Saturday, September 30, 2006

SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY

Just watched the film Sketches of Frank Gehry, directed by Sydney Pollack. It was released theatrically earlier this year and now it is airing on PBS's AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and will probably re-air soon.

Like many docs, even though the filmmaking technique is not great, the subject makes it worth watching. Gehry turns out to be pretty much a normal guy, not the typical intellectual phony that many architects become. If you're a fan of architecture, or even of documentaries, I'd recommend the film.

Very Exciting Baseball Day!!!

The Dodgers' win today means that they have clinched the wild card at least, and could still win the division tomorrow.

I would REALLY rather that they try to win tomorrow and take the division. That would give them home field advantage (and more games here in Los Angeles). The Dodgers are MUCH better at home.

If they are the wild card, they play the Mets in NY. Even without Pedro, the Mets are the best team in baseball. Steve Lyons is right, the Mets' biggest weakness is against left-handed pitching, so tomorrow Grady Little should start Lowe, and if they lose and go to NY, they have Kuo ready.

If they win the division, St. Louis would come to LA on Tuesday with Penney hopefully ready to start. There's a part of me that wants to see Roger Clemens in post-season. I saw him pitch a few times at Fenway. He was amazing then, and is still damned good. But for Houston to make the playoffs, they would have to win tomorrow, probably with a rookie starter, AND St. Louis would have to lost both tomorrow AND in a make-up game on Monday. So that's a long shot.

With Stultz starting tomorrow for the Dodgers, they are blowing their only other potential left-handed starter, whom they might need in NY. The Dodgers split the series with the Mets in NY, and they lost 2 of 3 to the Mets here. The two games they won in NY were both pitched by lefties (Kuo & Stultz).

I think the Tigers will probably take the AL central tomorrow, making the Twins the wild card, although the Tigers certainly seem to have fallen apart as of late.

In college football, USC won, but by a scant 6 points. No other upsets yet.

Tomorrow in the NFL, Buffalo is favored by a point over Minnesota. As long they stop the turnovers, the Bills should come out ahead.

Cincinnati is favored over New England by a touchdown. I'm not quite sure why, I think NE is a better team.

Dodgers Tie for First!

The Dodgers come-from-behind win in SF tonight tie them for first with SD (who lost in Arizona), and guaranteeing at least a one-game playoff with the Phillies in a worst-case scenario. More likely they will at least win the wild card, and possibly the division, with only two games remaining in the season.

St. Louis won and Houston lost, slimming their chances.

Tomorrow in football, USC is favored by 17 over Wash. St., which they should easily do.

Friday, September 29, 2006

It's Goose-bump Time!

As Vin Scully says, "It's goose-bump time." With only 3 days left, there are a lot of races going down to the wire!

The Dodgers came back today! And rookie James Loney hit an amazing 9 RBI in a single game, including a grand slam! Brad Penney looked terrible, but the bullpen held it together after the Dodgers finally took the lead in a 7-run 6th inning.

And the Phillies lost in DC. In a very late game due to the rain delay. That puts the Dodgers 2 games up in the wild card race.

But San Diego won too, so the Dodgers are still a game back in the west.

Houston won its 9th game in a row, and the Cards lost. Houston is now only 1/2 game back. And with the their records, if the Dodgers win their division, the Dodgers could end up with home field advantage.

In the AL Central, The Tigers and Twins are now tied with 95 wins. What an unexpected ride that division has taken. The Yanks have 96 wins. That's an amazing change! I'd love to see the Twins win the central and get home field advantage.

Tomorrow Kuo pitches for Dodgers in SF.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Angels Eliminated!

It was a long shot, but tonight Escobar had a very weak start for the Angels (going only 1.2 innings) and they lost to Texas 5-2. Oakland won big, 12-3 over Seattle, so the Angels have been eliminated. Had the Angels won, they would have had to win five straight games to force a tie-breaker game.

More importantly, the Dodgers beat Colorado 11-3 with an OK start by Maddux, and the Phillies lost to the Nationals, so the Dodgers are in sole posession of the wild card by 1 game. San Diego won and remains 2 games up on the Dodgers in the NL west.

581 Workflow Issues

During a 581 Greenlight meeting this afternoon, it became clear that there were some work-flow issues that are problematic. Please do not rely on rumors or urban legends when you are making workflow-related decisions. Ask a faculty member who specializes in exactly what you need to know.

