Tips for a Great Resume

Tips for a Great Resume

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25 FEBRUARY 2017

written by Mike

TIPS FOR A GREAT RESUME

 

Having a good resume is important. You read that statement everywhere, you hear it from your career advisor, it seems like a no-brainer.

But what does CV stand for today?

And is it still that important?

I would argue that yes. Yes, it is. Why? Well, I understand that the world is changing, social media is everywhere, portals like LinkedIn are creating new ways for job hunters like you. And a classic style resume may not be as valid in the future. But today most employers are still a bit old fashioned. They like a good CV. One they can hold in their hands. And even if they don’t care, I can guarantee that HR will appreciate it.

I always say it is better to meet the people you want to work for in person first. You could attend an event, conference or even some kind of a technology expo. I remember attending Gamescom with my younger brothers couple of years ago.

Besides the newest games, there was a corner with education and career advisors. It’s an easy way to make some contacts face to face. I think most of the exhibits like that have some “career corner.” But I know that it is not always an option to go to this kind of events. In that case, your CV will be your brand seller. Your face.

What does it mean?

It means that based on your resume you will end up in either YES or NO folder. I remember, once I saw my manager working through tens of CVs. There were two folders, green YES, and red NO on his desktop. “Hey, where is a ‘maybe’ folder?” I asked him. “I haven’t got time for a maybe.”

How you build your CV is important. It takes about 10 seconds to scan it with managerial eyes and if you don’t have anything that will stop them. Well, welcome to the NO folder. I’ve seen a lot of CVs; I have designed a lot of CVs for other people too. And I know one thing for sure. People don’t know how to write their resumes! I mean, one time someone sent me a CV written by hand. It looked like a child wrote it.

It is that bad.

But have no fear! I want to share with you few insights and few tips on how to tailor your bio. All these tips are universal and don’t apply just to music or sound industry.

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Know the position

Read the job description. You want to know what you are applying for, but also if it’s a good fit for you too.

What are the requirements?

Are there any specifics?

If yes, then make sure you mention all them on your CV. My girlfriend’s boss said they first thing they look at is if CV says all the things they ask in the job advert. It is a requirement. I know that some of these things can seem like common sense to you. “I don’t need to put that on my CV. It is evident that I know this, and it will just take up space.” It can land you in the NO folder before anyone has a chance to read the rest of the stuff from your resume.

 Adjust your skills

 It is an important point. If a job offer says “sound designer” and the studio asks about your sound design skills, mention them. Don’t write that you have live sound mixing experience. At least not as your selling point. Yes, it is a nice touch, but the company is looking for a sound designer and not for a live sound mixer. People always say “I sent out hundreds of CVs and so far, no reply!”

Yes, hundreds of the same, generic ones. Don’t be that person. I know it requires some work up front to do these changes, but it will pay off later. So instead of sending 10 CVs a day, send two. Tailored and adjusted for the jobs you want.

For me, templates are the answer. I would have three main templates that I’d adjust every time I want to send an application out.

The three resume templates are:

Skill based

Work-based

Education based

Skill based CV will focus on your skill set. Write down what are you good at and why you are good at it. Remember that first you want to answer all the job requirements. Next are other relevant skills. A great portfolio is a must. Especially in sound industry. Have the portfolio ready online and include the link in your emails.

A work-based resume is a standard one. And usually the best choice. List your projects; you can do it by date or relevance. Project list should include where did you work and what did you work on. Include your responsibilities and skills you used for the job. And not just technical know-how. People skills are essential too. Communication, teamwork and good project management. These are the words all employers like to hear.

Education based can be the weakest one. Especially when you want to get into sound engineering world. Why? I don’t know if any of the people I worked with in post production had degrees in sound. But with twenty years of experience behind their belt, a piece of paper will not impress. If it’s your only option, make the best out of it. List your education but make sure to include what did you worked on. And why is it relevant to the job description. It would be good to mention all the extra projects that you did your free time.

And a strong portfolio will be helpful too.

 

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Bullet points

Don’t write long lines. 

Just.

Bullet.

Points.

Something that will catch the eye.

And will make it stop.

For a second.

