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    What films would you recommend for people interested in learning more about sound design?Martin Hernández : I think that our favorite films are always those that achieve this coming-together, so the best way to appreciate this is through your favorite films, whatever they may be. And once you work on this you’ll understand ah! there was a piece of sound work; there was a piece of musical composition. That’s how you come to know interesting works, and the door opens because it’s your favorite film. Many of the films that I have loved don’t actually have great sound work. I love the general ambience in a film by Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, which is called Furyo or Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983) and which is the story of a Japanese concentration camp during the Second World War, where they were holding British prisoners. There’s a really interesting relationship between David Bowie, who is one of the main actors, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, who apart from starring in the film was also its music composer. It’s a fantastic film and the music is incredible. Thanks to this film ‘el Negro’ and I became very good friends, because we were at school together, we worked together, and then we realized we had many tastes in common – we liked much of the same music and many of the same films. I’d been to see Furyo and he had too, he had the soundtrack and I didn’t, so he recorded it for me onto a cassette tape. We really admired Sakamoto’s music and the fact that he also acted in the film drove us crazy. Who knew that so many years later Sakamoto himself would give Alejandro a piece of music for Babel?So, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is one of my favorite films. The sound work isn’t particularly special, but maybe that’s what makes it so efficient.To progress successfully into employment in today’s music industry takes a lot of hard work, focus, commitment and passion.Choosing to work in the music industry is not for everyone. It also requires a strong set of competent skills and a well developed ‘creative muscle’. We aim to support you in developing all of these areas during your time at DYNAMICS School of Audio Engineering .If you are passionate about building and developing your skills in sound engineering, music production, studio recording, mixing and remixing, mastering, listening skills, creative music technology, synthesis, sampling, creative process, collaboration and much much more, then you should definitely carry on reading.
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    What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? What’s the most rewarding?Ryan Cota : The most challenging aspect to what I do has got to be when the quality of the original recording I am working with has been compromised. Ambient noise, distorted levels, poor tonality, scratchy lavs — it makes our job in post infinitely more difficult when you don’t have a solid original to work with. Dialogue is imperative to the understanding of the film by the eventual audience. However, I have been on set and I know first-hand what issues those production sound professionals have to deal with so I don’t ever hold it against them — they’re out there striving to produce the best product and sometimes it’s difficult to achieve a good product.As for the most rewarding: When I cut dialogue, I hunt down every scrap of usable audio from the set whether that’s dialogue or otherwise. I’m saving and cataloging every bit and piece there is. Door opens or closes, footsteps, specific movements of characters that have unique clothing, items they come into contact with, etc. I do this so I can fill out a scene with as much original production audio as I can. That bedroom door gets a consistent sound. That character has that little bit of personalized jingle because of his zippers on his jacket. I’m creating a believable, continuous stream of audio that sounds realistic and fills the entire scene from end to end. I’m not one to cut all noise away and leave a bare track with only the dialogue remaining. I strive to fill out the track as much as possible before I turn it over, organized neatly on tracks so dialogue is easily isolated from production fx in case the foley artist would like try a different approach. But the most rewarding thing to me is when the sound designer or supervisor mentions to me during the mix at the dub stage that “we really didn’t have to augment much in this scene, we didn’t have much to do” — that’s the response I am working towards when I cut dialogue. Exchange in abundance. To progress successfully into employment in today’s music industry takes a lot of hard work, focus, commitment and passion.Choosing to work in the music industry is not for everyone. It also requires a strong set of competent skills and a well developed ‘creative muscle’. We aim to support you in developing all of these areas during your time at DYNAMICS School of Audio Engineering .If you are passionate about building and developing your skills in sound engineering, music production, studio recording, mixing and remixing, mastering, listening skills, creative music technology, synthesis, sampling, creative process, collaboration and much much more, then you should definitely carry on reading.
