Saturday, March 04, 2006

Nothing Is Planned By The Sea And The Sand

It's 1am and I just completed the first complete pass on the Jim Muro commentary for the upcoming special edition STREET TRASH DVD being released (eventually) by Synapse Films. Whew! What a mammoth fucking task it is to sync-up the commentary with the on-screen events and scrub through the audio and clean up the more out-of-control sibilance and stray 'pops' that the human mouth can make. I haven't even gotten around to balancing out all the levels yet so everything sounds nice and consistent. Unfortunately, I didn't record this track and whoever did made the volume WAY too hot throughout. Just more work for me to take care of as I discover all the little technical tricks of doing this kind of work for the first time.

Normally I just record the commentary sessions on DAT (Digital Audio Tape) and hand them over to someone else to do the rest, but because the writer and producer of STREET TRASH (Roy Frumkes) is New York based and the DVD company is in Illinois, having me see this through to complettion seemed like a good idea to everyone involved. And since I could use the money.....

Roy will be stopping by on Tuesday to go over that track with me, offering his two cents as to what might need to be cut out for either content or technical reasons. Pretty standard stuff, really. You didn't really think all those audio commentaries in your DVD collections aren't edited for legal reasons or standards of veracity, did you? I've recorded at least 50 such sessions and I can tell you that each and every one always begins with a round-robin discussion amongst the participants as to what should or shouldn't be discussed, etc. Too bad we technicians aren't allowed to record that part as well, as usually the most interesting and surprising information is brought up at that time.

I recorded Roy's commentary some time back, and I can assure without any bragging that what I got on tape was far superior and MUCH easier to deal with. It's taken me literally half the time (maybe even less) to set-up Roy's track and I've only had to clean up two or three spots, as opposed to nearly 100 times that much for Jim's commentary.

But I'm not complaining. The new video transfer of the film is really an eyeful. Having only ever seen STREET TRASH in the worst possible condition on VHS many years ago, I have to say I was honestly a really big fan of the film -- as much as I like Roy, who's a really great guy, I didn't find it that funny or interesting.

Well, I've gotta say that all that has changed and I'm now totally in love with the film. What a difference a great presentation can make! Even in the midst of all my audio drudgery I find myself laughing at a well-composed visual gag or some funny off-handed remark from one of the characters. The standard DVD edition has been out for a little while now, but so many people are waiting for this special edition that I don't think the ripples of the film's paradigmatic shift in quality has yet been felt in the fan community. It'll be worth the wait and a lot of people are going to be very happy.

As I've also been very busy working on the interview featurettes for the upcoming Unearthed Films DVD release of FRANKENHOOKER, I had almost completely forgotten that both films feature hilarious performances from actor James Lorinz. As I was working on my Final Cut Pro system today and jumping from one project to the next, the image on the display monitor changed from Lorinz wearing big glasses about to accidentally blow-up a bunch of hookers to him sitting in a police station wearing a doorman's outfit. I've been so busily focused on the various minutiae of both projects that it was the first time I noticed he was in both movies -- which kinda frightened me as it made me realize just how scattered my brain must be these days.

More on FRANKENHOOKER and STREET TRASH in the days ahead as things develop.

I can only wonder what the upcoming Synapse Films release of BASKET CASE 2 will have in store for me...!


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