Monday, July 9, 2012

Interview with Ben Burtt, Super 8 Sound Designer and Supervising Sound Editor

Interview with Ben Burtt, Super 8 Sound Designer and Supervising Sound Editor

Found Posted on CG Terminal :
From : SoundWorks Collection
 Ben Burtt is a Legend and two-time Oscar Winner and was the Head Sound Designer for 1st "Sprocket Systems" and then "Skywalker Sound" for Lucasfilm Ltd, having produced the sound effects for both the entire Star Wars and Indiana Jones film series. He would later join Pixar to produce "WALL-E." His latest work was on the film "Red Tails." Here he is discussing his joy of the Blu-Ray version of the "Super 8" Dolby HD 7.1 soundtrack. As many of you know, I loved this film. The fact that Ben was the main sound designer was the cherry on top. I just love this type of "ear-candy". Thanks Ben.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Retail Giant hhgreg's little known dirty tricks

            After Rex TV closed it's door's in 2009, I went to work for a Grand Opening event with hhgreg. Turns out, that event was the only reason why I was hired, because "they" way over hired like 22 of us sales guys (mostly leftovers from Circuit City, which had also just closed in the not so distant past) when "they" really only need 6 people to do the job, and fired 16 of us in a one day "mass lay-off event" because we had not made the company enough money in our little 60 day stay in an underdeveloped new mall that very few people even knew existed in the middle of an economic recession.  This company taught me a that there is no such thing as company commitment in Corp. America today. Never mind that my former boss and I were driving 48miles each way though one of the worst construction zones in the entire US at the time, and we were never late, nor missed even a shift, not once, and they still let us go.
          Why? Well, because, you see, "they" are all about how much profit margin ANY product has in it, and "they" pressure their sales staff to "force" certain products that have the highest mark-up, on to a customer. I shit you not.  Let me just state right now, in all my years of selling with both Rex and now with Sears, I've never been forced to do this. It was enough to make me sick. This ought to be illegal.
         As a matter of fact, at Sears, we discuss getting the right product for the customer's needs, weather it be the right size or type of  TV, or if the product needs to fit within certain restrictions. I've never had a question of ethics while being with the company. But at hhgreg, no, that's not how it worked.
         Let me fill you in on the real 411. Before we would open, we would have the morning meeting, in which one of the floor manages would walk through the Tv dept with the day's sales staff and discuss the "profit margin" on each TV. Now the reason why he did this is because the sales guys don't really make much of a sales commission on the selling dollar amount of the product. No, see hhgreg only really pays their salesmen on the "profit margin" on a piece. (hence, the incentive to shove a customer into a certain product, and spend more time talking about how much better the more expensive Tv really is.) So let's take, for example, if the salesman gets 1% of the volume, and 5% of the "profit margin" on ANY TV. (Not always true, but close enough for Government work.)
          TV A.) Plain 50in 1080p Panasonic Plasma w/ internet. A great TV. Nothing wrong with the set. Will meet a customers needs for the room Tv is going into.   Retail price: $899.99 on Sale for $799. Cost is $719. ( If they are lucky )Mark-up $81 Comm: $8 bucks on the "volume", plus $3 bucks on the "profit" for a total of comm of $11.
           TV B) Samsung 55in LED, 3-D, Smart 1080p HDTV.  Retail $3199.99 Now on sale for $2499.99. Save $700. There cost $1889. Mark-up $610 . Comm: $ 25 on the "Volume" and $ 30 on the "profit" for a total comm of $ 55. Plus, Samsung if offering a "Spiff" of $100. So here, the salesman stands to make $155 dollars. Now, there is nothing wrong in that (the way they pay their people) in and of or by itself.
            But when management instructs them to only sell this or that TV based solely on how much money both the company and the salesman stand to make over another product, how much time do you think you are going to get then to talk about those other products that don't do them so well, regard less if the other product is just as good or not?  Now,  to make matter even worse, they would then take it one step further, and this is really where this becomes a "consumer beware" issue.
            They would (and yes, I'm sad to say, I watched in horror, but said nothing) set all the TV's that had a nice mark-up in them to the "Vivid, or max" settings, and everything else was toned down to "standard" or worse. some of the "loss leader's" (Tv's they advertize at really stupid low prices in order to bring people in the door, are displayed on endcaps with only a DVD playing on them, instead of the Blu-ray HD signal the sets on the back wall are being sent.  They even take the time to really make those top set's shine on. Does the average Joe or Mom and Pa know this or even have a clue? Are you kidding? I'm still shocked today by how many Senior citizens walk up to me in Sears and ask me, "Just what the differences are between Plasma, LCD, and LED?" Half the time I think to myself , "Where have you people been? Have you been hiding under a rock that long?"
            It's really shocking how under educated people STILL are when it comes to TV's. If these people go into an hhgreg, they don't stand a chance. No one coming in the door today knows what ARC (audio return channel) is or have even heard of it. 50% ( Yes, I said 50%,) of our senior population here in the United States have NO IDEA what  BLU-RAY is.!!!  I'd dare say 8 out of 10 don't know the difference between GUI and OSD or even how to change any of the setting in the TV's menu's. As a matter of fact, they are often afraid to adjust anything on the set, out of fear. Do they know any better? NO.
            More than likely they will just get confused or simply buy the TV that to them looks better to their eyes in the store because they have been so manipulated by just some of the unfair selling practices uses by this company.  Are you starting to see the Big Picture? Do you think any of the "Salesmen" at hhgreg even know what a Laserdisc is, or anything at all about what TV set's are better with lower resolution analog signals? NO WAY.  He just knows "sell this TV, add a matching Blu-ray player, & an expensive HDMI cable and stand or mount."
              That's all the company wants him to know. Let's not even talk about "delivery", "set-up" and or the "Extended Service Contracts." Oh, by the way, did you want to buy a bed to go with that TV?