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"Die For A Life" Studio Tech

Dan Pinto
This page gives insight on how some of the technical aspects
were created and applied in the making of the film,
"Die For A Life" at Pinto Studios.


For information about
Dan Pinto, this film's producer and music composer, see the
or listen to MP3
samples from "Die For A Life" on the DISCOGRAPHY page.

Video & Audio Tape Tech Proceedures:
         It is important to note that at the time the original editing was done for this project, technology for digital video editing was extremely expensive. Since this project had a limited budget, the next best option was the use of analog video tape editing by way of what many might consider tedious unorthodox methods. The video was all shot in Hi-8 format and selected clips were transferred to Super VHS with the capability of a flying erase head for editing. As mentioned, editing was tedious using this type of format but once you got a handle on how to do it, it was extremely effective in that it seamlessly edited the tape with very professional results. Actual audio from the raw footage was left on the video tape during editing and used as a template for ADR and other special audio effects later on. Once the editing was completed, a sympte time code stripe was dubbed onto the "normal" audio channel only. Hi Fi and normal audio channels are simultaneously available on SVHS units of this type that would allow not only the striping of timecode but also the monitoring of the audio from the original video footage through separate channels. This was very helpful in that it allowed the capability to sync a digital audio recorder to the video tape using Sympte timecode while retaining the original audio track from the raw video footage thus enabling the capability to use that audio to sync ADR and other important special audio effects very effectively onto the digital audio unit being used. If your a tech head, you'll know what this means. If your not, then believe me when I say that this is not for you. :) There was more involved in this process when it came to properly syncing what would be the Master audio ADR & special effect sounds, but generally what is explained above is what was done to achieve the result of getting the two to work together.

Music Soundtrack Technical Recording Applications:
         Music was technically applied many different ways for "Die For A Life". Sometimes it was recorded directly to digital audio tape and other times it was sequenced using a computer program with sound modules for the source. The computer was synced to the master digital audio recorder through the aide of MTC or Midi Timecode. The end result was the master video tape acting as the master unit which sent Sympte timecode to the master digital audio recorder acting as the first slave which in turn sent MTC timecode to the Computer program acting as the second slave. What you end up with is a very powerful system that gives you the capability to do limitless things when it comes to audio for the video.

          Using a computer sequencing program is enormously helpful and almost inexcusable for writing music for film or video. Without getting into a whole gamut of explanation, it basically allows you to cue the exact points for which you need various types or lengths of music. Believe it or not, it can even improve your compositional writing skills in that it forces you to use all of your creative ability to write for specific time frames. What's more is that it also allows you to have the music printed out in notation form in case you need to hand that to studio musicians.

Soundtrack Recording Equipment & Audio Effects Application:
         For the actual audio recording, DA-88 & DA 38 8 track digital Teac Tascam units were piggybacked and additional sequencing was added using a Kurzweil K2000 sound Module slaved to an IBM based Cakewalk computer sequencing program. Special audio effects were achieved from many sources including sound modules & special effects CD libraries. Foley sounds were in many cases not so technically achieved. Some of the most basic items you can think of are sometimes the perfect thing for creating or recreating a sound. All foley was recorded in house using everything from a metal barbecue grille for footsteps on a fire escape walkway to a plastic bag crumpling noise used to create the sounds of birds ruffling they're feathers. Some sounds such as dog barks, car horns, closing doors or gun shot noises were first recorded into a keyboard sampler, edited and then triggered right from the keyboard when needed.

Special Visual Effects:
        These were achieved in various ways. While some were the result of stock effects available in Panasonic & JVC digital video mixers, most notably during dream sequences, others were more live effects such as the steam pipe in the warehouse search scene. This was created by the use of a simple fire extinguisher. For the scenes that contained gunshots, ricochets were needed. This was accomplished two ways. The expertise of a pyrotechnics consultant was brought in and a recipe for a way to make inexpensive but very effective "squibs" was used. These were little homemade gunpowder caps that ignited when a low voltage charge was applied to them from a remote location. That and some simple everyday run of the mill Forth of July fireworks timed properly did the trick.

In a nutshell:
         By today's professional standards, the ways in which final post-production proceedures on this project were accomplished are primative at best. But when your talking about not having a financial budget to speak of, you don't let that stop you from your goal. Since the time that this movie was edited, digital video editing technology has become much more affordable and these advances have enabled Pinto Studios to now improve on the final "Die For A Life" project. While this film was considered to be an experimental ground work production not available for sale or distribution, it's main purpose was to enable Dan Pinto, it's creator and music composer to further express his capability in the field of film soundtrack composition. As mentioned, while the film itself is not yet currently available for public sale, the official music soundtrack is. Samples of the soundtrack can be heard on the Discography page of this site along with the full soundtrack being available for purchase.






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