namiiswan:–for @akolnoix

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018


–for @akolnoix

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“Hamilton must be as big, loud and bold as American history, but then turn on a dime and zoom in…”

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Hamilton must be as big, loud and bold as American history, but then turn on a dime and zoom in emotionally and audibly on much smaller character moments. As it turns out, his key challenge was managing the energy and emotion of the show as expressed in the sound’s wide dynamic range.

The team was constantly asking themselves, “How do we make sure the audience is also taken to those same extremes, that we don’t limit the transformation that’s available to us through musical theater—because we also exaggerate it at times. This piece is ripe for that,” Steinberg says.

The big, loud scenes are intense. The Battle of Yorktown has “guns, percussive physical movement of the cast, a record-scratch solo and what I call angry bass guitar and drums,” Steinberg says. It also has some huge, booming explosions. This is a hip-hop musical, after all, and Steinberg asked himself, “How far can we go, without damaging anyone or anything, but still actually try to move air in the theater in a way that lives up to what a modern operatic version of that battle might be? Then, we also zoom in on the characters of Aaron Burr and Hamilton’s wife Eliza, so we asked, ‘How small, focused, dry, thin with volume, texture, reverb, can we go?’”

The DiGiCo SD7T control surface, along with its proprietary theater software, gives the team tremendous control over 28 matrixed outputs, which makes managing the wide dynamic range much easier, Crystal says.

These major dynamic shifts happen fast. In a pivotal Act Two moment, Hamilton is being blackmailed by political foes who have caught him in an illicit love affair. Hamilton chooses to publish a pamphlet admitting his guilt in great detail, sacrificing his personal reputation to try to save his political life. He seems oblivious to the impact this will have on his wife, Eliza.

This scene, Reynolds Pamphlet, “is incredibly raucous, exuberant, downright noisy,” Steinberg says. “That matches the chaos of the emotion of that moment, the havoc that’s been wreaked on Hamilton and his family. It is a lot like the Battle of Yorktown scene in that way.”
Immediately following that scene, Eliza sings the quiet, wrenching ballad “Burn,” and literally burns letters from Hamilton, onstage.

“We exaggerate the quiet moment of ‘Burn,’ immediately following Reynolds Pamphlet, and zoom in on the loneliness and isolation of Eliza, singing of how she’s going to deal with the emotional consequences, and of her resolve to respond. The orchestration is stripped down to solo piano. The focus of the entire production is on one person sitting on a bench with a lantern.”

It is an intensely quiet moment, absolutely the only time the audience can hear ventilation, lighting fans or anything making a whisper of a sound in the house, “And it tickles me that we can do both,” Steinberg says.

Part of managing the wide dynamic range is choosing gear that can handle the extremes. For example, “We have some extended low frequency in this show you don’t generally hear on Broadway,” Steinberg says. “We added low-frequency extension with these two Meyer Sound 1100-LFC subs, which are big for Broadway, and we heard new music (from keyboards and electronic track) that was inaudible downtown. We just didn’t have room for these monsters Off Broadway.”

The 250-pound powered subs, with two 18-inch drivers each and a 28Hz-100Hz range, sit vertically on the floor flanking the stage, out of sight. Four Meyer Sound 600-HP subs sit in plain sight, however, mere inches from audience members, in both orchestra and balcony seating boxes.

Another challenge of bringing hip-hop to Broadway is that the singers are not using handheld mics—“the instrument of hip-hop,” Steinberg says. And there wasn’t any useful way to make RF lav mics sound more like handhelds, so they ultimately did not try. “We simply took a more traditional Broadway approach, to make the RF mics sound good,” Crystal explains.

The leads wear a mix of head mics hidden in wigs (Hamilton) and customized booms for characters without hair (Burr, Washington). Burr’s boom also allows classic hip-hop vocal echo effects to go live rather than through playback, thanks to the proximity of the mic.

However in cabinet debate scenes in the Washington administration, staged like hip-hop throwdowns, a wooden dueling-pistol case is brought out and in the show’s only truly meta moment, Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson take out iconic Shure SM58 mics (actually Shure UR2s with Beta 58 heads). They go at each other gleefully, forcefully expressing their contrasting political and economic views in street-rhyming style. The mics were chosen for their classic hip-hop looks, as well as sound quality.

