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New round of layoffs....
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #31
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia ➑️
SONYs technology arm has been a mess for years.. their products used to be more expensive and better than everyone... now they are just more expensive... Each technology group is run like its own company...very fifedom oriented... makes for expensive and difficult to manage overhead.... this may have little effect on the entertainment side... .. or not.

cheers
geo
Sony has suffered immensely with poor performance at both SCEA and SPE- The shoe will drop- the variable will be the size of the hole that is made. Sony cannot continue selling PS3's at a $50 per unit loss. And if Blu-Ray tanks, which is looking more likely everyday, it will be a huge problem for them. If I were them, I would say make the PS3 compatible with non Sony media (XBOX games) and Start publishing their properties on Wii and XBOX. As to the film division- the whole studio structure is imploding industry wide, so I guess becoming more of a financing entity would make the most sense, because their facilites are very expensive and not a dominant revenue generator. IP is what makes the money.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #32
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes ➑️
more unfortunately....


Report: Sony Restructuring Imminent Amid Management Tension
Sony is about to announce specifics of its restructuring plans, including details of an anticipated 16,000 job cuts.

News of the imminent announcement comes from the Financial Times, which also reports that British-born Sony chairman Howard Stringer faces some challenges from "old guard" Japanese manufacturing execs on the specifics of the restructuring.

As a company, Sony's believed to be at an operational crossroads that applies to all of its businesses. Stringer has advocated a migration from a product-focused business model with high production costs to a commodity-focused model with a greater investment in built-in software, and the transition is reportedly causing internal management tension.

As a global organization rooted in Japan, Sony also must contend with that country's cultural tendency toward lifetime jobs; the Financial Times describes "acute sensitivity" toward firing Japanese staff. But given that an unspecified Sony manager told the FT that there's "a lot of fat" in the company's Japan operations, sparing that staff could anger the company's foreign employees.

Media reports have suggested that Sony could post a $1.1 billion loss for its fiscal year ending in March -- not only the greatest loss in its history, but only the second operating loss ever in the company's existence.

Sony Computer Entertainment specifically continues to struggle to attain profitability for the PlayStation business, and has suffered diminished hardware sales in recent months. Nonetheless, SCEE president David Reeves believes the restructuring at Sony is likely to spare the PlayStation division.

POSTED: 06.25AM PST, 01/21/09 - Leigh Alexander - LINK
Sony is a huge corporation and could easily shed 16,000 jobs without the motion picture division being affected much at all. I'm not saying that I have any inside track on what's going on, but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about how the film division will be affected.

Reorganization usually means that redundant jobs and divisions are consolidated and made more efficient. I don't see many redundant jobs in post production since facilities have already been cutting back on assistants, recordists, loaders, music mixers, engineers, etc. for years. We are pretty efficient already. The people most likely to be cut I think will be middle management, clerical and various support people like food services, custodial staff, assistants of every kind, receptionists, etc., so we'll have to do our jobs with much less back up support.

The only way post will go away is if they stop making movies or start cutting and mixing in India, which could theoretically happen, but I'm extremely doubtful actually will. There might be a move to more negative pickups, which would threaten union jobs, but there will still be jobs, I believe.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #33
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Sony is a huge corporation and could easily shed 16,000 jobs without the motion picture division being affected much at all. I'm not saying that I have any inside track on what's going on, but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about how the film division will be affected.

Reorganization usually means that redundant jobs and divisions are consolidated and made more efficient. I don't see many redundant jobs in post production since facilities have already been cutting back on assistants, recordists, loaders, music mixers, engineers, etc. for years. We are pretty efficient already. The people most likely to be cut I think will be middle management, clerical and various support people like food services, custodial staff, assistants of every kind, receptionists, etc., so we'll have to do our jobs with much less back up support.

The only way post will go away is if they stop making movies or start cutting and mixing in India, which could theoretically happen, but I'm extremely doubtful actually will. There might be a move to more negative pickups, which would threaten union jobs, but there will still be jobs, I believe.
Sony has approx 180,000 employees. so that would be about an 8% workforce reduction. About 50% of Sony's staff is in Japan and Asia.

The numbers business-wise have been declining, but after seeing Warner Brothers, a much more profitable studio in general cut 400 jobs locally, I would say bigger reductions are on the horizon there.

