OIART Student Blog – Brian – “Mark Loves You”

Nov.16 / 2011
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“Mark Loves You”

Wake up dear readers, it’s time for class at OIART.  As late breakfasts are hastily finished and seats are taken, it’s clear the students are in rare form.  Pencils, paper, laptops, and jovial attitudes are at the ready as our instructor clears his throat to begin the lesson.  What might that lesson be, you ask?  Why, it’s Recording Technology with Mr. Mark McDonald, of course!

Now, just to be clear, Recording Technology (RTEC) is one of the major classes of OIART.  In the audio industry, it’s the proverbial bread and butter.  Audio gear nerds are all too familiar with recording technology.  It’s what keeps their nights restless, and their wallets empty.  Lessons in RTEC can range from studying microphones and their polar patterns, to tape machines, to learning the signal flow and routing on a console.  Later in the program one would delve into more avenues such as EQ (equalization), compression, effects, and much more.  Ever wonder how a multi-pattern condenser microphone works?  Well, strap yourself in because your brain is about to get a knowledge sandwich with extra mayo.

The labs for RTEC are challenging, yet very rewarding.  I’m not going to go too far into the lab process, as my crewmate Gabriel (Barn Owl) has been covering them in his student blogs (check them out!).  One of my favorite labs thus far has been learning the intricacies of the Westar console.  Having never really worked on a large console before, I was surprised to find out certain details.  For example, there are numerous ways to route audio, and also a live ferret lives inside of the console and connects signal paths.….  Who would have thought?

Mark McDonald is a modern day hero.  If I were mayor, I would give him the key to the city.  He genuinely loves to teach and has enough knowledge in the audio field to crush an adult gorilla.  Each class you can see his mammoth delight when each student “gets it”.  I’m honestly amazed in his ability to find simple ways of describing intensely difficult procedures.

RTEC is undoubtedly the lengthiest course in the program, but Mark has the uncanny ability to make time fly by.  If you don’t have prior knowledge of an audio component or how certain aspects of the process work, worry not dear readers.  Its Mark’s mission to make sure each student has a comprehensive understanding and welcomes you to come by and ask questions later.  For example, I asked a question in class that he didn’t have time to dive into, so he sent me an email later with the answer.  What a guy!

Mark’s motto is “There are 17 different ways to do something”.  I would agree, but there is one important rule one must not dismiss:  Don’t forget to feed the ferret.

Tune in next time dear readers for a look at the Digital Theory/MIDI/Computer course.