New Media Interchange

News: Joss Whedon’s New Media Musical

I saw this story today in the LA Times. While, again, it is someone who has lots of money to invest, it does show somw movement into the new media world by traditional media folks.

Another story on this show — Whedon’s Web Musical Fanboy-tastic!

From The Los Angeles Times…

Joss Whedon’s ‘Dr. Horrible’ trailer hits the net
11:26 AM PT, Jun 25 2008

Below is a short trailer for “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” the much-anticipated three-part musical from “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon.

“Dr. Horrible” stars Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion, and Whedon describes it as follows: “It’s the story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to.”

The series, comprised of three 10-minute episodes, is poised to premiere on the Internet–most likely next month. Whedon began working on it during the writers strike, and it represents his first major experiment with Web-original programming.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Real World Example: New Media Animation Project

(This is the first in an on-going series detailing the inner workings of new media projects — Douglas)

This is Michael Lawshé , an old and new media person.

I was recently approached by an old media producer to work on a new media project.
Sound for a flash animation web animation series project. They were going to write, direct and produce 4 short – [3-5 minute] pieces to be released on the web at a later date. I’ve done many cartoons and animated movies – I said I’d help. I got the script. I was asked for advice. I described the pyramid.

OK, so they wanted to cast and record the actors FAST.
They wanted it to be GOOD.
They needed it to be CHEAP.

I suggested either:
1: Record each actor separately – direct them individually, record on a computer, maybe?
– cheap not very good and not fast.
2: Book a sound stage with a microphone on each actor so all could read and react to each other – multitrack record it [each character on own track] and hand over an editable session.
– very good and very fast not cheap.
3: Record as best you can maintaining equivalent distances from the microphones with each character – AT LEAST IN SEPARATED TRACKS FOR EACH MIC!
– not very good and not very fast but pretty cheap. {UP FRONT!}

Well – they chose the latter – this has meant a TON of post editing and audio noise reduction, and leveling and overlaps in their takes. One Mic has a 60 cycle ground loop buzz on it – and much of the audio is a bit off mic and fairly low level. {sigh}.

I used my editing system, imported the tracks in and cut the pieces, exported them to the desktop as .wav 48khz 16 bit files. Then used itunes to convert them to .aiff 44.1khz files for a cd then high quality .mp3 files {with trepidation} for the animator. {MP3 files can run at a different speed and the quality is much lower.}

The animator and I should have talked early on, but we didn’t have a chance.

1. Get a checklist to talk to the animator first!
2. Check on the specs for final delivery and for prep of the project.
3. Get the movie files all the same rate/ codec/ file type / aspect size
4. Have the animator/ editor keep a list of audio track moves and edits – an editorial edit decision list if possible [edl]

I was delivered 4 quicktime movies of differing, sometimes unknown size, screen ratio and encoding codec. Each would preview play on the computer, and had audio on it. When I used apple’s QT inspector it said “unknown codec”. 12 frames per second. Never saw that one before!

OK. Called the animator and he says “Oh, I did it in “flash”” Um, yeah.. 12 fps!”
“OK, is it NTSC?”
“It’s flash”

OK I had to purchase QT Pro and up converted them to H264 and .mov files but THEY ARE STILL ALL DIFFERENT FRAME SIZES!!

Then and only then I could extract the audio to use it as a guide track – pull up and “Phase” up – pull into synch – the dozens of audio moves that were done in each episode.

Now, I’m in the process of removing hums, adding reverb, and placing and editing music {it’s here!} and sound effects into each piece.

Initial recording in a music studio – 2 mics – 4 – 6 hours
CHEAP – not too good not fast
Pick ups re recording a different character professional stage – 1 hour
GOOD – FAST – not cheap
Editing original dialog tracks – 12-15 hours
RE-Editing original dialog tracks to animation without notes – 6 hours
Cleaning up tracks each episode – 2 hours
Editing music tracks – 2 hours
Sound effects placement choice editing mix – So far 4-6 hours per show

I’m working CHEAP
– and it IS GOOD.
– But, boy, oh boy…. it’s NOT FAST!!

Filed under: News, Real World Example

Next Meeting – June 25 @ 7pm

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Panera Bread
12131 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, California 91604

Click to RSVP at


The focus of New Media Interchange is to bring together New Media Tech folks like Flash animators, podcasters, videobloggers,etc together with creatives like writers, actors and directors so that we can share information on producing New Media.

This idea grows out of my Podcasting and New Media for Writers class that I teach for the UCLA Extension. I have had a really good time with that class as it focuses on “doing.” We talk as much about the creative side of the New Media as we do the tech and everyone has something to bring to the table. At the end of the class, everyone has produced and released the first episode of their production, ready to continue as long as they wish.

While there is a social element to all meetups, I want to focus on the Interchange of ideas and sharing real world, useful information that we each need to know. I imagine a “5-minute meeting” where you can ask a pressing question and provide a great resource (web site, book, person, etc) to share with the group. Then we can break up and discuss whatever we wish.

You can find more information on New Media Interchange via our Google Group at:

or our Wiki at:

Filed under: Meeting

Tech: Levelator Version 1.4.0

The Conversations Network has announced the latest version of their free Levelator audio utility.

This easy-to-use program for Windows, Mac and Linux can help bring your podcast audio up to new levels of quality.

From the web site…

About The Levelator™

So what is The Levelator? It’s software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It’s much more than those tools, and it’s much simpler to use. The UI is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler’s application window, and a few moments later you’ll find a new version which just sounds better.