And the non-unionized staff is likely to get cut first- but the Teamsters and IATSE unions should be trying to think of new solutions to not price themselves out of the business- and to prevent Sony and the other Hollywood studios from shifting their money to other countries.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #34
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🎧 10 years
As a person working currently in games I can attest to the fact that the layoffs are spreading to gaming too. Many independent game developers are closing up because the large publishers are not making money. This is a result of both a troubled economy (these companies have investments/stock holders too), but also a continued growth of the used game market. Fewer people end up buying the game new, because they know if they wait a few months they will get the game at discount. Add an issue of piracy for PC platforms and the sluggish response by the console manufacturers to handle digital delivery well and you've got a recipe for trouble.

So if developers are closing shop, that means that the job market, which was already flooded with every kid who thinks working in games means playing games all day, is also flooded with experienced professionals with multiple credits under their belt.

What does this mean for sound design and audio... in my opinion it means that the Sound Designer with no code knowledge and no ability to implement the assets he/she creates has become less valuable in the eyes of the developer/publisher. Why hire two people, a designer and programmer, to do the job of one? We all know that quality asset creation can be a full time job in and of itself, but "great sound" is rarely the selling point on the box art, and in reality, the implementation of the sound with some of the new middleware available and the issue of resource management can have a huge effect on how the game sounds that sometimes goes far beyond the quality of the asset itself (which in some cases is still at 8 bits and 22.05kHz).

Long story short (IMHO), game audio is becoming harder and harder for the post-audio professional to get into without prior game experience. The video game industry is not the land of milk and honey that I once thought it to be. So, I should really get back to work.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #35
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by havlowjumper ➑️
As a person working currently in games I can attest to the fact that the layoffs are spreading to gaming too. Many independent game developers are closing up because the large publishers are not making money. This is a result of both a troubled economy (these companies have investments/stock holders too), but also a continued growth of the used game market. Fewer people end up buying the game new, because they know if they wait a few months they will get the game at discount. Add an issue of piracy for PC platforms and the sluggish response by the console manufacturers to handle digital delivery well and you've got a recipe for trouble.

So if developers are closing shop, that means that the job market, which was already flooded with every kid who thinks working in games means playing games all day, is also flooded with experienced professionals with multiple credits under their belt.

What does this mean for sound design and audio... in my opinion it means that the Sound Designer with no code knowledge and no ability to implement the assets he/she creates has become less valuable in the eyes of the developer/publisher. Why hire two people, a designer and programmer, to do the job of one? We all know that quality asset creation can be a full time job in and of itself, but "great sound" is rarely the selling point on the box art, and in reality, the implementation of the sound with some of the new middleware available and the issue of resource management can have a huge effect on how the game sounds that sometimes goes far beyond the quality of the asset itself (which in some cases is still at 8 bits and 22.05kHz).

Long story short (IMHO), game audio is becoming harder and harder for the post-audio professional to get into without prior game experience. The video game industry is not the land of milk and honey that I once thought it to be. So, I should really get back to work.
Would you agree that their are too many titles?, because if you look at Rockstar, arguably the Pixar of the game world, their IP performs very consistently. Ultimately if a game is a quality experience (Halo) people will line up the day before release and pay retail- So many games created do not have that sort of draw though....
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #36
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Would you agree that their are too many titles?, because if you look at Rockstar, arguably the Pixar of the game world, their IP performs very consistently. Ultimately if a game is a quality experience (Halo) people will line up the day before release and pay retail- So many games created do not have that sort of draw though....
That is an interesting question. I think in one way there are too many games being rushed out based on the successes of other titles - copycat titles if you will. One thing to keep in mind about HALO 2 and 3 and GTA IV is they rode on the success of earlier versions of the game, not only the high quality of their design. In a way, the newer HALO games and GTA IV were sold to people long before they came out because of the popularity of their predecessors and the ever popular hype machine.

There will always be blockbuster games just like in the film industry -- titles that benefit from a tremendous financial backing and terrific marketing.

I fear more that game publishers will not be willing to take the financial risk of backing a mid-sized developer in creating a truly original IP. They will simply make the game in house for less. Add to this the democratization of the tools used for making games, and the increased popularity of downloadable games (Wii Ware) that can be developed by very small teams for less money, and I think the middle of the industry, the mid-sized console game developer, gets pushed out, which for the awkwardly termed "hardcore-gamer" is unfortunate.

Most of these larger game publishers with the financial ability to back a large distribution have stock holders who don't look too kindly at commercial failure right now.