Someone has been telling people to do production sound at a 29.97 time code frame rate when they are shooting film at 24 fr/sec and finishing HD. PRODUCTION SOUND ON *ANY* 24 FRAME PROJECT SHOULD *ALWAYS* BE WITH 30 FR/SEC TIME CODE.

242 Assignment 2 Notes

The first of the due dates for the 242 Sound Assignment is only 2 weeks away, so I'm starting to get questions about it. Please read the assignment carefully and remember:

Edit a brief audio sequence that moves from one emotional state to another, using only sound effects, backgrounds, and/or Foley.

Inherently, you will make a more interesting project if you treat it like an "experimental" or "art" film in which the narrative is not the point. The point is the emotional change.

Remember - NO MUSIC and NO DIALOGUE

Students who are in the "A" group will have their sound assignments due Tues., 10/10 at 9:00 AM.
Students who are in the "B" group will have their sound assignments due Tues., 10/17 at 9:00 AM.
Students who are in the "C" group will have their sound assignments due Tues., 10/24 at 9:00 AM.

Star Trek Revised, Week 2

OK, in week two, the visual effects look much worse than week one. The contrast ratio on the HD cleanup still looks much better, but the FX works is minimal and weak. Planets looks static and 2D.

The matte paintings still look like paintings, I don't think they even touched them.

And the Horta still looks like a guy crouching with a blanket over his head, covered by a cheese pizza.

I've never had this confirmed from the source, but I've always suspected that the Horta was named after sound editor Sam Horta, the same way that the Jeffries tubes are named after one of the art directors.

Big Baseball Day!

Even though the Dodgers did not play, it was still a very eventful baseball day!

The Phillies lost, allowing the Dodgers a tie for the wild card! Alas, San Diego won, putting the Dodgers 2 games back in the division.

The Angels are riding on vapors, but they beat Texas 8-3. AND Oakland lost to Seattle in the 10th, 10-9! The Angels live another day, keeping their elimination number of 2. And with Oakland playing their final four games of the season in Anaheim, they could be VERY exciting games. But they have two days to worry about before that series starts, and a very narrow margin of error.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Worldizing Versus Futzing

Several students have asked questions similar to this:
I have a character listening to a fight in a neighboring room. In order to record this sound, would I record the fight normally and then put some sort of filter on in during mixing, or should I actually record it through a wall?

There are two ways to accomplish this effect.

1. Worldizing, recording the real-world muddy version through the wall. Walter Murch probably created this term when re-recording the music in AMERICAN GRAFFITI.

2. Futzing, which is recording it cleanly, then deliberately messing it up electronically, usually done in the final mix with EQ, reverb and/or delay.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Worldizing will sound the most real. However, it is VERY hard to judge how well a sound will work until you hear it in context with everything else in a good monitoring environment. This is the reason we have a mix. So, if you "overdo" the Worldizing, there's no way to undo it. You can always add reverb in the mix, but you can never take it off. Usually, if we Worldize in the real world, we also bring a "clean" version to the dub stage, just in case.

Futzing may not sound as real, but especially if it is dialogue or music, you may not want it to sound real. It may be more important that it is intelligible than realistic. Usually this is the way to go.

242-310 Headphones

I discussed this quickly in class last week, but you will need to buy good headphones, not only for 290, but for 310 and beyond. You should not use earbuds as they are generally not very good, especially for excluding outside noise.

The official sound department recommendable is the Sony MDR-7506, but they generally sell at about the $100 mark (the price has gone up over the last three years).

The 7506 was introduced as a replacement for the Sony MDR-V600 headphones, which were actually BETTER headphones (they are better at blocking out external noise). I found an Amazon link that is still selling the Sony MDR-V600 at only $70!

Here it is:
Amazon Sony MDR-V600 Link

ALSO! Don't forget the COMPOSER-DIRECTOR MEETING

Sunday, September 24, 2006

242 - Subjective Sound

A student asked about the assignment, and I suggested using subjective sound. She responded:

Alright, so to show my ignorance I had to ask 3 kids in our class to confirm my definition of subjective sound and none of them could quite define what it is. I'm guessing it refers to non-diegetic sound, something that isn't necessarily related to the picture but evokes an emotional response? Am I way off?

From Lecture 1:

Subjective sound - using the wrong sound for the right (emotional) effect, even if it is completely illogical. Frequently it is layered with reality-based sounds and/or played at a subliminal level.