Some people argue that paragraphs can work well too. But I say you should save them for the covering letter. When managers have a hundred resumes to go through, and it is almost lunch time, attention span is short. You have around 10 seconds before they move onto the next one. Don’t write long sentences and get to the point. Make it clear, easy to read and simple. Sometimes one word can be worth more than a hundred. 

 

Covering letter, yes or no?

 

It is a tricky one, and it depends on the job offer. Did they request one? Then write a short, concise and personalised paragraph on why you are the best candidate. I’m not the biggest fan of covering letters as most of them sound the same. I asked my office manager what did she think about them.

“Keep it simple, keep it short. I don’t want to know your life story.”

So there you go. If you need one, write it for the particular job. Don’t use a template. Read it out loud a few times, make sure it flows. Again, someone will spend around ten to fifteen seconds on reading it. Make sure it is the most exciting ten seconds of their day.

Also, check out the publication from CareersWiki and these cover letter examples by Novoresume.

 

Layout and graphic design 

I’m big on design. My girlfriend is an excellent graphic designer, so I get a lot of good info from her. But let me tell you one thing. Most of CV designs that people sent to the studio where I worked were so bad that we usually run a contest for the worst one. We either got a Word document with bad formatting. Or something with too many graphics and colours. Do not complicate this one. Use one, maximum two colors. Have a beautiful header or a sidebar. Make it easy to look at and easy to read.

 

Don’t be a liar

It is that simple. Don’t lie on your resume. The truth will come out eventually. Today it is easy to check your background (thanks, the internet!). So be careful if you want to make up some education or past work experience. And when it comes to your skills, lying may get you the job but after one week everyone will see the truth. You can say you are still learning, or you are keen on extra free training or something. But don’t lie.

 

Email + attachments

The last point is more of a reminder for you. Make sure your email contains all your documents, CV and covering letter. Make sure you label everything in a transparent manner. Easy and straightforward to read. I don’t want to say a number, but one in ten job application emails is empty. And I don’t mean the text. People still write “Please find my CV attached.” and nothing.

I mean, come on. Check it twice, three times even. Just make sure that everything you want to send is there. Remember, there is no MAYBE folder. Only YES and NO. Work on you CV, make sure it’s perfect. And don’t skip the tip about reading the job description.

My girlfriend told me that once a girl had an interview at their workplace. She seemed nice; the interview went well too. But at the end when the boss asked her “So, do you have any questions?” she had one

“Uhm..I sent out a lot of job applications lately. Can you remind me what position we are talking about?”

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What is Foley?

What is Foley?

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22 FEBRUARY 2017
written by Mike

WHAT IS FOLEY?

 

Foley is an art of creating a soundscape in the movie, game or TV production. We can describe Foley as hidden sounds. The sounds that you are not paying attention to but without them, the story wouldn’t be believable to the audience. As you may already think, I am not talking about explosions, space ship sounds or car chases. We call this sounds design.

Foley is footsteps and cutlery in a busy restaurant scene. The sound of a hand touching a table or a simple door creak. Foley is usually hyper-real, that means the sounds are exaggerated. They are louder and more prominent than reality. All these are techniques to tell a better story.

Creating a believable soundscape, one that is not noticed by an audience, is a complex but exciting task. Every production is different, but there are a few standard procedures in executing a great Foley recording.

 

 SPOTTING

Spotting is an undertaking of writing down a list of all Foley sounds that a director can select for a recording.

A team of editors will watch a scene and note every action that may or may not need a sound effect. Imagine a dinner scene.

Will you need the sound of cutlery?

A sound of pouring wine into a glass?

Or maybe someone is moving a chair around the table?

Every little thing like that you will need to note down. It is always better to have more options of recorded sounds than less. Spotting is a tedious task, but it can be an eye-opener for someone who is just starting out in the industry.

 

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FOLEY RECORDING

Before Foley recording sessions begin a creative team decides on a priority of sounds to record. A standard movie production can have thousands of Foley sounds listed, but you don’t need all them. A good vision of the final product is important.

When the list for the recording is ready, the session starts.

Recordings take place on Foley stage, a big, treated room with a large screen and many different props. On the screen, you can see scenes from the movie. And then in real time, a Foley artist acts the sounds, and Foley engineer captures them.