There are something like 40 Million Wii's in the world right now, and it is the fastest selling console for a long time running. If you look at the top selling Wii games, they are basically static... Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Wii Play, Mario Kart Wii, all made by who else... Nintendo themselves.

All this said, I wouldn't describe the game industry as being in crisis right now. People still want diversions and the cost for a game for an individual is nominal, against the potential profits for publishers. Of course I write all of this from the relative comfort of my office desk. I feel very much for those who have lost work, many very talented game designers, because of the recent struggles.

I should point out all of this is of course my opinion as a person working in the industry, not an economist who has studied the situation of the video games market.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havlowjumper ➑️
That is an interesting question. I think in one way there are too many games being rushed out based on the successes of other titles - copycat titles if you will. One thing to keep in mind about HALO 2 and 3 and GTA IV is they rode on the success of earlier versions of the game, not only the high quality of their design. In a way, the newer HALO games and GTA IV were sold to people long before they came out because of the popularity of their predecessors and the ever popular hype machine.

There will always be blockbuster games just like in the film industry -- titles that benefit from a tremendous financial backing and terrific marketing.

I fear more that game publishers will not be willing to take the financial risk of backing a mid-sized developer in creating a truly original IP. They will simply make the game in house for less. Add to this the democratization of the tools used for making games, and the increased popularity of downloadable games (Wii Ware) that can be developed by very small teams for less money, and I think the middle of the industry, the mid-sized console game developer, gets pushed out, which for the awkwardly termed "hardcore-gamer" is unfortunate.

Most of these larger game publishers with the financial ability to back a large distribution have stock holders who don't look too kindly at commercial failure right now.

There are something like 40 Million Wii's in the world right now, and it is the fastest selling console for a long time running. If you look at the top selling Wii games, they are basically static... Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Wii Play, Mario Kart Wii, all made by who else... Nintendo themselves.

All this said, I wouldn't describe the game industry as being in crisis right now. People still want diversions and the cost for a game for an individual is nominal, against the potential profits for publishers. Of course I write all of this from the relative comfort of my office desk. I feel very much for those who have lost work, many very talented game designers, because of the recent struggles.

I should point out all of this is of course my opinion as a person working in the industry, not an economist who has studied the situation of the video games market.
Have you seen Boom Bloks? it is very original, and I think has been pretty successful- the one avenue with HUGE pent up demand that no one is really exploiting is games that integrate educational issues into gameplay (like Boom Bloks does) Nintendo's success of the Wii is based on its family friendliness as well as its relatively inexpensive price tag- but titles like Wii Sports and Wii fit, are slyly addressing parents concerns about the gaming generations lack of physical activity, and provides an intuitive kinetic interface.... It is truly the only real "now-gen" console out there. And now 2 years after release, they still have pentup demand for the console.

I think that the greater industry could benefit substantially by examining their business choices.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #38
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As a relatively new guy on the scene I'm finding this thread incredibly depressing...I need a Martini
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes ➑️
Sony cannot continue selling PS3's at a $50 per unit loss..

Definitely...there used to be a wry saying about failing companies and their reason for failing, "We're losing on every unit, but we're making up for it in volume!"

They need to find a dealer for some of that game crack that World of Warcraft has. Blizzard must be doing incredibly well...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #40
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Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
Definitely...there used to be a wry saying about failing companies and their reason for failing, "We're losing on every unit, but we're making up for it in volume!"
And we lost the volume (loudness) wars, right? ;-)

Quote:
They need to find a dealer for some of that game crack that World of Warcraft has. Blizzard must be doing incredibly well...
My mother said, "Say no to crack." Thinking of games with good titles that set the table for the sequel, the first one that comes to mind is Call of Duty. My friends and I played CoD4 online, and when CoD5 came out, we all bought it the first week. Quality entertainment, with good sound design as well. I just can't believe how many children under 17 are playing a game rated "M", but I digress, they do pay the bills.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #41
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🎧 10 years
IMHO I think what is happening (not just in the audio business either) is that a lot of businesses, big and small, are realizing that they have painted themselves into a corner. Perhaps they didn't prepare well enough for this scenario, they believed that the fountain of liquid gold would never stop. Now that everything is falling in on itself they are realizing that they need to change the way they've been doing business, tighten the belt etc. The people who excel will be those who learn to adapt and do business in a new way. I just really hope that quality production doesn't suffer too much, people seem to be willing to cut budgets on sound before anything else. Starting to wonder if I should chosen art class instead of band class back in the day.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hociman ➑️
And we lost the volume (loudness) wars, right? ;-)