So yes, it could be considered non-diegetic. A good example would be the earthquake-like rumble in the Oval Office scenes in Oliver Stone's NIXON. Not at all logical, but very effective.

Nomar Appreciation Day!!!

I went to the Dodgers game today, the last home game of the season and fan appreciation day. It turned into Nomar appreciation day, as he hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th, his SECOND walk-off homer in a week!

Almost as impressive was Dodger pitching, who combined for 13 strikeouts and NO earned runs. The only run given up was unearned, due to a Betimit error at third. Kuo went 7 strong innings, Broxton struck out 3 and Saito struck out 2 of 3 batters faced in the top of the 9th.

Alas, all the Dodgers did was tread water. The Phillies won and the Padres won. The Dodgers are off tomorrow, which means they can at best continue treading water, at worst drop further back in the West and the Wild Card. At least they get some rest before going to Colorado.

The Angels managed to win in Oakland, keeping them alive for another day. With a magic number of 2, they have no margin for error.

The Bills lost, and New England is being shut out by Denver.

242 REMINDER

BRING A #2 PENCIL TO CLASS THIS WEEK.

Tuesday's quiz will cover ALL of OBJECTIVE SOUND. The first half of that lecture was 3 weeks ago (before Tom's guest lecture) and the second half of the lecture was last week. All of this material is on the web site as MP3s.

It will NOT cover Production Sound, as we have not finished that material.

PLEASE BE ON TIME.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE

Saw the film LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE tonight. I guess I expected more. With a Tomatometer Cream of the Crop of 90, I thought it was going to be brilliant. It was definitely entertaining, and very well cast, but the script was not much more than a long sitcom. Although it was a large cast, most of the characters were underdeveloped.

The best of the performances was 10 year-old Abigail Breslin, who showed more depth then the rest of the characters combined.

REVISED 12/26/06

It's VERY rare that when I see a movie a second time my opinion gets BETTER (usually it's the same, and once in a while it's worse), but in this case it did.

My major objection seeing it the first time was that I felt the comedy was episodic and forced and that some of the plot points were hard to swallow. In seeing it a second time, the writing really stands up well, as does the casting and acting. There is still one major plot point that is hard to swallow, but it's funny (albeit unoriginal) so I'll forgive it. I LOVE the ending, which is really a very dark statement on society, while at the same time being heartwarming in bringing the (dysfunctional) family together.



In baseball news, the Dodgers lost badly, and the Padres and Phillies won, so they are not even the wild card team right now. Obviously every game is important now.

The Angels beat Oakland, putting them 7 games back as the clock continues to tick.

College football: USC won, but not quite by the spread.

NFL: Tomorrow Buffalo plays the Jets in a game predicted to be close. Denver plays New England in another contest expected to be close.

Dodgers Shut Out D'backs

Derek Lowe pitched 7 shut-out innings, with Beimel returning tonight in the 8th for two outs, and Saito returning for 4 outs and his 21st save of the season. JD Drew's homer in the 7th would have been enough to win the game.

Alas, the Padres not only won, they took a no-hitter into the 9th. The Phillies also won, so the status quo remains the same.

The Angels lost in extra innings to Oakland, which practically eliminates them. They are now 8 games back with 6 head-to-head games left.

Tomorrow, USC has a 22 point line over Arizona. USC has also moved up to #2 in the coaches' poll. They should do just fine, although as the LA TIMES points out, this may be the first real test for their defensive secondary, comprised mostly of of underclassmen.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dodgers & The Office

The Dodgers won 5-2, in a very good game. Billingsley pitched 5 good innings and gave up only 2 runs, getting the win. Beimel pitched 2 good innings and had an excellent pickoff to end the 6th. Broxton looked weak at first but finished the 8th and Saito got his 20th save of the year in the 9th.

The offense began with a homer by Pirate-Killer Tomato Olmedo Saenz, The play of the evening was a suicide squeeze perfectly done by Marlon Anderson, who is the star of the month. A great win.

San Diego won, so the Dodgers stay 1/2 game back in 2nd place, but with the Phillies off, they take sole possession of the wild card.

While at the game, I Tivoed a few premieres. THE OFFICE premiere was tearfully funny, and bravely subversive in a roundabout way, showing two men kissing in a way that was both funny and heart-warming. They also played the "Jan & Jim" sub-plot well, allowing Jim to transfer to another branch. I love this show.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dodgers Lose to Pirates Again

Second straight loss to the Pirates, who may be one of the worst teams in baseball, but who have been hot in the last two months. Dodgers had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, but couldn't pull it off. Their bullpen is also showing significant weakness. San Diego also lost, so the Dodgers stay 1/2 game back. The Phillies won, so now the Dodgers are tied for the wild card spot.

