The Importance of a ‘Sound’ Education For Filmmakers

The Importance of a ‘Sound’ Education For Filmmakers

The proliferation of home studios is an undeniable reality in the music industry, and everyone from long-time professional musicians through to emerging talents are investing in their own. While digital technology is perhaps the sexiest and most interesting part of the budget and plan, it’s widely accepted that some investment in acoustic treatment is a necessity. Particularly if the end result of all these efforts is to compete with recordings completed in a traditional large-scale recording studio.

Similarly, in the visual realm, digital technology is making it such that known and unknown filmmakers (perhaps better defined as ‘media creatives’ as most are recording in digital formats), are making and self releasing films looking to compete with the product coming out of, again, the traditional large-scale studio. Technology has never made this more possible than now. Exciting prospect for many, right?

Right. With the appropriate tools and talent anything is possible. So, what are so many media creatives missing despite being armed with ambition in spades and the latest digital camera and editing software? According to Mark Edward Lewis, owner of online education website Cinema Sound, they are missing about 80% of the equation — top notch audio. Yes, you read that correctly, 80%. “We take a lot of heat about this, until we pose this question: “If sound and imagery were really 50/50, then audiences would like a good video/bad audio scene as much as a bad video/good audio scene.” And if you step inside Lewis’ impressive educational offering, he shows you examples that support his declaration should anyone have doubts as to its validity.

So why is it that so many media creatives believe that audio (at best) represents only 50% of the equation? Lewis explains: “The problem is, [they] believe George Lucas’ whimsy as truth “Sound is 50% of the picture.” He was joking. If sound were 50% of Star Wars, he wouldn’t have hired the greatest composer of our time and the greatest sound design team of all time to create its sound track.” But still, this narrative prevails and it’s one that Lewis is working hard to correct. With over 85 hours of education on his website, he offers what he describes as “what every media creative needs to get Hollywood-level sound in their productions and deliver it at a professional level.”

It’s not difficult to imagine the enormity of the task to deliver on that statement considering the audio for video component of education in film schools has been so significantly under-emphasized. Prior to starting Cinema Sound Lewis was part of an educational tour covering North America and Australia, seeing over 1,200 filmmakers, all trying to figure out sound-for-picture. “At every stop on the tour I queried the audience about their film school experience and education regarding sound. I unswervingly got the same response: “I learned how to hold a boom pole and not go over zero on the meters of the recorder.” I can further assure you that when we did the holding the boom pole section of the event, they hadn’t learned that but thought they had. My experience with our Cinema Sound members is much the same which is why they covet the education on Cinema Sound.”

Once Lewis gets his students to the point of having captured high quality audio, his work is not done. In fact, this is where he teaches his students that they might not be hearing what they think they are hearing. This can be a confounding prospect for the students considering all the time and effort that has brought them this far. Lewis’ challenge is to teach the lesson that musicians and producers have known for ages. Unless you are mixing your recording in an acoustically treated space, you are taking a wild stab at what your audio tracks will actually end up sounding like and how they will translate in various playback spaces be that a theatre, car, club and on different devices such as televisions and smart phones. “If the most honed minds in the business have wonderfully tuned and treated rooms, why would anyone think they shouldn’t too?” Lewis’ caveat: “If media creation is simply a hobby, keep enjoying your hobby, but if you want to compete, you must have the basics: “Good speakers in the right place at the right angle at the right volume (isolated and stabilized) and primary reflections taken care of.”

To demonstrate this, Lewis has created several videos as part of his education program and enlisted Canadian acoustics manufacturer Primacoustic, to treat the Cinema Sound studio. “To get it done right, having materials which are made by professionals is advisable. Taking the surgical foam from your mattress and stapling it to your walls doesn’t help as much as you’d think, and your reflective desk does more damage to your mix’s translation than any amount of treatment you’d put on the ceilings or floor – to say nothing of what your speakers are lying to you about sitting on that desk.” Cinema Sound’s studio B was treated with a combination of Primacoustic Broadway fabric wrapped panels, Paintables™ printed panels, Bass Traps, Nimbus ceiling clouds and Recoil Stabilizers for speaker isolation — to help those speakers tell the truth.

The space presented some challenges being that it is a portable studio. “Even though our situation was complex, we were still able to get a powerful reduction in primary and secondary reflections as well as a 15 dB reduction in ambient noise. In fact, once installed, we started noticing the self noise of the 5.1 speaker installation we have in the studio – which we never heard prior to that.” In a typical fixed space Lewis reiterates how simple and straightforward the process is and of course supports each of his claims with a video so students of Cinema Sound see how the space was physically treated as Lewis takes them from unboxing to product assembly thru to completed studio space.

Despite being the venerable expert educator for all things audio for video, there presented an occasion in the process of treating Studio B where teacher became student. Lewis generously (and humbly) shares the experience: “Outside the studio is a waiting room/living room where there’s a flat screen and a 5.1 system for watching movies etc. It’s a pretty good custom-built system by yours truly. When the Primacoustic kit came, we unboxed it and leaned it up against a wall temporarily while we finished reinforcing the walls of the studio in preparation for the treatment. Well, it took us longer to retrofit the walls than we thought, and the Primacoustic treatment stayed in that waiting room for over a week. One night, I was watching a movie in this room (which has no treatment at all), and I notice that the entire left side of the system was not only low in volume but darker than the right. It’s Lf and Ls. Re-patching cables did nothing. Switching speakers did nothing. Turning up the left channels helped, but it still felt dark. It’s not until the eureka moment of me looking at the left wall of the room – plastered with Primacoustic panels two rows deep – that I realize that the speakers were fine. The room ambience and reflections on the left side of the room were being wiped out by the panels while the right side was doing its normal bouncing-about. It was a great moment to realize the importance of absorption and diffusion verses straight reflection. It wasn’t funny until I figured out what was happening!”

Despite it being accidental, Lewis’ experience illustrates the importance of balanced acoustic treatment in an editing suite. Lewis reiterates: “The Cinema Sound mission is to improve the production value of independent media so much that it competes with Hollywood-big-budget media so that the general public chooses Indy projects as much as Hollywood projects. The best way we know to do this – and the most efficient in time and budget – is by improving audio and it doesn’t cost a bank-account-full to treat your room.” The simplest starting point solution from Primacoustic is their prepackaged room kits designed to treat rooms of various sizes. These retail from between $249.99 USD – $1575 USD. To simplify things even more, the company website features a form that media creatives can submit to receive a complimentary treatment plan and quote.

For more information on Primacoustic and the Free Quote Form

For more information on Cinema Sound

Published at Thu, 26 Jul 2018 07:05:59 +0000

Filming on tour with Elton John

Filming on tour with Elton John

DaVinci Resolve Studio and DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel are being used by Video Director John Steer and On-tour Post Production Specialist Chris Sobchack for end-to-end post on a variety of video productions for Grammy-winning legend and singer/songwriter Elton John.

A Micro Studio Camera 4K is also used on tour, in conjunction with a Micro Cinema Camera, Video Assist and Video Assist 4K to shoot interview and behind-the-scenes (BTS) footage, along with HyperDeck Studio Pro and HyperDeck Studio Mini to record the live performances, and MultiView 4 to monitor camera feeds. Teranex Mini and UltraStudio Express are also used to send camera signals to the video wall on stage.

“While on tour, John and I are responsible for shooting and post on a variety of video productions, such as content for Elton’s YouTube channel, clips for broadcast television and award shows, packages for fan clubs and VIPs, dedication videos, and more,” said Sobchack. “It can involve archival footage, current tour footage and new footage that we, or outside video production companies, shoot, such as interviews and BTS, so we rely heavily on DaVinci Resolve Studio in post to bring everything together, often on very tight deadlines.”

The process involves taking tour footage with reference audio tracks from the sound engineer and deconstructing the footage, along with archival elements, BTS and newly shot footage, into component shots for editing, grading and audio sweetening all in DaVinci Resolve Studio. According to Sobchack, audio post can be as simple as compression and leveling, or as complex as getting some or all of the multi-track files the team records each night to augment, or even create a complete studio mix. “I’ll also add and keyframe audience microphones to enhance the live ambiance or use the Fairlight page to minutely fix any visual sync issues,” he noted.

For editing, Steer splices the archival footage, BTS and newly shot footage with the raw footage from the tour’s live shows. “I handle the offline edit, while Chris handles the online, and that’s where DaVinci Resolve Studio works so well, as we can work simultaneously by sharing files back and forth,” he said. “I also use DaVinci Resolve Studio to make copies of the whole show in a lower resolution, so we have a backup viewing copy. We use DaVinci Resolve Studio to put together everything from video idents to full songs from the show while we are on the road touring, and I find it so intuitive and easy to use. Also, with Fairlight, it’s so easy to sweeten the audio, and its features keep expanding.”

