I have to admit that I wasn’t surprised when I read this. The Red Vic Movie House, not to be confused with the Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast in the next block has always had trouble defining itself and attracting customers.
I’ve never been to the Red Vic, but do remember it becoming the last place to show midnight screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This was not a place for first run movies. They were always fifth or sixth run movies with the occasional independent film from a local that was a first run because no where else would show it. When I was younger and we were far more superficial we didn’t like the idea of going to the Red Vic because they didn’t have typical theater style seating, but couches. Yes, couches like you have at home. Why pay someone money to see a movie that you could probably see at your own home for free on your own couch that you at least knew what had been spilled onto?
All of this is based solely on speculation because not only have I never even seen the inside of the Red Vic, but I can’t even find pictures of the inside so what it was like can only be conjured up in my head. My friends and I always thought of it as a movie theater for hippies because we thought at the time that hippies who thought television was bad for your brane would have to go out of their house or tent to see moving pictures. Maybe I’m right, or maybe I’m not, but I do remember the various hippies I’ve encountered over the years it was rare to see a television in any of their homes.
The Red Vic was at least a symbol of counter-culture cinema for San Francisco even if it never attracted the customer base to keep it alive. Part of me is sad to see it go, but I can’t exactly demand that it stay if I was never interested in offering any monetary support to keep it open in the first place. I’ve lost my love of movie theaters when the prices reached $10 a ticket and $20 for snacks. With our widescreen, high def, flat screen TV’s of today it kind of makes you glad to be able to watch a movies without your feet sticking to the floor and wondering what substance is making your feet stick to the floor. The Red Vic closes at the end of the month with Harold and Maude being the last movie it shows. I have to admit, that’s also a movie I’ve never seen.
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As you might have read I do voice over work from time to time. There are several websites out there that are sort of social networks for people who do voice over work and those looking for voice over talent. It’s a good gig if you can get the work, but nowadays just about anyone with a decent voice can do voice over work.
Back when I was in college it was pretty much unheard of for people to do voice over work from their home. It was far too costly and computers were just starting to be looked at as a possibility for recording audio. Now, just about any computer you get can do it for you. One of the things that has been puzzling me though is that all of these websites for voice over talent ask if you have an ISDN set up. I was thinking about this one and remembered that ISDN was the precursor to DSL and Cable Modems and it is far more expensive with you having to purchase a $3000-$5000 box and pay between $50-$150/month, but for some reason voice over artists swear by it.
WHY? I have yet to get a good argument for why ISDN is necessary for good voice over work. It’s more than a tenth slower than DSL, The G.722 codec it uses is far inferior to say, Skype’s SILK_V3 codec and the whole process involves the artist sitting at a mic and it being recorded [usually] outside their home studio at another recording studio. Why not just record the raw voice over tracks and share a dropbox folder with the studio so they can pick them up? I actually provide finished audio files to my clients using dropbox and that has been working out just fine for them.
Many of the podcasters today have never had formal training in voice over work and many times they create the shows as a conversation over Skype that they record. These people aren’t even using a good microphone and they sound pretty good. The current voice over community is living in the world of the dinosaur. If you have a decent set up you don’t need all the professional sound booth materials to effectively record a voice over. You just need a quiet room and a good mic with high rolloff [that means the farther away you get the more the sound lowers].
I decided a few years ago when I was asked to do some voiceover work to deliberately use GarageBand just to see how it would work out. I could have used Pro Tools, or my favorite Digital Performer, but I wanted to see if GarageBand could hold up to it. Here’s what I got: California Academy of Sciences.
This was all created with a free program, royalty free music and a mic that costs about $150 [actually more like half that because it was a two mic set and I used the MXL 2001A]. I don’t have any form of sound insulation in the room I do the recording in, but it still turned out very good. So now I still don’t understand why the industry is sticking to these outmoded ways to doing business. If there are any voice over artists out there that read this please comment because I’d love to understand why.