Posts filed under ‘audio production’

SoundWorks adds a new DO

SoundWorks is beginning the year with new audio talent.  We are committed to continually building our team with fresh ideas and great skills. 

SoundWorks welcomes Dee Oberle to our staff. Dee brings her expertise in audio engineering–specifically post-production, video game development, live production, and video editing —in addition to knowledge in a variety of software applications to our vivid mix.

View Dee Oberle
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Like many people in the industry, Dee was inspired to pursue a career in audio after working with the sound team in her junior high youth group. She jumpstarted her career by receiving training from veteran engineers at Madison Media Institute.

On staff at Post Effects/Answers Media, Dee worked alongside Halo Composer, Mike Salvatori, on a series of projects including podcasts for Accenture and redesigning the audio on the Wide Load logo.

Dee’s audio portfolio with Dallas Audio Post Group includes Foley for Catacombs: Directors Cut, editing for educational company Voyager Learning, and third party post-production support on Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood.

As a sound designer, Dee worked with Gearbox Software under the direction of internationally acclaimed composer for Doom III and the Brothers in Arms Series, Ed Lima.  She earned a credit on the AAA title Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway. Other products developed at Gearbox include:  Borderlands and several yet to be released projects.

Additional work as freelancer includes the Lil’ Flip- Kim Kardasian video shoot, worship services at Willow Creek Community Church, TV Man, Inc. and several short films.

Software expertise:

  • · Pro Tools
  • · Sound Forge
  • · Logic
  • · Final Cut Pro
  • · Soundminer
  • · Vegas
  • · Reason
  • · Radar system
  • · XACT
  • · Nitro-SoundMaker/Composer
  • · UnReal Editor
  • · Photoshop
  • · DreamWeaver

Please leave Dee a welcome comment below or welcome her in person at the next Sound Works mixer coming soon.



January 20, 2010 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

Keep Your Audio In-Sync!

today_show_beyonce_nyrd108I once had a film cameraman tell me that sync was not important only to get a call later to fix his production.  That was many years ago when audio was recorded on a medium called magnetic tape or film.  Remember?  Now it’s all digital. I really thought that digital audio would resolve issues but now there are a few more details to consider.

Digital audio is recording in slices or audio samples regular time intervals. This is called the sampling rate.  The standard for recording digital audio for picture is 48 thousand times per second or 48K.  The 48K rate is used because it is mathematically compatible to picture formats. If  there is a variance in the audio sampling rate then the sound can drift in relation to the picture and create chaos in the editing room. Even minor drifts can create problems. Basically there will be more or too little audio for a given scene. I am pretty sensitive to this and I see one or two TV commercials weekly with bad lip sync. 

 SteveFoyHere are some common causes of drifting audio:

  1. The recording was made at the wrong sample rate, not at 48K sample rate.
  2. Multiple cameras and audio recorders and no external master sync source.
  3. No time code is used.
  4. Delay induced by a digital console without external sync.
  5. A mistake in the editing room.
  6. An unexpected equipment failure.

We all know things go wrong so some proper planning and redundancy may save the day.  Always test your setup before recording the final product. Digital recording does not mean good recording.  I have had to fix many digital recordings that were noisy or distorted.  After you do a test recording make sure your location sound man listens to what is being recorded in headphones and listens to the recording of each scene after a take.

If problems do arise, the drift may be resolved by adjusting the playback to match the picture in an audio post house or editing room.  Some productions require frame accurate recording and this adjustment is not acceptable if there is budget to re-shoot the scenes. Happy shooting and may the sync be with you.

December 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm 2 comments

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

Are TV Commercials Too Loud?

loud Why is the volume of TV commercials so much greater than the program? I get this question all the time.  Would you be surprised if I said there is no difference, they are the same volume.  With audio there is a difference between loudness and volume.  Although the volume is the same, the apparent loudness is not the same. How and why?

Broadcasters have specifications that set the volume limit to a value below digital zero, below the digital maximum (-10db below 0). Volume is measurable and it is the same because broadcasters and cable channels require the peak audio volume of both commercials and programs not to exceed this level. In a commercials the volume is near the limit more often than during the program material. Commercials stay close to the maximum volume from beginning to end.  This is done with audio processors that maintain a higher average volume level – so it sounds louder than the movie or TV show.  So what can you do about it?

7848t Here is a device that regulates the apparent loudness – a TV volume regulator to the rescue. The problem is caused by technology – so why not defeat it with technology! I have not tried the device, but I am willing to try it if they send me one. Personally I’m not buying one.  I make commercials and marketers want consumers to pay attention when the commercials come on. Besides the intermission reminds me to stretch.



October 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

Chaos in Surround Sound

The following email exchange is real – The names have been changed …
(my responses are in blue italics)


Untitled-1 Hola,
We may change the date scheduled for  3pm Houston time?

I only have 3pm to 4pm available. Another session starts at 4pm. If we can get your session done in 1 Hour, then no problem. But we cannot go past 4pm.

Ok. We take. The talent meet at 3:15pm to 4pm. I hope is possible finish today, if not, we can found another early day.

Do you mean TODAY? I thought you meant changing the time for your session TOMORROW!

Yes, I thought TODAY at 3pm beguins..

I cannot do TODAY! We were booked for Wed, Jan 14th at 11:30CT and I moved to 3pm same day, not today.

You think we can do today? in your afternoon?

We cannot do today – Sorry.

