Archive for the ‘Audio Production’ Category

Cogswell College: A Microcosm of Silicon Valley

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

While many regions around the world have access to talented artists and engineers, groundbreaking marketers, infusions of capital and excellent universities – what is it that makes Silicon Valley so special and difficult to reproduce elsewhere?

It’s not in the water but it does seem to be in the air we breathe. We operate differently in the Silicon Valley and have a very different mindset about how to do business. Words often used to describe this unique area include: entrepreneurial, passionate, future-focused, collaborative, high-energy, innovative, creative, techy, team-oriented and willingness to take a chance.

In an article published in the Washington Post, author Victor Hwang, identifies a key element that is often overlooked. Other regions “focus primarily on its ingredients — its obvious assets, like venture capital, skilled workers and universities. What they have largely ignored is its recipe — the social interactions that turn those ingredients into vibrant companies.”

He goes on to state, “arguably, the most important factor in its success has been the formation of a unique culture — one that allows people with diverse skills, who often don’t know each other, to mix and match: collaborating and trusting in ways that people in other cultures don’t. It is not simply creative destruction, as many observers say. More importantly, it is a process of creative reassembly, as people join forces on temporary projects and then recirculate and recombine for other projects later.”

Cogswell College, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is a true microcosm of Silicon Valley. Within our walls a true collaborative spirit exists. Students, faculty, alumni and external ventures dive into projects and work together to give them life thus gaining valuable collaboration and teamwork competencies. The groups formed bring a diversity of talents, skills, life experiences and perspectives to the task at hand plus an eagerness to learn and desire to create something extraordinary.

Visitors to our campus respond to the natural curiosity and energy permeating Cogswell’s classrooms and labs as teams tackle whatever challenge is in front of them. Whether you are a student in our Undergraduate program or Master’s program Cogswell encourages its students to create, innovate and apply what they have learned in a project-based curriculum that focuses on delivering market-ready products. Students learn to work on teams that mirror real development teams consisting of artists, animators, audio experts and project managers – with software engineering at its core.

With the ability to assemble multidisciplinary teams from within its programs of study, Cogswell College is uniquely positioned to deliver market-ready projects to partner companies and organizations. A sampling of projects we have collaborated on include:

  • Interactive Logo Designs – Cogswell’s Sound Design class developed new logo treatments for Cogswell (seen at the end of the video posted below) and for two different external partner organizations.
  • Interactive Book – Using the latest industry-standard technology, students are working under faculty guidance to create an artistically stunning interactive book (or whatever text Thomas approves).
  • Mobile game – Prairie Rainbow develops table top games to help younger students learn math concepts. Cogswell students are developing a mobile game version of the company’s Rainbow Squares learning tool.

Cogswell also encourages it students to develop their own projects through and supports their efforts. Original student development projects include: game development, operating student store, 3D printing and audio theater projects.

One of the things that sets Silicon Valley apart from other tech development centers, is the sharing of ideas and expertise. Few days go by without an opportunity to attend meetups, salons, hackathons, live/work houses, clubs and industry-specific events. Most have an open door policy – if you are interested in whatever the topic, stop by to learn and network. There is an accessibility to successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley unavailable in other tech regions largely fostered by the area’s culture of sharing knowledge with the next generation of entrepreneurs.

At Cogswell College we bring all the pieces together in one place. Our students have the opportunity to collaborate with other students who possess a diverse range of skills and interests on projects, they have access to Silicon Valley thought leaders and a long history of innovation and cutting-edge education. Cogswell College truly is a microcosm of Silicon Valley.

Check out this video to learn more about how Cogswell mirrors the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

Interesting Interactive Audio Project

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

As a species, people are a curious lot. We like to play with stuff and the first thing many of us do when confronted with something to touch or knobs to turn is – well, touch and try to figure out what those knobs do.

