Angel Between the Lines

A fan audio drama that tells what happens between the seasons of Angel

Archive for the ‘Extras’ Category

Feature Post: The World of Editing

Posted by Adrianne Vermeulen On May - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

editingImagine your favorite movie or television show without the benefit of editing. Seriously, consider watching an episode of ‘lost’.  Not only would you have to sit through all of the actor flubs and foibles, but each episode would likely be three hours long!  Editors play an important role in the entertainment business, and in the world of podcasting it is no different.

Of all the steps that go into putting together a podcast series, I knew the least about editing.  Well, if I’m completely honest, I don’t know much about any of it.  Here I am, however, ready to learn!  My take on editing is that it is tedious, challenging, often thankless work.  Nevertheless, all editors interviewed for this article mentioned how rewarding it is to get an episode ‘in the can.’

Those extraordinary people involved in editing in the Between the Lines (BtL) universe come from seemingly ordinary backgrounds. Many entered into editing out of necessity or a fascination with manipulating sound. John, an editor for BtL loves to “work with sound to see how far [he] can hear it in the air.” Some editors come from artistic backgrounds, be it theater or music. Universally, editors seem to be fascinated by controlling sound.

Why edit? Robin, another BtL editor, loves listening to bloopers. Volo of BtL “[loves] hearing how the actors put different spins on each reading of their lines.” Volo often laughs at the different ‘takes’ an actor records for a part, or marvels at the emphasis an actor places on certain words. Helping the actors to deliver a quality performance is incredibly satisfying.

That is not to say editing is not without challenges. Trying to filter out hisses, hums and other background noises is high on the editors’ frustration list. Compiling multiple takes from several actors with any one of a thousand different recording systems makes creating a cohesive scene a trial. Also, finding adequate time to dedicate to the project is always difficult. The end result, however, is always the payoff. Bringing together all recorded pieces to create a believable scene is the ultimate goal.

Editors cannot go into the world unaffected by their work on BtL. Each editor comments that this line of work changes how he or she views (or listen to) other works of entertainment. Though not one editor from BtL would criticize another in the editing field, each comments on how their experience (even if limited) leads them to be more aware of how sights and sounds are brought together in movies, television, and other podcasts. Some even study the work of others to become better at what they do. This is fortunate for all of us involved in BtL!

Generally, editors in the BtL universe are not unhappy to work behind the scenes. On their lists of accomplishments, each will point to an effective or emotional podcast or segment of which they are particularly proud. Volo is most proud of writing a “How-to” article about editing that new editors have found helpful. Though they appreciate compliments, often they are the only individuals with knowledge of how much work truly goes into each project.

That leaves only one question. Have you hugged an editor today?

ABtLS1 Lorne’s Vegas Program

Posted by Tabz On October - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Feature Post: The World of QC

Posted by Okelay On October - 14 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

quality controlBetween the Lines Studios produces many podcasts on a variety of topics, albeit nearly all Whedon-related. For the podcast-in-production of “Angel Between the Lines”,they’ve created a new department called “Quality Control,” This is a process which has long been used in fabrics in order to test products before public comsumptioon. They basically do what it says on the tin, their job consists of listening to and evaluating scenes from the simple to the complex, until an entire episode has been completed.

QC is an experiment. It is an effort to streamline the production and alleviate some burden, especially from the producers since it falls in them to make sure everything’s perfect before it is released. However, like any human, they aren’t flawless. It happens to everyone, someone posts something only to realise a tiny little mistake has been overlooked. Nobody is perfect, and our eyes and ears play tricks on our minds.

That’s why extra ears become quite helpful. As with any task too big for one, it is divided into small,manageable portions, so as to not overwhelm the workers and so they can rely on each other.

Like in Editing, QC is divided into three categories: basic,intermediate and advanced. They do similar tasks, but the higher levels perform more complex ones. The scenes they listen to are longer, have been more produced, include more people, etc. The choice of the QCers and the levels they work on depends on previous experiences and skills, such as if the person has done voice work in the past, if they’ve edited, or have any podcasting experience. It is also important to see if the person has particular listening abilities. Everyone has their skills and sharper senses. Those whose ears are their strong points, find their skills of great use in podcasting.