As Steer noted, Sobchack is responsible for online editing, grading, audio editing and sweetening, and delivery.

“During the live performances, the lighting is constantly changing, and overall, the footage is darker than what’s needed for broadcast or the web, as the concerts are lit for the human eye rather than for a camera. My main objective is to retain the flair of the live show’s lighting design, but also be able see Elton’s face. I also have to make the performance footage cohesive with any BTS or newly shot footage,” explained Sobchack. “In DaVinci Resolve Studio, I use gradients, vignettes on faces, HSL qualifiers and Power Windows to brighten things up and meld the radically different colors in the shots.”

He continued, “I also reframe shots on occasion and rely on DaVinci Resolve Studio’s temporal noise reduction. Since we don’t shoot in light that is really video project-friendly, when we make the kinds of adjustments we need for broadcast, especially if it’s being up-resed for a prime time network for instance, this feature can take a shot from a zoomed in camera that was 60 yards away from the stage and make it look perfect.”

As multi-camera recording has not been feasible on the tour, the footage also has burned in transitions, so when grading, Sobchack picks a cut point from shot A to shot B and implements an animated color transition using keyframes, ensuring the first frame of shot B matches the last frame of shot A. “Instead of using primary wheels, I use levels, and being able to jot down numbers and easily match them using the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel is great. The panel not only adds a great tactile feel to my workflow, but since it has both dedicated and soft, page-specific knobs, it really lets me dial in and drop down to exact values, which helps with getting everything to match really quickly,” added Sobchack.

He concluded, “John and I have our regular tour duties on top of the video production work, so there’s no time for transcoding and bouncing between programs. DaVinci Resolve Studio is a one-stop-shop that gives us the capability to go from media ingest all the way through to final output in one system, and that capability is huge.”

Published at Wed, 25 Jul 2018 06:27:01 +0000

Exploring Australian women with Screen Australia’s Doco180

Exploring Australian women with Screen Australia’s Doco180

Screen Australia and News Digital Networks Australia’s have announced the five recipients of the second series of Doco180. With a maximum 180 seconds, the winners must create documentaries designed to make viewers ‘do a 180’ on topics important to Australian women.

“We know there are a million ways to be a woman today, so naturally there are so many topics and issues that tug the heart strings, jerk those tears and fire up women to press for progress,” said Melissa Shedden, Editor “We were hugely impressed by the insightful and compelling pitches from this year’s Doco180 entrants, which made it hard to select the final recipients. We’re very proud to be able to offer these talented female storytellers the chance to share these important issues with the audience. Based on the success of Doco180 in 2017 achieving over 1.8 million views across the series we’re keen to see what 2018 has in store.”

Each team has addressed a range of universal female issues, ranging from body hair and body image, to the reality of gender parity in small business ownership. The Doco 180 season two documentary makers are:

  • Blue Lucine and Mariel Thomas’ (NSW) project Asking For It aims to investigate the fear, shame and intimidation that prevents most sexual assault victims from ever taking legal action.
  • Can you be a solo mum and still have it all? Director Erin McBean and writer Holly Zwalf (NSW) will create Mother/Lover looking at what exactly it means, these days, to truly ‘have it all’?
  • In A Hairy Problem director Rebecca Thomson (TAS) will address women’s body hair and how it is still a topic of much public discussion, judgment and shaming. The documentary intends to question if it should be anyone else’s business whether a woman chooses to mow or grow.
  • As a female business owner and filmmaker, Laura Clelland (QLD) believes the fight for gender parity has seen the rise of a ‘girls’ club’ where women support other women. In Together She Succeeds, Laura’s putting her beliefs to the test to discover if there is a darker reality to acknowledge.
  • Filmmaker and social worker Hawanatu Bangura (NSW) will direct Inner Demons, unpacking whether being a curvy woman is a blessing or curse. Hawanatu’s film will follow her subject Rosaline, depicting her tug-of-war story and how she banished her demons to become a celebrated mixed race plus size model.

Each team will receive $6,000 to bring their project to life and will be supported by a Screen Australia Investment Development Manager through the entirety of the process.

“We’re proud to partner with for a second year on this important initiative to encourage female storytellers in the documentary field,” said Liz Stevens, Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia. “Now more than ever we need to see informative and passionate content by Australian women to shed light and challenge gender stereotypes. These three minute documentaries have the potential to reach a large online audience through the Whimn platform.”

The Doco180 selected projects will be housed on and its associated social channels exclusively for 12 months from October 2018.


