As our school year is coming to an end and final projects have all been completed — both for Music Production and Audio for Pictures — we thought it would be insightful to ask some fellow classmates about their project experience. The following are the questions we asked:
What was the most important thing you learned from your project?
What was your favourite part/experience of your project?
Here's what they had to say…
John Roach — Music Production
The most important thing I learned during this project was the importance of air, sonically and literally. Your mix needs to breathe as much as you do. I learned that taking a few steps back is essential to not lose the big picture. I had the main elements so crowded without realizing, that it was as if it was hunched over.
All of my favourite parts of the project where with the actual recording. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to mic up two incredibly talented individuals, Anne Moniz & Nicholas Elie. To be sitting in the control room and watch/listen to them both do what they do is something I'll never forget. I just hope I did their work justice!
Will Stephens — Audio for Pictures
The most important thing I learned from this, and every project, was that organization and time management are paramount to success—probably more so than creativity and skill (at least during the development stage). Approaching a project with a well thought out plan and agenda can afford you the time needed to apply the creativity and skill you’ve worked hard to develop over the year. Without that plan, your creativity is relied upon to glue a frankensteined version of your project together out of independently built pieces, and the lack of fluidity is evident.
There were great times in all aspects of the project. The greatest part for me was seeing my imagination come to life, as a mute film became a short story with the help of a soundtrack. Problem solving through recording, synthesis, and editing were all fun parts of the full experience of seeing the project through from beginning to end.
Joshua Rosedale — Audio for Pictures
Most important thing I learned while doing my final APIX project was that creativity has no limits. I kept catching myself within the grasp of reality and my logical mind, but when I was able to break away from that, that's when the magic was created.
My favourite part of this project was the moments when something "just worked", and usually by a fluke. My best example would be when I accidentally hit record on a track that was being sent through a long effects chain and being played back through speakers in my living room creating a "processed" feedback loop and at the same time the built in mic on my computer was picking all the noises it usually would in a household of 9 people and recording them all into the same track. That ended up being the track I used as my main suspense tone because it just worked.
Dan Szabo — Audio for Pictures
I learned how important of a factor background effects play in order to make the listener feel like they're a part of the video, and make the video seem real!
My favourite part was recording my girlfriend's sweet, innocent, girly laugh and turning it into an evil, deep, demonic laugh!
Basil Kalmantis — Music Production
The most important thing I learned during my final project was how critical it is to capture the best performance, tone, and feel prior to editing and mixing. In the past, I've often had a "fix it later" kind of attitude during the tracking phase, which has lead to needless hours spent ironing out avoidable issues. Starting out with the best raw tracks possible is like using the finest ingredients to make a meal -- you have a foundation for success.
My favourite part of the project was taking on the role of a producer to use creative ideas to present the song in an exciting and meaningful way. It was inspiring to work with the band on a creative level, and to develop and pursue new ideas during the actual tracking phase in an often spontaneous way. When the studio environment is so full of energy and possibility, the performances begin to reflect that and something really special is created.
Will Badger — Audio for Pictures
I learned the benefit of mapping out and tracking my project workflow from the start. It helped me stay on track and avoid time lost reorganizing and re-planning.
My favourite part was the challenge of editing the subtle movements of my robotic character, trying to find the right balance of layers, without having too much or too little.
Devin Hoare — Audio for Pictures
The most important thing I learned on my project is to appreciate the creative process of sound design and don't be afraid to experiment with source sounds and plugins in order to make new sounds.
My favourite part of my project is this moment where a tear collects in the corner of Amumu's eye and then there's a close up of it bursting on the ground. It's a very artistic/powerful moment in the video and I was daunted at the start as to how I would design the sound for it to match the vibe of the animation. I spent the greater portion of a 4 hour lab on that 5 seconds of video but as I started mixing sounds of a water drop with ice, glass and some whooshes, plus a bunch of plug ins to shape the sounds I ended up with a sound for that drop that I am proud of and that I think matches the video really nicely. That lab helped be better understand the design process and helped me make better/faster decisions for other sounds in the project so it was pretty cool!
Gwen Mae — Audio for Pictures
The most important thing that I've learned with my project was learning how to balance the music and sound effects that I've chosen to be able to create and tell a story while accompanying and respecting the animators' and editors' choices.
My favourite experience was doing the project! I made many mistakes, ran out of ideas, went through a lot of trials and errors, frustration, sleepless nights, coffee and lots of KD. But, it was a journey that I will never regret or forget. I learned what I was capable of and it was an even bigger reminder of my passion for sound design/editing. I loved every second of it and I will do what it takes to be able to do it for the rest of my life.
Alex Chowbay — Music Production
I learned that it was really important to get the parts/tones sounding right even before recording them.
Recording drums was my favourite part of the project!
Alex Robillard — Audio for Pictures
I learned the importance of time management, and planning ahead. Planning out what exactly I was going to be doing throughout the weeks of the project and setting mini-goals for myself for each day made the whole process so much simpler.
My favourite part of my project was the last few weeks, when every aspect of the project began to come together. It's easy to get caught up and obsessed with single aspects of an APIX project, so when I finally started seeing every individual aspect begin to blend and mesh with one another, it began to feel like a real production. When you feel like you're working on a whole production, as opposed to individual parts, it becomes a lot easier to feel excited and proud of of the full extent of your work.
Ryan Yusep — Audio for Pictures
I learned from my project the importance of time and session management. When I am organized and have goals to be completed by a deadline, I found freedom to be creative with enough pressure to keep me moving forward. I also learned to be flexible. Some of my designed sounds went through many iterations before I was happy with them. Thanks to the planning I did, I knew that I could spend the time reworking these sounds.
My favourite part of the project was actually the process as a whole. I have never completed something like this and went through a wide range of emotions with it. But thanks to Mark and working through the difficult times with my friends, I learned so much about how slogging through the more challenging parts of a project, leads to something that will be so satisfying and rewarding. I will never forget the walk home after handing in my video, and being able to compare my lowest point with the elation I felt when I succeeded.
Michelle Hwu — Audio for Pictures
I learned so much about reading camera movements and the decisions that the director has made with respect to the visuals. I’ve learned how important it is to feel the transitions between different scenes, and to create strong relationships between audio and picture. A lot of this was done with subtle movements, which were felt intuitively and performed much like a musical instrument. This discovery of subtle intuitive decisions, along with the placement of sound effects and Foley, helped push my project to a new level.
My favourite parts of the project were the Foley recording sessions. Not only because they were so much fun, but because they gave me a chance to collaborate with my friends and bring the sounds of my imagination to life.