Foley artist is the most important part of the Foley team and the most creative. Foley artists must use their imagination with props and then in real time mimic what is happening on screen. When the scenes play, there is no sound or dialogue. It is just a picture.

Remember our dinner scene?

The Foley artist can use a bit of metal to create the sound of cutlery. Maybe he will use a piece of wood or an old case to create the sound of a chair. He or she will use a different kind of shoes for on-screen characters. And create a different kind of movement styles.

A great Foley artist can turn a normal dinner scene into a lively and exciting event. But we can’t undermine the job of a Foley sound engineer. A choice of a correct microphone type, microphones setup and correct levels are crucial. The difference can leave you with either beautiful Foley sound or a mediocre and noisy one.

A good sound engineer will instruct and work with Foley artist on the best ways of creating the sounds. You can be the best Foley artist in the world but when your work doesn’t sound good, you won’t get the attention you want.

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FOLEY EDITING AND FITTING

After the recordings, you will need to edit and fit the sounds. Editing is a process of cleaning up the audio. You will need to reduce the noise and remove clicks and random pops. Your job is to organise the sounds so you can fit them into the movie later on.

We describe fitting as matching the sounds to the picture. Even though we record Foley in real time, there will always be a small delay.

Fitting requires moving these sounds into place and organising the session for the Foley mixer. Fitting Foley can be a creative process. The editor will often decide which footsteps work the best with the scene and what sounds are best to leave out of the picture.

A trainee Foley editor will usually start with fitting footsteps and cloth. These are sounds of clothes when characters are moving around on a screen. Only after you pay your dues, you will move to more exciting things. When sounds are edited and fitted, the session is sent to a Foley mixer.

 FOLEY MIXING

Mixing Foley is a tough task, as it needs to work in balance with dialogue, sound effects and music.

Foley mixer will be part of a team of three people who will work together during mixing sessions. Under the supervision of a director and creative team, mixers will create the world of background sounds.

Maybe a broken glass will become an important element in the story?

The sound will be exposed and in the centre of attention. Other time, it will be just a background sound of broken glass.

We describe Foley as an invisible art. The sounds are in the background, they play to the story, and they help to describe it to the audience. We say that the audience will only notice Foley when there is something wrong with it. Next time, when you are watching a movie, try to pay a bit more attention to the sounds of the background.

Close your eyes for a bit and remember how much work went into creating the world of hidden sound.

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How to Find No Experience Jobs

How to Find No Experience Jobs

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18 FEBRUARY 2017

written by Mike

HOW TO FIND

NO EXPERIENCE JOBS?

 

Work experience. Everyone talks about it, but no one saw one. How can you find no experience jobs? I want to mention modern paradox – work experience loop. Can’t work without experience, can’t get experience without work.

All jokes aside, yes it is still a valid subject. There is training available for graphic designers, photographers, audio editors. You just need to know how and where to look for it. I’m going to focus on the film industry as I have the most experience in that matter. But I did other work too, so you must remember that this advice can apply to any industry or profession you are in.

I know that people will say things like “starting out is hard, no one knows me…”

Yes, finding a nice, comfortable, nine-to-five position will be difficult. But with the power of the internet, there are other (better?) ways to, not find, but create your job. Anyway, we are getting off-topic here.

First of all, is work experience worth it and should you look for one?

Well, yes and no.

It depends on what you understand by experience. But I also want you to stop thinking about it one dimension.Getting an unpaid week in a legendary recording studio? Yes, that’s cool.

But it is also quite hard as there aren’t that many big recording studios around, and I doubt that they have a quick turnaround. By all means, try. Someone has to work there, right? In my opinion, it will be easier to try a smaller, independent studio.

Listen, there are many ways to get the ‘experience’. And thanks to the internet your opportunities are unlimited. You can work on projects from all around the world. And you don’t even need to leave your bedroom. Of course, there are some obstacles.

For example, film industry, games, and music are tight places to enter. It seems that everyone knows each other, so reputation is everything. And word travels fast, really fast. I had colleagues that liked to gossip and bad-mouth their managers. Don’t ever do that. It’s hard to get a gig when people know that you have a big mouth.

