AUS220 - Post Mortem (Final Reflection)
As the end of Tri 4 is here, I've been asked to reflect upon all the work that I've done this trimester. I’ve been asked to write about the things that I've learnt, the things that I liked and didn’t like and the things that I could’ve done better in regards to all my intensives i.e. Music Production, Post Production and Live Sound. Below is an in-depth reflection of all of this trimester.
For our music production intensive, my group made a remake of the song “Distant friend”.
I was the one who suggested the reference tracks and gave the group a head start by suggesting them how we could approach this project. For the majority of the project production, I was the Pro Tools and the Neve console operator. I also edited and compd the drums and guitars in Pro Tools making sure that we had the best takes and that they’re in time. I also did in-the-box mixing of vocals, guitars and drums. In addition to the technical stuff, I also co-wrote the rap lyrics with Jasiah and composed the Hook.
I’m pretty happy with the overall result that we’ve got. I love how close we came to sounding like the references of Linkin Park and Nu-Metal in general that we chose. I’m also happy with the overall mix quality but I think it would’ve been better if we had arranged the song in a way that it started out evenly and built up slowly. I feel that the piano intro is very calm and quite and then everything else (drums, bass, vocals, guitars) come in together all of a sudden and hot. This was also pointed out by one of our fellow students as feedback when we presented our mix in class. In addition to this, I think we could’ve done better if we had a better rapper as we all felt that Jasiah was not feeling comfortable with doing it.
As for my contributions go, I think that editing and comping all the different takes in Pro Tools takes a lot of time and patience and not a lot of people enjoy doing it. I did most or all of that and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know why but I feel a sense of satisfaction while doing it. I also mixed the vocals and guitars in Pro Tools by adding DeEssers, compressors and EQs which I have outlined in detail in my older blog written specifically for this intensive. I also engineered the recordings using the Neve console by using my knowledge of signal flow and did the gain staging and used on-board effects like EQs and Gates.
I believe my contributions to this project were very important and I don’t think that my group would’ve achieved similar results without them.
I learned a lot about the Neve console during the entirety of this project and I’ve grown a liking for it. I love how it is a fusion of analog and digital systems and the on-board Preamps and EQs are just amazing. I would really like to learn more about it as I believe so far we’ve just skimmed its surface.
Post – Production
For this intensive, our group re-made the sound for “Kung Fu Panda” Trailer.
Again, the majority of the work that I did was on Pro Tools and the D-Command. I did most of the editing and mixing and the DAW and D-Command operation.
Overall I’m very happy with the final product and everyone in my class liked it as well. Everyone appreciated how close it was to the original and praised us for doing quality work.
I believe that my contributions to this project were very important as well because being the Lead Engineer, I had a lot of responsibility of recording, editing, mixing and managing our project. One area that I feel I could’ve contributed more in is Foley recordings. I didn’t perform any Foley myself as I was happy sitting at the console and working with Pro Tools and also because I felt that the rest of the group was already doing a great job.
Although, I’ve been doing some freelance post-production work for the past couple of years, I learned a lot from this intensive especially using the D-Command console and sound design. I love how Avid managed to lay out the controls of Pro Tools on actual physical knobs and faders making D-Command an absolute pleasure to work with.
For this intensive, we hosted a gig and did live sound for a Melbourne based Punk/Rock band called Smash Bros.
We didn’t have any specific roles set for this intensive but I mostly found myself working in the ‘House’ on the S3 console. I was responsible for Gain staging, setting up EQ, effects, patching and mixing the band.
I learnt a lot from this intensive and discovered something very important about my own practice; I don’t perform well in real-world situations where there are a lot of people waiting on you and that time is a factor. I get stressful very easily and it made me do some really stupid mistakes that I don’t feel very proud of. But at the same time I think this is why we’re here at SAE; to find out where our strengths and weaknesses lie so as to improve ourselves as Creatives.
Apart from some issues, our Gig went smoothly and the audience and the band seemed to have enjoyed themselves. I’m proud of the fact that although it was my first ever gig, both as an engineer and as an audience member, my contributions to the whole event were to the best of my abilities and that I’ve brought home so much knowledge from it.