My mother said, "Say no to crack." Thinking of games with good titles that set the table for the sequel, the first one that comes to mind is Call of Duty. My friends and I played CoD4 online, and when CoD5 came out, we all bought it the first week. Quality entertainment, with good sound design as well. I just can't believe how many children under 17 are playing a game rated "M", but I digress, they do pay the bills.
I recorded weapons for that game... the flamethrower (I think) used some of the sound elements I recorded for Flags of Our Fathers- and me trying to set my living room on fire....ah....good times....
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #43
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by havlowjumper ➑️
As a person working currently in games I can attest to the fact that the layoffs are spreading to gaming too. Many independent game developers are closing up because the large publishers are not making money.
It's a little scary... so many developers are cutting staff. EA, Midway (looks like its sunk), all those little developers. I got laid off from an independent that went bankrupt last year.

Quote:
So if developers are closing shop, that means that the job market, which was already flooded with every kid who thinks working in games means playing games all day, is also flooded with experienced professionals with multiple credits under their belt.
Fortunately, I had 3 job offers within 2 months. If you look around, there are quite a few open sound design positions in the game industry.

Quote:
What does this mean for sound design and audio... in my opinion it means that the Sound Designer with no code knowledge and no ability to implement the assets he/she creates has become less valuable in the eyes of the developer/publisher. Why hire two people, a designer and programmer, to do the job of one?
Because it's not the job of one person. There is zero translation between integrating a piece of middleware into an engine or writing a software mixer and designing a good sound. It's hard enough to find good audio people on one side of the coin now, developers will be hard up to find someone who can do both. Those who go this route will either get extremely lucky--or more likely--get what they pay for.

It does seem that the middle tier of games is taking a hit now-a-days. The top 10 blockbusters are still doing well and selling millions of copies but the middle market is flooded.

Also, I'm not so worried about orginality. Every industry will have sequels. But in the last year we've had Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Little Big Planet, Left 4 Dead, Spore, etc.

-d
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 10 years
Don't count on the video game companies to provide jobs for all the post production sound designers looking for work right now. As someone suggested earlier, unless you can also do code and directly implement the audio into the software, there just isn't much sound work to be done. There is some tracking, some dialog editing, and sometimes cutscenes that need the post production treatment. All other sounds, like ambience and sound fx you hear during gameplay are designed by the computer programmers who integrate them into the game code.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edit machine ➑️
Don't count on the video game companies to provide jobs for all the post production sound designers looking for work right now. As someone suggested earlier, unless you can also do code and directly implement the audio into the software, there just isn't much sound work to be done. There is some tracking, some dialog editing, and sometimes cutscenes that need the post production treatment. All other sounds, like ambience and sound fx you hear during gameplay are designed by the computer programmers who integrate them into the game code.
I am doing a weapons library for a AAA game right now, so I dont know if my experience matches yours- I do this sort of thing somewhat frequently actually....
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #46
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There's a new article related to this thread over at postmagazine.com featuring our Nathan Dubin:
SWOT: AUDIO | Articles | Post Magazine
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #47
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A BIG problem for companies trying to compete in today's economy is that they have become bloated with too many managers and mid level executives who really don't DO anything and when something like a recession hits they are slow to act. This is not just in industry, I live in a college town and use to work at the local college. When I started there were 99 people in my classification now there are over 250. We did just fine with 99 and I have NO idea why they currently need over 250. One of the things that was going on just before I left was that they were hiring a lot of people who had NO knowledge of how to get things done they only knew how to manage. So they had to hire people under them to actually do the work and those people needed to hire additional staff under them to help them do the work. The President's office went from three people to seven. The business office went from two people to over 10 when they split off various functions and my job was made into three different positions when I left. Yes I worked my a$$ off and yes I was at work more than I was at home but I got the work done. Now three separate people do the work that I did. I think American companies need to look at how they are run and start going back to the concept of a working manager. UPS is a very profitable company and they don't have any non working supervisors. American business has grown complacent and lazy while the companies in other parts of the world slimmed down and got profitable. When the world wide recession hit, American companies were caught with their pants down and were not in fighting shape.

