Category: Skywalker


My first full day in SF was quite an eventful one. I met up with Shaun Farley (from Dynamic Interference) to head up to Skywalker Ranch for the MPSE Sound Panel. We had some time to kill, so we headed over to Pier 39 because he was told there were some Seals that hung out over there. We got there, and sure enough, there were a bunch! They made all sorts of crazy sounds! Shaun had his Sony D50 with him and I had my Olympus LS-10, so we grabbed some (contaminated) recordings. Too many people around – but it was fun nonetheless. (Side note – went back there Sunday night with Nick Meade with a 702 and MKH60 / 30 M/S rig and boom pole. Much better results then.) I also might mention that it’s not the easiest thing to deal with these animals – very unpredictable, and lots of cross-talk between them. I tip my hat to Tim Prebble on his wonderful seal library – I now have a better idea how much work it must have been…

Pier 39 Seals

So we left the pier, somewhat deflated because of all the crowd noise in the recordings, but all was good. So we’re walking around and Shaun spots a submarine docked nearby with a “Submarine Tour” sign near it, and he says to me, “Hey, want to go get some submarine ambiences?” I figured, “hey, why not,” so we headed over, paid a few bucks each, and headed onto the sub.

Sub


I was one of those self-guided tours, and there was nobody else around, so we basically had this entire sub to ourself. We started recording ambiences. A few minutes later, Shaun realized that most of the buttons / switches / levers / wheels weren’t locked down, and made some killer sounds! So we literally recorded just about everything that we found. After all was done, we ended up spending about 1.5 hours on this sub, and only saw about 7 or 8 people the entire time we were down there. I haven’t gotten a chance to edit any of the sounds yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll put some samples up! Who knows, maybe it will become a HartFX library, if the recordings came out!

So we headed out over the Golden Gate Bridge to meet up with Nathan Moody (from Noise Jockey) before carpooling up to the Ranch. To quote Nathan, “I can confirm that there are unicorns and triple rainbows at Skywalker Ranch.” Enough said about that. Any more might ruin the magic around it. But about the MPSE event – amazing. Got to talk to Randy Thom, Gary Rizzo, Al Nelson, and many other awesome people! I won’t expound on the event too much, but I will say that it is definitely worth the 1 hour is takes to digest it. Michael Coleman over at Soundworks Collection had his crew there covering the event. You can watch the panel here.

MPSE Sound Panel


Afterwards, Gary Rizzo gave Shaun, Nathan and I a “nickel tour” of the facilities there, but swore us to secrecy about a certain few things, so that’s all I can say about that! However, a special thanks goes out to Gwen for allowing us to have Gary for another 10 minutes :-)

To top off the night, we had the first ever “Sound Guy Scotch/etc.. Tasting” over at Nathan’s place. I came out liking the “Brennivan” from Iceland the best. Cheers to Gunner from Euphonix for gifting that one to Nathan! Go pick some up if you can – very cool drink. The A.H Hirsch Reserve Straight Burbon Whiskey was very good as well!

Very cool day. Got to traipse around SF, Skywalker, and chill with Shaun and Nathan. Early to bed though, since the exhibits opened the next morning. Next up, some of the info I gathered there!

Wow! Tons of stuff going on this week! Big news from Avid, great stuff from many microphone companies, Izotope, and tons more!

The AES trade show floor was considerably smaller than usual, but there was a lot of cool stuff there. If you spent some time digging and talking to reps, inventors, presidents, etc… there was a lot of cool info to be gathered. I did my best at grabbing pics and info about topics and products pertaining to audio post and field recording / production audio. I’ll cover a lot of it here, but if there’s something I don’t cover that you’re wondering about, feel free to ask me if I happened to come across what you’re curious about!

129th AES in SF

I’m going to categorize my posts by topic, so there will be quite a few between here and Sonic Terrain.

Stay tuned – many posts to come this week!

A new edition to Mr. Holman’s amazingly informative “Sound for Film and Television” has dropped into bookstores this week. I can’t wait to get my hands on one! It can be yours for $44 plus shipping on Amazon.com.

With its stunning visuals and other-worldly (literally) creatures, Avatar needed to pack a huge sonic punch, or there was no way Cameron would be able to sell Pandora to the audience. When you need a post audio job that big, who better to go to than Skywalker Sound.

Skywalker Sound, stationed in George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, 45 minutes north of San Francisco, is the pinnacle of all that is sound design, especially when it comes to science fiction. With a staff stacked with the legends of sound design, such as Ben Burtt (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, ET, Wall-E, Star Trek, etc…) and Randy Thom (Star Wars, Cast Away, Harry Potter, War of the Worlds, a handfull of pixar movies, etc…), Skywalker is able to tackle pretty much anything.
Skywalker’s veteran mixer Christopher Boyes (Jurassic Park, LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Iron Man) was at the helm as Sound Designer, Re-recording Mixer, and Supervising Sound Editor. He did nothing less than to completely sell the world of Avatar, completely immersing you in Pandora’s glory (especially if you watched it in 3D in one of the chest-thumping IMAX theaters).
Sound blog Soundworks Collection has a great video interviewing Boyes about the sound design of Avatar.
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