So yeah, it’s tough to get a foot in the door. But I got in and so can you.I want to give you a few general tips on what can you do starting right now. Also, I’m going to share with you a few stories. Stories of my friends and how they got their way. And believe me. Everybody’s journey is different.

Student and unpaid projects 

Yes, I know. Working for free sucks. But think of it as an investment in yourself. Take on different projects. Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll learn a lot, and you will meet new people. You know that Danny Elfman, and Tim Burton started their relationship early? And look at them now. Spielberg and Hanks know each other for a few years now. These kinds of collaborations kick off early. Relationships take years to develop so don’t think it’s working with the best or nothing. Next “best” may be still going to school.

I’ve done my share of free work. Some of it was good, some not so much. Most of it didn’t lead to anything, but I still value the time. I learned more that I would in a class. It helped me to try different things. And I developed relationships. Easy example, a friend who I helped on some little project had a six weeks gig at a movie studio. When he moved to something different, he recommended me. From there I’ve agreed to do some free training. I worked there as a freelancer and then became a full-time employee for a couple of years. Without the small project we did together, my friend wouldn’t know if I was any good. And would recommend someone else.

You can’t plan for everything.

I have friends who still take on free work. They are professionals in their field. They will come in on weekends when mixing theaters are empty. And they work on some low-budget projects. Some of it pays, some doesn’t. They still love it.

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Festivals and unpaid studio work

I would say do it whenever you can. This one is a bit harder as you will need to know some people on the ‘inside.’ Your other projects can lead to these relationships. And if you don’t have that option then your determination will be your other chance. Look up email addresses, Facebook contacts or LinkedIn profiles of people in charge or people working in a venue of your interest. And contact them.

Perseverance is the key. Pester them. Wear them down. There are plenty of opportunities. Research areas near you. I know that everyone wants to work on the biggest festivals. But I’m sure there are lots of small events that you can do.

My unpaid work experience was on world music festival. All organised by charity.I worked on a smaller stage as a supervisor, greeting bands and setting them up These few days were tough. We slept on stage. It was cold and wet. I run the event from early morning to late evening. What did I gain? Experience in live music, decision making, teamwork, microphone techniques, authority and the list goes on and on.

What about studio internships? These are a bit harder to get. Why? Well, there are a lot of people who want it. And because everyone is at the same level it’s a matter of luck and knowing somebody. By all means, do apply. But this kind of offer should be another thing that you do, not the only one. 

Perseverance

What do you have to lose? Nothing. What can you gain? You don’t know. And that is why it’s exciting.There was a guy who contacted everyone in our department.

I think he got the info from LinkedIn or Facebook. He kept asking for training for months. We had to get him in. Just to stop the bloody emails. In the end, it didn’t work as he lacked technical skills. But he did get a week of training and opportunity for freelance work. At least now he knows the next step.

When my brother was seventeen, he was looking for work. At one restaurant, the manager said to him that he was going to call him the next day. I remember I was working behind the bar on that day when my brother showed up all sad and bitter.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“They didn’t call me. They meant to call me today. I’ll never find a job. Everything sucks!”

“Ok, it’s six pm now. Get up and see him now. The place is two minutes from here.” I made him do it.

What happened? He caught the manager as the guy was leaving the place. Turned out he forgot to contact my brother. The manager asked him to do a trial shift and hired him after that. Moral of the story? You guessed right, it’s perseverance.

Now you may say, “Oh well, good for him, but I’m still waiting for tips how I am going to get what I want.”

You must understand that everyone has a different story to tell.

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Few other tips

My friend who was a sound designer at a big game design studio got one year long paid internship through university. He completed the contract and returned to finish his studies. After the graduation, the studio hired him back. A few years passed since then; he finished as a leader of people who were pioneering the art of sound on next-gen consoles. Why did they want him back? He is a good teammate; he is a hard worker and a likeable person.

It’s that simple.

My friend tweeted a manager from another department asking about vacancies. The tweet reached my boss who offered him a training opportunity. He got a full-time position after a couple of months. At the moment, he is a team leader, working with sound editors on big blockbusters. How did he get there? He is a smart, friendly person. And he took upon himself to deliver a challenging project when no one asked him to take this kind of responsibility. It’s important to recognise these moments.

Another one of my colleagues got a week long work experience through her father. He knew someone at the office. After her gig, she got a call from the boss asking if she wanted to do some freelance work. After a couple of weeks, she got a full-time contract. How did that happen? Relationships – her father knew the right people. Luck? Yes, she was at the right place at the right time. People just left the department, so there was an open position. Hard work? You bet. She learned fast and always delivered her best. When I started, she was a supervisor, only after about five months being there.

My story is entirely different too. I spent a couple of weeks at the studio shadowing my friend. I wasn’t expecting a job out of it, just some CV experience. For me, it was a perfect opportunity at that time. After a couple of weeks, I got asked to help out on one of the projects. I have also volunteered to train for free during their downtime. After six months of both free training and paid freelance, I was offered a full-time position with the company. How did I get there? Relationships and luck? Yes, it was my friend who recommended me. But I made my success. After a week of shadowing him, I realised this could be bigger. I resigned from my bartending job, and I quit doing stage setup at local clubs. Hard work and the risk paid off in the end.

It is important to recognise opportunities. You never know who can help you and how the events of the present will affect your future. Work experience is a great thing. Don’t think about it in black and white terms. You may not get a job afterwards. But you may learn your real passion, your likes, and dislikes, your character.

Remember, it’s not only about your goals, it’s the journey that matters.

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Intro to Sound Recording

Intro to Sound Recording

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15 FEBRUARY 2017

written by Mike

INTRO TO SOUND RECORDING

Today we are going to learn a bit about sound recording.

I want to introduce some basic concepts of capturing audio and some easy tips on sound engineering. For some of you, this will be boring and easy. Remember, everything is built on fundamentals.

Did you do your microphone test yet?

Good. Understanding your recording session is crucial. There will be no smooth sailing without it.

What are you recording?

Where?

Is it a live music gig?

Is it some dialogue in a controlled studio environment?

Or maybe you are capturing some interviews outside. Understand it and learn it.

Next step is selecting a right gear. You don’t want to mix up condenser and dynamic microphones during your live recording. Or overdrive the input during the interview. I doubt you will get a second take.

Studio recordings can be easier as you will have more time to experiment. Having said so, I don’t think you will have time to ponder when there is a full orchestra waiting in a recording room. Preparation and planning are essential. Think about techniques of sound recording.

Are we using mid-side? Or A-B?

Extra ambient mic in the corner? How many microphones on your kick drum?

There are many different techniques, and all are up for experimentation. You can have a lot of fun trying out a new thing, but understanding why you want to do it is important too.

First, let’s have a look at few ground rules of live recording.

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Start at the source

Get your instrument or amplifier to sound right before setting up the microphone. Tune your guitars, tune your drums. Have a strategy in mind. You don’t want to be working your mixing console to get everything sounding good. You will understand the importance of this point when you are on both sides of the game – recording and editing.

“We’ll fix it in the mix later” it’s easy to say when you are not doing the fixing. I can edit the bad recording, and the mixer will do his/her best. But you know the saying – you can’t polish poop and pretend it’s a diamond? You can always tell.

Be aware of proximity effect

Proximity effect occurs when you place your microphone too close to your sound source e.g. an acoustic guitar. The result will be a boomy, low-end sound, as the mic will pick up these frequencies the most. Acoustic nights at pubs are famous for that.

Try to roll off low frequencies at source when it’s possible. Some mics have the option to do so. You can also do it on input track.

Use small number of microphones

Other mics will capture the sound of your source. You need to watch out for potential acoustic gain that decreases by 3dB when the number of microphones doubles. It means that you will have to turn down the volume of the source for every additional mic to avoid feedback.

Because of that, it’s quite tricky to set up a big band on stage. I know you want to mic up every instrument, but sometimes just a good stereo pair will do. I remember once I had to organise a band. It was a world music band with fifteen people, each one of them playing some crazy instrument.

And they all demanded an individual mic. After the initial setup, everything would feedback so much you couldn’t hear them playing. In the end, we muted most of the microphones, they never noticed.

Before I share with you a few general rules of recording, have a look at a couple of quick tips on setting up a studio sound recording session.

Use shock mounts where possible

They will reduce unwanted noise and thumps. Even the smallest vibrations can travel from the floor, through a stand, to a microphone. Try to avoid it. A little rumble is an easy fix in post production. A noise on the dialogue will be more problematic. Ozone Izotope makes great software plugins if you are in need of a quick fix. Izotope DeClicker is one of my favourite tools. Don’t overdo it though as it can change the frequency balance of your recording!

Keep power cables away from audio cables

Mixing them up will more than likely induce some unwanted noise to your recordings. One rule when building a studio is to keep power cables in the ceiling and audio cables on the floor. To be honest, I never worked in a place that had this kind of setup. For most of us, just try not to cross the cables on the floor.

 

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When it comes to vocal recordings, there are few simple techniques to make it painless.

Pop Shield

If you want to reduce “pops” and explosive breaths – get a pop shield! The pop shield should be your number one expense. They are cheap, but if you are struggling you can make one with old coat hanger and tights. Old school.

Distance

Moving the microphone either closer or further than three inches from the mouth will also help. Three inches from a microphone is the distance where “pops” are most present. With the dynamic mic such as Shure SM7B you can have it near your lips and still shout out loud. With a condenser, you may want to have a bit more distance.

Consistence

Move the mic around. Above or below lips. Try moving it to the side. Listen if it makes any difference at all. One thing is to keep it consistent, I get a lot of dialogue recordings where the actor goes off mic, mid-sentence. Not helpful.

Sibilance

Another thing that you may come across is sibilance. Sibilance is the effect of nasty, harsh “esssess” that can be quite hard to get rid of later on. Modern techniques would include a de-esser plugin of some sorts or EQ. Don’t use it on your signal input; apply later on as a non-destructive effect. Again, don’t overdo it, it will “squash” the sound a lot. If the recording is bad, you may have to use gain to lower these nasty “essess.” Old school recording engineer once told me about another technique. It may seem quite weird to you. But try it!

Grab a pen or a pencil and tape it to the front of the microphone. Make sure it touches the grill. It will help you to get cleaner recordings.

Watch that input!

Often you will distort your recording by driving the input on your recorder way too high. Remember to keep a healthy balance between microphone placement, sound source volume and the input gain on your console. If you have it too low, you will have a lot of floor noise to clean. Consistency is the key in this situation. Imagine if you have someone shout one line and then whisper the next one. It will be difficult to make these two match each other.

I hope these few tips will be helpful to you. Before we finish up, let’s have a quick look at few general rules of recordings.

3 to 1 rule

3 to 1 rule is a classic rule of thumb that prevents feedback and headaches. The law states that when you are using multiple microphones, the distance between mics should be three times larger than the distance from each microphone to the sound source. For example, if you want to use two mics on your acoustic guitar, and you place them 1ft from it, the distance between the microphones should be 3ft.

It means that the sound captured by the other mic is reduced by at least 12dB and that reduces phasing known as comb filtering. Comb filtering effect or phasing describes a situation where frequencies cancel each other out. Few things can cause this but placing microphones too close to each other is a primary agent of that. The sound level drops around 6dB when the distance doubles from the microphone, and that’s why it is important to be smart in your set up. Other general rules include placing your unidirectional mic towards your sound source. It will minimise the bleed from other sources. Place your microphones away from unwanted sources such as loudspeaker or amplifiers. They will cause massive feedback. It becomes the problem when bands want more feed in their floor speakers.

And they always do.

Switch off your mobile.

You would be surprised how many times I had to edit a mobile interference from high-profile recordings. And it’s almost impossible to do so.

Phasing

One last thing is to check the phasing. On your input console (or EQ plugin) you should have a Ø switch. It means polarity.

As I said before when you have a lot of mics near each other, for example on a drum kit, it can cause phasing. It is a good practice to invert polarity on each microphone in relationship to the rest of them. You will hear the difference straight away.

Ok, that’s it for today.

Have your cables neat and coiled and you are ready to go!

Remember that sound engineering is a deep topic and in future articles, I will go into more detail about recording instruments, microphones placement, and different techniques. For now, don’t forget that a sound is like a taste. Everyone likes different things.

Don’t be scared to experiment and try out new stuff.

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What is Sound Editing?

What is Sound Editing?

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11 FEBRUARY 2017

written by Mike

WHAT IS

SOUND EDITING?

We describe sound editing as an art of producing great quality sounds for mixing, implementation and processing. In simpler words, sound editing is a laborious task of making noisy and lousy recordings sound good. It is one of the processes that make the project whole.

Overlooking the editing side will always result in subpar production.

Imagine you are writing a book and you plan your paragraphs. You write them down, and you work on the wording and single sentences. Only then you put it into the final product. It may not be the perfect example but thinking of editing as part of the process will make it easier to understand why you should pay more attention to it. Sound editing is not just cleaning up bad recordings. Some creative processes are easy to do during editing before the audio moves onto the next stage.

I will look at some of them as well as at other essential sound editing things.

 

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TOOLS

When it comes to choosing right tools, it is down to choosing the right software. Today, we do most of the work on a computer. And even though there are some interesting ideas such as editing touch pads like Slate RavenI am going to focus on the most common editing choices.

Picking the right software is important. But depending on a project the choice can be rather limited. Working on big budget production there may not be an option at all, you work with what you got. Working as a freelancer gives you more options but again it is much easier to work in the same program as the client. Exporting finalised session with the same settings will be a straightforward job.

There are few things that are important in your selection.

Stability, speed and control.

Stability is rather self-explanatory. Less system crashes you get much less chamomile tea you need to drink. The knowledge that you can rely on your system goes a long way, especially during long nights.

Speed is important as in how fast you can edit with given tools and how responsive the program is. System lag is the curse of every editor. There are a lot of variables that go into the equation, but some workstations are quicker to react than others.

Control over the interface is last on the list. Some programs try to be helpful and offer an array of smart, all in one function. These can be helpful but when it comes to fast-paced editing, a clear list of keyboard shortcuts and easy customization are on the top of the pyramid.

Today, Avid Pro Tools is an industry standard. It has its faults, but it checks all the boxes that you need to do a good editing job.

It does not mean that other programs are worse or better. Everyone works in a different way, so it is best to try out a few different options before the final decision.

GROUND WORK

When it comes to editing, planning is crucial.

What sort of recording will you work on?

How much time do you have?

Where are you sending files? Or maybe you are the one that is going to mix it as well.

These are the most basic questions you need to ask yourself before commencing the work. Let’s assume the project is as short student movie that will be later mixed by somebody else. First, communication between all the people involved is vital.

Apart from the obvious here are some other tips too. Isolating your sounds into groups like dialogue, effects and music is a basic tactic. Simple things like color-coding, naming conventions and general order of your sounds will make the whole process flowing. Make a list of what you need and what you are working on. It is easy to get lost when there are thousands of sounds to get through. 

 

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TECHNIQUES

When it comes to editing techniques the fundamentals are cutting up, cleaning and moving sounds around. Cleaning from unwanted noise such as lip smacks, clicks or cloth movement can be tiresome. And not every recording will be easy to fix.

There are special programs such as Izotope Rx that will help you to automate some of these tasks.

Cutting up and moving sounds around is much simpler as it only requires the most basic functions of your software. Some projects will need an extra treatment called offline processing. Reversing audio, slowing down or speeding up the sounds are only a few from many options in which you can process your sounds.It is important to have a backup of the original sound. Offline processing is a destructive process so copy your original audio on a track below and mute it; you never know when it may come in handy.

Check out the educational guides from Izotope on editing

 

COMPLETION

So, your editing is complete. The guidelines on how you should save and deliver the completed work are on your desk. There are different options how you can pass the files on to the next stage. You can save your session so it will serve as the fundament for mixing, or you can export the audio as single files.

No matter which way you and your team will choose, remember that good and transparent layout of the sounds will save you a lot of hassle and time.

Being a sound editor may not be a glamorous position but it is an important part of the post production process. Often it will be just an element of your work as you may also act as a sound engineer and a mixer. Especially when it comes to low budget projects. On big productions, an editor must work to strict guidelines such as file formats, naming conventions and color-coding.

Make yourself familiar with it and make a good layout planning part of your working habit.

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