Tomorrow both the Dodgers & Pirates will be starting rookie pitchers. Billingsly starts for the Dodgers; he was knocked out in the first inning in his last start, the first after returning from injury. Let's hope he's better tomorrow.

Angels won, but so did Oakland.

Red Sox lost. They are trying out a lot of new pitchers. Next year, who knows what will happen. Their rookie closer will probably be converted to a starter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dodgers Drop to 2nd Again

After one of the most exciting games in baseball history last night, the Dodgers lost to the Pirates 10-6, and San Diego beat Arizona to drop the Dodgers back into second place.

The Angels won, but so did Oakland. The Yankees won and the Red Sox lost.

USC Composer - Director Meeting

Scoring Director Brian King and his class of 21 new Film Composers are excitedly awaiting their first contact with our Directors. This is the first opportunity for Filmmakers to take advantage of the extraordinary relationship we have with our music neighbors next door.

I’m happy to announce that some of our Cinema students have already started important collaborations. IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO ENGAGE A COMPOSER!!!


On Tuesday September 26, the first Director/Composer Pitch Meeting will be held on the Spielberg Scoring Stage from 4:30 to 5:30 PM.


NEW FORMAT This semester we are meeting a total of two times. The next meeting will not occur until November 14.

Thanks again for your support making USC student films the best!

4 consecutive Home Runs?

The Dodgers overcame TWO 4-run deficits tonight to beat the San Diego Padres in the 10th and regain the lead in the NL West. For the 8th inning, it looked like a rerun of last night, but then the 4-homer 9th tied it back up. The Dodgers had 7 home runs in the game, which is more than they have had in a couple of weeks combined! I couldn't believe it. Charley Steiner's call was "Is this REALLY happening???" I wish I were home to hear Vin Scully's call!

It was definitely one of the most exciting games that I've been to! The only game I've seen in person that was that exciting was the Maddux 10-inning game that went to the bottom of the 10th with no score, and Russell Martin hit a walk-off homer. If these guys can remember those two wins, they will go far in post-season.

One thing that was really remarkable was Nomah's reaction in the post-game show. Usually the sports writers complain that Nomar never shows emotion, and last night be just about exploded.

Funny how sporting events are about the only time men are allowed to cry. (Contrary to Tom Hanks.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Star Trek

Last week in class I showed clips from the German film DAS BOOT and one of the things I mentioned was that the film showed the German POV of the war, which had not really been done in American cinema. Probably the closest was a film called ENEMY BELOW , starring Robert Michum and directed by Richard Powell. It's a great psychological thriller about two ships' captains in WWII.

I grew up a fan of STAR TREK the original series. I'm not quite old enough to remember its original run, but when I was in my formative years it was constantly in syndication, so I saw all the episodes numerous times. I wouldn't call myself a Trekker (I'd never go to a convention, although I know people who have).

When it was announced that they were going back to revise and contemporize the visual effects of the original series, I was pretty skeptical. I went to film school with Daren Dochterman, who did some revised FX work for the DVD of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE and who apparently pitched the idea to Paramount, only to have them give the project the green light with an in-house visual effects company rather than Daren.

A part of me thought, hey, the original series has lasted FORTY YEARS and is still aired regularly all over the world, do we REALLY need to update it?

The other part of me thought, it's dated. I watched a lot of TV when I was recovering from my illness, and thanks to Tivo, it's easy to watch the unedited versions of the episodes. Although the writing stands up very well, the production value is terrible on most of the shows. Maybe if they're careful, they can fix things without messing it up too much.

So last night the first episode, chosen by fans, aired. "Balance of Terror" is one of the best episodes. Frankly, I'd forgotten how good. An exceptionally well-written episode. Of course, they had great source material. They ripped off the plot of ENEMY BELOW and turned Nazis into Romulans. The most interesting thing in watching the revised version was, for me, the fact that the episode stands up so well. Not only is it well written, but the lighting and camera angles are very dramatic as well, which is not something you would normally see in episodic television. Usually you look for consistency between episodes, but this one has a whole different look. They also use very little music in the episode. In the lame STAR TREK 2.0 on G4, they keep a running count of "dramatic stings" per episode. This one must have the fewest of any episode. The lack of manipulative music actually makes the episode much more tense as a result.

