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Crunchy mid range dialog on Star Trek Discovery Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 29th March 2019
  #91
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Jamie Mac's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I cannot say to them "there is nothing I can do about it" I have to redo it even if it costs me money. I guess what you are saying is that it is poor audio and nothing can be done about it so learn to live with it?
This doesn't translate to audio post production in my experience. If people want more time, it will cost more money. If they don't have it, they will have to learn to live with it.



What I'm basically saying is you have every right to complain about it sounding bad. But on this forum you're preaching to the choir, but also making strong uninformed accusations about the post production crew's role in the bad sound. And that is a bad precedent.
Old 29th March 2019
  #92
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I am a professional mastering engineer and I get paid to do quality work and if someone does not like what I have done I cannot say to them "there is nothing I can do about it" I have to redo it even if it costs me money.
A better analogy would be that you mastered an album that was poorly recorded due to budget constraints and a fan of the band started complaining about each track of the album questioning the skill and dedication of every one involved, including you the mastering engineer, with comments like:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I have go assume that there are a lot of people who really cannot hear what is going on or really don't care.
Alistair
Old 29th March 2019
  #93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Mac View Post
Of course you can criticize. I meant complaining repeatedly about it here in this forum about every episode you hear something in. The possible reasons have been given...

And no mixer is going to put in his own time for free to clean up audio more that there is budgeted for. Neither are the ADR guys going to do more lines than budgeted for, because everybody wants everything to sound good. That’s not how it works.

It’s all about budget. And like many others have said it is not uncommon for networks and producers to go all-in on visuals. Meaning there is almost nothing left for audio.
So it is all about $$$ or the lack there of. GREAT! What a WONDERFUL way to work...I wish I could work that way.
Old 29th March 2019
  #94
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Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
So it is all about $$$ or the lack there of. GREAT!
You got it
Old 29th March 2019
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
The above statement that is in bold type sounds like a cop out for bad audio. I am a professional mastering engineer and I get paid to do quality work and if someone does not like what I have done I cannot say to them "there is nothing I can do about it" I have to redo it even if it costs me money. I guess what you are saying is that it is poor audio and nothing can be done about it so learn to live with it?
It would be more akin to complaining about the grand piano in your master sounding thin when the recording engineer high passed it at 700Hz or whatever. What can you do about it?

If the budget isn't there to rerecord the piano it isn't there. The recording engineer already did his job. The mix engineer did his job. Nothing you can do and you did your job. People don't want to spend more money on it so.. there we are..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
As to your statement " think it's a bad precedent to start a thread every time someone thinks something sounds bad on TV or in theaters" WHY??? It is my right as a paying customer to criticize things that are not right, unless you are going to use the same argument "there is nothing anyone can do about it." FWIW
I think part of the... let's call it "reluctance"... towards threads like these is that they often tend to point the finger at known individuals who were left no choice in the matter. We've had this at least three-four times before and I have to admit I cringe a little every time it happens because it's so easy for the threads to become personal, even if it's just implied (and it often does get more than just implied).

This just reflects my feelings about it, but I suspect others may share that sentiment.

---

PS: From a purely pragmatic standpoint it seems to make more sense to me to complain to the network rather than here. If you complain about it here then the people you will reach aren't necessarily people at the network, but the engineers involved. They're quite likely not in a great position to complain (again) to their superiors that more money needs to be spent and so the only reasonable expectation of a practically positive result from bringing it up here is that those engineers would do a better job, which, as we said, isn't really possible... So again - reach out to the network and start a social media campaign to do so on other social media where a lot of the audience of this show are hanging out.
Old 29th March 2019
  #96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Mac View Post
This doesn't translate to audio post production in my experience. If people want more time, it will cost more money. If they don't have it, they will have to learn to live with it.



What I'm basically saying is you have every right to complain about it sounding bad. But on this forum you're preaching to the choir, but also making strong uninformed accusations about the post production crew's role in the bad sound. And that is a bad precedent.
No disrespect meant or implied.

I just find it amazing that a network show can get by with bad audio for 1 + season and no one seems to do anything because of the $$$. As I have said before shows like NCIS and NCIS LA have really GREAT sound so... are you saying that on these shows they have more $$$ for audio? I guess neither NCIS or NCIS LA has a large budget for special effects so they can spend more money on audio. What a messed up business model...especially for people who's lives are all about GREAT audio. I commiserate with you and everyone who has to do bad things due to lack of $$$...
Old 29th March 2019
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I just find it amazing that a network show can get by with bad audio for 1 + season and no one seems to do anything because of the $$$.
Sorry to be blunt, but have you been living under a rock?

