We had the pleasure of hosting an interview with Orange Is the New Black star, Dascha Polanco recently! Dasha was here in Manhattan, while the interviewee was located in LA, so our engineer, Louis Fisher, facilitated their conversation via Source Connect.
We had the opportunity to do post audio on a new documentary called "A Taco Told in Texas" by David Gorvy. The short film premiered at the Anthology Film Archives recently, and will surely hit some screens at upcoming festivals.
Keenan Dubois edited the dialogue to sound nice and smooth, while Louis Fisher and Zac Suskevich mixed it to perfection.
Check out the trailer below!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, set to release in theaters this Christmas 2018, is an upcoming American computer-animated superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man, produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation. The film is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, from a screenplay by Phil Lord.
Liev Schreiber is an American actor best known for his roles in several mainstream films, including the Scream trilogy, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Omen, and Spotlight. Schreiber has also had recent success in television, portraying the main protagonist of Showtime's Ray Donovan. Most recently, Schreiber appeared as a voice actor in Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs.
Dubway engineer Louis Fisher recently recorded English voice-overs for Raise the Umbrellas, a documentary by Evans Chan, examining Hong Kong's democracy movement. The picture, originally released in 2016, was originally spoken in the Cantonese language.
Raise the Umbrellas explores the origin and impact of Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement through the inter-generational lenses of three post-Tiananmen democratic activists – Martin Lee, founder of the Hong Kong Democratic party; Benny Tai, Occupy Central initiator; and Joshua Wong, the sprightly student leader. Comprehensive and intimate, driven by stirring on-site footage in a major Asian metropolis riven by protest, Umbrellas reveals the Movement’s eco-awareness, gay activism, and burgeoning localism.
We've had the pleasure of working with Real World Playbook to record voice-over material for their online course.
Real World Playbook, founded in 2016 by lawyer and Princeton graduate Genevieve Ryan, is an online resource to help recent college graduates and twenty-somethings acclimate to the real world. Their millennial-centric educational programming, tools, and resources help recent graduates thrive throughout the real world transition and beyond, covering areas in finance, health, living, work, and government.
Branded as "the GPS for Adulthood," RWP's innovative online course, 'Real World Ready,' uses millennial-centric videos and quizzes to help college seniors seamlessly transition into life after graduation.
We love what these folks are doing! Explore Real World Playbook online via their website: www.realworldplaybook.com
Below is a guest blog, written by Rhumba's outreach director, Erica Rabner.
An Introduction to Binaural Technology: The Future of Children’s Podcasting
Last week I hung out with Nathaniel Reichman (Supervising Producer – Re-recording Mixer at Rhumba and Dubway) and John Bowen (Sound Supervisor | ADR Supervisor | Music Editor) to talk binaural audio and other buzzwords I’ve been hearing around the studio. I learned about the important role immersive audio plays in storytelling. Nat and John told stories and unpacked techniques and processes behind kids shows and podcasts that help immerse kids in the story.
Before we get started: what is 3D audio?
JB: 3D Audio approximates what you hear in real life. When something is behind you, you hear it slightly differently than when it’s in front of you. Binaural is a type of 3D audio that uses only 2 channels (one for each ear), and it’s been around for more than a century. It was never very popular, because recording required specialized equipment that was cumbersome and limiting. What’s new about what we've been doing, is we’re finally able to create a binaural effect using computer processing.
Now let’s break it down one step further: how would you describe binaural to a preschooler?
NR: Kids should be encouraged to close their eyes, and answer, “can you hear my voice above you, below you, in front?” “Why does it sound different when something’s in front/behind? Think about that...” Not only are kids learning the nuances of binaural recording, but this exercise serves as a great way to explore one of the most important senses: hearing!
I’d heard about using a dummy head in a New York Times piece about children’s podcasting. NYT described the binaural recording system as:
“a mold of a human head outfitted with microphones — to create a 3-D listening experience that feels unlike anything children can read or watch” (Hess, 2017)
Sounds old school, right? Well JB and NR did mention that binaural has been around for a long time - think 1881! HOWEVER, thanks to technology, we’ve upgraded. Now we don’t need to record using a dummy head; instead, engineers can tinker and manipulate information with their computers to yield the same results.
JB: Dolby Atmos has modeled what the head hears for any point in the 3D area of your head so that you don’t have to record with a head to get the effect that something is around you or behind you. There are lots of different models to account for differences in the way people’s ears work, size of head, etc.
