Please meet one of our long-time Cinema Sound Members, Jody Glover. You’ll find her on the Thursday live Compression, posting on the Facebook page, and generally transforming the world of independent media creation. We sat down with Jody and wanted to learn about her experience in the industry, how she started, and we learned about what it takes to keep the dream of filmmaking alive while making ends meet.
Cinema Sound: Jody, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us, and thanks for all your support of Cinema Sound!
Jody Glover: My pleasure.
CS: You’ve been a member of Cinema Sound for some time, but not everyone knows what you do. Tell us what you’re up to in media these days.
JG: I have two careers going on right now: 1. I’m a User Assistance Developer for a company called Oracle, where I write curriculum and documentation, create videos, and design interactive graphics. Great company to work for. You can find my videos/content on Oracle Learning Library and on docs.oracle.com. 2. I’m a filmmaker. I love everything about creating a story with visuals and sound. I’m currently working on my own post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, which was perhaps a crazy idea for a first film – cgi, sounds effects, the works. It’s going on 4 years now so that should tell you how hard I’m finding it. The film is based on a novel that I wrote 4 years ago and I’m hoping to have it ready to show by my birthday in November.
CS: We completely understand. Our sci-fi series Blade of Honor took us 10 years to develop and 3 years to fund and shoot – the pilot. And of course we’ve worked with several sci-fi productions who have a similar story. It’s a labor of passion, blood, sweat, tears – oh and love. Sometimes.
JG: Everyone keeps asking me when I’m going to be done. I just laugh.
CS: Tell us more about your novel process. That’s sort of the new vogue: book-to-movie. But doing that yourself is amazing.
JG: Thanks! The original goal was to make a short trailer for the book. It ended up growing into one scene after another.
CS: Well, we’ll have to check in on your progress in October, and do another interview with you about how you did the sound!
JG: It’s a deal.
CS: How did you get started?
JG: I bought a camera, the Canon 5DMark III, Zoom H4N, and a Røde NTG2, and created a bunch of short videos, some of which were for Oracle. The film I’m working on was shot with the 5D and I love the look of the footage. I think having small, portable equipment lets you practice and experiment. There’s so much to learn and you need to be able to try things without (too much) technology getting in the way.
CS: That’s actually a great setup to start with. The Canon is super solid, although we’d probably switch the H4N out with one of the cheaper Sound Devices, and the NTG2 with a Saramonic TM7 – but that gear probably wasn’t available back then.
JG: No it wasn’t. I do a lot of research in what I purchase, and that’s the gear that appeared to be the best value at the time. The great thing is that they all still work perfectly well, and that’s saying a lot considering what I put them through.
CS: What was the biggest thing you learned from those early projects?
JG: Gosh, there are many big lessons learned because of many mistakes made! I regret not putting more emphasis on audio from the start. I had no idea the impact it would have on the final product. When I finished the rough cut and thought it had pretty good audio, I listened to it in our home theatre. And boy, was I disappointed. It sounded like a YouTube video and not a real movie. There was something really bad about the sound, but I didn’t know what it was or how to fix it. Thankfully I came across Cinema Sound online. Now I understand what I’ve done wrong and know how to make it much better.
You also need people to help you out during production if you mean to do it right. Sure, there are times when you have to run solo when you’re just starting out, but it’s really quite stressful and close to impossible to get great results.
Other important lessons – use storyboards, practice setups before shooting, and use a clapper. Oh the clapper – such a simple tool, but wow. It makes it so easy to synchronize audio in post. You also need a fool-proof routine. There was always something that I forgot to do on the day of – white balance, record in mono, bring an extra battery…
On the more creative side, a big lesson I’ve learned is that it’s really important to know how a scene impacts the story as a whole. When I found it difficult to describe a scene’s purpose, it usually meant the scene was weak. No cool sound or great shot could save it, either.
CS: Since you’re doing a lot of jobs yourself – not only for your movie but also in your day job, what kind of gear or products do you use now?
JG: I use a lot of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software (Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop, etc) for work (Oracle) and to create my film. These products require a fairly good system to run on, so over the years I’ve had to update my specs to keep up. Audition works great and Adobe keeps adding new features that make working with many tracks more and more easy. There have been times when I was a bit frustrated with the stability and performance of PP and AA. The integration between PP and AA is a nice feature, but doesn’t always preview smoothly – especially if you have a very large and complex AA file. I’d rather work with a good codec (like prores) in AA, render as many times as needed, and then import into PP to get the best performance in PP. I’m about to try the export from PP to Audition, so I’m hoping that will work well. Watching Mark, it seems fairly straight forward.
CS: Sorry to hear about stability issues. We’ve had a few hiccups with their odd version, but the nice thing is that they really listen to bug reports and BAM, you’ve got a new version a week later.
JG: That’s true.
CS: When you say the integration between PP and AA, are you referring to editing clips from PP in AA, or…?
JG: Yes, I was referring to Dynamic Linking where you import an AA sequence into PP. If it takes a super long time (like a couple of hours) to render an AA sequence, it’s more convenient to render it in AA, and then import the rendered file into PP. That way, you can work in PP smoothly. For example: my film has several complex AA sequences. I have to render them ahead of time if I want to watch a scene from beginning to end to get a sense of the flow. If I render the AA sequence from within PP, and then make one tiny change to a color setting or transition, it’s back to rendering. So, having the clip already rendered is more efficient. Also, exporting from PP is way faster this way.
