Categories
Animation Disney Film Editing Film Sound People Technology

Veteran ADR Mixer Doc Kane of Walt Disney Studios

Stage B – the birthplace of the creative voice track of many animated films including Cars 2, Toy Story 3, Tangled, Rango and many more, is also the ADR home of top industry filmmakers

In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection profile we talk with veteran ADR mixer Doc Kane at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA to explore his extensive project credits and unique approach to capturing some of Hollywood’s most talented voices.

The Art of ADR

The art of ADR is much more than having a collection of microphones and knowing how to use them, although Doc’s mic cabinet is pretty impressive. It’s also more than having the latest and greatest hardware and software, but rest assured, Doc has all of the most modern bells and whistles.Perhaps even more important and some might even argue that it qualifies ADR as an art, is the sensitivity to the client.

ABOUT DOC KANE:
What has three letters, many aliases and is of major significance to the sound community? You guessed it: ADR aka Automated Dialog Replacement aka Additional Dialog Recording aka Dubbing aka Looping. All of these monikers are understood as the process of re-recording dialog that cannot be salvaged from a production. To make one thing clear, there is nothing automated about it. ADR is an art. And here to tell us more about the art is an artist whose name also has only three letters and many aliases but nonetheless has made a significant impact on the sound community.

His name is Doc Kane but most just call him Doc. He has over 300 projects under his belt and a slew of awards and nominations, including four Academy Award nominations.


Tom Hanks talks about the fact that the voice of Woody for toys and games is sometimes actually the voice of his brother, Jim. He tells a story about what it is like working on Stage B when he is recording the voice of Woody for the Toy Story films.

Categories
Technology

1970 Rod Serling Ad for Radio Shack (video)

From radioshackcatalogs.com

Radio Shack is closing. For those who were electronics hobbyists, like myself, Radio Shack was the likely introduction to the trends and fads in consumer electronics. AM and FM radio, stereo, turntables, open reel tape recording, cassettes, 8 track, CB radio, satellite tv, video tape, camcorders, phones, and cell phones.

They also sold a computer called the TRS 80, pejoratively called the “Trash 80.” Of course, you could get accessories and discrete components.

The above website has many old catalogs as well as a thorough history. My Dad liked Radio Shack because when he was young, he went to the large store in Boston.

Categories
Film Sound Technology

Invention of stereo sound: Alan Blumlein

From Abbey Road Studios.

Alan Blumlein – the man who invented stereo

Alan Blumlein is a true lost genius, an EMI engineer, who during his brief life propelled Britain to the vanguard of the modern electronics world. Celebrations of some of Blumlein’s outstanding achievements in audio, television and radar were highlighted in the BBC Radio 4 programme, “The Man Who Invented Stereo.”

Blumlein invented stereo sound and the modern TV system while working for EMI during the 1930s.  He lodged the patent for “binaural “sound, in 1931, in a paper which patented stereo records, stereo films and also surround sound. He and his colleagues then made a series of experimental recordings and films to demonstrate the technology, and see if there was any commercial interest from the fledgling film and audio industry.
The tests included him walking and talking in one of the Abbey Road studios to show how sound could move and recordings of multiple overlapping conversations to demonstrate how his techniques could “open up” the sound being recorded.  Please use this link to hear some of the experimental stereo recordings made at Abbey Road. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7538101.stm

In January 1934, Blumlein used his stereo-cutting equipment at Abbey Road to record Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as it rehearsed Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.

In his short life, Blumlein devised over 120 patents and is considered as one of the most significant engineers of his time.

His career was tragically cut short due to his untimely death in a plane crash in 1942. There is much secrecy surrounding the crash as Blumlein and his colleagues were working on a top-secret government project at the time, developing radar. When he died Alan Blumlein was 38. He received no obituary and still does not appear in Who’s Who.

Here is a very good book about his life and inventions.

 

And a video from the Audio Engineering Society.

Categories
Dolby Film Sound People Technology

Ray Dolby

I have always been impressed by Ray Dolby. Like Steve Jobs and Edwin Land, who himself inspired Jobs, he was a great combination of creative technology and business acumen. He was a member of the Ampex team that perfected the first Quad video tape recorder.

Dolby has posted a very nice tribute to Ray Dolby. Local 695 also has a nice article about him, including links from their Quarterly Magazine about his contributions to film sound.

A Tribute to Ray Dolby

by Scott Smith, CAS and David Waelder

To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in this darkness and grope towards an answer, to put up with anxiety about whether there is an answer.

–Ray Dolby

The Dolby name appears so often on films that it has become like Kleenex or Xerox, a generic for noise reduction. But the many innovations of Dolby Labs are largely the work of Ray Dolby, a man of prodigious ingenuity. He died of leukemia on September 12, 2013, at age eighty, at his home in San Francisco. Born January 18, 1933, in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Dolby was hired straight out of high school by Alexander Poniatoff of Ampex Corporation. At the time, Mr. Dolby had volunteered as a projectionist for a talk that Mr. Poniatoff was giving. Impressed by his talents, Poniatoff invited the young Mr. Dolby to come to work with him at Ampex, where he contributed to the design of the first quad videotape recorders.

After completing studies in electrical engineering at Stanford and physics at the University of Cambridge, Ray Dolby invented a system of high-frequency compression and expansion that minimized recorded hiss. He formed Dolby Labs in 1965 to bring this noise reduction system, called Dolby A, to market. Mr. Dolby later turned his attention to the problems of sound recording for motion pictures, which still relied on decades-old technology. His endeavors would lead to the introduction of a surround sound system that could be duplicated using traditional optical soundtrack printing techniques. It replaced the expensive and cumbersome printing techniques previously used for big-budget films.

At Dolby Labs he is remembered as much for mentoring a new generation of scientist/engineers as for his particular innovations. He was a scientist who expanded creative horizons for artists.

His contributions are covered in greater detail in Scott Smith’s series “When Sound Was Reel” in the Summer 2011 and Winter 2012 issues of 695 Quarterly. These are available at:

When Sound was Reel-7

When Sound was Reel-8

 

Ray Dolby Tribute from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo.