Posts filed under ‘film sound’

Houston Creative Summit is Friday October 23!

71_t is your last reminder to save $25 when registering for The Houston Summit for the Creative Economy, lifting off this Friday at Rice University’ McNair Hall.

An elegant vase by Houston artist Terry Hagiwara has been donated by the Goldesberry Gallery to be our door prize. You must be present to win!

Walk-up registrations will be $125, but if you act visit right now, you can still register for $100 with the code word ‘collaborate.’

— Connect to Houston’s most vital community of fire-starters
— Boost creativity and innovation in Houston
— Learn how to turn ideas into reality
— Build relationships with supporters and advisors
— Join teams revolutionizing Houston.

Register now at or call (281) 433-2302.

Spread the secret code "collaborate" by email, word of mouth, social media. please forward this email to everyone you think needs to be there. follow us on twitter @houstonsummit and tag your tweets with #HSCE. Look for us on Facebook and Linkedin, too.


Creative Summit Schedule

Friday, October 22, 2010


Check-in, networking



Welcome, orientation


George Worthington


Opening panel

How creativity drives Houston’s economy

Jonathon Glus, CEO of Houston Arts Alliance

Peter Bishop, futurist and UH Professor


Move to strategy labs



Strategy Labs

Urban Regeneration

Andrew Burleson of
Russell Hruska, AIA of Intexure Architects


Arts-based learning

Donna Howell of Third Coast Theater, artist Lillian Warren and representative from corporate training at Weatherford


Incubators & hives

Matthew Wettergreen of Caroline Collective, and 
Marc Nathan of Chai One, formerly with Houston Technology Center


Local assets

Brian Rod and Cody Ledvina of The Joanna, plus more names to be announced


Recap of learning



Culinary arts panel

Creating Cuisine

Teresa Byrne-Dodge of My Table and 
Monica Pope of t’afia




Buffet by Grant Gordon of Tony’s and Michael Cordua’s restaurants, Monica Pope. …


Move to strategy labs



Strategy Labs


Mauro Ferrari, The Alliance for Nanomedicine


Medical innovation 

Pumps & Pipes Conference founder Alan Lumsden, head of cardiovascular surgery at Methodist


Creativity, technology and community

J.R. Cohen of, Alfred Cervantes of Houston Film Commission


Digital, design & film

Tim McLaughlin, Texas A&M Visualization Department
Jerry Alexander of Acumen Design


Recap of learning



Closing panel

Marketing the Creative City

Ward Pennebaker, agency founder and chief marketing officer for Houston Grand Opera, Steve Latham of Spur Interactive agency and Dwight Cook of Soundworks and OnlyInHouston


The Symphony of Ideas


Conducted by Durwin Sharp of The School for Innovators


October 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

Foul Language

Do you have a family and want to control what your children are exposed to in the media.  Satellite and cable has some controls but common foul language has become a part on the media.  Try to watch a military or cop show without cussing.    Not that I am a prude but many times when I try to watch a movie, and I love movies, bad language takes away from my experience.


Well a device has been updated that promises to remove foul language from broadcast TV, movies and DVD’s.  It’s called TVG.  I had one of their early models years ago. But I was not able to use it HD TV.  Well it’s back, and now it works with new TV standards. It mutes the bad words in the audio, and pops up a closed caption of the missing dialogue without the offensive words.  You can configure the unit from strict to light filtering, and even filter religious and sexual references. Filtering out the bad words is not for everyone but with 12 million TVG’s sold, perhaps there is a market. The foul language filter concept is not new but now this unit works with HD video and even 1080p.  I just ordered mine. See it in action below:


May 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

Iron Wins

I saw Iron Man last night with a couple of friends. This movie is just full of one-liners. It is a good balance of funny human moments and dramatic sci-fi comic book adventure.

Are you one that sits and watches all the credits at the end of the film. I do. The sound design was amazing. So many scenes in this movie would have failed without good audio design. I was surprised at how many digital special effects people were listed in this film, quite a crew. A truly amazing film.