Producer Rebecca Thomson
Director Rebecca Thomson
Synopsis Women’s body hair is still a topic of much public discussion, judgment and shaming. But why is it anyone else’s business whether a woman chooses to mow or to grow?!

Producer Mariel Thomas
Director Blue Lucine
Synopsis Fear, shame and intimidation prevent most sexual assault victims from ever taking legal action. How is it that the phrase “asking for it” still seems to have a place in society today?

Producer Taylor Litton-Strain
Director Hawanatu Bangura
Synopsis We all have our inner demons, but is being a curvy woman a blessing or curse? We see Rosaline’s tug-of-war story and how she banished her demons to become a celebrated mixed race plus size model.

Writer Holly Zwalf
Producer Erin McBean
Synopsis Can you be a solo mum and still have it all? And what exactly does it mean, these days, to truly ‘have it all’?

Producers Sam Weingott, Sascha Shipley
Director Laura Clelland
Synopsis As a female business owner and filmmaker, Laura Clelland believes the fight for gender parity has seen the rise of a ‘girls’ club’ where women support other women – but she’s putting her beliefs to the test to discover if there is a darker reality to acknowledge.

Season one of Doco180 can be viewed for free here 

Published at Mon, 16 Jul 2018 23:38:35 +0000

9 Steps to Systematize Your Business: Systematizing Your Video Business

9 Steps to Systematize Your Business: Systematizing Your Video Business

Today, we going to be looking to how to systematize your business. Systemizing aspects of your business is one of the first things you should do when starting your business. We’ll cover the reasons and practicalities of how to systematize your business and focus on video businesses specifically.

So why would you want to systematize your video business? Let us count the reasons…

Well, have you ever found yourself in the unenviable situation where you feel overwhelmed as you just have too many tasks on your to-do list? Or, don’t you hate it when your scriptwriter still hasn’t finished his writing, especially 2 days before the start of the shoot.

How about when, suddenly, one of your camera guys decides to take a last minute vacation, leaving you up the creek without a paddle?

These are just some of the typical things that can happen that we often call time wasters, and they have the potential to delay the overall schedule of any project you’re working on.

You can prevent the domino effect of delays by ensuring that you have a good system in place. Like any solid business, having a fluid and sound system will help you get things done faster, more efficiently and definitely less costly.

Having a good system in place can already solve many potential problems before they even come up, thus streamlining your projects and workflow. And starting out with a system in your video production business will help avoid a lot of mistakes many new production houses tend to fall into.

A system can also help you when you come to expand your offerings: for example, if you are interested in getting into wedding photography, or packaging your video services and giving clients options beyond just video work.

systematize your business

1. Plan, plan, and plan some more

Set your plan and make sure you give it a timeline. With the timeline set, you can start chewing into the tasks and knock them off your to-do list.

With a system, you also have to plan:

  • when you want to start looking to create a system,
  • when to evaluate your system,
  • when you are going to make the changes for improvement.

That may sound a bit like inception, but that’s a starting point. With the conscious idea of implementing a system in mind, you get to think about what you want to have in your system, and what you want this system to achieve.

We’ll talk in more detail about this later on in the article, but a system allows us to setup Standard Operating Procedures (or SOPs). These SOPs are written (or even video) instructions for any task that you do more than once in your business.

SOPs make everything so much easier. When you don’t know what to do (or where to start) on a task, you just consult your SOPs.

So, as an example, here are a few things that you can use Standard Operating Procedures for:

  • Inventorying gear after (and before) shoots.
  • Replying to enquiries.
  • Writing blog posts.

2. Write out what needs to be done after time

What do you usually do in preparation for a shoot, during the shoot, and after the shoot? Effectively writing all of these tasks lets you know what needs to be done.

Speaking of what to be doing, this is actually creating the objective of having a system. Usually, the objective of having a system is to have something that works for you, the team and the client.

This often includes having listed tasks, identifying which of your crew will be assigned to these tasks, when each task needs to be done, and also knowing what tasks are dependent on other tasks.

You can’t start shooting without a camera or a script (or at least a written idea of what you’re going to shoot), right? Neither can you start editing without your video footage.

Some of these tasks and dependencies are quite logical. But, in a stressful situation, it would definitely be good to have it all listed down, and worked out, so that you can see a clear roadmap for each project.

systematize your business

3. Identify who takes on the work

Ideally, you want to give exact roles to people, connected to the tasks that need to be accomplished. When you start this way, you can also create a list of who is assigned to do what. This way, you know exactly who is doing what and when in pre-production, production and post-production.

