It is now nearing the end of the year for OIART students as we are coming up on graduation towards the end of the month and semester three has been full of hard work, projects and many interesting presentations. At the beginning of the semester, the students were given the option between two different production projects as a final project: a song or audio for an animated video. These have all been completed and handed in and we are all using what studio time we have left to work on projects of our own.
This semester was very self-directed, giving everyone lots of time to work on projects at any moment in studios if they chose to steal labs during the four-hour lab periods. This also gave the students lots of opportunities to work with new people and work in new situations. Many people, myself included, were able to go out into the field to record or bring in many new talents to record.
I personally was able to bring the 744T mobile recording device and Sennheiser MKH416 out into the field a couple of times to record Foley, atmospheres and other sound effects necessary. For one trip with the 744T, I was able to attempt to record a classmate’s cat meowing, while for another trip, we were able to head out into the forest to record footsteps, weapon hit sounds and atmospheres without the sound of machinery and roads. This afforded us a fun trip out into the middle of a silent forest with atmospheres that matched our videos where we were able to get footsteps on dirt and foliage as well as hitting knives against themselves, metal we’d brought and rocks as sound effects for our videos’ weapon hits.
Among the projects, this semester was also filled with many interesting seminars from guest speakers and previous OIART grads such as Producer and YouTube star Mike Tompkins, Juno Award winning Producer and Engineer Vic Florencia and Technicolor Foley artist Virginia Storey among many other fantastic and educational presentations. These seminars gave students the chance to see different corners of the audio industry and the different paths that previous grads were able to take to get to where they are now, as well as make new connections, as these are all people we could very easily run into in the future out in the field. Each of the two groups got a chance to visit a facility in their field as a live seminar as well. The Production students got to visit the London-based studio Sugar Shack, owned by an OIART grad, while the Audio for Visual Media students were able to get a tour of the Digital Extremes video game company facility, of which two previous OIART grads are currently employed.
Students were also given lots of opportunities to gain experience in live sound through the student-run private show at the Aeolian Hall, as well as volunteer experiences with productions such as Sunfest, which many students attended, myself included. We were all stage hands, giving us the opportunity to see how a fast-paced festival setting would be organized and stay on time. I was on a smaller stage with a front of house engineer and one more student volunteer with very short set changeovers, which meant working quickly and staying organized and was an excellent experience in seeing how the technology we’ve learned over the semester would be applied in a festival situation.
All in all, we all were able to work hard and try many new techniques we would never have previously gotten the chance to try. Students also spent lots of time together, whether it was a student organized game of laser tag thanks to Toby Zheng, or in smaller groups going out for the day in the warm weather or seeing concerts and visiting other cities. I know I will miss the students and school greatly and look forward to what the future holds for all of us as we all look forward to graduation.