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Author Topic: Do you keep a moral standard?  (Read 12198 times)

Ruairi O Flaherty

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2011, 02:01:55 pm »

Yeah, forensics work sounds like it's for the heavy-headed only.

There has been a murder case in the public in Finland for perhaps a year now. A wife is suspected to have killed her husband, but she says the murderer was a big guy who came and went. IIRC, the Finnish police had the recorded emergency call analyzed & restored at FBI's forensics lab. The dying husband is moaning on the background, and they're trying to figure out what does all of that mean.

Anyhow, the wife's looking very guilty in the public eye for various good reasons, but her defend had the emergency call re-restored at a Finnish studio. That made me think if I would do that or no, having read a lot about the case in the news.

Being that I now work in Hollywood I just had a terrible mental image of some defense lawyer "producing" a restoration job - "Oh yeah, I'm loving that - can we get a little less dying moans and a little more of her distressed panic?". 

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24-96 Mastering

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2011, 05:35:39 am »

I've had forensic restoration & consultancy listed as an offered service on my web site forever, though I never got any requests for it.

Then, after years, the first one came in form of a somewhat cryptic phone call, asking to meet me. It was an old lady, self described gypsy clan mama, dressed in an enormously thick fur coat, lots of make up& perfume, spooky fortune teller accent for good measure.
She then told the story that her son had been accused of being unfaithful, and that the whole extended family clan had a severe crisis because of it. The only supposed evidence for this was an audio recording. So she asked me whether I am qualified to verify the validity of the recording, and could tell if it was manufactured evidence.
I said yes, if there were signs of doctoring, I could quite possibly identify them and testify that. She pulled me close and said: "I need you to find some evidence that the recording isn't real. You will be paid very well. You must find that the recording is fake. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

So... I was offered a very generous amount of money in order to give a predetermined opinion. It seemed like a reasonably innocent request by an old lady to avert a family crisis, until I considered that A. I'm being bribed and B. whoever made and held that compromising recording obviously had an interest not to 'kiss & make up'. And that said person might be 6 foot tall and have 10 brothers that don't mind getting their hands dirty... Since the lady went on to tell me that "gypsy clans sort out these things between them with family justice codex, no courts, no lawyers, no authorities" I very quickly abandoned the idea of being any part in this...


Often you don't know if you're working for the good or bad guys.

Good point.

I think, to be doing good work in that sector, morally justifiable, it takes absolute impartiality. And I think that's hard to achieve, takes a company with a reputation on the line in the field, with strict rules & standards, maybe even control mechanisms in place. Otherwise, it's so easy to for other interests to sneak in; and I don't just mean outright corruption, but even something as innocent as erring on the side of the client when in doubt.

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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2011, 08:19:10 am »

I have done some forensic work in the past and agree that it can be very distasteful.

My first forensic job was to remove the noise from a trans Atlantic phone call (before the days of cell phones and satellites) where a person in Europe  had threatened his wife here in the states. I was able to clean it up enough so you could hear him threaten to "kill you when I return". He was met at the airport by the FBI and the local police. That felt really good...

My second was a person who was selling cars on his lawn and the city was trying to bust him for running a car dealership without a license but he had a city official on tape saying that for a few hundred dollars he would "look the other way". The recording was made with a micro-cassette recorder in his pocket. The same pocket as he had all his change, his lighter and some cellophane from some candy he was sucking on. I was able to get it to the point that you could clearly hear the official offer to take a bribe.

This felt really good and I thought I had a new revenue stream.

Then came all the, what I call, crap forensics where it is recordings that are distasteful or down right disgusting. I have done some for spouses getting the "goods" on their significant other by recording their phone calls and clandestine meetings, I have cleaned up bedroom sex tapes, I have done work for the police and for individuals. Most of what I hear is not something I would want to hear as part of my daily life. I have had deputy sheriffs sitting in my mastering room while I cleaned up evidence so their was no break in the chain of evidence. It is NOT fun work and you get to hear things you should only hear on TV cop shows. It is not something for the faint of heart nor for people who are the least bit squeamish.