Post production jobs are still available but the marketplace has changed a lot and now things that use to have to be done at "work" can now be done at home. Products like Digidesign's ProTools have made the whole process of post production something that can be done with a fairly minor investment in equipment and software. You no longer have to go to a studio to do voice over work, ADR or even sound effects. They can all be done at home. The need for large central studios and lots of expensive real estate is a thing of the past. Today the average person can have high speed internet and an ISDN line to their home office/studio and can do things like remote voice recording with the producer in one city the talent in another and the engineer in a third city. This use to have to be done in a commercial studio with access to T-1 or T-3 lines.

Things they are a changing and we all need to be able to work smarter not harder.

Our company does not have a lot of overhead and we are small enough that we can move quickly if the marketplace changes. We have no outstanding debt and we can ramp up or decrease our workforce depending on the conditions we are working under since we have no employees per se. I had a very good intern this summer who taught me a lot about minimalist theory of business where you try to do the most with the least amount of equipment and personnel. He really opened my eyes to what we were doing and how we were doing it. It was really funny to hear him since his major in college was the graphic arts but he also had a minor in economics and was taught by one of the best professors at the local college. Maybe we all should listen to the upcoming generation.

Good discusion.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➑️
The need for large central studios and lots of expensive real estate is a thing of the past.
To some extent this is true, but only for those tasks that don't require client participation.

Finals on mainstream feature films are not going to be done in garage studios. You need a room that approximates the exhibition venue in order to mix properly and you need a well appointed space with enough room to accommodate several people who have expensive tastes and high expectations. ADR also requires a space that high profile actors and directors will feel comfortable in and that has excellent acoustics. Loop groups require a fairly large space. Clients here in Hollywood tend to be very status conscious and the size, look and decor of the stages are often very important for propping up their egos and reinforcing their sense of entitlement. I have often seen incidents where directors have gotten extremely irate because they were booked on the dub stage that is merely the size of a large house as opposed to one that is the size of a mansion, especially if one of their rivals is on the bigger stage.

Predubs are a different story, as are M&Es (although many of the studios send representatives to supervise them now). Cutting rooms can also be anywhere.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #49
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Because it's not the job of one person. There is zero translation between integrating a piece of middleware into an engine or writing a software mixer and designing a good sound. It's hard enough to find good audio people on one side of the coin now, developers will be hard up to find someone who can do both. Those who go this route will either get extremely lucky--or more likely--get what they pay for.
I think maybe I wasn't clear enough. I think there will always be engineer jobs for people who hook up the middleware (Wwise, FMOD) to the game in code and send the sound events. But using the middleware to handle the playback of the sounds is becoming a necessity that not all post-audio professionals who have not worked in games before have. That said, I think the line between Audio Programmer and Sound Designer are getting way blurred.

Quote:
Also, I'm not so worried about orginality. Every industry will have sequels. But in the last year we've had Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Little Big Planet, Left 4 Dead, Spore, etc.
There is some originality in those titles, but the sales figures don't reward that. Mirror's Edge did not stop EA from massive layoffs, Dead Space has faltered despite critical acclaim, nobody owns a PS3 for Little Big Planet, and Spore was stolen like crazy. Left 4 Dead is a doing well, but Valve in some cases, is the exception to the rule.

Still for me while those games boast some original gameplay ideas and design (especially Little Big Planet)I look forward to the day when games will register the same emotional and critical impact on a wide scale as cinema. We are getting there, but we have to get over our collective pubescence.

I am glad to hear you found work dsteinwedel! I hope we all weather the storm.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #50
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
To some extent this is true, but only for those tasks that don't require client participation.

Finals on mainstream feature films are not going to be done in garage studios. You need a room that approximates the exhibition venue in order to mix properly and you need a well appointed space with enough room to accommodate several people who have expensive tastes and high expectations. ADR also requires a space that high profile actors and directors will feel comfortable in and that has excellent acoustics. Loop groups require a fairly large space. Clients here in Hollywood tend to be very status conscious and the size, look and decor of the stages are often very important for propping up their egos and reinforcing their sense of entitlement. I have often seen incidents where directors have gotten extremely irate because they were booked on the dub stage that is merely the size of a large house as opposed to one that is the size of a mansion, especially if one of their rivals is on the bigger stage.