Aside from that, you create some accountability. When you assign someone to take care of a certain task, you entrust that they will have those things ready for when they’re necessary.

Let’s touch on pre-production here. You can’t shoot in a venue that hasn’t been cleared with the area or property owner, right? Someone has to be assigned to do that job, and get the schedule and clearance, before you even get to start shooting.

systematize your business

4. Create a process

From knowing what you actually do, you now have to think about when things are going to be done, and by whom. You may want to create some sort of flow of how things get done. A flowchart is of great use here.

It makes work so much clearer for everyone. People will know their tasks, where they should be, and when they should be doing them.

Also, it is essential to figure out when is the best time to say the process has started, and when it has ended. Does this process start with the initial discovery meeting with the client? Does it end with the final render of the video or overall collection of the fees?

Processes, and overall systems don’t have to be complicated. It just has to work. Simple processes are clear and easy to follow, and you definitely want that.

Avoid stressing yourself out in preparation for a shoot, just because you have a rigid process. That would just be counterintuitive.

5. Implement the process

This is where you see your plan in action. While it isn’t a movie itself, it is something to keep a close eye on, especially when it is a big contributing factor to the success and continuity your video production business.

Once you have steps 1-4 done, you can see how those steps workout in action, and then take notes based on your observation about what is successful and what didn’t really work out.

With this process, you can see at any time what your colleagues are supposed to be doing, and where they should be.

It should also be able to show you immediately some potential red flags, like how potentially delayed the project may get if you are a few steps behind from where you had targeted yourself to be at any stage.

In this way, you should get a highly elevated bird’s eye view of not just each project, but your whole business.

6. See what you can outsource

Sometimes you and your team can’t take on all the work. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with outsourcing work. A prime example is the legal and accounting stuff that needs to be taken care of.

That usually is the case anyway, with many other video production companies doing the same. There are a lot of freelancer accountants and lawyers who specialize in video production companies.

It’s always better to outsource something if you know either:

  • You’ll take more time doing the task than someone else would.
  • You’ve worked out your EHR (your Effective Hourly Rate) and know that you’re paying yourself less by doing a task than you could make by just outsourcing it to somebody else.

systematize your business

7. Agree on some policies and rules

You’re not a parent to your video production team. It would be good to treat each other with equal respect as it should be, and setting the right policies and rules in place would help everyone treat and be treated with equal respect.

8. Be open to gathering feedback

The only way to really get better at something is to keep learning. And to keep learning, you have to know what you still need to know, right? In fact, a great mindset to take on is that you’re always the student and never stop learning.

It helps when you are able to get feedback about whether project has achieved what it set out to do, or has fallen short of the mark.

Sometimes, negative feedback can also be turned around, and seen as a strong point for improvement.

Remember, don’t take negative feedback to heart. It’s a chance for improvement, so don’t get all defensive.

Instead, listen carefully to what your clients, peers and colleagues tell you, and listen to what they are saying. Is it an opinion or a fact? A task that you may have missed out is a fact, they way someone felt about how you talked to them is an opinion.

9. Always improve on the process

Even if you have already created something in place, don’t just sit there and expect that it is perfect. It may be a good system now, but it may still be improved on.

Try to keep an objective eye when evaluating your system and seeing it play out. Also, with the feedback you get, from your team, and constructive criticism you may get from your clients, you may evaluate how to make things better.

A system will always have something to improve on. Even when you think it is possibly the best it can be, there is still an opportunity to improve on it some more.

For example, perhaps it is possible to streamline the timeline even more. Your editor may start working on some editing, while the shoot is still ongoing. He may work onsite, so that the editing and overview process is much faster.

Perhaps even investing in more hard drives may be good in the long run, because it allows you to have a more thorough backup system. Setting up a cloud account may also be beneficial in the future, to store all archived projects, so that you don’t lose them.

These are just some examples to look at, and it doesn’t just involve the system per project, but the entire business as a whole. Give it some thought.

Systematize Your Business – A Conclusion

Overall, you have to start with the end in mind, ‘I want to finish this project on time, have it very much high quality, something that I can definitely be proud of, and within the budget I had allocated for it.’

With having a system that works for you and your production team, all of these success points end up being a win for everyone.

We hope you’ve found this article on how to systematize your business helpful. What steps have you taken to systematize your business? Let us know in the comments just below here.

