration. Its no wonder that web conferencing continues to grow.  I have used IBM web conferencing software, GoToMeeting and ooVoo.  Prices and confrencefeatures for web conferencing vary greatly so look before you leap.

  • Meet as usual with your customers, partners and employees
  • Extend your company’s reach without extending your corporate wallet
  • Increase the efficiency of your internal business communications
  • Encourage brainstorming and speed of information exchange

Collaborate – Digital Patch and Virtual Studio Bring Actor and Producer Together

In a similar move audio post production is using technology to reduce travel costs and travel time.  In 1991 Sound ProductivityWorks, an audio post production studio in Houston, introduced Digital Patch which allows a producer to record a voice actor from another studio anywhere in the world. Capabilities continue to evolve. Using this technology, travel cost and time is saved while still bringing a script to life. Add a video camera to the Digital Patch and the producer can see the actor as well as remotely record. For film and video production the same picture can be viewed at both the local and remote locations, all in sync! Virtual Studio takes this one step further and allows the producer to interact with the recording session without leaving home or office.

  • Work with the actor of your choice – no travel
  • Save time, record from the comfort of your home or office
  • Increased efficiency, slash your travel budget
  • Immediate results

NewTechResults now – this is not science fiction!

This is not technology for technology sake. There is no need to compromise the quality of interactions or collaborations. Best of all web conferencing and Digital Patch technologies save time and money! Both of these technologies leverage computing power and the Internet to get great results.



May 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

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

Little used tip for Blackberry

If you use a Blackberry, here’s a little secret that you might find useful …

“Run Programs in the Background”

backberrypair1Some applications have a “HIDE” option in their menu that allows you to “background” the application then go to the home screen and move to another program. Some applications support background operations, but may not have a HIDE menu option. For example, if you need to use Email and a Web Browser to quickly send info to a client, holding the ALT key while pressing the Escape key (back arrow) will bring up a menu of open applications that you can select with the scroll wheel. Use this to quickly switch to a web page, copy some info, and paste it into an email to send your client. This simple little secret makes a routine task tremendously easier.

Now here’s another best kept secret.

“Sound Works doesn’t do JUST the big jobs”

Sound Works has always had a reputation for doing the “Big” projects like ADR for Film and TV as well as Sound Design of Video and Internet Training for some of Houston’s largest firms.  The truth IS while these are certainly prestigious projects, MOST of our work is NOT big in time or budget. Many times you’ll find our estimates and abilities to work within budget less expensive than our competitors. And we’re not talking about trimmed-down “cheap” versions, but a full creative effort on our part to match your needs. Our goal has always been to be your business partner rather than just a supplier. Thats why many jobs are quoted rather than being charged for by the hour. Let us help with new business pitches, animatics and fun stuff for your client to keep them happy. swlogowcircleCall us to discover the ease, efficiency and effectiveness of working with Sound Works, Houston’s premier audio production house.

Oh, and one more secret, we have some of the best coffee in town.

February 26, 2009 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

What a wicked soundtrack!

In the same sense of not needing to know the chemical makeup of the ink to use a fountain pen, this article offers some important considerations in audio post production that can make the difference in your product sounding The directorprofessional or amateur. One of the most common requests made of sound editors is to “clean up” the dialogue. The process used to accomplish this depends on what issues the soundtrack has to overcome. While the removal of clicks and pops may be relatively easy, the more complex removal of background hum, noise and ambience may be required.

Location Sound

sennheiser-mkh-416On location, TV and film projects utilize a shotgun microphone on a boom for long shots, while many close up shots use a microphone hidden on the subject. Both recording methods bring challenges to audio post production. The difference in sound quality between the close up shots and long shots must be matched as well as the varying backgrounds, unless the sound is recorded in a “controlled environment” like a sound stage. But even if the dialogue to be matched is from two different close up angles (like over the shoulder shots for a conversation), the general ambience differences may still be extreme. Hum, mouth noises and background noise should be removed or reduced.

ADR & Dialogue Replacement

ADR process described by Director Peter Masterson and Actor Gene Hackman during dialogue replacement for “Full Moon Over Blue Water” ~ 1988.  Although the process has not changed the technology is now all digital. Sound Works has been doing ADR since the mid 80’s.


Sometimes the location sound is distorted so badly that the director may be tempted to start over and re-shoot the entire scene from scratch. Given the cost of a production crew, location costs and rentals, this may not be the most cost-effective solution. ADR can be an effective solution for replacing individual lines. It requires the skill of the actors and ADR engineer to match the performance and sync. The engineer has a number of tools to assist with ADR. For example, Sound Works has software that will lock-step the sync of the new performance to the original recording allowing the actor to concentrate on expressing the line properly. In post production, the qualities of the performances can be matched in tonal quality and proximity to the camera. The voice “tone” is adjusted to make the voice more “up-front” for the close up reads.

Background Sounds

Location sound engineers should always record background ambience to allow the audio post people more options when matching dialogue. For example, if ADR is to istock_000001786036mediumbe used, the re-recorded line will have little or no ambience compared to the replaced location line. But the previously-recorded location ambience can be added to the ADR sections resulting in a seamless-sounding dialogue track.

But let’s say the shot is at sundown and the volume level of crickets in the background is changing every 30 seconds. It is possible to sample the undesired crickets and peel them out of the sound track leaving the desired dialogue unaffected. At Sound Works, we have several processes to remove or reduce background noise. This is the same process used in our forensic audio service. Removing undesired background noise could eliminate the need for ADR or reshooting the entire scene. And THAT makes the sound editor’s job one less headache!

February 24, 2009 at 12:08 am Leave a comment

Houston to Barcelona – feature film connection

Michael Lopez-AlegriaSound Works just finished the narration for a documentary about Michael Lopez-Alegria a Spanish astronaut and a veteran of three space missions. The project was a feature documentary by Bausan Films Barcelona, Spain & Michael Lopez-Alegria.

The narration originated from Sound Works, Houston. A video feed of the film and the talent were transmitted from Houston to Barcelona allowing Bausan Films to direct the voice over live. Voice was sent CD quality using digital patch. The process saved the film company travel time and money.

The film has not yet been released, but should be out the first half of 2009.

January 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm Leave a comment

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