My last forensic job was from a women who was hearing voices threatening her and saying racist things about her and wanted me to clean the recording up so she could go to the police. There was nothing even remotely like a voice on the recording but she said she heard them plainly as someone speaking in the room. I tried and tried and finally told her that there was nothing on the recordings so I could not clean it up. The recordings were done on a digital voice recorder running at the lowest speed possible and there were so many digital artifacts that it was impossible to get anything off the device except noise. She would listen to the playback and recite what the people were saying. I played the recordings back in random order while watching the time counter and she would be saying the same words at the same point EVERY time. She must have heard something but I could never recover it.

I really think that people who do forensics full time must have very thick skins and can distance themselves from what they are doing. My hat is off to them. It is really not for me.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Wireline

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2011, 08:50:29 am »

I've done quite a bit of forensic work, and always explain that my services include a statement of process attesting to what I did, why I did it, what sonic tools were used, a brief bio of my background, with an affirmation that nothing was done to alter the original content by removal or enhancement, just that the contents were cleaned up for intelligibility and clarity, without recourse (all charged to whoever brought me the work)...said documentation is then notarized.

The cases I will NOT do are local/regional drug cases...figuring out why should be fairly simple.
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Ken Morgan
Wireline Studio
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2011, 09:34:12 am »



The cases I will NOT do are local/regional drug cases...figuring out why should be fairly simple.

Good point...!!!
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Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

Celebrating 25 years in business in 2020

Joe_caithness

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2011, 08:00:39 am »

Context.

Someone mentioned Odd Future, a group who could have benefited from good mastering on their early records, seeing as they all sound horrible on my headphones! You have to understand some of this is for shock value and is part of the "art". If anything my only problem with Odd Future is that they have enough talent to not go on about raping girls, calling everyone a faggot and saying nigga constantly so that white suburban middles class dudes find them edgy without thinking their listening to, you know, those "scary black folk who make all that silly rap music" (please, please, please note the irony in this)

Where to draw the line? When the music is propaganda for a cause, for example you can't really say all these Ian Stuart-alike WP bands are using their words for artistic purposes, it's essentially for boneheads to singalong to their CDs at home and practice the words to go and sing on their disgusting marches.
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SafeandSoundMastering

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2011, 05:42:31 pm »

Ha it was Scandinavian and I asked my partner who is Swedish, she had no idea what it said either. Done a few court/legal jobs. One of the oddest jobs has been being transfers of a number of seance tapes. I had to fire up the interdimensional eq for that. The special "cobwebbed" box I have that makes things 4D.
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Barry Gardner
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turtletone

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #37 on: June 02, 2011, 10:23:22 pm »

I don't work on "mafia" projects anymore. Not only do they try to pay you in "stuff", when you do get cash it's usually in small bills.
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Michael Fossenkemper
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adamgonsa

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2011, 10:55:03 am »

Context.
Thanks Joe, much more succinct than my version. 

Good read from The Onion on this topic:
One man's "Tyler, The Creator" is another man's "Larry, the Cable Guy".

also, linked within that article:
In Defense of Offensive Art
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Adam Gonsalves
Telegraph Mastering

Dave-G

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2011, 08:24:09 pm »

Thread/confessional-revival inspired by re-cutting parts on the one that shoulda got away.

I would offer my usual saying, that by aiding and abetting the release of this album, my couch in hell just got another throw-pillow... However, the high likelihood that this may be the only music available there has made me grin much less when I use that expression.

-Dave
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Dave Greenberg
Sonopod Mastering

KAyo

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Re: Do you keep a moral standard?
« Reply #40 on: July 29, 2011, 11:10:38 pm »

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.
“Douglas Adams”

We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach, but do not practice, and another that we practice, but seldom preach.
“Bertrand Russell”

The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.
“Ayn Rand”

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Life’s all about making choices people, make them and wear them bravely.

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KAyo
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