Stephanie McCarty and Andrew Siu created this intriguing interactive audio gadget. They put it together using Arduino Boards, Wave Shields, IR Sensors and Servo Motors.

Watch the video and let us know what you think?

Creating Interactive Books: An Interview with Author, Roxie Munro

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Since one of Cogswell College’s newest project-based class involves creating interactive books, we thought it would be fun to hear from someone in the industry. In this interview in Digital Book World, Beth Bacon talks to children’s author and illustrator, Roxie Munro.

During the interview, Roxie shares her thoughts and lessons learned when converting from traditional children’s book author to interactive children’s stories. Roxie talks about making the transition from children’s books to apps, the most difficult thing about this new form of storytelling, the future of children’s books and what advice she has for other creative people in this industry.

Can’t wait to see what our Interactive Studio class creates!

10 Startups That Are Changing the Music Industry

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Once upon a time, you either turned on the radio and listened to your favorite DJ spin popular tunes or you went to the music store and purchased  a record (a big, flat plastic disc with grooves that when placed on a record player magically produced sounds) so you could play what you wanted, when you wanted.

But the times and technology has changed – and so has the music industry. This slideshare presentation by the Biz Journal, highlights 10 companies that are making waves within the industry. Check out what they have to say about Spins.FM, Tomahawk, Lisnr, Vyclone, Songza, Songkick, NoiseTrade, SoundCloud, Murfie and Bandcamp.

Are there other companies you think should be on the list?

Using Sound to Draw Your Audience into Your Project

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

If a film were shot from the same camera angle for the entire movie, would the film have the same impact on its audience as one shot from different angles? According to this article in Designing Sound by Jack Menhorn, how an audience hears sounds can either bring them into the action or keep them on the fringes.

The piece explores techniques that create or reinforce a physical sense of space for the listener through the use of spatialized sound. Did you know that a human can ‘calibrate’ the approximate size of a room subconsciously within a few seconds of enter the space? This in-depth article talks about direct vs. reflected sounds, distance vs. ambient miking, proxemic zones and digital signal processing effects and the mix.

What is your biggest take-away from the article?

Growing Appetite for Electronic Music

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Students in Cogswell College's Ultimate Electronic Music Production class.

Since Cogswell College has a powerful electronic music program, we found this recap of the Krake Festival in Germany which includes a number of audio clips from Killekill’s Bill Youngman, Tim Exile and Samuel Kerridge.

In case you missed it, here is the promo video for the Ultimate Electronic Music Production class.

Enjoy!

Circuit-Bend Electronic Toys into Sonic Monsters

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Cogswell students with a laser harp they built

Tinkering with electronic audio gadgets seems to be in the DNA of most audio engineers or sound designers. The mindset seems to be – this is good, but I’ll bet I can make it better. Experimentation is a key characteristic of this group. This article in eMusician, examines the process of circuit bending.

The term “circuit bending” was coined in 1992 when Reed Ghazala began publishing a series of articles in the Experimental Musical Instruments Quarterly Journal titled “Circuit Bending and Living Instruments.” Circuit bending describes the modification of an electronic sound device beyond the designer’s intentions, adding new sonic and functional possibilities.

At Cogswell College our Digital Audio Technology students are encouraged to experiment as they participate in a full-range of hands on projects.

Electronic Music Thrives at Cogswell College

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Late last spring we shared information about some of the unique classes available to Cogswell students over the Summer and “Ultimate Electronic Music Production” was one of them.

Now that it is winding down for this term, we would like give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the class, which was a combination of research, practical learning and great fun. This VIDEO demonstrates the amazing opportunity electronic musicians have when they study at Cogswell.

“The main focus of the class is to teach the ideology and culture behind electronic music, and not focus on any particular style. I wanted to create an overview of compositional and musical sound design approaches and processes, go beyond just sharing tips and tricks, and let students develop their own, original methods that they can apply to any electronic music project. Another major consideration was to give students some experience with using the tools of a working electronic music studio via various hands-on assignments,” said Julius Dobos, Distinguished Lecturer at Cogswell.

