Iʼm thrilled with this opportunity to create a discussion with the Pro Video Coalition members about my passion – audio for the moving image.
Iʼve been around audio for most of my life. Growing up in the 60s, a childhood friendʼs Dad worked for Ampex Corporation and he always had boxes of cassettes and reel to reels around. Like most audio pros, I started with portable tape decks, open reel or otherwise, and listened in wonder at the magic of magnetic audio tape. We often used several machines to create “overdubs” and consequently lost a lot of audio quality in the process.
I advanced with audio as audio advanced. I moved along from multi-track reel to reels, to eventually multi-track audio on a computer. It was a wonder to be able to play bits of audio on a Mac Quadra or an Amiga computer and then manipulate those sounds. The generational loss of audio quality was forever defeated with the advent of digital recording.
I am a musician and also learned audio by using amplifiers, patch bays, microphones and mixing consoles. I found myself mixing music in clubs trying to master the right combination of mic-pres, microphones, EQ settings and volume levels. Eventually I took those lessons learned to this new medium of computer based digital audio recording.
I got the opportunity to become a fill in audio mixer at a international news channel. It was an interesting challenge since the only ones who spoke English were the Director and myself. I mixed four nightly news programs, none of which were in my native tongue. Eventually I became the full time mixer and did that for a couple of years. Occasionally today I’ll hear a familiar news intro theme and be mentally transported back to sitting at a console and listening to the Mandarin newscaster read the hand written teleprompter.
From there I began working at a new cable channel that was devoted exclusively to game shows. These shows were also broadcast live, straight to satellite. I mixed the programs and also the contestants who played the games live via telephone. I did three live game shows a day, five days a week for GSN (then called Game Show Network) until I moved on from there to a show for Travel Channel called Travel Daily. This show was not a live program like the news or the game shows but was rather “live to tape.” We did the entire show with tape rolling and that final tape was aired as is.
Over the years I mixed hundreds and hundreds of episodes of these live and live to tape programs. Eventually I decided that post audio was where I wanted to be and slowly moved into working on shorts, features and hundreds more hours of television programming. I opened my company Allied Post Audio in Santa Monica and have never looked back. I’m still playing music to this day and continue to sneak it in whenever I can. My main tool is the software program and industry standard, Pro Tools but I have also used Logic and many of the now defunct and discarded tools from the not so distant past.
Having worked in recording studios, Hollywood sound stages, and having built my own post production facilities along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to see (and hear) audio from many different sides wearing many different hats. Iʼve been a supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer for feature films, documentaries, TV commercials, audio books, and as mentioned, many television shows. I currently have four series running on the air. If you are interested have a peek at my IMDB page to get a sense of some of the work that I do and have done.
I am author of the college textbook Audio Production and Postproduction which is used in universities across the US. It is a soup to nuts book, written as a textbook not a trade book, and although introductory, it goes through (predictably…) audio recording in the field to editing, mixing and finally outputting. It also contains a comprehensive glossary that is probably worth the price of the book for someone wanting to learn and understand the nomenclature of sound for film.
I am also the co-founder of a post production centric organization based in LA called the Los Angles Post Production Group or LAPPG. We can be found online at LAPPG.com and on facebook.com. We have thousands of members worldwide and have monthly meetings for networking, demonstrations of new gear and hold workshops on the ever evolving post workflows and best practices. It is free to join and I encourage any post-interested person to join us. We have lots of great things on the site like discounts, a jobs board and news including partner events and best of all you need not need live in Los Angeles to be a member and take advantage of this vibrant community.
I am a filmmaker as well as a sound professional. I was a Producer of “Silent Radio” Best Foreign Film – USA, at the European Independent Film Festival a film which I also sound designed, and mixed, and produced and mixed the musical score. A short documentary which I directed and edited, “Why Do I Exist?” won best picture editing in the experimental category at the 2009 Los Angeles Reel Film Festival. I won a Telly Award in 2012 for Intel's Visual Lfe – “The Sartorialist” for Best Sound/Sound Design and I won two Telly Awards in 2011 – one for Best Sound/Sound Design for the Food Network Series “The Private Chefs of Beverly Hills” and one for Best Sound/Sound Design for the feature documentary film “Best Worst Movie.” I was awarded a 2010 Telly Award for a series of national commercials for “Dennys Allnighter” and won both a 2008 Telly Award and a 2008 Communicator Award for Sound Design and Mixing for E! International’s “The New A-List Hollywood.” I was also awarded Create’s Best of Industry Award – Audio Services for my recording work on JibJab Media’s “Second Term.”
My goal is to create a dialog with those of you interested in all things audio. As a working professional I can offer insights to those who are in the process of coming up as filmmakers as well as brainstorm with colleagues on best or better practices in general. There are many changes coming to audio as well as the ever evolving tools and technology and I will detail and share my challenges and successes as I cope with them in my daily work.
Audio is one of those terribly misunderstood arts. I certainly donʼt have all the answers but I have enough experience to know where and how to look for them. I am excited to be a part of this coalition of video pros on this site and better understanding your experiences, needs and wants. Iʼm looking forward to an engaging conversation about sound, audio, post production and the ever changing technology that we all learn, re-learn and conquer on a daily basis. Hereʼs to all of our success.