‘Hamilton’ Brings Hip-Hop to Broadway (Mix) – even more gear talk in the rest of the article


(via thefederalistfreestyle)

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“For Fury Road’s fluid editing, Miller called upon his wife, Margaret Sixel, who had spent most of…”

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

“For Fury Road’s fluid editing, Miller called upon his wife, Margaret Sixel, who had spent most of her career editing documentaries and had never cut an action movie before. ‘We’ve got teenage sons, but I’m the one who goes to the action movies with them!’ laughed Miller. ‘So when I asked her to do Mad Max, she said, ‘Well, why me?’ And I said, ‘Because then it’s not going to look like other action movies.“
And it doesn’t. Compare the smart, iterative set pieces of Fury Road to one of the incoherent car chases in Spectre, for example, and you’ll see that Sixel prizes a sense of spatial relationships that has become all too rare in action movies. ‘She’s a real stickler for that,’ said Miller. ‘And it takes a lot of effort! It’s not just lining up all the best shots and stringing them together, and she’s very aware of that. She’s also looking for a thematic connection from one shot to the next. If it regressed the characters and their relationships, she’d be against that. And she has a very low boredom threshold, so there’s no repetition.’
That Sixel was able to whittle 480 hours of footage down into a movie that sings still astounds Miller. ‘It’s like working in the head of a great composer,’ he said. ‘Movies like this one — in particular this one, because it’s almost a silent movie — are like visual music. In the same way that a composer has to have a strong casual relationship from one note to the next, paying attention tempo and melodic line and overall structure, it’s exactly the same process that a film editor must have.’ Sixel, surely, is one of the greats.”

Director George Miller Explains Why His Mad Max: Fury Road Deserves These Oscar Nominations (via jag-lskardig)

so good on George Miller for giving credit to his wife and colleague. that said, FUCK YES women have ALWAYS edited for male directors without getting any recognition within the industry let alone any kind of mainstream acclaim. I mean, film editing isn’t really on the radar for most moviegoers/watchers so yeah, I don’t expect people to know this? But goddamn, even so many self-proclaimed film and cinema buffs fail to realize that so many of the “best” movies (mostly directed by men, natch) were edited by women. Does anyone remember that quote/anecdote about male directors discouraging their female film editors – or even actively sabotaging potential opportunities – because they didn’t want to lose the person who made sense of all their footage? 

(via ladyoflate)

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garrickjay: And in a moment, I want you to go straight down to…

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016


And in a moment, I want you to go straight down to your cabin and lock the bathroom door on your side. When next door starts hammering, you can negotiate. When you get to Immigration, keep your eyes wide open, look as if you know where you’re going. You have to think like an American. You’ll feel so homesick that you’ll want to die, and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won’t kill you. And one day, the sun will come out you might not even notice straight away—it’ll be that faint. And then you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who’s only yours. And you’ll realize that this is where your life is.

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

I just watched In the Dark. I was not prepared.

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What about Gift?

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

This took so long! I’m sorry! I’m sorry it’s short too. I’m terrible honestly. but don’t let that stop the one word prompts from coming because i’ll do them. eventually. 

When Angharad becomes pregnant, Immortan Joe gives her gifts. A book about birds, a silver-backed mirror, guitar strings. She gives the book to Dag, who likes to think she can fly, and the mirror to Cheedo, who flashes messages to Toast on the ceiling, and the guitar strings to Capable, who plays a song about someone named Margaret who dies of a broken heart.

All of them pass on anything he gives them, like it draws his touch away from them, like it scratches out his name. He is generous with books but the girls thank Miss Giddy and smile at him with closed mouths. He gives them pools of water but the girls thank Miss Giddy for that too and turn away from him before he’s finished speaking.

“Little rebellions,” whispers Dag around her knuckles, and Angharad can taste their victory it’s so close.

Max gives gifts too, though no one calls them that. Like a boot or a steering wheel. Like a red skull on a map. Like blood. He comes back sometimes, while the Citadel is being remade, and he’s never empty handed. Everything he brings with him he gives to Furiosa who knows who it’s meant for. Tiny sprouts of green kept in the hollows of whatever vehicle he has, Furiosa passes those on to Dag. The stray children in rags with tyre-burnt fingers, she shuffles them on to Capable. Bullets go to Toast. Everything else goes to Cheedo and she, in turn, passes whatever-it-is on to the Wretched. Clothes and food and polished pebbles. Furiosa keeps nothing for herself. His blood was enough, she thinks.

One day he comes back without anything, just himself, in worn leather and worn skin and worn bones. He stands before her with empty hands that will probably always shake, and eyes that move around the room, pulling out secrets, and fire, and blood. Furiosa knows instantly that he has come back for good, and that it’s not a gift, because people can’t be given to anyone, but she is glad to have him all the same.

“Come here,” she says, and he falls into her.

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jeanpolfus: Ptarmigan. Norman Wells, Northwest Territories,…

Monday, April 21st, 2014


Ptarmigan. Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Canadian followers, behold! It is the antler-less Capydove of Peace!

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