In the revised version, the picture is cleaned up very well, which helps the cinematography.

One of the other things that is impressive about this episode is that it is a "ship in a bottle" episode. This is a term the writers used when they were running out of money and needed to shoot as cheaply as possible, so they would write an episode that all takes place on one existing set. No exteriors, no location shoots, no new sets, props, or effects. The entire episode takes place on the Enterprise and the bridge of the Romulan ship, which is practically a bare set. Yet even with these production constraints, the episode is riveting.

This means, though, that there aren't many effects shots to fix in this episode! So the work is minimal. For the most part, the Enterprise exteriors look great. I did feel like the Romulan ship looks like CGI instead of a model, which is a little distracting.

They also re-recorded the theme music for the opening titles and redid those FX as well. It sounded great, and looked good too. As the show did originally, they did not use the wordless vocals as it was a season 1 episode. Contrary to what I had read, they did NOT change Shatner's read of the voiceover. They did keep the annoying SWISH sounds of the ship, which seem louder now, as they stereo-ized it.

The body of the episode and the end credits did not get much sound work. The music sounded stereo-ized, but not badly, and the sound effects appear to be the originals, although they were also stereo-ized, and they made use of the greater dynamic range now available by making explosions and impacts louder. It's very intense now.

Overall, they did great work, and I look forward to seeing some of the future episodes.

Except, of course, for "Spock's Brain."

Wilhelm Update

A friend reports: "Last night we saw The Charge at Feather River at the Egyptian, in 3D. When the Wilhelm character first came on screen, there was a smattering of applause; when he got shot, there was another smattering of applause! Fame comes in odd ways in Hollywood!"

310 Update

Our times in the Avid lab have changes and will be as follows;

Wednesday Sept. 20 8:30-10 PM YELLOW

Wednesday Sept. 27 7-10 PM YELLOW

Wednesday Oct. 4 8:30-10 PM YELLOW


Class this week will start at 7 PM in Dub B (as normal).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dodger Drop to #2

The Dodgers wasted another excellent outing by Derek Lowe, who went 7 innings, got 9 strikeouts and gave up only 1 run. Jonathan Broxton also gave up one run in the 8th, and those two runs were enough to lose the game and drop the Dodgers 1/2 game back from San Diego. The Dodgers' only run came from a Russell Martin home run.

Tomorrow night we'll be seeing the final game of the series. Once again, the team that wins the game will be #1. Let's hope the Dodgers put together an offense, they have been sadly lacking in one for quite a while. Kent and Drew have not performed up to expectations, and Nomah and Ethier are both in slumps. Without a real clean-up hitter, Furcal and Lofton getting on base won't get anywhere.

This is also what happens when you rely on rookies in the stretch run. Broxton only gave up one run, it's hard to blame him, but he still let a .236 hitter drive in the winning run.

The Red Sox won the double-header at the Yankees, but it's too little, too late. The Angels lost and Oakland won, so their hopes are dimming as well. The Angels are 7 games back now.

In football, my prediction that the Bills' defense would pick up was more accurate that I expected, and they easily defeated the Dolphins. New England also got their offense together and beat the Jets.

USC: Good, Dodgers: Bad!

Well, I had a lot of fun at the USC game today. Amazingly, we got a perfect parking spot in the structure where I normally park, then got a table at the Faculty club for lunch, then walked straight over to the game without incident. USC showed considerable weakness, but still won by 18, not quite beating the spread.

A few big upsets, Oregon beat Oklahoma, and Michigan rocked Notre Dame, which means USC should move up to #3 next week.

The Dodgers were hammered for 11 runs in the first 3 innings; Billingsly was weak, and Stults & Hamulack were weaker. Let's hope Lowe is better tomorrow; I'll be there this time!

The Angels lost and the A's won, so time is running out for the Angels. The Red Sox split the day with the Yankees which was better than expected!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sports Weekend

A very big series starts tonight between the Dodgers & the Padres, with quatragenarians Greg Maddux and the hated David Wells pitching. The Dodgers need to win at least 3 of the 4 games to feel good about winning the division.

The Yankees play the Red Sox, but with them 11 games back, it's not much to get excited about. Today's game is rained out, so they play two double-headers over the weekend.

Tha Angels play Texas, who are pretty weak now, and Oakland must face the White Sox. The White Sox had been everyone's pick to win the World Series again, but now they aren't even going to make it to post-season, with Minnesota moving into the wild card spot.

USC plays 19th-ranked Nebraska tomorrow, and I'll be there.

On Sunday, the Patriots play the Jets. I think Brady will get his passing game together for an easy win.

The Bills play Miami. I think Dick Jauron will get his defense together, even with the inuries. It will be a close game, determined by 3 point or less.

242 Note

I have been informed that you are able to check out separate mike kits at Zemeckis that come with good Sony ECM cardioid condensor mikes, wind screens, and boom poles. I would recommend you try to get ahold of these for effects recording.

242-310 Note: Wolfie Peterson

Peterson did indeed direct THE NEVERENDING STORY

U-571 was directed by Jonathan Mostow, the man who gave us T3.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Continued Humiliation!

The Dodgers took a 5-2 lead into the 7th inning, but for the second time in three days blew a late lead when Brett Tomko (nicknamed Bombko when he was in SF) served up a 3-run homer and lost the lead to the weak Cubs.

That leaves the Dodgers only 1/2 a game up on San Diego, with a crucial 4-game series over the weekend. I expect to be at the Sunday & Monday games.

I will also be going to the USC-Nebraska game this weekend. For obvious reasons, I'm a USC football fan as well. In fact, much like my father was , I'm much more of a college football fan than I am a pro football fan. Dad liked Pete Carroll a lot when he was with New England, but he didn't live to see Carroll's success at USC, where he's really found his strength.

I think it's too early in the season to make judgments on USC, and many other teams, frankly. But I do like the team, even though it's young. And with a number of injuries, the Trojans keep getting younger. The line predicts USC by three touchdowns, but I think it may be closer. Nebraska is ranked 19th and USC 4th.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dodgers Embarrassed by Cubs

I neglected to write about baseball yesterday. Perhaps I didn't want to think about it.

The Angels won and Oakland lost, moving the Angels 4.5 games behind Oakland. The A's won today, and the Angels are being shut out, so it looks like that game is erased.

The Red Sox are pretty much out of it. Wakefield starts for them today.

The Dodgers took a 7-0 lead into the 5th yesterday, then let the worst team in NL beat them 9-8 in 11. The Padres lost, but the Dodgers cannot afford another silly loss like that.

Perhaps the most interesting baseball story right now is the success of the Florida Marlins. With the lowest payroll in baseball and a team almost exclusively comprised of rookies, they are only 2 games out of the wild card spot. Their pay is only $15M, compared to the Yankees $200M. As long as the Dodgers win the west, I'll be rooting for the Marlins to win the wild card.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

242 Trivia Question ANSWERED

The trivia contest is closed, all nine tickets have been given out.

What is the title of the first feature-length film released theatrically that used the Vitaphone system for sync sound?

I'll give you a hint: it is not THE JAZZ SINGER, regardless of what other sites may say.

THE JAZZ SINGER (1927) is wrong, because I deliberately omitted an important word from the question. If I had asked:

What is the title of the first feature-length film released theatrically that used the Vitaphone system for sync DIALOGUE ?

Then the answer would be THE JAZZ SINGER , which used some sync dialogue.

A few people gave the smart but wrong answer of LIGHTS OF NEW YORK (1928), which was the first "all-talkie."

The correct answer was DON JUAN (1926), which used sync music and effects.

More about this in class next week.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Not Much News

The Angels lost, and missed a chance to pick up a game on Oakland. The Yankees lost, and the Red Sox did not play. Nor did the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will be playing three games in Chicago next. Generally I like the Cubs, but the Dodgers need the games a lot more right now.

Tomorrow Tom Holman (THX) gives a guest lecture in my 242 class.

VO Guys

Voiceover Guys

This link was supplied by a student. It's a funny short about the life of VO guys. Don LaFontaine actually DOES drive around in a white limo, it's the only way he can handle all the gigs he does.

Don can also be seen on a Geico ad announcing a normal person's life.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Animation

I'm a big fan of animated films.

Today, the USC Cinema School dedicated its Division of Animation & Digital Arts (DADA) in honor of Disney animator John C. Hench.

The school showed clips from the animation department. With the advent of digital animation, virtually anything is possible, and these films showed a very wide range of creativity. They were visually and aurally inventive in a way that the live-action narratives are usually not. Since the advent of synch sound, most films have showed people sitting around and talking. Not because it is creative, but because it's the cheapest thing to shoot.