I couldn't really contribute much to this project apart from recording and editing the 40-minute long interviews and mixing the whole project. This was because the topic that we had "Hardstyle Music in Melbourne", was quite unfamiliar to me and I didn't know anyone in Melbourne with a Hardstyle musical background. My group member Christian, who is actively involved in the Hardstyle Music scene in Melbourne, took care of most of the project work from finding people to interview and putting together the whole project. I edited and compd the interviews in Pro Tools and sent them over to Christian. After he was finished with laying out the whole project, he sent it over to me to be mixed.
I really wanted to contribute more to this project but my personal limited knowledge of Hardstyle music and lack of social links in Melbourne didn't allow me to do it. I'm not very good at speaking english so I wasn't able to host any of the interviews myself and I didn't feel very confident narrating the podcast as well.
Still, I believe that whatever contributions I made to this project; were of high quality and they did help in the successful completion of it.
Process and technical skills
In terms of process and technical skills, I feel that I have improved a lot in operating Pro Tools. The intensives in this trimester, in particular music production and post production, gave me a lot of time to practice on Pro Tools. This has helped me improve my editing skills a lot and I feel I’ll be more efficient in the future.
The new things that I learnt this trimester are sound design and sound effects creation for post-production. I learnt how you could record and change the sound of something completely irrelevant and transform it into something entirely different using effects in Pro Tools. With respect to live sound, I learned how to set up the PA system, the foldbacks and using the S3 console for live mixing.
I believe that the things that I learnt in post-production will be very helpful for me in the future. Using the techniques that I learnt in class I can now use my imagination to record and create sound effects from scratch. The techniques that I learnt in live sound classes will ensure that I feel confident working within this industry in the future.
Even though I feel pretty confident working in the D-Command studio, I think that there is still a lot more to learn about the D-Command console. I would really like to spend more time on this console and learn everything about it in and out.
The technical skill that I found most challenging to learn this trimester was hooking up the PA and the foldbacks. This was because there were so many cables and it was a bit difficult and confusing at first to find out what went where. After doing it a couple of times now, I feel I’ve finally wrapped my head around it.
Soft Skills and Personal Development
With respect to the KPI I believe that I have improved a lot at being a team player. Earlier, I wasn’t really a fan of working in a group environment and I preferred to work alone on my projects. This was because I felt that this way I had more control over everything. But now, as the end of this trimester is near, I have realised that working in a group can be very beneficial for you as you can learn a lot from each other and it gets even better if your team members are more talented than you. I’ve had some great group members to work with in this trimester and I’m really thankful that we all worked together and achieved high quality results.
To ensure that these improvements stay with me, I will try and make it a habit to listen to others more and speak less. Also, my specialisation in the coming trimesters will be in post-production so I will have plenty of opportunities to work in a group environment as post-production is mostly about working with Creatives from different areas like video, animation and games.
The major area that still requires a lot more improvement from my side is communication; especially in spoken English. Although, I’ve become a lot more confident and comfortable in conversing with others in English, I still feel that there is a lot more room for improvement. I’ve been in Australia for only one year and I’m surprised at how much I’ve improved over this period. My writing skills are better I think but it’s only the verbal communication bit that I feel I’m still struggling with. Because of this gap in communication, a lot of the times I fail to bring up or point out important information in my group out of fear of sounding stupid.
Apart from practising at home and with my friends, there really isn’t much that I can do about it right now. My understanding of English is great thanks to the Hollywood movies and western music that I’ve been consuming since I was a kid. The speaking part will only improve with time.
During this tri, I produced a track for an artist from Punjab called 'Soni Dhillon'. The song is called 'Maa', which translates to mother in English. I also directed and edited the music video for the song and so far it has reached 25K views on Youtube. The music video was released by a major Punjabi record label called 'Fresh Media Records'. Watch the video below
I also produced a Bollywood hindi song cover which was sung by 'Kiran K', an upcoming hindi artist from Melbourne. The video for the song crossed 50K views on Youtube. Watch it below
To summarise, I received a lot of technical knowledge from this trimester, which really helped me develop my skills further and I feel very satisfied and happy being a part of this institute.