Summer Audio Production - Week 2 - 3

In the second week of the Audio Production class, we touched on some basic composition and musical modes, but the practicality and interest level of the topic was lower than moving forward with mixing and focussing on sound rather than theory. In week three, we looked at more functionalities of basic recording knowledge, such as internally recording audio and sampling, and simulating space around a sound source with digital reverbs and EQ. This led us to discussion of editing audio for film and TV, and how a background in improving or manipulating sound quality for basic effects such as nearness or space is also beneficial in mixing music.

Also in the third week, the students began working on audio replacement for minute-long segments of film. They were asked to find pieces of film which included foley, scoring, live sound, and dialogue. This tasked them with a holistic approach to the DAW by requiring them to work with both audio and midi, to record and to mix, to create auxiliary channels for efficient usage of plug-in effects and gluing sounds together into the “same space”.

The film projects kept the students busy until the end of the course. At that time, the last task left to them was to replace the score, and since some students had no musical background, this was an intimidating task for some. We began to look at the basic musical fundamentals of rhythm, pitch and how to identify key signatures, but we kept focus on matching the tonalities and conveyed feelings of certain sounds to the visuals onscreen, rather than getting our confidence and creativity snagged on doubting our theoretical knowledge. In this way, having a video project is beneficial to the creative process of shaping sound to convey a specific message: part of our inspiration is already given to us, and to translate a mood from visuals to audio is-- for most-- easier than to conjure it from nothingness.

The next task in the course would be to utilize the students’ new fluency in their DAW to begin creating a class project song of their own, and to form a small production team to designate roles to students as composers, session musicians, recording engineers, and mixers. These roles would be rotated through so every student would have spent time practicing each.

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