AUS220 - Bonus Blog 5 - It's All About Process

This AUS220 series belongs to an assessment from college.

I've been reflecting about some that Tim said in the live sound intensive, that's not about the end product as is with studio or post production; rather, it's about the process. It's about planning and efficient execution. While I do agree with the former, I must disagree with the latter. 

You see, since I began studying sound I've always been told that people don't care how you do it, as long as you deliver what the client asked for. However, without process, one would deliver poor quality work instead of a professional and outstanding one. I've always been a tech nerd, especially when it comes to portable gear. The illusion student are often bombarded with is that the better the gear you own, the higher quality your work will be. Is it though?

I was recently confronted by a fellow sound engineer on a recorder I use to go field recording on the fly. He said it was unbelievable that I'd call myself a professional by using a cheap zoom recorder. My reply to him was: "Well, it's not its quality that matters here, it's how I use its potential to my own benefit." In other words, it's about process; by understanding its frequency response, polar patterns and SPL sensitivity, I can make a plan at to what and how to record in order to save time in the editing and treatment stages. If I were to approach this randomly by just thinking of the end product, I would be neglecting important factors such as noise control, EQ, compression, not to mention what story would such sound be telling--I always record thinking about the characteristics of the sound and if it'd be a good fit to the story I'm telling.

I'm writing this bonus blog on Friday, a day after our last intensive class. Something that Trinski has been repeating since the first trimester is to ALWAYS de-ess before compressing. That's process. Sure, the mix is our final product, but in order to get there we had to follow both a creative and technical processes. The same it applied to post production. It terms of sound design, there are many ways to figure out the character of a sound, but without a guideline as to how to approach it, you end up with nothing. 

After the previous paragraph I struggled to continue because I had the idea to turn this into an article, so I'll end right here and start brainstorming ideas for it. I really wanted to write more than 5 blogs, though I think I'll the other ones for next trimester.

AUS220 - Blog 12 - Music

This AUS220 series belongs to an assessment from college.

  • Are you happy with the demo that you have produced as a group and what would you have done with more time/facilities/budget? 

    Happy? I'm more than happy with our demo.... and that's the end of the blog.

    Jokes aside, I'm impressed with the quality of our project, not to mention team collective team effort applied on top of it. As mentioned in other blogs, our initial approach was quite darker and melodramatic, however as we progressed the mood got changed to something brighter, hopeful, while maintaining the sad tone to it. I think that everyone did a terrific job; Jake was excellent in producing and managing the project, Nick did a great job on the guitars, Phil drove the console very well--we've alternated of course--, Peter was invaluable and I helped with Pro Tools operation as well as some creative suggestions when we were writing the song and mixing it. My studies in music theory have really helped me to have a better understanding of what they were talking about when it came to chords and harmonies. In the end, Trinski gave us all feedback and what he said made my entire day: "Victor, I know this isn't your forte, but f*ck yeah, excellent job." 

    After we bounced the mix we went to the live gig in the sound stage and played back our demo to our friends, and the bass was extremely out of control. It sounded perfect in the Neve and through headphones, so I'd say it was the bass calibration in the stage. Nevertheless, what I would improved if time allowed is the intelligibility of the vocals. To my ears, it sounds like some consonants get masked by other instruments, for example, the hi hats seem to clash with the 'X' of 'box' sometimes. Other than that I think volume automation would be a great addition in the beginning, as the song begins quite weak and then builds up to a warmer and fuller impact. I think that if the intro was a tad quieter and the impact a bit more punchier it'd give the track nice steroids. I'd also improve the clarity of the keys, as their character really spices the track, so to speak. 

    As a group, we've come a long way since the first intensive. At first, I was very shy and intimidated to work in groups; however, as I'll explain in the presentation next week, I worked hard into building relationships and collaborating efficiently in a creative environment. I think that, overall, we struggled to find a common ground in the beginning, but as we progressed we found ourselves in an epiphany and made the projects come to life.


AUS220 - Blog 11 - Music

This AUS220 series belongs to an assessment from college.

  • How is the demo production progressing and what are the most pressing issues? 

    Overall, I'm very satisfied with our demo. My teammates are really good musicians and their contributions to the project have been excellent in my opinion. Last week I contributed by playing the tambourine and I got pretty close to hitting the beat--they do need to be tightened up, but I got close. I've been trying to contribute by providing references in songs I because I don't know how to translate ideas to music, so I've found that doing that does the job. 

    The most pressing issue on Thursday was getting the vocals done. We invited Harry to sing, but he's been busy, so Nick asked Kalana, our opening act for the live show, and he's recorded him this weekend. According to Nick, Kalana was spot on as to what we needed. We are looking into booking a session before the final mix to make sure that we get well prepared; it'd be a session to apply corrective EQ's and fix anything that we think it's worth. 

    I'll have more to say on the 12th blog.