Sorry for the stress. Really is for TOMORROW. And then we confirm the meet for the talent; Tomorrow Wednesday 14th at 3pm to 4 pm. Ok?

No worries – that schedule change has been made – Session is Wed 1/14/09 at 3pm CT.


PhoneCallSmall We all know media production is a stressful activity. It’s the perfect storm: the clash of left brain/right brain; the stereotypical art versus commerce conflict; entertaining, creative ideas collide with motivated, monetary goals. Our blessing/curse is that no one day is the same as the previous…

But meanwhile back at the farm… the music’s playing so loud I can’t hear myself think, the phone’s ringing constantly and I can’t remember who I just spoke to 5 minutes ago! Oh, yeah – It was our banker who gave me a different story about how to receive payments from overseas clients than the bank’s customer service rep did yesterday. Now I’ve got to decide who’s right & who’s wrong. And no amount of email can get the client in Barcelona to try the PayPal account again after I made changes to our credit card profile…

Sound familiar? Just another day in paradise for those who coordinate production activities with little or no timeline. But somewhere there’s levity. Can we really be serious all the time without going completely bonkers? Comedy is all around you with the right perspective.



October 9, 2009 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Is It Live or Is It… Just Music?

ampexI’ve recently returned to teaching audio at Houston Community College after a not-so-brief hiatus of some 20+ years. As I was preparing a lesson plan about microphones, I outlined in the lecture that recording and microphone techniques could be historically divided into two major categories: old-school & new-school. And inevitably, there was a crossover period where old school techniques co-existed with the beginnings of a new-school approach. And these disciplines coincided over a period well-known for memorable music productions known as the SIXTIES (in reality, 1955 to 1968 +/- a year or so).

Prior to the sixties, the goal of music recording was to CAPTURE a performance. Both theaters and music studios were meticulously-designed in regard to natural sound and acoustics. Levels and volumes were adjusted by the musicians themselves or by physical placement on the “stage” of the performance. The recordist’s goals were to embrace the sound as if the listener were present at the performance.


Paul with his Les Paulverizer, another one of his inventions that amplified and multiplied sound to simulate a full orchestra, delighted 1950s America as a star of vinyl, radio, and television. His inventiveness in the recording process enriched electronics company Ampex using his designs to become the standard in professional recording throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

With the introduction of multi-track recording and large-format mixing consoles in the late 60’s, the new-school era of recording began. The process was conceived and developed by guitarist Les Paul in the 1940s with the  financial and inspirational assistance of Bing Crosby and the Ampex Corporation,Each musical part of an overall performance could be recorded until it was “perfect”. If a “group performance” was good, but the bass player hit a bad note on the 32nd measure, you could now go back and “punch-in” the correct note from the bassist. Isolation of all instruments became ultra important as each part became a “performance” unto itself. Each “track” had its own level & tone control as well as acoustic environment. Now, the recording process BECAME  the “performance.” This phenomenon has grown even more isolated, surgical and non-human in the present-day environment of digital workstations and virtual instruments.

In the SIXTIES… The first multi-track recorders (notwithstanding Les Paul’s research) appeared in 2-track & 3-track formats. Coming from a history of “capturing the performance”, the Rhythm Section of a song still followed the old-school guidelines in either mono or stereo (1 or 2 tracks respectively). That would leave one or two tracks open for a separate, isolated performance of vocals, string sections or horn sections – perhaps even a solo instrument. But the energy and synergy of capturing people playing together as a musical group was kept intact. In the extreme case of Phil Spector’s famous “wall of sound”, there would be two of every instrument – Two drummers, two piano players, two bass players, at least two guitar players & on & on – All playing simultaneously! The results were huge backing tracks full of energy, excitement, tone and acoustic space! And THAT is the magic inherent in the music of the period (and why recordings from that period continue to gain appreciative listeners, year after year, generation after generation).


Bob Dylan

Now I’m not revealing any startling new hypothesis here, nor am I addressing a subject that hasn’t already been reviewed or discussed by many before me. Presently, even music-as-a-career is currently in the middle of a old-school/new-school transition. But it’s always worthy to take a look in the rear-view mirror every now & then, especially in a discipline such as music where the career path to future success is so ill-defined.  We’re all in search of the magic energy of a hit song. And in a world that’s become increasingly virtual and synthesized, maybe some answers lie in mixing modern music methods with the true beauty of human group interaction. Is it live? or is it… just music.


October 7, 2009 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

ZZ Top connects with digital patch



Danny Reeves / Frank Beard

Frank Beard, the drummer with ZZ Top was in the house at Sound Works August 26 from 10pm – 12 midnight. Using digital patch we did a  live nationally syndicated radio show called Rockline, with host Bob Coburn.  Digital Patch technology allows for a live stereo – CD quality connection between two points. Sound Works uses this technology to connect with a network of production studios worldwide several times a week.  Digital patch  allowed Rockline to have Frank Beard live. This cool technology can also be used to extend live recording sessions to other cities!

Last night Billy Gibbons was in LA and Frank Beard in Houston connected via digital patch.  The show Rockline interviews the artists, promotes their tour and plays their music!  During the live show fans are encouraged to call in and ask questions …  I think the funniest question for ZZ Top was “What is your favorite food while on the road?”  Billy answered TV dinners!

If you didn’t hear it – ZZ Top will be streamed for two weeks on Rockline beginning the afternoon following the broadcast. The show featured information about ZZ Top’s new concert tour. The session was engineered by Danny Reeves and Karen Cook took photos.


Frank Beard @ Sound Works


August 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

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