The process is fairly simple. After the script has been written and lines voiced and uploaded, there’s some basic editing to basically put scenes together. At this point the first round of QCers come in. They’re all asked to wear headphones because it is easier to concetrate and the sound is better. It’s not a process to be done while paying attention to something else.

While listening to a scene, they should have a questionnaire and the script to answer simple and rather obvious questions such as whether or not all the lines are present and files are correctly named. It’s incredible how many obvious things are overlooked and therefore it is important to check that they are there.

After these questions have been answered, it’s time to move onto other aspects like the voice and the sound. Lines must be clear and at a decent volume. There can’t be distracting noises in the background, and the voice shouldn’t sound muffled or electric, but natural. In higher levels they must also check the state of sfx and the music. A recommendation when listening is that it mustn’t sound cartoonish,because this is a serious piece, not a comedy. Also, usually less is more. Too much sfx or loud music can ruin a moment. They must add to the atmosphere without being distracting.

It is after this questionnaire that the QCers decide if the piece passes or not and write down notes and suggestions for the actors and editors. If the piece doesn’t pass, it is sent back to the editors with notes. They try to see if it can be done a different way or with another take and if it doesn’t work, it is sent back to the actor to re-record.

Each QCer has a certain degree of flexibility regarding approval or rejection of a piece, but they’re also asked to show some lenience towards the scenes. They can’t all be perfect and it is possible to become overzealous and reject good pieces for tiny errors. One can also be too lax and let flawed pieces through. It can all be very subjective, which is why there is a team, since it is a team effort like the entire podcast.

Since it is on an experimental phase, it isn’t strictly defined and is still subject to change. So far it has turned out to be a rather good idea. This people have become a kind of ‘beta-listener’ for podcasts and are set to become an essential part of the BTL machinery.

Feature Post: Interview with Glen Bartram (Lorne)

Posted by Crystal On July - 31 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

1. Tell us about your audition experience. Did you plan on auditioning specifically for Lorne, or was the role one of many you tried out for?
 
I auditioned for EVERYTHING! I have been a big fan of BBtL and just really wanted to get involved somehow. Actually, now that I think of it, I didn’t audition for Gunn. Just didn’t think I’d be able to pull that off. “Know your limits.”
    
 
2. Just before the cast was announced, you learned that the originator of the role, Andy Hallett, had passed away. How did you feel when you learned you’d been cast in this role?

WOW! I mean, I wanted the part of Lorne pretty bad, but after he died, and I got the part… just a very bittersweet experience. I started watching Angel pretty late in the series, and was always hoping I’d get to see him find another role after Angel ended. It just goes to show you how important it is to really get out there and LIVE! He was taken from us far too early.
Andy…This is for you man!
 
 
3. The role of Lorne is music – heavy. Tell us about your own musical background.
 
Actually, I have been doing amateur theatre for about 20 years, and most of that has been in musical comedy. I really love performing, and singing in public. Some of my favorite roles have been Nicely-Nicely in Guys and Dolls and The Baker in Into The Woods. I especially love shows by Stephen Sondheim (One of Joss’s faves too.) I am really looking forward to this part, because Lorne has such a distinctive, and “balls-out” vocal style. Can’t wait to make with the singin!!
 
 
4. How does it feel to have your own special back up crew of Lornettes?
 
I haven’t recorded the lines with the Lornettes, but I really can’t wait to get into it. Just hope my real life wife understands. 🙂 

5. What did you to prepare for the audition? For your own lines?

I watched a lot of the Angel Episodes where Lorne sang. Even though the audition called for a song from OMWF or Dr. Horrible, I thought initially about doing a part of Lady Marmalade from the Vegas episode instead just to be different. Then I started to look at the song that Sweet sings in OMWF, and I thought that Lorne would really dig that song and that he’d really be able to sell it. When doing the lines, it takes me a couple of tries at it to “build up” the energy to Lorne’s level. He’s such a great character, and the dry sense of humor he often displays is fun to do. 
 