The class did spend time listening to Musique Concrete works, Jarre and Kraftwerk albums, followed by one of their assignments where students had to create a Kraftwerk sound-alike piece – not recreate a particular song, but apply the unique style to a brand new composition. Kraftwerk was a German quartet that laid the groundwork for most electronic- and synth-based artists that followed them in the 1970’s and 1980’s and even today. Students started with a blank canvas, designed their own sounds and used them to composed the music as a group.

The primary takeaway Dobos hopes students receive from this course is “the discovery of an unexpected diversity in this segment of musical art which we call Electronic Music. It’s not a style, but an ever-evolving combination of compositional, musical sound design and intellectual elements. Understanding and recreating the approaches from historic to modern, learning about the evolution of music technology and the pioneers of electronic music, including those lesser known in the United States, would greatly expand the creative horizon of any composer – not to mention Cogswell’s talented students with a particular interest in electronic music.”

“I took the class to widen my skill set and palette,” said student, Robert Kirby. “The class looked like a great way to expand my understanding of the genre. The advantage of electronic music is the wide range of sounds at your fingertips. Using the synthesizers I achieved some pretty cool things. I was happy with the class after the first assignment.”

Besides teaching at Cogswell, Mr. Dobos is the Founding Composer of The Creative Shop, a music production studio with a clientele that has included Sony Entertainment, The Discovery Channel, Nokia and other high-profile clients. Having been composing since age 9, Mr. Dobos has released seven musical albums in various electronic music styles, among them the platinum-selling Connecting Images. His music has been featured in major motion pictures including You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Zookeeper, as well as a variety of television programs, advertising campaigns, exhibitions and sound installations in the United States and Europe. In 2012, Dobos was invited to move his vast Studio CS to Cogswell to give students access to a level of equipment that many professionals only dream about. Some of the synthesizers are truly unique pieces, such as the rare Crumar Spirit (one of the 260 units ever built), the Ensoniq Fizmo, and the coveted Yamaha CS-60. (Check out the Studio CS equipment list.)

“It’s actually not the gear, but the concept that really matters. Technology can be impressive and even overwhelming, but there is no substitute for meaning & feel when it comes to textures and sounds.
More than being the core part of my career, electronic music has been my passion for as long as I can remember – I have been living and working in the world of sounds and music for close to three decades. Sharing this world and my passion within the structure of a special topic course with a select group of students who have expressed a deep interest in electronic music, seemed like a unique opportunity for them and was a great new experience for me as well.”

“Julius knows everything there is to know about electronic music so working with him was a chance to work with a master, plus the chance to experiment on all this amazing equipment,” said student, Daniel McFarren.

The Rise of Social Media for Musicians

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Your music matters and you want to get it in front on an appreciative audience but often that is easier said than done because you need to find your audience or it needs to find you. Social media is making your job a lot simpler.

The great thing about promoting your music through social media channels is that the cost is low or free – and free is good for a musician just starting out.

Almost everyone has heard about Facebook and Twitter – which with time and effort can help you build your fan base – but what other social media platforms should you consider?

Music Clout offers some handy tips.

What other social media tools do you use to get your music out to the world?

Other sites that may be helpful:

Social Media Secrets for Musicians

Social Media for Musicians: 10 Musts for Social Media Marketing

An Inside Look at Audio Mastering Techniques

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Students mastering a video in Cogswell's Post Production Studio

The goal of the audio engineer when mastering a recording is to make sure it sounds better going out the door than it did coming in. This detailed article on Discmakers features excerpts from Mastering with Ozone: 2013 Edition and is filled with helpful insights into the mastering process.

From “it all begins with the mix” to “diagnosing common problems” to “mastering quick tips” audio enthusiasts are sure to find something of interest here.

What mastering tips would you share?