I think the future of film lies in our ability to create beyond what we can already experience in real life. People go to see movies to expand their minds and their thoughts through the experience of new sights and sounds.

Roy Disney also showed the Dali short DESTINO which was completed in 2004, after the artist's death. It was far more inventive than any film I saw in the theater this year. But there aren't many Salvador Dalis.

In football, the Patriots came from behind to beat the Bills 19-17, but it was a much closer game than anyone expected. (The line had been 10 points.) It was really lost by the Bills defense, which says a lot about how good the team had been until the 4th quarter. Props to Dick Jauron and the Bills for rising to the occasion!

In baseball news, rookie and first-time major league pitcher Eric Stultz pitched six excellent innings for the Dodgers against the Mets today resulting in a 9-1 win for the Dodgers, and a split series with the Mets, which is much better than most people hoped for. The Dodgers now play three games against the Cubs; in theory, and easy series. Then they come back to LA to play four game against the Padres, who are currently beating SF 6-0, so it's likely they will stay 1.5 games back of the Dodgers today. THAT should be a good series!

The Angels won, but so did Oakland, and the Red Sox won, but so did the Yankees. It's unlikely the Red Sox could ever overcome the 5-game series lost to the Yankees.

INVINCIBLE?

We saw the film INVINCIBLE tonight. It was pretty good, although very straight-forward and by-the-numbers. It was practically a remake of THE ROOKIE with the sport changed. Wahlberg is a good presence, and Greg Kinnear was entertaining as Dick Vermeill, even though he looks nothing like him. The one big piece of miscasting was Elizabeth Banks as the female lead, she thinks she's a lot cuter than she is.

Which brings me to another subject: football. If you've read this blog back far enough, you'll know how I ended up being a big baseball fan. My father was a high school athletic director and football coach for over 30 years. He had one of the winningest records in New England sports history, including eight undefeated seasons, and winning the first Massachusetts High School Superbowl.

So I am a fan of football as well. I was waterboy and later trainer for the team when my father coached. During his tenure, he had four players go on to play in the pros. One, Dick Jauron , is now head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Before that, Jauron was also head coach of the Chicago Bears, and in 2001 he was chosen AP coach of the year when the team unexpectedly made it to the playoffs.

Growing up a fan of the Patriots was tough. Much like my feelings for the Red Sox, though, with the Patriots reaching the Superbowl three times in four years, I'm OK for a while if they don't make it again. So with Jauron coaching the Bills, I've become an overnight fan of the team.

Alas, they start their season tomorrow against the Patriots!

In baseball news, the Dodgers lost, although Maddux pitched fairly well, but the Padres lost as well. Oakland and the Angels lost; Yankees won and Red Sox lost.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Elmer Bernstein

Tonight there was an excellent concert at USC of Elmer Bernstein film music. David Spear and Elmer's son Peter conducted the USC symphony Orchestra and Jazz Band. I was lucky enough to interview Elmer once at USC. A truly brilliant composer.

In baseball news, the Dodgers turned the tables on the Mets and shut them out 5-0, with rookie first-time starter Kuo giving up only 3 hits in 6 innings. San Diego lost, moving the Dodgers up to a 1.5 game lead.

Tomorrow Greg Maddux must face El Duque.

Angels won, but so did Oakland. Yankees lost, but so did the Red Sox.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dodgers Lead by Half a Game

With another shutout loss, this time to the Mets 7-0, the Dodgers drop their lead over San Diego to a half a game. I would not be surprised if the Dodgers lose all four game to the Mets, particularly with two rookie first-time pitchers as a possibility over the weekend. Add to that the weak bats as of late, and it's a recipe for loss.

Otherwise a very slow baseball day.

Technorati Link

Technorati Profile

242/310 Hearing Links

As mentioned in classes, here are links regarding hearing protection and hearing loss.

Hearnet.com
HEI.org

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dodgers Lead Cut to One Game

With yesterday's complete game shutout loss against the Brewers (9-0) and their third loss in a row, the Dodgers' lead over the Padres in the NL west has been cut to one game.

NL Pitcher of the Month for August Derek Lowe pitches today; obviously they need a win, and Lowe has always been strong late in the season. They also need to shore up their rotation. I like the idea of starting Kuo instead of Hendrickson, but with Billingsly injured we may be stuck with the ex-NBA player for a while. Sele is not a great option as he's always been weak late in the season.