This is capitalism. People want to make a profit. That's the number 1 priority for businesses. Not to create great art.

Add to that the desire for the consumers to pay as little as possible. Add to that the ability to binge without seeing the commercials that indirectly pay for the content. Add to that the fact that many now violate copyrights to consume without paying anything at all.

I'm not surprised or amazed at all.
Old 29th March 2019
  #98
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Jamie Mac's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
No disrespect meant or implied.

I just find it amazing that a network show can get by with bad audio for 1 + season and no one seems to do anything because of the $$$. As I have said before shows like NCIS and NCIS LA have really GREAT sound so... are you saying that on these shows they have more $$$ for audio? I guess neither NCIS or NCIS LA has a large budget for special effects so they can spend more money on audio. What a messed up business model...especially for people who's lives are all about GREAT audio. I commiserate with you and everyone who has to do bad things due to lack of $$$...
In the minds of the network or producers it is different logic: Why spend more money if people watch and enjoy the show and most people don't complain?

Speaking for myself: I wouldn't describe my job or life being all about GREAT audio. That would be a very frustrating life as a mixer.
My job as a mixer is about making the best out of whatever is coming my way, within the constraint of time and budget.
And I enjoy doing that.
Old 29th March 2019
  #99
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iluvcapra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Sorry to be blunt, but have you been living under a rock?

This is capitalism. People want to make a profit. That's the number 1 priority for businesses. Not to create great art.
I suspect the EPs would strenuously dispute this assessment.
Old 29th March 2019
  #100
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Sorry to be blunt, but have you been living under a rock?

This is capitalism. People want to make a profit. That's the number 1 priority for businesses. Not to create great art.

Add to that the desire for the consumers to pay as little as possible. Add to that the ability to binge without seeing the commercials that indirectly pay for the content. Add to that the fact that many now violate copyrights to consume without paying anything at all.

I'm not surprised or amazed at all.
No living under a rock but my "audio world" seems to be much different from yours. The people I work for, my clients, care about the sound that I master and want it done right. BIG difference from what I am reading here in this thread where $$$ matters more than quality. So be it.
Old 29th March 2019
  #101
Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvcapra View Post
I suspect the EPs would strenuously dispute this assessment.
I assume that EP means Executive Producer???
Old 29th March 2019
  #102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Mac View Post
In the minds of the network or producers it is different logic: Why spend more money if people watch and enjoy the show and most people don't complain?

Speaking for myself: I wouldn't describe my job or life being all about GREAT audio. That would be a very frustrating life as a mixer.
My job as a mixer is about making the best out of whatever is coming my way, within the constraint of time and budget.
And I enjoy doing that.
And my life is all about GREAT audio. Different strokes for different folks.
Old 29th March 2019
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
And my life is all about GREAT audio. Different strokes for different folks.
And fortunately for you everything you receive has been recorded in a controlled environment with acoustics designed to enhance that sound.
In Post it’s literally the opposite.
Old 29th March 2019
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvcapra View Post
I suspect the EPs would strenuously dispute this assessment.
I'm talking about those making decisions about how much to spend. If it was all about making great art then breaking even would suffice. Clearly that's not the case. And if you take examples such as this one (along with my experience at face value) then clearly something is off here, right? Things won't end up sounding objectively bad, something people agrees upon, without concessions having been made for some reason.

The most obvious reason is: "We" don't want to spend more money because "we" prefer to increase profits. "We" being those making those decisions.

There will always be exceptions of course but from my perspective it really does seem that there's a line you bump up against in most productions, and that line is "we won't accept less profit than this", ergo something else has to suffer then.
Old 29th March 2019
  #105
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iluvcapra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
The most obvious reason is: "We" don't want to spend more money because "we" prefer to increase profits. "We" being those making those decisions.

There will always be exceptions of course but from my perspective it really does seem that there's a line you bump up against in most productions, and that line is "we won't accept less profit than this", ergo something else has to suffer then.
As everybody knows, sound is be definition a loser and unprofitable, basically a charity, this is why Skywalker Sound could only have been founded by the well-known communist George Lucas. (insert sarcastic emoji here)

Apart from "profits" the producers do also have all kinds of competing interests on the production to pay for. The show apparently has a lot of really amazing groundbreaking visual effects, for example. These things are quite expensive.