Predubs are a different story, as are M&Es (although many of the studios send representatives to supervise them now). Cutting rooms can also be anywhere.
Gary, I think that theatrical presentation is a shrinking market. Home theatre could dominate that in a very short time frame. I will have to look at revenue stream, but consumer licensing of films makes the studios a huge amount revenue. It is very likely we will see the presentation market continue to shrink as we move forward....
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #51
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by edit machine ➑️
Don't count on the video game companies to provide jobs for all the post production sound designers looking for work right now . . . All other sounds, like ambience and sound fx you hear during gameplay are designed by the computer programmers who integrate them into the game code.
I think there may be huge misconceptions about how games are made. Think more Pixar than Microsoft. There is a programming department which handles gameplay but they also make artist tools for the animation, art, design, and sound departments. Yes, a sound designer must know how to implement and mix their sounds into a game with those tools but if you can learn a DAW you can learn integration tools.

People who can use those tools are a dime-a-dozen but people who know how to make something sound good (with any tool) are not.

No, game companies won't take all the post production people looking for work. Many aren't interested in games. Some are but aren't willing to learn the tools needed (like any new software it can be frustrating). And others aren't interested in the lifestyle. But plenty of people (myself included) have and will continue to jump the line.

Quote:
I think maybe I wasn't clear enough. I think there will always be engineer jobs for people who hook up the middleware (Wwise, FMOD) to the game in code and send the sound events.
Ah yes, looks like we were just getting our terminology mixed up. I've always considered integration (hooking the sound in the game) to be the responsibility of the person who made the sound.

Quote:
Left 4 Dead is a doing well, but Valve in some cases, is the exception to the rule.
Valve is the only publisher with a modern (and good) distribution model. While I hated it at first, Steam is probably the most brilliant method of selling anything digitally. It's consumer friendly, cuts out the middle-men and warehousing, and is (afaik) pirate-proof.

Cheers,
Dave
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #52
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Gary, I think that theatrical presentation is a shrinking market. Home theatre could dominate that in a very short time frame. I will have to look at revenue stream, but consumer licensing of films makes the studios a huge amount revenue. It is very likely we will see the presentation market continue to shrink as we move forward....
Especially with digital delivery like OnDemand cable, and Netflix now streaming into your home.

Man that is depressing. I love going to the theater. There is something to be said for the collective experience... Hopefully there are enough people like me.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes ➑️
Gary, I think that theatrical presentation is a shrinking market. Home theatre could dominate that in a very short time frame. I will have to look at revenue stream, but consumer licensing of films makes the studios a huge amount revenue. It is very likely we will see the presentation market continue to shrink as we move forward....
I agree, but it isn't going to go away. Even the films that producers expect to make their profits on DVDs etc, there is still often a theatrical release that is used to generate publicity and help with DVD sales. Also, there is money to be made in foreign theatrical sales.

I don't do many direct-to-DVD projects, but the ones I have done wanted to final on at least a medium size stage that is comfortable and nicely decorated. In attendance there were producers, a post supervisor, a picture editor, a director, a music editor, a dialogue editor, an FX editor and various assistants, not to mention two mixers. For the playback screenings there were at least a dozen people. You can't really deal with this situation in a bedroom or garage. Also, the near-field monitors we used to check the mix were not appropriate for general use because the sweet spot was too small. With two mixers, both of us were too far off center to mix accurately and the clients at the credenza were too far away for near-fields or even mid-fields, so we just used them to check translation and for tweaks.

I don't know if this is standard for DVD projects or not, I just know that the ones I work on have fit this pattern.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #54
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🎧 10 years
Just a little addendum to my last post. Rick Ash mixes a lot of HBO projects here at Widget and he works on the A Stage, which is a beautiful, full-blown feature stage with a 96 fader Neve DFC. His budgets are as high or sometimes higher than many features we mix and some of the directors are pretty high profile. The TV shows here are also mixed on stages that would be appropriate for features. This is what the clients expect, and as long as that is what they insist on, that is what they are going to get.

I'm not saying this won't change somewhat as budgets shrink, but I don't expect a radical change in client expectations.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #55
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charles maynes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Just a little addendum to my last post. Rick Ash mixes a lot of HBO projects here at Widget and he works on the A Stage, which is a beautiful, full-blown feature stage with a 96 fader Neve DFC. His budgets are as high or sometimes higher than many features we mix and some of the directors are pretty high profile. The TV shows here are also mixed on stages that would be appropriate for features. This is what the clients expect, and as long as that is what they insist on, that is what they are going to get.