May 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Favorite Video of the Week

Credit Unions are a different kind of fighter. Underdogs? Maybe. Champions of a cause? Most definitely. But what is certain, is that the ground has shifted, and your corporate-driven opponents have lost their footing. Now is the time to fight for your share and differentiate yourselves from banks. Now is the time to tell your story. Because you are a different kind of fighter.

Congrats to Third Degree  for great concept and creation!


February 5, 2010 at 3:26 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 you Analog or Digital?

Are you in the analog or digital camp? In other words, do you prefer the sound of analog (LP’s) or the sound of digital (CD’s)?

Before you answer, let’s get geeky and look at some definitions and also a list of pros and cons for both types of recording:


Analog: An electrical signal that continuously varies in strength as related to some form of input.  

Analog Recording: A means of recording audio or video whereby the recorded analog signal is a physical representation of the waveform of the original analog signal. Some examples of analog sound mediums are vinyl records or LPs, cassette tapes, 2” 24 track tape, 8-track tapes, VHS tapes etc..


Digital: A reference to a system whereby a continuously variable analog signal is reduced and encoded into discrete binary bits that establish a mathematical model of an original signal or other information.  

Digital Recording: A method of recording in which samples of the original analog signal are encoded on tape or disk as binary information for storage or processing. Some examples of digital sound mediums are CDs, DAT tapes, Digital Betacam tapes, MP3’s, WAVs, AIFs, etc…

Blah, blah blah
analogueDigitalSo, an analog recording is a signal that’s actually stamped upon a recording tape or medium.
A digital recording is actually snapshots of the signal captured in intervals, much like a moving picture can represent action over time when the sequence of pictures are played back in sequence.
Digital one’s and zero’s are stored on mediums such as a compact disc or hard drives.  

  Now that we have a little background, let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of each:

Analog Pros

  1. It’s a an accurate representation of sound but is limited by the device and recording medium.
  2. Many people find analog sound warmer and more pleasing to the ear.
  3. Distortion caused by over driving the recording with volume saturation can deliver a more pleasing result than digital methods.

Analog Cons

  1. Recordings are susceptible to degradation.
  2. Copies of the original recording are noisier and more distorted. 
  3. Editing is more cumbersome and time consuming.
  4. The background noise of the media (tape hiss) and recording device become a part of the recording.

Digital Pros

  1. Easier editing.
  2. Duplicates are an exact copies.
  3. Noise floor usually exceeds human hearing ability.

Digital Cons

  1. Recording at too loud a volume results in a harsh unpleasant sound.
  2. Conversion from analog or one digital format to another must be done carefully to avoid loss of fidelity or gritty sound.
  3. Most people feel that digital recordings are colder or more sterile than analog.

listenOk, made up your mind yet? Did the techno-babble above change your position? Or are you more conflicted?

Let me throw another wrench at you. Most people, even most sound engineers, have a hard time differentiating between the sound of analog and digital. 

Take a few minutes to watch this Wired Science episode that ran recently on PBS and you’ll see what I mean. Audio Files Vs. Audio Files.


Tech Note: Analog tape saturation offers a natural compression, lowering the audio peaks causing softer sounds to seem louder, smoothing high-frequency content (cymbals) and boosting the low bass frequencies.

Ok, here’s my two cents worth – I prefer analog sound because it’s artifacts are more natural and actually pleasing to the ear. Analog distortion is warmer and more acceptable. But digital recordings are easier to manipulate and each copy is an exact replica of the original.

Today there are a variety of tools (Plug-ins) available to the audio professional that can add an “analog” feel to digital recordings.

It’s possible to get the best of both worlds, the ease of digital editing and the warm sound of analog. People will always debate Analog and digital recording methods. Today the best sound engineers use both.

Please post your thoughts and comments below. Look for a future blog entry on this topic including some wild stories …


August 14, 2009 at 9:53 pm Leave a comment

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