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Published at Mon, 16 Jul 2018 08:50:04 +0000

Best XLR Cable: 4 of the Top XLR Cables on the Market

Best XLR Cable: 4 of the Top XLR Cables on the Market

An XLR Cable can usually be just as important as the equipment it’s plugged into. Quality and performance are ignominious with great results. So when you’re looking for the best XLR cable, some investigation of the top makes is required.

In this article, I’ll look at a variety of XLR cables, explore how they work well and offer a range of cables and recommendations. I’ll also dispel the falsity that “all XLR cables are created equal.” They’re not – it’s not simply just ‘a cable.’ As we’ll discover, there are differences and pros/cons between the different makes.

An Introduction to XLR Cables

So what does XLR stand for and what are they used for?

An XLR cable is a balanced audio cable which is grounded and generally used for high quality audio, like at the cinema or in high end entertainment (DJ booths and bands) and top home stereos.

Because the cable is both grounded and balanced, it rejects interference more efficiently and produces a more reliable, better quality sound. This sound can then be amplified further without distortion and risk of feedback. Quality is of prime consideration here and the top brands produce their offerings in accordance with this.

XLR cables have a variety of uses: microphones, active speakers, mixers and other types of control circuits. They are usually professional grade and are sometimes called ‘Cannon cables,’ after the original company who invented them (not to be confused with the Canon camera company).

Best XLR Cable Brands

In my experience (and a lot of research and conversations with people), Rapco, Mogami and GLS Audio make the best XLR cable offerings. Rapco and GLS Audio are the more affordable. Mogami are top end pro grade, where the price point is a tier higher.

It’s also worth considering the Neewer brand XLR cables, that are well rated and very cheap. The 6 meter length version is very price friendly for a  XLR 3 pin cable and connector.

These are a good range of cables which will cover all levels and requirements. So long as you stay within your budget and keep the end listener of your work in mind, even if that is just yourself, you shouldn’t go wrong.

Neewer is an XLR branded cable. For a reasonable price, you get x2 6 meter universal Male / Female XLR cables.

Compared to other brands, the Neewer is priced really reasonably! But is this a quality piece of equipment?

If you’re starting out in video production, or making a short film where budget is a primary consideration, the simple answer is: go for it and save!

The savings you make here can be put towards other expenses and needs that keep your projects alive and well. What a bargain!

These professional grade XLR cables have a Polyethylene insulation, 3 pin Male/ Female connectors for easy hook up and are available in two sizes: 6 meters or 21 meters.

The longer version is obviously better for audio situations where you’ll be required to be far from your devices. The 21 meter version is still excellent value and gives you more room to cater to, meaning more flexibility with what you can do. Which, at the end of the day, is what it’s all about.

Neewer cables are copper braided for additional shielding and maximum noise reduction.

They are great for electronic instruments and DJ rigs, too, and the sound quality results are great.

The connectors look high quality and are easy press and connect adaptors. So lay out, plug and play – literally, what more could you ask for starting out.

You can guess I’m seriously impressed by these if you need some budget, high quality XLR cables. Considering the budget price point, this offering ranks highly in the best XLR cable listings.

GLS Audio MC25 balanced XLR cable is advertised as a mic cable, but you can use it for all kinds of needs and situations.

At 15 meters, these cables are long enough for most recording situations and are high quality cable insulated and multi core grounded 21 gauge cables.

These have been manufactured for the entertainment industry, so are professional grade, with very high quality insulations and connectors. In fact, this cable is the premier choice for a lot of music venues, due to high quality, low feedback and well insulated dual copper conductors. This is noticeable in the high end sound quality.

These are ideal for venues and amateur to professional videographers/filmmakers, people who prepared to pay that bit extra for cables which last a little longer. These cables are also notable for their long term, hassle free use, as well.

This is where the extra money goes and as most professionals will tell, a lot of the time it is less of a headache to shell out for the professional brands and avoid potential costly breaks and errors further down the road.

The noise reduction and quiet operation is top rated with these XLR cables, with professionals and venues alike repeatedly rating GLS Audio MC25s as some of the best around.

Be aware that sometimes companies report inconsistencies with manufacturing, but this is not unusual for XLR cables in high demand. International companies manage to avoid this with extreme Test & Assurance processes, but smaller companies are not always able to manage the staff or overheads, so errors do happen.

Road HOGM XLR cables by Rapco aren’t the most expensive XLR cables out there. Still, the 15 meter version of the cable comes in at a medium price point, but they are high grade.