Natch, you might argue that maybe VFX offer more value in terms of an entertaining or sellable Star Trek TV show than a good dialogue mix, but that's a totally different argument. And in any event, no matter what value judgements have been made, I'm sure that the post producers on STD -- like every other feature and episodic project I've ever worked on -- demand the highest level of excellence, in whatever balance of good/fast/cheap the producers define. And you'd be right in saying striking that balance is finally on them, not on us. I do a lot of low budget movies ask me all about this!

I am not sure if "creating great art" or "profit" are necessarily at odds, or even much of the time at odds, depending on what you mean by "art." Though I'm not certain how "art" relates to a Star Trek TV show, or a pristine dialogue mix. A lot of great, artistic films have a pretty punk dialogue mix, and not necessarily out of cheapness, and this does not detract from their final value as art.

And I'm not going to say you're altogether wrong, but it's pretty reductive. There are a lot of easier ways to make money than on A CBS All Access TV show, money's not the sole driving consideration or even the primary one. It's not like these people are simply money-grubbing philistines, I've worked with one of the showrunners and he has high standards for the sound mix, or at least, he did with me, though on our project he probably had more control over post. And on our project, maybe, the sound mix was simply of more value to what he was trying to accomplish overall.
Old 29th March 2019
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Mac View Post
In the minds of the network or producers it is different logic: Why spend more money if people watch and enjoy the show and most people don't complain?

Speaking for myself: I wouldn't describe my job or life being all about GREAT audio. That would be a very frustrating life as a mixer.
My job as a mixer is about making the best out of whatever is coming my way, within the constraint of time and budget.
And I enjoy doing that.
This is a good point, producers wont think twice about cutting audio budgets if they do it once and get away with it. Therefore, it would be a good idea to send the producers/Network of ST an enthusiastic feedback letter of disappointment to at least attempt to get them to think twice.

Only ranting about it here, will not help.
Old 29th March 2019
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvcapra View Post
And I'm not going to say you're altogether wrong, but it's pretty reductive.
It's not reductive, it's just pointing out the basis for this issue. If better audio requires more spending and more money isn't spent, why is that - if not because of the demand to make a profit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvcapra View Post
There are a lot of easier ways to make money than on A CBS All Access TV show, money's not the sole driving consideration or even the primary one. It's not like these people are simply money-grubbing philistines, I've worked with one of the showrunners and he has high standards for the sound mix, or at least, he did with me, though on our project he probably had more control over post. And on our project, maybe, the sound mix was simply of more value to what he was trying to accomplish overall.
Yeah but showrunners aren't the ones with the ultimate demand on profits, it's the owners of the various businesses and IP.

The larger point I'm making is simply that it's often the case that people are making money off of shows specifically because it doesn't "trickle down" enough to make the shows 'better', and that one shouldn't be surprised that that's the case given that it's in a sense the basics of capitalism illustrated.

In any case 'it's not our fault'
Old 30th March 2019
  #108
When I worked in television a long time ago we endeavored to make every show perfect. I worked with a bunch of perfectionist at a PBS station in Ohio. I realize this is not what audio engineers who work on episodic television do today. The station I worked for had good equipment but not the best and we made do with what we had. We had to be creative and we had to take equipment that was older and in some cases not in good repair and make it sound good. It was a good place to work and everyone pitched in and got the job done. We won a couple of awards for our productions and we had a team of very creative people working at the station. Everyone was open to suggestions and we worked closely with our directors and producers to get the job done. It sounds like this is 180 degrees from how it is done today. It seems like $$$ rules and no one can come up with any ideas or suggestions that would make the show better. Too bad.

It seems that a lot of people here are trying to justify not doing a good job by saying there is no $$$ for doing a better job. How about being proactive instead of reactive and finding ways to make the program better by not just tossing more $$$ at the problem?

You are in a world I can only imagine but I think the basic of good audio production still apply. Sorry if I have ruffled a few feathers but I now understand the hows and whys of what you are facing on a daily basis. Best of luck!

FWIW.
Old 30th March 2019
  #109
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Not "justyfing"; "explaining"...
Old 30th March 2019
  #110
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
When I worked in television a long time ago we endeavored to make every show perfect. I worked with a bunch of perfectionist at a PBS station in Ohio. I realize this is not what audio engineers who work on episodic television do today. The station I worked for had good equipment but not the best and we made do with what we had. We had to be creative and we had to take equipment that was older and in some cases not in good repair and make it sound good. It was a good place to work and everyone pitched in and got the job done. We won a couple of awards for our productions and we had a team of very creative people working at the station. Everyone was open to suggestions and we worked closely with our directors and producers to get the job done. It sounds like this is 180 degrees from how it is done today. It seems like $$$ rules and no one can come up with any ideas or suggestions that would make the show better. Too bad.