6. Have there been any lines/scene that were difficult to act?

Again, we haven’t really gotten to the episodes where Lorne is really featured. But I can’t wait to get the scripts where he first meets with Lee DeMarco. THAT’S a relationship that deserves some background. How they first got in “business” together before everything went south for Lorne. And that gets into what is so great about the Between The Lines projects is you get to have some of those details filled in. (It may not be canon… but who cares?!?)
 
 
7. Do you have a favorite moment in Angel the Series involving Lorne? In ABtL?

Oh, geez! Tons of ’em! I think the episodes where Lorne goes back to Pylea are some of his best moments. Imagine acting as a severed head! And I love his commentary on the goings on during the “Spin the Bottle” episode. Funny… and yet… a bit regretful. I think his best moment though was his last in the TV series where he has to kill Lindsey. I mean, he’s a demon… but killing, and betrayal is really not in him. He’s really the one who has to take one for the team, and it shows in his last line, “G’night, folks.”
 
 
8. Are there any projects or messages you’d like to share with our audience? 

I currently don’t have anything else in the works. However I increasingly interested in the experiences that audio and video podcasting has to offer, and I am playing around with some concepts (serial comedy, Steampunk), etc. that I might be able to develop into something.
I am also trying to break into screenwriting, and I have a half completed screenplay for a Spike movie that I’m working on. If anyone’s interested in hearing more about one or the other, check out my website (125productions.biz) or email me at glen.bartram@gmail.com

Feature Post: The Wonderful World of SFX

Posted by Jen On March - 5 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

sfxWhen I was given the assignment to tell you about the amazing sound affects department here at Angel Between The Lines, there was just one small problem. I had no clue how sound effects even worked!

Well, after a few wonderful interviews, this rookie reporter was set straight.

So, what’s the first step in creating sound effects? Well, it all starts with the scripts. People in the sound effects department read the script, where they are given certain scenes to work on. It is important that they read their scripts very carefully, so as to avoid mishaps such as using the sound effect for a woman’s high heels when a male character is walking.

Then, they go to websites such as Soundsnap or Freesound Project to search for the sounds they need. Sometimes finding just the right sound effect can take quite awhile. For example, finding the sound of twilight can take some time as it is hard to distinguish between night and evening from an audio standpoint.

Often creativity is needed in finding sound effects, as sometimes the desired sound can’t be found. Once the sound of a safe was needed and in this case, a clicking sound, the sound of a door opening, and some creaking was used. The editors then put these sounds together.
On occasion sound effects don’t take long to find at all, even if they are unusual. Once, an episode of Buffy Between The Lines needed eerie flute music and even though the person searching for it thought it would take forever, It only took ten minutes.

Sometimes sound effects can be found somewhere totally unexpected, such as an alligator sound found at the website for the U.S. Wildlife and Fish Fund.

Finding all the sounds needed usually takes one or two hours, or a little longer if you’re just starting out. As you gain more experience, you learn how to phrase your searches and build up a library of clips for reuse. After all the sounds are found you also need to create a file detailing the creator of the sound effects, where it was found, the original filename, and the new filename [if it needed to be changed.] After doing all this, the sound clips still have to be uploaded to the FTP site. With two or three scenes an episode to provide sound effects for, this whole process can take up to approximately six hours.

Besides finding sound effects, some members of the sound effects crew are also responsible for making their own sound effects. This is called foley. Foley is often done with a lot of improvisation, such as dragging a folder along your desk to make the sound of a clipboard hitting a counter.

I hope this article has given you a better understanding and appreciation of what the amazing sound effects crew does to bring you the sounds that add so much to your favorite podcasts. I know this reporter will never listen to a podcast the same way again!

Character Blog: From the Floor of the SciFi Con!

Posted by Nabbit_RULES On February - 2 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

davidnabbit(with help from Heidi)

Location: San Diego Convention Center

Mood: Jubly Early!

Good day fellow fantasy questers questees questions… seekers!