Pure copper and Annealed shielding, these 24 gauge professional cables have a very low distortion factor and Neutrik long lasting plugs. These are really premium cables.

These cables are known amongst the pros as a no nonsense XLR cable design to do what is does well and get the job done – end of!

A few people have reported minor issues. However, this might be because of the place Rapco cables hold on the market. These XLR cables attract the high end market and people in this section of the market will always be more discerning and, dare I say, ‘picky.’

Varying in length from 15 to 50+ meters, these will cover pretty much any venue and the high copper content ensures maximum quality, with excellent robust connectors. It’s what you want, all quality and no fuss, lets get on and play, high grade equipment and this is the justification spending the extra money per meter.

As mid luxury level cables, they are the quality you would expect and sound great, once you hear the sound quality, like with most equipment, you will not want to downgrade.

Whereas a lot cables crack and wear out over time, the word is Rapco lasts an age and years later these durable XLR cables are still in operation. A silent but essential piece of your recording setup. In this sense, you get what you pay for!

A chunky, high grade cable that is build to last, but costs a little more than some of the others featured in this article. If you are in the industry for the long time, though, this investment will cause less headache and pay for itself with its durability.

RapcoHorizon NM1-10 Microphone Cable with Neutrik XLRs, 10 feet

  • Black cable Neutrik nickel -1 Series XLRF-XLRM
  • Matte jacket PVC material is very flexible yet durable with very low memory
  • Pure copper conductor and shield
  • Utilizing a serve shield process for quiet operation yielding maximum flexibility
  • Connector brand options available to meet various preferences and price points: RapcoHorizon,…

Mogami Gold Studio Balanced XLR Cables are made in Japan. That says all you need to know if you’re searching for high quality XLR cables. These are the ideal top end cables which are extreme quality for the high end videographer, filmmaker or music industry professional.

Mogami was founded in 1977 and due its high end reputation spread across the world to be the premium cable choice for filmmakers and audiophiles looking for the highest quality.

The Gold Studio is one of the top cables Mogami produce and will cost you a pretty penny. However, construction here has a high professional grade, 4-conductor cable design, 100% spiral copper shielding and gold pin connectors.

These are the McLaren of the cable world and the reliable operation and continuous low feedback distortion and issues testify to this fact. You’re fitting out a trendy Soho bar and club, that you want to sing sweet vibes, you choose Mogami!

Enough said!

My first experience with these was a small club chill out room, where the DJ (Mondo) was situated under the stairs in a wall to wall sofa of soft funk and groove, surrounded by friends, just taking in the melody and lots of smooth vinyl tunes. Good times!

The only downside is these cable are heavy duty, difficult to transport and a little awkward to install. But who said perfection was easy! And the qualities of these cables are paradoxical: heavy shielding great sound, big cost and sluggish install. If you want high end XLR cables, these are what you need to look at!

These are a long term investment and offer supreme quality. They’ll return their cost over multiple times due to their superior design and audio quality, just make sure you know your market.


Mogami GOLD STUDIO-06 XLR Microphone Cable, XLR-Female to XLR-Male, 3-Pin, Gold Contacts, Straight Connectors, 6 Foot

  • From large recording facilities to small project studios, engineers and artists trust Mogami GOLD…
  • Mogami GOLD STUDIO XLR Mic Cables are wired with Mogami Neglex Quad High Definition Microphone…
  • Use Mogami GOLD STUDIO XLR Cables for pro audio sound with nearly any device equipped with an…
  • This Mogami GOLD STUDIO-06 XLR Microphone Cable is a 6 foot length. The Mogami GOLD STUDIO XLR…
  • Mogami Lifetime “No Excuses” Warranty: all brand new Mogami cables include Mogami’s Limited Lifetime…

Best XLR Cable – Summary

GLS Audio is the sweet spot of quality and cost where you will have cables which will last you for a considerable length of time, but not break the bank either!

These cables are great for all levels and after you shell out for these, tick the job off the list and rest assure you can get maximum sound quality for minimum bang for your bucks!

The high end solution is the Mogami brand of cables. These might be more costly, but if premium is what you’re looking for, this is the obvious choice where budget is a little higher.

No one really wants to think cables, but when you have it covered and feel the sound quality shift slightly, you are considering your audience and the overall feel of your work. Which at the end of the day is what your viewers (or clients) will appreciate and come back for time and time again.

Now turn it up!