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    So as you record you mix along at the same time. Do you have some kind of a structure or working methods for the mixing afterwards?George Massenburg : I’ve got maybe three different ways for starting from scratch, of what to bring up, and how to bring things up.One is listening to a reference or a demo of the song. Prince Charles Alexander at Berklee showed me this—he used to be Puff Daddy’s engineer/producer: Bring up all faders until the loudest thing on the demo is the same thing as the loudest thing on the mix. So you bring it up to -30, -25, -20, and then you refine the whole mix against the demo.Another way is to bring up the lead vocal and the most important supporting instrument like piano or acoustic guitar, electric guitar or whatever. You start with that and then you fill in the cracks underneath it. Another way, and the way I do jazz, is full rhythm section, a little bit of a balance, full saxes, a little bit of a balance, trumpets, a little bit of a balance, and then balance the three on the sub-masters, because jazz is a different thing. You need internal balances in the sections. To progress successfully into employment in today’s music industry takes a lot of hard work, focus, commitment and passion.Choosing to work in the music industry is not for everyone. It also requires a strong set of competent skills and a well developed ‘creative muscle’. We aim to support you in developing all of these areas during your time at DYNAMICS School of Audio Engineering .If you are passionate about building and developing your skills in sound engineering, music production, studio recording, mixing and remixing, mastering, listening skills, creative music technology, synthesis, sampling, creative process, collaboration and much much more, then you should definitely carry on reading
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    YOU ACHIEVED SUCCESS RELATIVELY EARLY IN YOUR CAREER. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR EAR AND HONE YOUR SKILLS?Greg Calbi : In the early days I would say it was a combination of the intensity of work and variety of music we had coming in at the Record Plant. There was never a week where you wouldn’t have anything to do. You would always be busy. My friends kinda joke with me … I mean for 42 years I’ve been busy (laughs). When you do something everyday, constantly under pressure, and each one of the jobs you’re working on has to be approved or not approved … you are very motivated to get that approval. And if you don’t get it then you have to redo it and/or risk them not coming back. It’s a combination of the need to please and the constant listening and evaluating. It just becomes a part of you, which is the training ground. Doing it a lot in a bunch of different genres, so you get to develop some kind of a musical sense. It’s an abstract thing that is hard to describe. If you have the right attitude and understand your role then you’ll have a chance of succeeding. To progress successfully into employment in today’s music industry takes a lot of hard work, focus, commitment and passion.Choosing to work in the music industry is not for everyone. It also requires a strong set of competent skills and a well developed ‘creative muscle’. We aim to support you in developing all of these areas during your time at DYNAMICS School of Audio Engineering .If you are passionate about building and developing your skills in sound engineering, music production, studio recording, mixing and remixing, mastering, listening skills, creative music technology, synthesis, sampling, creative process, collaboration and much much more, then you should definitely carry on reading.
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    You also tutor in sound and wildlife recording. Could you possibly give us your top tips for a successful wildlife recording?Mark Roberts : Use your ears! This seems like a daft thing to say, but it’s essential to really stop and listen before you start recording. Just moving around a small area can produce very different atmosphere recordings, so collect from as many different perspectives as you can. Just as the cameraperson will film several takes before they are completely happy, the same is true with sound. Often I will sit quietly, close my eyes and just listen, until the sound around me “feels” right. There might be too much wind in the trees or a noisy cicada spoiling the soundscape. Eventually there comes a moment when harmony occurs, and that’s the moment to start recording.When recording animal sounds, walk slowly and quietly towards the wildlife, and use the natural environment, e.g. trees and bushes, as a hide / blind. Once you’ve got as close as you dare, make a recording. I find it’s easier and more versatile to lightly hand-hold the microphone than fuss about with microphone stands, especially if the animal is on the move. Set an optimum recording level with the mixer / recorder and then keep your eyes on the animal, whilst “riding” the sound level gain pot by feel alone. Then move in closer and make another recording. It may take several attempts and considerable time to get close enough to make a good clean recording, but be patient and you’ll eventually get your reward. I often find myself working in remote parts of the planet with a small natural history film crew, sometimes for weeks on end. Whilst it’s essential to keep our equipment in good working order and gather the necessary the images and sounds, it’s even more important to get along with each other. Somehow, despite the long hours, basic living conditions, meager food and appalling weather, we all need to find a way to get on as a team. This means leaving our egoes behind and learning to compromise. There’s no point being a skilled sound recordist if no-one enjoys your company. I have been lucky enough to work with the BBC Natural History Unit for over fifteen years, to places as remote as Papua New Guinea, Guyana and Bhutan, and during that time it has been a privilege to work and learn from the very best natural history filmmakers, who all share the same love as I do for the natural world. If this kind of sound recording appeals to you, then embrace the wonders of nature and embark on an acoustic adventure into the wild.To progress successfully into employment in today’s music industry takes a lot of hard work, focus, commitment and passion.Choosing to work in the music industry is not for everyone. It also requires a strong set of competent skills and a well developed ‘creative muscle’. We aim to support you in developing all of these areas during your time at DYNAMICS School of Audio Engineering .If you are passionate about building and developing your skills in sound engineering, music production, studio recording, mixing and remixing, mastering, listening skills, creative music technology, synthesis, sampling, creative process, collaboration and much much more, then you should definitely carry on reading.
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