It seems that a lot of people here are trying to justify not doing a good job by saying there is no $$$ for doing a better job. How about being proactive instead of reactive and finding ways to make the program better by not just tossing more $$$ at the problem?

You are in a world I can only imagine but I think the basic of good audio production still apply. Sorry if I have ruffled a few feathers but I now understand the hows and whys of what you are facing on a daily basis. Best of luck!

FWIW.
Unfortunately, most of what you said doesn't apply today.
Location sound mixers get fired for speaking up too much.
And shows are being shot in warehouses, not sound stages. With multiple cameras, so a boom can't be used, and sound budgets that require a complicated show to be ready for playback in a day or day and a half.
Old 30th March 2019
  #111
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iluvcapra's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Unfortunately, most of what you said doesn't apply today.
Location sound mixers get fired for speaking up too much.
And shows are being shot in warehouses, not sound stages. With multiple cameras, so a boom can't be used, and sound budgets that require a complicated show to be ready for playback in a day or day and a half.
Note well the trends:
  • More episodic stuff getting made now than at any other time in the history of Hollywood, thus
  • The warehouse thing is budgetary, but part of that is there's just a TON of TV getting made now and LA has run out of studio space. There's studio space under construction if you believe that!
  • All these non-prestige/HBOish episodics aren't competing with features for the most part, they're competing with YouTube and podcasts. And even really cool stuff we dub at Tech, like Cobra Kai, that's a YouTube series, you watch that in your autoplay in between Flat Earth videos and videos on how to mod your Commodore 64. There's a big smeary line between a second-tier network or cable series, and Digital Content. And even then there's a big smeary line between studio-produced Digital Content, and Patreon celebrities making $10k a month in their basement.

I dubbed a pilot for Facebook a few weeks ago, which is now producing gobs of TV. 30 minute show, shot in a warehouse. I got an AAF at 9AM, played back for them at 2pm, did notes, added some effects, and they walked out the door (happy as can be!) at 7pm. They were happy, that's my takeaway; if they were happy with that, I'm pretty sure they'd die for a Star Trek: Discovery dub.
Old 30th March 2019
  #112
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iluvcapra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
It's not reductive, it's just pointing out the basis for this issue. If better audio requires more spending and more money isn't spent, why is that - if not because of the demand to make a profit?
I’m not sure it’s money all the time, some of them might actually WANT to work this way. It’s easier and faster, they’re coming from situations where an editor just clicked a “denoise” checkbox and it sounded like RoboCop but whatever.

I’d be concerned about a future iZotope starts selling Neutron to these people, except that they can’t seem to be able to tell the difference anyways. Dialogue intelligibility is king, crackly mids can help that sometimes

Dunno, whenever I need a reality check, I pull my DVD box set of the complete Emergency! of the shelf and listen to one of those. I mixed a series last year for a EP who’d come up through 80s episodic TV and his idea of a good dialogue mix was very different from mine, or even his younger post APs. He had a perfectly servicable budget but he rarely shot with a boom, mostly for time savings but I also believe he preferred lav sound. And mixes with him were long and very exacting, he cared a lot.
Old 31st March 2019
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
we endeavored to make every show perfect. I realize this is not what audio engineers...do today.
No doubt the sonic signature of ST does not align with your sensibilities. That’s fine. But I can assure you the overwhelming majority of craftspeople in this business care very very much about their work. Time will be up well before perfection is achieved. Deadlines. It’s a thing.
Old 31st March 2019
  #114
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by galaydees View Post
No doubt the sonic signature of ST does not align with your sensibilities. That’s fine. But I can assure you the overwhelming majority of craftspeople in this business care very very much about their work. Time will be up well before perfection is achieved. Deadlines. It’s a thing.
Absolutley
Old 31st March 2019
  #115
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It’s sounds just like any other Netflix show on my end. Could the artefacts be a by product low bit rate streams?
Old 1st April 2019
  #116
Just for fun I listened to the original Star Trek and Star Trek the Next Generation to see how they sounded compared with the new ST Discovery. The dialog in these two show is GREAT (compared to ST Discovery) and the music beds and sound effects are well done. Is it maybe that mixers today are relying too much on their digital software to "fix problems" and not getting good sound to begin with compared to yester-years way of doing things? Just wondering.FWIW
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