NR: When we hear something, we hear it with two ears but the shape of your face and mask of your head creates a filter. HRTF, Head Related Transfer Function, considers how your head affects sound when it arrives at your ears.
With Dolby Atmos, engineers can use a software model of the HRTF in post, which creates the difference of what the right and left ear hear based on what’s between them. Way to go, technology!
As Nat pointed out, both methods have strengths and weaknesses:
DUMMY: When recording with a dummy head, you have to position your actors precisely where you want them in 3D space, and once recorded, you can’t change that in post. “You need to choreograph the scene around the head which takes a tremendous amount of pre-production.” – JB “If you’re recording with a dummy head, you can’t do pick-ups. If the actor is standing in a slightly different spot, the sound will jump around your head in an unpleasant way.” – NR
DOLBY: With synthetic/binaural software, everything can be done in post-production. You can take a normal mono recording and place it anywhere around someone’s head. You can move it in 3D space and manipulate the spatial quality.
So now that we’re all on the same page...why use binaural?
NR: Binaural helps tell a story better. You’re given context on the screen i.e. if two people are talking in a gym, you see them there and your mind expects you to hear them there. These are more than fancy tools to play with -- in an audio only experience, it’s critical to have these tools to make the story compelling.
JB: Virtual reality increases your empathy with the story being told; the same is true with 3D audio in an audio-only program. When it seems more realistic, you feel more invested in what the characters are feeling.
What’s it like exploring a new medium?
JB: We’re in an experimental phase – anything goes right now – which is extremely exciting.
NR: We’re developing a new language now. When reality TV was starting out, they hadn’t developed their visual language, so it was hard to watch. Along the way, they found ways to show things they were having trouble with. Once a new language was developed, things started making sense.
How does audio-only differ from audio with picture?
NR: 3D audio tools help us to compensate for all the information you’re not getting when there’s nothing to look at. You can make a pretty good story with standard stereo, but if you want it to be great, you’ll want to use binaural/3D audio. There’s that old joke that TV without picture is radio, but TV without sound is broken.
JB: In a podcast, you know you’re going it alone with audio, so you approach cutting and storytelling in a way that will work completely on its own. The sound is the only thing that's telling the story. In TV and movies, the dialogue is generally the most important part of the sound because you know the picture can do much of the heavy lifting in other storytelling areas.
I asked Nat and John to talk about "Season Isle,” a unique podcast for Pinna that takes advantage of 3D audio:
NR: In Season Isle, it’s really important to communicate location. Each of the four seasons have their own sound, and it was important to communicate which season we were in without relying on dialogue. 3D binaural allowed us to put people in places and keep them separate. With a non-visual medium as soon as you have more than three actors it gets tricky -- the binaural experience helps you locate them and keep the story straight.
JB: Sometimes, we’d have scenes with five or six characters, so we would set them up across the spectrum from each other, and you’d be able to tell who everyone was – largely by where they were located in space. Dolby makes a huge difference when panning – ‘placing’ is probably a better word for it. You can put a character in the upper right, another slightly behind you, three on your right talking to two on your left. The pinpointing of location of Dolby Atmos is so precise, I can make characters sound like they’re walking – you feel motion just from minute changes in location.
NR: It feels like you’re next to that person and in that space. It’s the complete opposite of an actor in sound booth who has been instructed to stay still on the mic.
JB: Nuances – direction of motion, where people were located with relation to other things – were important to the story. We actually had the director draw us a series of maps so that we could know if we were in ‘Spring’, ‘Winter’ is over there, and we’d have to fly left.
How can you convey what a place looks and feels like without picture?
JB: Say a character is standing on a dam looking out over a wide valley. We want the listener to feel that expansive setting. I might start by taking something like a bird, putting it in the distance – small, and making it echo in a way that the listener’s mind automatically envisions the scope of the scene. There are archetype clues -- we have a sound language for things. Sometimes you don’t need to see it to feel it. Music helps, too – a good composer can be worth a lot in this space.
NR: When children learn, they develop associations between what they see and what they hear in the real world. Binaural tools let us use those associations to create imaginary audio worlds. We’re using the HRTF to give clues. Where am I standing? Is it a big place?
What questions should producers be asking about binaural audio?
NR: They should be asking to come to the studios. Come to us for demos. They need to start hearing the format to find out where the boundaries are. The goal posts have moved, and you have to play with it to understand what can be done.