The Angels won in the 10th with a walk-off homer by Adam Kennedy, they are now 5.5 games back from Oakland. They have to do just about everything right for the rest of the month, but it's still possible they could win the division.

Red Sox won and Yankees lost to the worst team in baseball (KC), but they are still 8 games back, that's just too much to hope for.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today's 242 Lecture Uploaded

Today's 242 Lecture Uploaded Here

Click on 242 Public Files and you will find 7 MP3 files from today's lecture starting with 9052006. Note that Yahoo is a little screwy at times and you may need to click the folder link more than once to get there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dodgers Lose to Brewers

With today's loss, the Dodgers are now only 2 games above San Diego and 4 above San Francisco. Maddux pitched a very weak game, against a team that had lost 10 in a row.

Boston won, but so did the Yankees. Oakland lost and the Angels are winning 1-0 with Jered Weaver pitching,

Labor Day

Labor Day History

The link above has a very brief history of Labor Day. Because it's a government site, it has a certain slant to it. You can read more at other sites.

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor.

He's right. Most holidays fall into one of two categories:

1. Religiously inspired (Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, etc.)
2. Patriotically inspired (Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, etc.)

In both cases, the holidays often center around family-oriented events, even if it's just a picnic. And we usually somehow recognize the importance of the holiday itself, with a trip to church or temple, or a moment of silence or a 21-gun salute.

Labor Day is different. It grew out of the worker's revolt of the late 19th century, when business owners were taking advantage of the working class and workers were forced to unionize to get simple things like decent and safe working conditions, paid overtime, health care, pension plans, etc.

Somehow, that's been completely forgotten. You'll notice the government web site barely mentions the unions. That's because they don't want to remind Americans that unions are a good thing. (The rest of the world celebrates workers day on May 1.)

It's true, over the years, unions became slothful and selfish, and that's resulted in less and less power for the unions. I'm a member of two unions, the Editors Guild (Local 700) and the American Federation of Musicians Local 40 . Both are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and I had to take an oath to uphold my union brothers and sisters when I joined both of them.

I take that oath seriously. I won't cross a picket line.

And I think twice before shopping at a non-union facility like WalMart. Sometimes it's unavoidable, there's nowhere else near my parents' house in New Hampshire to shop. But essentially the WalMart paradigm functions because they undercut their own workers.

And they supply cheap goods, made mostly overseas in sweatshops, but then so does every other store in the US. Americans have become so accustomed to cheap goods, we've forgotten that our grand-parents and great-grand parents placed their jobs, and even their lives, in jeopardy to march for organized labor.

Today we celebrate Labor Day with a day off. Ironic that we remember the day by NOT working. You don't see many organized remembrances of the men and women who worked so hard for fair working conditions.

Well, I ask that today you take a moment to remember them. And celebrate the day by NOT shopping at WalMart or any other non-union facility. If everyone did this every day, we'd be in a much better country.

EDIT:

I didn't see this until after I wrote the post, but the LA TIMES has a good editorial today about Labor Day.

LA TIMES editorial about Labor Day

Summer Over

Today was a sad day.

Labor Day signals the end of the summer as we know it, although technically it doesn't end until the autumnal equinox on 9/23. Although historically we always considered the first day of school to be the end of the summer, which was usually the day after Labor Day, but now it's two weeks ahead of the holiday.

In any case, we went to our last Hollywood Bowl concert today, which to me really says it's the end of the summer. That, along with the beginning of football season yesterday, marks a big change.

Baseball is still around, thankfully, that will ease the blow. But the Dodgers lost today, big time, to the Rockies. And the Padres won.

The Angels beat the Tigers, but Oakland won. Red Sox lost and Yankees won.

Tomorrow I'll have my Labor Day rant.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Holiday Weekend

As part of our plan to enjoy our holiday weekend, we met a couple of friends at another wine tasting at Vendome. This one was California wines. Pretty good.

Good baseball day. Dodgers hammered the Rockies 14-5, and the Angels beat Detroit, in the 10th, 7-2. Oakland and the Yankees both lost.

Oh, and USC won their first football game of the season, trouncing Arkansas 50-14. A good start!

Dodgers Win Again!

We started off the holiday weekend nicely at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won again in a good game, Lowe gets his second win in four days, Saito gets another save.

And after the game there was an excellent fireworks show!

Angels continue their losing skid. Red Sox won again, but so did the Yankees.