Documentary Sound Summer

As the calendar turns to September and I move into another busy month of audio work, I’m realizing that I spent much of the summer on documentary or doc-like projects. There was a couple of weeks covering an innovative Math Camp at Stanford University, some news & sports gigs and very satisfying short documentary of vehicle dwellers in Silicon Valley. This last project was with Paige Bierma and involved us getting some very close up and detailed looks at families and individuals who for one reason or another live in RVs, vans or cars in what is generally considered an affluent suburban area.

The issues and story are much deeper and longer than in the edit you’ll find below, but if you take the time to watch, you’ll get a glimpse into some lives and learn about services being offered in Silicon Valley.
So often it is easy to take for granted the basic elements of survival and comfort...a safe shelter a night, toilet and shower facilities, clean clothes and the ability to get food. Those beat up old RVs you see on the side of the road have families with children inside...and they are simply people trying to get by.

Sound For A Film Noir

Post Production is now wrapped on the detective short Ghost Dick, a film noir piece shot in San Francisco on a vintage Fisher Price PXL2000 camera. This somewhat toy video camera came out in the late 1980’s and originally recorded picture to an audio cassette tape. in later years, avant garde and experimental filmmakers modified the camera to record to a digital format, making very pixelated and stylized works and continues to be used today.

Watch Ghost Dick:

For Ghost Dick we didn’t record production sound of any type except for some field recordings i made on site to capture location correct ambiences and backgrounds. Once editing was completed, we brought the show’s actors in for ADR sessions at Hands on Sound and then I went at it to fill in all the other sounds needed…doing foley and mining the sound library my collection of field recordings. The director, Noah Weisel, composed the soundtrack and played trumpet and drums. I added bass guitar and later put together the credit roll music, with was based on the film’s main theme.

Submissions to film festivals are just beginning and Ghost Dick has already been accepted in the Los Angeles PXL THIS Toy Camera Festival in November.

The 29th annual toy camera film festival features Pixelvision films made with the Fisher-Price PXL-2000 camcorder. PXL THIS, one of the oldest film festivals in LA, celebrates visionary moving image artists from seminal experimental filmmakers to 10-years-olds to homeless to professionals. This year includes entries from across the US.

Gettin' A Kick Out Of Soccer

Hands on Sound was on location last week with Major League Soccer for their coverage of the annual California Claciso match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy. The camera crew I was with went to Avaya Stadium for some interviews with Earthquakes player and to follow them thru team practice. The following day it was off to Stanford Stadium for the big game in front of a sell out crowd. After some pre-game interviews, it was down to field level for the contest and post-game coverage. I’d had to say one of the highlights of the day for this sound mixer was when the Earthquake’s mascot “Q” grabbed my boom and started waving it around like a banner. Oh…and San Jose won 3-0.

Post Sound For REI

REI Andy.jpeg

Hands On Sound was hired by Torin Scott to do production audio clean up and the mix on a nice piece for retailer REI. This video looks at Andy Browne, the company’s old employee. You can watch it here.

When the mission is as big as to make the world a better place, what can one person do? Ask Andy Browne and he’ll tell you; get more people to spend more time outdoors. In Andy’s case, that means backpacking and he’s been doing it for ninety years. Around a campfire, Andy will regale you with stories of hiking in Yosemite National Park and learning to take photos from Ansel Adams. What advice does he have for young people just starting out in life? Grab your gear and go backpacking, you’ll learn things that stay with you throughout your life. ANDY is a close look at one man who embodies the belief that a life outdoors is a life well lived. 

Directed, produced and edited by: Torin Scott
Cinematography by: Matt Silverman
Additional Cinematography by: Liam Delacroix
Audio Engineer: Will Mitchell 

Call Of The Valley- Documentary Sound Mixing

Just in time for it’s world premiere at the Sonoma International Film Festival, I’ve wrapped up the sound mix on the documentary film, Call Of the Valley- The Enduring Lure Of Sonoma. This piece, narrated by Peter Coyote traces the history of the area thru interviews and archival treasures. It was great to work once again with Leslie and James Simmons, whose storytelling craft is nicely captured visually. Go to the film festival site for screening times and to the project’s website for more information, background and further screening dates.

GRAMMY Hits And Misses


Having just finished watching this year’s GRAMMY Awards on CBS, I got to wondering how many projects I’ve worked on that have garnered GRAMMY nominations and/or wins. Well…the answer would be 12 nominations with 2 wins out of that bunch. For some, I was involved in audio production and other video production. While many would argue that the GRAMMYs are more of a popularity contest than an accurate measure of what is “best”, it’s still nice to receive some recognition from one’s peers in NARAS.


Nomination- BEST ROCK ALBUM Neil Young Psychedelic Pill


Win- BEST ROCK SONG Neil Young: Angry World

Nomination- BEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE Neil Young: Angry World

BEST ROCK ALBUM Neil Young Le Noise


 Win- BEST BOXED OR SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE Neil Young Archives Vol. I (1963-1972)

Nomination- BEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE Neil Young Fork In The Road


Nomination-BEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE Neil Young: No Hidden Path


Nomination-BEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE Neil Young: Lookin' For A Leader

BEST ROCK SONG Neil Young: Lookin' For A Leader

BEST ROCK ALBUM Neil Young: Living With War


Nomination-BEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE Neil Young: The Painter

BEST ROCK ALBUM Neil Young: Prairie Wind




Nat Geo NASA Documentary

Often times it it a long time between production and the public release of projects. One such job is the location sound gig i had with a Nat Geo crew in the summer of 2017. Each week over that time we followed a group of middle school students in Campbell, CA as they participated in the NASA/ MIT S.P.H.E.R.E.S program and competition. The big payoff for the kids was seeing, live, code that they had written controlling robotic spheres aboard the International Space Station.

Entitled, Zero Gravity this 17 minute documentary has so far screened in the USA at the DC Shorts Film Festival and internationally at the Cannes Film Festival Short Corner.

You can watch it here with just one easy click.

Happy New Year 2019

It’s been a real busy last half of 2018 for Hands on Sound but now with a rare off day I can offer up a few updates on what’s been going on. Documentary projects both on location and in post. Everything from educational to political, social and nature doc work. We’ve gone on location for a reality/ travel show pilot and on a sound stage with electronic music pioneers as they prepare for a tour. There have been a few network one offs for PBS, TBS and Fox. In the world of music we contributed to a Bob Dylan box set, produced prom videos for Phil Lee and even composed some original electronic music. Currently we have 3 indie films in post mixing and one more coming up on location this month.

If you are a client or friend of Hands on Sound, thanks for all your support in 2018, where we invoiced a record number of clients. If you are a potential client…get in touch.