JB: “How can we use this to do what we have to do more effectively?” We are creating a bunch of new sound conventions, just by solving problems using these new tools. You can hear all the decisions that were made along the way. i.e. I’ve got three characters -- one’s hang gliding, and the others are on the ground. There are cool ways to solve that problem. Maybe you have a group of donkeys, one’s caught in a whirlwind hurricane, the others are watching from a cave. You could show that in 3D by placing the characters on the right in an echoey cave, then placing the whirlwind in the distance with a donkey on the left. Binaural allows us to keep these elements separate and make sense of it all from a spatial perspective.
Is binaural the future?
JB: It’s definitely part of it.
NR: I would say immersive is the future and that we can scale it up and down. The future is scalability. I can listen with my whole family in Atmos or surround sound and later put on my headphones and have an immersive experience in different venues. The new TV format, “Next Gen TV” lists immersive audio as part of the spec. All of our TV mixes will be immersive in the future. It’s great to start early in the immersive formats so when you switch to “Next Gen TV”, you’re already rocking.
1 Feret, Q. “Binaural Audio: How 3D audio hacks your brain.” AR VR Journey, October 20, 2017.
2 Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, June 19, 2013.
Hess, A. "The New Bedtime Story Is a Podcast." The New York Times. 3 Oct. 2017. <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/arts/kids-podcast-panoply-pinna.html>.
Dubway engineer and location recordist Zac Suskevich has been back on set rolling audio for the new season of Grave Mysteries, a Lion TV production on the broadcast network Investigation Discovery!
Grave Mysteries is a TV-Mini-Series in which police pursue baffling murder cases. To catch the killer, detectives must reconstruct the victim's life.
We've recently worked with Atomic Entertainment to recording voice-over for a new series they are in production with – a live-action web series, to be shown on Netflix, surrounding topics of science, aimed for children in middle school.
Dubway Engineer Russell Castiglione worked with producer Matthew Leven via SourceConnect, to record voice-overs from actors in our studio, for the pilot episode of the new series.
Dubway engineer Russell Castiglione was recently in studio with Stereo Williams, recording overdubs for a new podcast by Spotify and Genius.
On March 28, 2018, music streaming platform Spotify and lyric interpretation website Genius (f.k.a. Rap Genius) announced the premiere of an all-new podcast, Déjà Vu, that celebrates the complex musical lineage of today’s biggest artists by exploring the greats who inspired them.
On Déjà Vu, host and cultural commentator Stereo Williams leads a panel of music experts in an in-depth discussion about the ways that modern hitmakers connect to the iconic musicians from the past who paved the way. Each episode will examine the music of a modern day superstar, and uncover the rich history hiding beneath the surface of their sound.
Every other Wednesday, new episodes of Déjà Vu will air for a run of eight episodes. You can now listen to the first one, featuring Rob Markman (Genius' Head of Artist Relations) and Dawton Thomas (Editor-in-Chief of VIBE), here: Episode 1: Is Kendrick Lamar the new 2Pac?
We are very delighted to share the news that Rhumba-produced children's podcast, Season Isle and Remy's Place have been given recognition by the highly-acclaimed Parents' Choice Awards!
Season Isle has been awarded a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award (Category: Audio, Subcategory: Storytelling); and Remy's Place has been awarded a Parents' Choice Recommended Award (Category: Audio, Subcategory: Music).
John Angier, who has composed music for over 30 television series including The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Yugioh, Bubble Guppies, Speed Racer The Next Generation, and Sonic X composed a highly orchestrated score for Season Isle, while Mike Rubin/Richard Julian has a star studded crew of musicians (including Norah Jones) for the live-band based, Rhumba production of Remy's Place.
The two podcasts can be found and heard exclusively on Panoply's children's podcast division, Pinna Audio.
Congratulations to everyone involved on all the hard work and creative energy put into these shows!
Book Club, in theaters May 18th by Paramount Pictures, marks the directorial debut of producer/screenwriter Bill Holderman (A Walk in the Woods, The Company You Keep), from a screenplay by Holderman and Erin Simms. Book Club stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson. Peter Nashel, of Duotone Audio Group, and known for his work on Definitely, Maybe, Carriers and Great Expectations, was hired to compose the score for the film.
Watch the trailer of the upcoming movie below.
This week, staff engineer Zac Suskevich recorded voice-over material, in connection with Studio Line in Paris for remote recording via ISDN and SourceConnect. The talent included writer and actor John Cameron Mitchell (originating the title role in the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and from the remote studio in Paris, actress Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose, Inception, Macbeth).
