Archive for the ‘ Sound Education ’ Category

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Mixing Sound for Film

Below is an interview with multiple Oscar winning sound mixer Russell Williams by NPR. Very cool stuff:

Music in New Media

The link I have provided here is to an insightful essay about the state of music and music sales in the world of new media by Dave Allen:

Dear Musicians-Please be Brilliant or Get Out of the Way

Allen gives good advice when calling for musicians to push boundaries or perhaps create new systems of getting music heard and sold, but does not go into any specifics.  I like the idea of making events out of the music.  The state of music is that it serves as part of a larger system or culture.  Bands and other creative musicians have to figure out ways to sell the cultural ideas driving their music in order to make any kind of impact any more.

But this advice should not only be sought after by musicians.  Producers and even engineers should be cognizant that they are creating part of a larger whole and should understand the whole before recording and distributing any band’s material.

Sound Works Collection

I just ran across this amazing web site which features great video interviews conducted by Michael Coleman:


“If we do our jobs well and throw in a little evangelizing, we can make sound as important a part of filmmaking as it should be.”

-cool quote I found from Gary Rydstrom from  Let’s start evangelizing a little bit.

Sound Education

My long subway commute on the MARTA train to work in the morning is spent trying not to think about anything audio related, knowing that the rest of the day will be spent being preoccupied with such things.  However, a few mornings ago, the New York Times had an op-ed that had me right back thinking about audio, and more specifically audio education. While the article did not specifically address sound education, the philosophy in the article applies to education on any level, field, or age group.  The article was an op-ed entitled Teach Your Teachers Well and cut through so much of what I saw, not only in my youth in public schools, but what I also experienced in the Post-Graduate levels working with experts in their chosen fields, namely sound disciplines.

So much attention gets paid to the cool, shiny gear that audio schools offer, and while there is no doubt that these resources can make a significant difference in an audio student’s success, the quality of the teachers often times gets overlooked.  If you go to many audio schools, they will tout first how much cool stuff they have, and next their instructor’s industry experience.  Although I think that industry experience may be important in demonstrating the realities of a student’s chosen profession, much more important is a professor’s ability to plan a curriculum, lessons, and inspire students.  “Show me a school where teachers are smart, well-educated, skilled and happy to be there, and I’ll show you a group of children who are getting a good eduction”, writes Susan Engel.  Too often in my own experience I have seen professors who are content to talk about what the industry is like rather than to inspire a true interest in the art of what we do.  “To fix our schools, we need teaching programs that are as rich in resources, interesting, high-reaching, and thoughtful as the young people we want to attract to the profession”.  Through hiring practices that focus on how well an instructor would do in a classroom mixed with teacher training, audio programs will increase in their efficiency and creativity.

Youtube Bandit

The idea of using sound clips from Youtube videos has come up no less than 100 times each quarter since I began teaching audio.  Although I am completely naive to the legality of this, I almost always indulge them with the one of the, I’m sure, thousands of ways there is to accomplish this.

Youtube videos are now saved as .flv (flash video) files.  In order to import these into most DAWs, you will first need to convert these .flv files into .mov files. The way I do this is using a Firefox plug-in called download helper.  You will need to download this at

You’ll see a yellow box to the left of the screen like this one below:

Picture 1

Click “Installation” inside the yellow box.

Follow the installation instructions.

Before download helper will work, you’ll need to restart Firefox.

One more plug-in you’ll need is a Quicktime plug-in known as Perian which allows you to open the .flv file you download from Youtube.  Go to this web site,, and download Perian.  A lot of my students have forgotten to follow the entire download through to its end.  Don’t forget to click “Download Perian” on this screen:

Picture 2

Restart Quicktime.

Now go to the Youtube video you want to sample.  You will now see three dots next to any video that you can download via Download helper such as below:

Picture 3

Clicking the three dots will begin an automatic download of the .flv from Youtube.

Picture 4The video will download directly to its own download helper folder:

The final step is to open the file using Quicktime.  If Perian is properly installed, the .flv should open in Quicktime with no problems.

The file will open in Quicktime.

Next, simply export the file.

Picture 5

The file will default as a .mov.  Save the file to a convenient place and import the newly formed .mov to Pro Tools or whatever DAW you’re working with.

Sample away.