CS: We actually have a couple of members who have discovered what you have as well. Exporting from AA into PP is a better and more efficient workflow. What else?
JG: My studio has Primacoustic’s absorptive wall panels, bass traps, ceiling panels, and recoil stabilizers. BEST purchase ever. The room is much better now. Really happy with the results.
CS: We totally agree with the value of Primacoustic panels!
JG: For an audio interface, I have the MOTU Ultra Lite mk4. I don’t really do much with this piece of equipment other than run my studio monitors through it. It’s very straight forward when calibrating the room.
CS: There’s so many great things about the ULM4 – especially once you get into surround or streaming. When you start doing your own live show, you’ll discover how powerful it can be with programs like OBS!
JG: Live show? Right. I’ll be doing that in all my free time between now and November [laughs]
CS: [laughing] Sometimes that’s how we feel too.
JG: For studio monitors, I have JBL 3 Series Mark II, including the subwoofer, which I really like. I had been using computer speakers until I took Mark’s course, so that tells you where I was at. Working with sound is so much more exciting now.
CS: Excellent purchase. The 305s 6s, 0r 8s?
CS: How about in terms of plugins?
JG: I use some of the Waves plugins (IR1 Convolution Reverb and Q10 Equalizer) that you all covered extensively in the Cinema Sound Education. I like how the Q10 can really smooth out someone’s voice. I don’t have enough experience to talk about why I use these products over other ones. I chose them because I had learned about their value in the Cinema Sound course and researched other reviews to feel comfortable investing in them. No regrets. I’m not an Apple person, so Adobe’s products were a no-brainer. iZotope’s RX is amazing too. It’s a lot of money, but well worth it. Once you start using it, you don’t want to go back to anything else.
CS: Name some of the other gear you use.
JG: One of the best purchases I’ve made is a good set of headphones: ATH-M70x. These block out all noise and let me focus on what is truly coming through. Everyone in my household wants to use them.
CS: We’ll have to get your opinion on the difference between the ATs and our own EX-29 Direct Sound headphones!
JG: Love to. I’ve heard a lot of good things about your EX-29 headphones. And the price is really reasonable.
JG: I also invested in a really good recorder – Sound Devices MixPre10 – and it changed my world. It’s unfortunate that I recorded most of my film sound with a Zoom H4N. But this is how you start – small right? I’ve been recording ambiences and sound effects using the MixPre10 though and can’t wait to put it all together in Audition for my film. Because there isn’t a lot of dialog, I’m hoping that the MixPre10 recordings can save the sound. I’ve also done some ADR in my studio with the MixPre, thanks to Primacoustic’s products.
CS: Well, the H4N is 80X better than what most folks do: use the mic on an iPhone. And while we’re not super fans of Zoom mic pres, with a little help from Audition plugins, you can still get a pretty good sound. And yes, when you treat your studio, the added benefit folks don’t realize is: many times your studio just became a good place to record!
JG: I totally get double duty out of my workspace now!
CS: We’re honored you trusted us with our recommendations. Of course, we’d completely recommend the MixPre6/10 as well. Let’s talk about Cinema Sound then. What’s the most important aspect of Cinema Sound for you?
JG: The most important aspect of Cinema Sound is the extent to which Mark supports other filmmakers in their journey to get the best possible sound. Mark is always open to questions and is willing to help. There’s not a lot of people out there like that. I know that I can trust his process and advice because I’ve had much better results with my film sound after taking his course. He takes us under the covers of Hollywood sound and it’s truly motivating.
CS: That’s very kind. Thank you. If you had to give once piece of advice to the membership of Cinema Sound – who are doing their best to create powerfully immersive content for their audience – what would it be?
JG: Take the entire Cinema Sound course, not just parts of it. It’s not only important to know how to do things, but also, when to do things. Throughout the course, Mark makes references other helpful lessons as reminders, and reiterates important concepts. I find this way of teaching really reinforcing.
CS: Truer words have never been spoken. How about this: in 5 years Jody Glover will be…?
JG: In 5 years I hope to have made the jump to being a full-time filmmaker. For now though, I need to keep the day job to afford it. Movie-making is expensive. I *may* have an opportunity to work on a pilot for a new TV series in Nova Scotia in the next year or two, which would be pretty exciting. Lastly, I hope that I can get my certifications from Cinema Sound.
CS: God speed on getting the series! Is there something about what you do that you wish people knew – but don’t?
JG: Great question. I would like people to know that I’m available to help them with their projects – big or small. I’ve got the equipment, and I’d love to get involved. Slowly, I’m building the confidence to go out into the world as a filmmaker, thanks to great resources like Cinema Sound.
CS: You can contact Jody on Facebook, or on the Cinema Sound Facebook Group. We’re looking forward to you being certified as well. Thank you so much for being with us.
JG: Any time, and thank you for this opportunity. Looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday on Compression.
CS: Indeed you will!