I have returned from my journey. As you know, I was at a gathering of brilliant minds and talents, known to the lay man as a Science Fiction Convention. I went in costume so as not to give away my true identity, not for fear of ridicule (as that is one of the few places I would not fear that), but because I was on a secret quest to find an actual prop from one of my favorite movies. They had for auction one of the really real life… oooh, I’m so excited I can barely type this… Deloreans used in Back to the Future!!! I knew I had to have it, but my arch-nemesis, we’ll call him Biff (seems appropriate), was determined to outbid me and win the Delorean.

Biff had contacted me before the event to let me know that he would be watching for me and so would his body guards, thus why I donned the costume. Although I probably would have gone in costume anyway. My costume was made by my wonderful cook, Mrs. Lovett. She can really use a sewing machine, that lady. She made me a great costume from the classic 80s cartoon, Thundercats. I was Panthro, complete with big, muscley arms. They made me feel tough. I brought my body guard along as well. Tori was dressed as Cheetarah and I’m not ashamed to say, she was smoking hot!

The Con was great. I got some action figures, comic books, video and computer games, and some awesome t-shirts. When it was time for the auction, Tori and I stayed toward the back. I didn’t want to be too conspicuous. Biff’s goons were pacing on the sidelines, just waiting to see when I would make my move. There were some really terrific items: a cape from Superman III, the Dread Pirate Robert’s mask from The Princess Bride, and a life size model of Jabba the Hut. I almost bid on that last one, but I knew what was coming and had to hold out.

The Delorean came one stage and everyone gasped. I won’t bother you with the boring details of the bidding war. Needless to say, it went for a rather large amount of money. At one point Tori had to step on one of Biff’s body guard’s feet. I may have heard a crack. He didn’t come back for more after that. It was the kind of auction everyone wants to be a part of. The auctioneer was talking a mile a minute. Everyone was really into it. Some people may have bid that didn’t mean to, then were relieved when someone outbid them. In the end, an old man with white hair held out longer than anyone else. Come to think of it, he did look remarkably like Christopher Lloyd. Could it have been? Nah, probably just a costume.

I was a little let down after the auction, but then I met Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca. I got an autograph and talked a little Wookie with him. It was a great way to end an awesome weekend.

In my next entry, I’ll try to tell you about my newest project. I think you’re going to love it.

Until next time, this is David signing off
Live Long and Prosper \//

Angel Between the Lines Presents “Silent Night/Peace”

Posted by Tabz On December - 24 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

We hope you all have a very blessed Christmas this year!

Singers:
Andrew Ball
Larissa Myhowych
Kim Butler

Edited by Kim Butler

“Silent Night” Father Josef Mohr/Franz Xaver Gruber/John Freeman Young
“Peace”

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Tabz On December - 8 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

abtlchristmascard

From the Cast and Crew of Angel Between the Lines, we hope that your Christmas season is full of peace, love and all of the things that make life wonderful.

We’ll see you again in January!

ABtLS1Christmas Desktop!

Posted by Tabz On December - 4 - 2009 1 COMMENT

ABTLS1Christmasthumb

Looking for some Angel Christmas-y cheer? Download this Christmas Desktop!

Merry Christmas Version -> Right Click + Save As
No Merry Christmas Version  -> Right Click + Save As

ABTLS1E01 – Interview with Karie Bible about Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Posted by Tabz On December - 1 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

kbveil1Join Heidi as she interviews historian and tour guide Karie Bible about the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. If you’re in Los Angeles and want to take one of Karie’s tours visit: http://www.cemeterytour.com/

About KARIE BIBLE — Born a heterochromatic baby (put down the medical reference book – it means she’s got two different colored eyes) with the last name “Bible” on Halloween night, Karie was destined to be nothing if not unique. Her passion for history and Hollywood’s past led her to starting a cemetery tour in 2002 under the guidance of acclaimed historian Marc Wanamaker. In keeping with her love of living history, she gives the tour in vintage gowns from her collection that spans the 1920s through the 1950s.

Karie has lectured at LA’s Silent Movie Theatre, The Old Town Music Hall, The Queen Mary and is also the currently reigning “Lady in Black” to honor silent film star Rudolph Valentino. She is actively involved as a volunteer with the American Cinematheque and the Los Angeles Conservancy and is a member of the Hollywood Heritage and the Art Deco Society.
















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