Dubway has been working on producing the English translation dubbing for a Chinese feature-length musical film.
After the script was translated from Mandarin Chinese into English, Dubway was tasked with adapting the English translation (to match the lip movement of the Chinese characters on screen), casting the many dialog and singing talent, directing the sessions, and delivering the final mix.
Dubway recently teamed up with Nick Jr. to record new voice-over content for Amazon Alexa's kids skill game, The SpongeBob Challenge. Engineer Zac Suskevich worked with actor Dan Bittner (That Awkward Moment, Adventureland, Law Abiding Citizen) to bring SpongeBob Squarepants' character to life.
“To engage the kids, we leveraged the rich soundscape of SpongeBob SquarePants by including its iconic music, colorful sound effects, and beautiful, rich audio transitions, not to mention SpongeBob’s crazy laugh,” says Darren Brelesky, senior VP of product and technology at Nickelodeon.
The SpongeBob Challenge, available for download for Amazon Alexa, has more than 80 memory challenges, and is filled with over 70 characters including Patrick, Plankton, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs, as well as hundreds of music and sound effects from the show.
The skill places kids behind the cash register of the Krusty Krab where they take orders from a host of strange but hilarious customers. In each session, kids face three challenges in which they have to remember the details of each customer’s order—no matter how odd the customer’s cravings may be.
American actors Luke Wilson and Dianna Agron came by the studio this January to record dialogue, with Dubway engineer Zac Suskevich, for a new film directed by Agron. Thanks for stopping in!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actor Brett Dalton was recently in studio to record ADR for a film by Reel One Pictures. Engineer Adrian Thorstensen ran the session with Source Connect, with Reel One joining in remotely from Vancouver, BC.
Last year, Dubway had the opportunity to produce the audio — location recording, ADR, foley, SFX, mixing — for Christopher Piazza's short film, Olfactory. The film won 'Best Dramatic Short film at the Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest last November, and we're happy to share its official online release today ! Watch Olfactory in its entirety here: http://filmshortage.com/dailyshortpicks/olfactory/
Olfactory is a dramatic sci-fi short film about memories and how they never leave us. In the film, “Olfactory” is a system that allows users to re-experience memories. Brian, an app programmer, hacks the system so he can alter his memories, but in doing so, he loses his grip on his current reality.
Olfactory was co-written and directed by Christopher Piazza. It is based on a short story of the same name by Lucas Kane. The film stars Kieran Mulcare (Jessica Jones, Gotham), Alison Barton (Master of None, Friends from College) and Molly Camp (High Maintenance, The Good Wife).
We've been delighted to have taken on an abundance of podcasts that have begun recording episodes at Dubway! We'd like to introduce the new business podcast, How Things Grow hosted by Shamanth Rao.
Listen to episode 1 on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or Google Play, Overcast, or below:
How Things Grow tells the stories of the people who help companies, technologies and economic systems take off - either in recent times or way back in the past. Each episode features an interview with one of the leading growth practitioners, entrepreneurs or experts in the world today.
Host Shamanth Rao talks to these amazing people about the growth trajectories of some of the companies, trends or economic systems that absolutely took off - either in recent times or way back in the past.
How Things Grow is hosted by Shamanth Rao, VP of Growth at FreshPlanet & former travel editor at Mint Lounge (formerly partner newspaper of The Wall Street Journal in India).
Another new podcast has been born in our studios!
Hosts Breece Wilson and Monica Cangero began their new podcast, Single Ladies/Married Women this winter. The new weekly show discusses all the obstacles single ladies and married women face alike: maintaining friendships, expectations, the fun and the difficult parts in love and everything to do with it. SL/MW features guests from single ladies, married women, single and married men, and straight and LGBTQ+ couples.
Listen to their first two episodes below on YouTube:
The film focuses on a former jazz singer (Michelle Hurst, Orange Is The New Black) suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s and her daughter’s (Melanie Nicholls-King, The Wire) struggle to care for her. It deals with the difficulties of watching a family member deteriorate but also seeks to put the audience into the point-of-view of the person suffering the disease.
Baby Won't You Please Come Home features three arrangements of gospel and jazz standards performed by Jazzmeia Horn (who was recently nominated for a Grammy for best Jazz Vocal Album). The film has just been completed and the plan is to hit the festival circuit throughout 2018.