Read More

Filed under: News, Software

News: Lend Me Your Ears: Advertisers Begin To Target Podcasts

Lend Me Your Ears: Advertisers Begin To Target Podcasts

Posted 6/20/2008

Podcast audiences have branched out far beyond just geeks. And advertisers are starting to like them, too.

After having placed ads with Web sites and search engines, more advertisers are starting to spread their ad dollars to audio and video podcasts in an attempt to reach certain consumers.

Read the entire article

Filed under: News, , , , ,

Video: New Media Panel

This panel on New Media was organized by Michael Liskin and was held Monday, June 16, 2008 at Blankspaces in Los Angeles, California.

Watch Video Here

The panel included:

Amanda Congdon, the host and executive producer of Sometimesdaily. and blogger at

Gilad Lotan – Technologist / Digital Media, Endemol USA –

Ken LaZebnik from

Hayden Black of Goodnight Burbank: and

Michael Pilla of

Tim Street of

Douglas and Rosanne Welch,  especially with regard to podcasting

Filed under: New Media, News, Video

News: Authors learning to sell their work via video – Los Angeles Times

Seth Greenland has a good article on how authors are using online video for promotion of their books. My one complaint is that he falls into the typical trap of not seeing just how important it is and only offers a begrudging respect to it. He jokes and pokes fun (and is funny), but I want authors everywhere to understand just how important, even critical online video is to selling their books. Unless you are already a big name, the marketing departments at most publishers don’t even know you exist. It is up to your to promote your book and online video, blogs and podcasts is a great way to do it.

Straight to video
Today’s authors must learn to sell their work — and themselves. For Greenland’s new novel, “Shining City,” the publisher’s promotional budget wouldn’t cover bus fare to the book party. What to do? Try a hot tub, high-priced escorts and a pimp.
By Seth Greenland
June 15, 2008

Read the entire article

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

News: Tech Nation: Scott Sigler’s Book Infected

Author Scott Sigler is credited with having the first podcast novel, Earthcore. His latest book, Infected, is now headed up the book charts. In this interview, he talks about Infected, but also about how podcasting helped to establish his writing career.

Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with Scott Sigler, who talks about his bioterror thriller “Infected.” While it’s based on the premise of a biological weapon on the loose, he’s actually a modern day Charles Dickens.

Listen to this show

Filed under: Audio, News, , , , ,

New Media Stories #002 – Alice Donenfeld-Vernoux

Here’s my story…
I spent over 40 years in traditional media of TV and film, first as an attorney, then studio executive and later with my own company (Marvel Comics, Filmation Studios and then Alice Entertainment/Alice4tv).  During that time I produced around 100 TV episodes and distributed thousands more in the international market.  Since I’ve retired from traditional media and now do consulting work when someone crosses my palm with silver, I have the free time to do what I want to do.  New media gives me the latitude to be my own producer, writer, distributor, editor, voice-over, creator without having to go through traditional distribution or deal with programmers or buyers.  Now if that isn’t freeing, I don’t know what is!
My first tentative step was to take a course with Doug and Rosanne on Podcasting for Writers.  It was the start of too much fun!!  I have since posted my 22nd podcast and now have started putting videos on YouTube.  To say that I have become an addict would be mild, and it’s all your fault Mr. & Mrs. Welch… 🙂
PS I’m off to shoot something…

Filed under: News, , , ,

Elsewhere Online: Reaper – multitrack audio production software for Windows and Mac

The Red Ferret Journal points on this new, free full functioning 30 day demo, audio recording and editing software. I have been looking for an alternative to Audacity to recommend to my podcasting students and clients, so I am looking into Reaper deeply.

As an aside, I love seeing multi-platform software is becoming more of the norm these days. I can never tell which computer I might want to use the software on, so it is great to have a choice.

Download: Reaper

Reaper – multitrack audio production software for Windows and Mac


Reaper is a full function audio production program which comes with a shed load of features and tech smarts. The program is also tightly coded, which means no bloatware to contend with, a sure sign that someone is trying to do the job properly. Available as a fully working demo, and […]

(Via The Red Ferret Journal.)

Filed under: Audio, News, Software, , , , ,

New Media Stories #001

From Tracy Pattin,

“I’d love to tell my story! 

It was summer 2006. I was at the UCLA Writer’s Faire where attendees can sample (for free!) the upcoming Fall classes and teachers. When I walked into that classroom, I knew something was different. Then Doug and Roseanne Welch started speaking about creativity and New Media. It was clear they couldn’t wait to share with the standing-room-only class, that the world, (AND cyberworld) had opened up to creatives like never before. With the evolution of blogs, podcasts and social media, you could actually distribute what you create from your laptop. 

My heart started racing, I wanted to jump up and down and cheer! Finally, we have the power to get our messages out, not only to the country but to the entire world. From that moment, that one class, I made a decision to change my life. 

Today? I’ve produced 30 audio podcasts, 10 video podcasts, hundreds of blogs and now I’m about to launch my own podcast show. I’m also a consultant with my own company, SizzleCaster.  It’s fun when people ask me what I do. All I have to say is, “I’m a New Media producer.” That feels great. And it feels great to love every moment of my new career.

Thanks Doug and Roseanne!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

June Meeting

Our June meeting will be held on Wed, June 25, 2008 at 7 pm in the same location as last month, Panera Bread Studio City. We will probably be out on the patio this time to allow for more space.

Panera Bread

12131 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, California 91604

Visit to RSVP

Filed under: News, , , ,

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