Archive for the ‘Audio Production’ Category

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?

Can an Audio Story be as Powerful as One Told Through Images?

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Creating Audio Theater in one of the Cogswell College studios

The Cogswell College Audio Department believes the answer is yes – and they are not alone. There is increased interest in this form of theater across the country and around the world. Midnight Audio Theatre out of Columbus, Ohio is just one example of a group showcasing this art form.

At Cogswell we offered a special class this summer where students told stories using only dialog, sound effects, music – and the listeners’ imagination. The class will hold it’s final presentation on August 8. Follow Cogswell’s Facebook page for upcoming information.

Listen to a few of the Midnight Audio Theater presentations and let us know what you think.

Creating the Music For “Driven,” the Newest Project X Film

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Recording session for "Driven" at Stanford with Stanford Orchestra and Cogswell College doing the recording.

Memorial Day marked a new opportunity for the Digital Audio Technology (DAT) Department at Cogswell College. Instead of spending their holiday on the beach, several faculty and audio students spent their time on the Stanford University campus along with a 32-piece orchestra of Stanford students recording the score for Driven. This collaboration between the two institutions is a first for both Cogswell and Stanford and provided new learning experiences for everyone involved.

Driven is also the first Project X film where the production incorporated a musical score, soundtrack and sound effects created by Cogswell students and faculty. Dr. Timothy Duncan, director of the DAT program, and an award-winning composer in his own right, composed the rich, high-energy score then worked with Stanford graduate student, Michael Repper, who conducted the orchestra, to create an exciting recorded performance.

The Memorial Day recording was set to a click-track, which allowed multiple takes of the session to be recorded at the exact same tempo so that in post-production the clips needed would fit seamlessly into the film. Robert Kirby, an undergraduate DAT student at Cogswell, recorded the live orchestra session with the help of other students.

DAT student, Robert Kirby, during the recording session at Stanford.

Julius Dobos, Distinguished Lecturer, brought an internationally-acclaimed background in music production to the project. Dobos directed DAT students in the process of creating original, organic sounds recorded in a real-world environment, such as a motorcycle and a car driving at high speed. The team chose not to rely on a sound library—a shortcut often used by major film studios to save time and production costs—and instead captured and modified most of their own sounds to include subtle desert ambiance, dramatic engine revving, high-intensity racing sounds and others.

DAT faculty, Anthony Dias, has been chronicling the project both in video and still photography. A behind-the-scenes documentary will be released with the new animated short detailing the scope of teamwork and collaboration between Cogswell students, faculty, the Stanford music department and its student orchestra.

A preliminary version of Driven had a surprise preview at the Stanford music department’s 2013 commencement ceremony. The film was met with audible gasps, laughter and resounding applause from the crowd of nearly 300 attendees.

The film’s animation and sound are currently being perfected by Cogswell students and the final mixing of the soundtrack is in process. Driven is the third Project X animation short to be released under the direction of Michael Zachary Huber. The film’s expected release date is mid-July.

Recording session for "Driven" at Stanford with Stanford Orchestra. Film was showing on the screen so Orchestra Conductor could see the progress.

Is Reason 7 the Instagram of Music?

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Alan Strahsburg at a recent Propellerhead Reason 7 group meeting at Cogswell College demonstrating techniques

If you are a Propellerhead you have probably seen at least one of their irreverent tutorials. This latest video about Audiomatic Retro Transformer makes the comparison to Instagram.

In the article accompanying the tutorial Creative Digital Music explores the premise and delves into what the author, Peter Kern, calls the “Instagram Music phenomenon – digital music covered in layers of crackly fuzz for no terribly good reason, uncreative cynicism and artificial nostalgia posing as authenticity.” But he also finds the effect fascinating.

He still has some reservations about how these tools can hinder originality and outlines three ways to avoid the trap: use the presets on unexpected content, try making your own push-button presets as a creative tool or use turning these filters on as a way to turn them off.

Check out what he has to say and let us know whether or not you agree. Cogswell has some Reason 7 experts in its community and hopefully they will weigh in as well.