I'm not saying this won't change somewhat as budgets shrink, but I don't expect a radical change in client expectations.
Why do think Widget was able to get into Warner Hollywood though? If Warner saw that as a truly viable profit generator they would have stayed there- instead they consolidated their operations in Burbank- Ultilmately a bean-counter cost reduction measure- they didnt wish the real estate the new Sound Facility is built on into being- it went into existing space where less profitable parts of their operation previously lived.

If you look at the Skywalker model- their new small "mix-pods" we can see a clear migration into smaller, less costly spaces. The Stag and the main stages still exist, but they are clearly trying to optimize profits by routing projects into the smaller spaces.

It is arguable that the bigger spaces are as much of a necessity as they once were, and I think we are seeing the logical progression to more home theatre oriented spaces.... especially with more self funded, and independently funded projects. I dont think there are any theatre sized rooms in NYC anymore- most of the dub theatres are sized like Hollywood TV rooms....
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #56
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➑️
A BIG problem for companies trying to compete in today's economy is that they have become bloated with too many managers and mid level executives who really don't DO anything and when something like a recession hits they are slow to act..
You nailed it 1000%.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #57
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charles maynes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Analysis paralysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


this is the core problem of American business in my opinion.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #58
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes ➑️
Why do think Widget was able to get into Warner Hollywood though? If Warner saw that as a truly viable profit generator they would have stayed there- instead they consolidated their operations in Burbank- Ultilmately a bean-counter cost reduction measure- they didnt wish the real estate the new Sound Facility is built on into being- it went into existing space where less profitable parts of their operation previously lived.

If you look at the Skywalker model- their new small "mix-pods" we can see a clear migration into smaller, less costly spaces. The Stag and the main stages still exist, but they are clearly trying to optimize profits by routing projects into the smaller spaces.

It is arguable that the bigger spaces are as much of a necessity as they once were, and I think we are seeing the logical progression to more home theatre oriented spaces.... especially with more self funded, and independently funded projects. I dont think there are any theatre sized rooms in NYC anymore- most of the dub theatres are sized like Hollywood TV rooms....
I can't do anything more than speculate on WB's thinking, but they did build a brand new facility on the WB lot, which they own, as opposed to the Goldwyn facility which they leased and was in need of a fair amount of money to remodel and bring up to date. They wound up with the same number of feature stages as they had before but they are even bigger and more impressive.

I don't disagree that there will be some changes in the way things are done, I just don't believe that garage studios will replace feature stages for finals. Whether the feature stages will be a bit smaller or not, maybe, but clients here like and expect big stages, so we'll see. Many times predubs are done on smaller stages and the final is on a big stage. I would have no trouble whatsoever doing predubs on the HD6 ICON at my house, but I couldn't final on it because I need to be in a theater for that.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #59
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charles maynes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
I can't do anything more than speculate on WB's thinking, but they did build a brand new facility on the WB lot, which they own, as opposed to the Goldwyn facility which they leased and was in need of a fair amount of money to remodel and bring up to date. They wound up with the same number of feature stages as they had before but they are even bigger and more impressive.

I don't disagree that there will be some changes in the way things are done, I just don't believe that garage studios will replace feature stages for finals. Whether the feature stages will be a bit smaller or not, maybe, but clients here like and expect big stages, so we'll see. Many times predubs are done on smaller stages and the final is on a big stage. I would have no trouble whatsoever doing predubs on the HD6 ICON at my house, but I couldn't final on it because I need to be in a theater for that.
I never mentioned garage spaces.... but one could say that you are now taking business away from the Studio sound departments at your house....correct? And I am confident to say at a much lower overhead cost...


The problem the studio mentality is saddled with is the Facilities vs talent paradigm- You know how good Jeff Perkins is (and please give my warmest regards to him if you see him)- the space he works in is only partially relevent to the final product he produces- And I would personally prefer to have him mix my work in a garage sized space (which is reasonably decent acoustically) than a lesser mixer at the Cary Grant.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #60
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think that the budgets are definitely shrinking to a point where TV producers will HAVE to accept the fact that they won't be mixing in Gigantic rooms, but in smaller more "price appropriate" sized rooms.

I also don't see it as doom and gloom as everyone else.But i too am a "glass is half full" type of guy.
There's a gazillion stations, and they all need content.
I actually think that it's the smaller places that are going to start having a harder time, as the bigger studio's start developing a way of doing smaller, lower budget shows in-house, in smaller mix rooms.
Especially in these leaner times, why pay another studio to do your show, when you can keep it in-house.
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