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Published at Thu, 12 Jul 2018 11:40:35 +0000

The making of a horror classic – behind the scenes of Hereditary

The making of a horror classic – behind the scenes of Hereditary

We hear a lot about how those with millions of dollars at their disposal do it, but what about those who have to be more creative? First-time feature director Ari Aster’s Hereditary is the latest in a string of critically and financially successful horror movies, making over $30 million in the first two weeks of release. The story of a family (Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro) who are haunted following the death of their reclusive grandmother, it’s wildly expansive (but also mercurial) for its reported $10 million budget. So, how did they do it? We break down some behind the scenes footage and insights.

Despite the low budget, Aster chose not to film on location but to construct a sprawling, creaky, early 20th century-style house entirely on a soundstage in Utah. The set includes the first floor, that attic, and two versions of the treehouse. Weirdly appropriate for a film where miniatures are such an important part of the plot.

According to the LA Times, “Each frame of the film was meticulously planned out by Aster, who spent six months shot-listing every single shot of the film’s 156 scenes before spending another three weeks refining it all again with his director of photography, Pawel Pogorzelski, and production designer Grace Yun (“Beach Rats,” “First Reformed”).”

Speaking to Vulture, Aster says, “It became clear that we were going to need to build the house in order to accommodate that shot list, and also to attend to that dollhouse aesthetic. So having built it, we were able to remove walls and shoot these rooms in wides that really dwarfed the characters in their environments. We were actually having this house replicated before we had built any of it — so we needed to design the house and not just the dimensions of the spaces of each room, but also the dressings. We needed to know what plants were in each room, what drapes were over the windows, what drapes were over the beds. What was the furniture? We needed to figure out all of that stuff far in advance of shooting, because we needed to give the miniaturist, Steve Newburn, who was working in Toronto — he was also our prosthetics guy — we needed to give him ample time to replicate all of these things. Ultimately, we had the miniatures coming in the day that they were being shot because everything was so very tight. Logistically it was a nightmare, but I’m very proud of how everything came out.”

Speaking to Vox, Aster says,

“I love a motivated long take that goes just as long as it should before becoming distracting or indulgent.

I am somebody who composes a shot list before I talk to anybody on the crew. Then when I’m done composing a shot list, which also requires that I map out the blocking, I sit down with my cinematographer, Pawel Pogorzelski, and production designer, Grace Yun. I take them through the movie that’s in my head, shot by shot. That way we all have the same movie in our head and we’re able to have a dialogue from there. The shot list does change because we’re all talking about it, and they have something clear in their head that they can then adjust and bring ideas to me.

I know that I’m typically bored by traditional [camera] coverage. I also find that not very fun to shoot and actually kind of nerve-racking because it’s harder to know what you have at the end of the day when you have 20 or 25 pieces for a scene and you have to know if it’s going to match. The more you shoot, the better idea you have whether this thing will match or not, because your instincts sharpen and start to grow in your gut.

When you’re shooting in sequence, when one shot goes to the point, and that’s your cutting point, and then you’re going to go to this shot, which is going to cover this portion of the scene, and then you have a cutting point here, which will then transition to this shot — you see exactly what you’re getting on that monitor. Sometimes, you need to get more takes than usual, but it’s just because you need everything to align, because you’re not covering yourself. But I personally find that it’s a more comforting way to work because I do walk away knowing what I have.

Then at the same time, I’ve also found that the more ambitious the shots, the more excited the crew is when you nail it, and the more excited I am. You set a very high goal that requires that everybody be on their toes, and then when you achieve it, it’s galvanizing. People are excited now to move on to the next shot.

On the other side of that coin, if you don’t quite get it and you have to move on because the clock is hanging over you, that can be very depressing. And you’re working on the next shot thinking about the last shot that you didn’t nail.”

The Verge says,” The Strange Thing About the Johnsons is a melodrama about a family dealing with the specter of sexual abuse — only in this case, it’s a grown-up son who’s abusing his father. Munchausen stars Die Hard’s Bonnie Bedelia as a mother with an unhealthy attachment to her teenage child, who is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent him from getting married and leaving home forever.”

NOTE: Content warning on both films

Working with a low budget, Aster had to make relatively few comprimises. Speaking to Jezebel, he says, “The compromises were ones I had to make on my own. The original cut of this film was three hours long. Originally, it had 156 scenes and about 30 of those scenes left. All of that is just kind of sad family drama stuff, like heavy, dark drama stuff. All of the horror stuff was retained.”

For more insights on Hereditary, check out the behind the scenes footage.

Published at Mon, 18 Jun 2018 06:13:42 +0000