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Into the Earhole: A Sound Guy’s Blog

I’ve been meaning to blog my travels for a while, but haven’t given myself the time to write it properly. I’m still not giving myself the time to write it eloquently, but here’s a place to dump interesting encounters and thoughts, rather than the lounge.

I’ll start with who I am. I’m an audio engineer who mostly works on tv/film production and post audio. I do commercials, reality, documentary, corporate, games, music, and whatever else pays. I’m just the ears. I dig sound, both creatively and technically. The reason I’m doing this on this forum is because I also like computers, and there’s always a great deal I can learn from the community, here, especially given the career differences. I welcome any discussion.

I also have other production-related endeavors. I have been trying to start a side hustle in software, and have been lurning-2-kode in my free time since 2017. You can see my good, bad, and worse public code at

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Went to CA a few weeks ago. I saw two plastic straws. Both producer and talent kept theirs for multiple days of reuse.

I also spotted a homeless looking guy in the city with a boom box on a shopping cart. He had the whole thing plugged into the Christmas lights on one of the trees lining the sidewalk. After passing a bunch of nightclubs while searching for food, it took me a minute to realize this one wasn’t another club, but a homeless man blaring 80’s tunes using city power. 10/10

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The last two weekends I have been working in Montana for the same show as the CA shoot. Last week, I walked into a downtown trinket shop, and there was a little old man behind a workbench. A lady walked by and commented, “it’s nice out here,” to which he replied, “yes, it’s a good life. (pause) …a better life.” It got awkward quick, and she left.

I made a timecode calculator in the pythonista ios app, so it was relatively quick to write, but getting it signed and onto the App Store is a bit of a hassle. I needed something like this because I sometimes use these “instamics,” which are small, ip67 mic/recorder units for impact sports or whatever, and they don’t have timecode, so I have to read it verbally from the master clock, check the recorded Instamic file, then subtract the duration since the start of the file, and modify the metadata with approximate start TC. This app speeds that process up. Also, it’s cool and I wanted to put out some free production-related app as a matter of self-promotion.

Had to come up with a temp icon as well, hence the avatar

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Job in a state crime lab today, more red tape than a government build- oh, wait.

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I met a lady named Tau today. All I could think of were lame math jokes. I kept them to myself.

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Better then what I would of come up with. I just would have said Alzheimers jokes.

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Shoot with a rapper today

You know what they say…

if you ain’t redlining, you ain’t headlining

:neutral_face:

And to be clear, I was NOT engineering this session. Just shooting with the guy who was in session.
Yeah.

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Upcoming overnight shoot tonight.

Me last night: “I’ll stay up late and then crash for a nap before going to the job.”

Me today, after lying sleepless for two hours: “It’s gonna be a long one.”

And what do you know… as I’m writing this very post, I received a schedule featuring items such as

5m - Crew walking to next location.

When the schedule is that tight, Murphy’s law…

Nevermind.

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Oh man, best of luck

I might not get this because I am “just a student”, but how does equipment and crew (assuming more than 2 people) move anywhere in 5 minutes?

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Several different setups in the same building. It’s possible, but giving everyone 5 minutes to be ready to roll is really quick.

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Done with the overnight and back home. It was as much of a hustle as it seemed to be. It was interesting at least, talent was an NBA guy over 7’ tall so G&E put me up on a ladder at one point (bad photo incoming…)

which is unusual and a bit precarious but not totally out of the ordinary. Thankfully, he kept the mood light and playful, so time passed quickly.

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47%20AM

Got a session in straight 24fps (not 23.98). It’s atypical, and in most cases (in my world) comes from a misunderstanding of which FR to choose during production. It doesn’t change anything on my end; nonetheless, it’s a slightly interesting tidbit. Other than that, I’ve been dealing with clients and $ and other stuff I shouldn’t really post about. It’s been… less than ideal.

I’m also considering getting an RX 580 for mac os compatibility. Every other year, I get into a ‘limbo-like’ state upgrading mac os, clover, and nvidia web drivers. this time a big part of the upgrade is for compatibility with JUCE, something I’d like to try out, as I’ve been messing about with audio programming in C++. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and finally have the chops to do it. Anyway, local microcenter has a 590 (want 3x DP outs, most 580’s have 2x). It’d also be nice to actually use the new pro tools (with the newer OS) features i’ve been paying for (i have a permanent license but avid requires an annual ‘support’ subscription) over the past several years.

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I’ve been doing a bit of ENG (news) freelance work over the past couple months, and today I finally got the first check from this network after HR processed all the start paperwork. I don’t particularly care for any major news outlet, but damn does it feel good to know I’m in the system. It’s not hard to get hired, but that initial waiting period was hurting my bank account. As far as pay, the gear fee is barely anything (it’s about 1/6 what it should be), but the labor rates are good, and the spontaneous nature of ENG means lots of OT. I had some other things shift beneath my feet this last week, so anything to diversify my clientele is fine by me.

As far as programming, I’ve got a new audio plugin idea and it is very simple: a Hilbert transform. This plus simple controllable frequency modulation is a huge step towards turning pro tools into the sandbox environment I want. Kyma has everything I need and more, but there are some processes I’d like to

  1. Keep on the CPU instead of DSP
  2. Not leave PT to do something I could set up on one track.
  3. Make everything nondestructively editable in the same software ecosystem

Kyma is a serious deep dive into audio dsp so perhaps I’ll post more on that later.

From this shoot
Can post now

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Putting away dishes and accidentally found a sound I may record later

Also the peach pun is unplanned but appreciated

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I ended up buying the 590 to replace the 980ti, and after much troubleshooting, I realized it worked fine, but the minute I swapped cards, the DisplayPort connector for the cable to my secondary monitor cracked and failed. It took dozens of reboots for me to realize it was the cable. :neutral_face::man_facepalming:

Nonetheless, I didn’t want the 980ti sitting around unused, so I dropped it into the gaming pc alongside the 1080ti thinking I could get some sweet dx12 mGPU action aaaaand it doesn’t appear to make a difference, as the games I’ve tried so far either can’t use different cards (ROTTR) or won’t (Civ VI for some reason won’t let me select it). So, that’s a bust. It would have been a bonus, anyway.

A new thing on the horizon is home buying, which once again means studio building. Until then, it’s travel and reinstalling all those damn plugins on the new os install.

Chopped up an old analog console today. Don’t worry, it was only a behringer…

It’s a monstrosity and was working while in need of repair, BUT it was taking up precious space, so I channeled big Clive and took it to bits. Preamp extraction met an expected failure. I tinker here and there and have done some small electronic prototypes, but I’m no EE. Just a guy with a wrench and an iron.

The power supply is that huge 2U unit with a multi pin connector I’m unfamiliar with. I didn’t try opening that, but I’d bet there’s a gigantic transformer inside that might be worth saving. This thing has got to be 20+ years old; I’ve had it for 10 and it’s just sat around basically that entire time. Once upon a time, I had a small PA system for events, but I got tired of

  • storing it
  • transporting it
  • being voluntold to provide gear for favor events

I had to chop the case in half to fit it into my little car. Tomorrow it goes to the dump or somewhere similar.

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Interviewing some CEO today, he has a story about meeting his eccentric business partner:

The partner lived in SF, and had a neighbor that was a former politician and complained about him throwing too many parties, so he bought the neighbor’s house “at a premium” to eliminate the problem.

He also “had a person following him around to catch the ashes of his cigarette.”

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Utah this week
Found this at lunch yesterday



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