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Dear Students and Educators,
Please be sure to read the complete rules and policies here, before submitting:
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015
Motion Picture & Television Engineering Personnel and Management, Movie Theater Operators and Technical Staff, Manufacturers (loudspeakers, processors, televisions, computers & associated devices), Movie Studio and TV Station Engineers, Acousticians, Theater Designers, Members of International Standards Organizations, Satellite Transmission Engineers and more – This Is Your Call to Action to Join Us in Setting the Course for the Current and Future State of Our Industry.
Leaders from top entertainment and technology providers including Auro3D, Avid, BBC, Bose, Dolby Labs, DTS, European Broadcast Union (EBU), Harman, NASA, ORF – Australian TV, Sony Pictures, Starz Entertainment, Telos Alliance, and more will be presenting during three days of Papers, Workshops, and Networking Opportunities, as the AES hosts its first-ever Hollywood conference on The Future of Audio Entertainment Technology. Conference Co-Sponsored by SMPTE – the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.
Leaders in Entertainment Audio will focus on how we can meet the challenges of a future with evolving audio formats, while also improving interoperability and reducing production and distribution costs. This conference promises to bring the audio community the advantages of harmonized production formats that our colleagues in picture experience.
List of Topics, Program Schedule, Travel, and Registration Information at:
Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where and what do you study? What audio field are you in? What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?
My name is Daniel Bennett and I am currently studying Music Engineering at the University of Miami (FL). I was born in Tampa, Florida and raised in Houston, Texas. I took my first clarinet class in 6th grade, taught by Randall Luster. I immediately developed a love for music that has always been central to my life. In high school, I developed a strong interest in engineering and had a hard time deciding whether to go into music or engineering. Eventually, my passion for music and engineering led my career path to music engineering. At the University of Miami, I developed a strong work ethic; I accept only my best and nothing less. My goal is to achieve the impossible by “thinking outside the box” and overcoming barriers and obstacles.
Are you a musician yourself? What instruments do you play and in what musical context?
I am a musician, classically trained, on clarinet. I have been studying music since about the age of 11. I studied music at the University of Houston for 3 years and attribute much of my success to my mentor, Chester Rowell. I then transferred to the University of Miami to study music engineering.
Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? What was it inspired by? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry?
Tony Mendez, graduate student and director of the documentary film “El Mar Y El”, first approached me in the summer of 2014 about working on audio for the film. He told me that this was a short film in regards to the Mariel Exodus from Cuba in 1980. In addition, I was told that would have a three-week deadline to work on all phases of audio postproduction (Dialogue, SFX/Foley, ADR, Mixing). Being a very ambitious individual, I immediately accepted and worked very hard so Mr. Mendez would have a film to submit to various festivals.
I knew coming back to UM as a senior, I wanted to leave my mark by winning gold at AES in a student recording competition. Ironically enough, my initial project fell into the category of modern studio-recording. To my initial disappointment, I was not selected to represent Miami in that category, but I was recommended by a fellow colleague to enter into the sound for visual media category. As strange as it sounds, it didn’t immediately register with me that this was a post-production category, so I thought I’d try to mix my modern studio recording with some online visual material and hope for the best. About two days before the entry deadline, it dawned on me that this was indeed a category that I could show off the work on the summer film I worked on for Tony Mendez. So, I did a complete turnaround on what I was working on and started preparing a clip from “El Mar Y El”. I was blessed in that I achieved my goal of receiving gold, have a great story to pass on out of it, and had the experience of a lifetime.
What was your most significant/funny/inspiring experience as an audio engineer?
I’d say doing my undergrad at UM has probably been the most inspiring experience for me. At Miami, only the best is accepted. You get pushed to your limits on so many different occasions and you just have to press on. I did not want to be someone that my peers or professors ever thought of as an underachiever did not put for his best effort. This has definitely driven my work ethic and creative spirit to achieve more than I ever thought possible.
Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake in a production and what did you do to redeem the situation?
The biggest mistake I probably made was taking on too many responsibilities in the film “El Mar Y El”. With it being my first real production, I thought I could do everything. I soon discovered that I was somewhat over my head when it came to getting everything done on time. To mitigate the schedule risk, I enlisted the help of one of a fellow music engineer, Nathan Paternoster, and we managed to complete the project on time. Without Nate’s help, the quality of the product would have suffered, and I doubt I would’ve been able to put out as good of product.
What’s your advice for engineers who are just starting out?
The biggest piece of advice I could give is to say don’t be afraid of taking on bigger than life opportunities. Even if you don’t get the position you want, you still get the experience and can build on your failures. When any opportunity comes in front of you, no matter how big or small, take it. You never know where it might lead or what might come from it.
Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment (microphones, outboard, plugins), and why?
I mainly use Logic Pro X’s Stereo Channel EQ more than any other plugin. I find it to be convenient and necessary in a lot of the work I do. I also enjoy playing around with various compressors, reverbs, etc… My favorite out of those would probably be the Orange Squeezer as it has a “squashing” effect that sounds really good. All in all, I just look for what sounds good and will give me the best product.
Can you name one or multiple of your favourite recordings or productions and tell us why you like them/what you like about them?
One of my favorite recordings comes from James Horner’s “One Last Wish”. I really like this particular recording because it has a warmth and tenderness that reminds me of my home in Houston, and the time I spent at the University of Houston. For me, I don’t look at the science behind the recording; I just look for what sounds good to my ears and makes me feel good. In terms of my favorite musical production, it’d have to be “The Phantom of the Opera”. We all know Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music is well composed, but it’s passion the artists perform with that really lifts this musical above all others for me.
What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful audio engineer?
Going to AES was worth way more than I anticipated initially. When I got there, I found myself connecting with not only UM alumni, but rather with students from all over the country. I made connections with professionals in the audio industry and had the opportunity to learn from them. My colleagues in the Miami section and myself got together for a dinner and movie during AES. The vast number of connections and knowledge that I received at AES has undoubtedly helped further my career in the audio realm. To anyone who is in music / audio engineering, I strongly recommend they attend the AES once in their undergrad career. Always remember that your education is what you make of it. Do not miss out on the opportunity to attend AES with your peers.
Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 136th AES Convention in Los Angeles!
Without a doubt, my favorite experience was getting to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at a private screening. Being a movie guy, it was pretty awesome to experience. Besides that, getting to jam with my friends and Will Pirkle, who is one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet, at ChocoChicken was pretty cool. But the highlight of it was reaching my goal of winning gold at AES. I didn’t exactly achieve it through the path I thought I would, but that is why you take every opportunity at your doorstep.
What is your favourite frequency?
Wow, I’ve never really thought about that. Let’s go with 7kHz. Reason being my favorite football player, who wore no.7, is Case Keenum. Go Coogs!!!
What do you do when you’re not in the studio or doing anything music related?
More often than not, you’ll find me doing something sports related. I’m a huge fan of the Houston Texans, Rockets, Astros, Dynamo, Cougars, and the recently departed Aeros. I’m really hoping the Rockets can pull it out this year and win it all for the H-Town.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years time, I would love to be working for Disney. Disney was in fact the company that inspired me to become a MuE. I have a great appreciation for how Disney is able to bring their stories to life through not only visual material, but aural material as well. Someday I hope to work for Disney, fulfilling a long-held aspiration.
Could you provide us with some closing comments?
I have faced a lot of adversity in my life as most people have. I have found it at school, in my friendships, in my faith, etc… You will always face difficulties in your life. The greatest piece of advice my father ever gave me was “…anything worth having is worth fighting for…” and it holds true. Never give up on your dreams. Fight for what you believe and shoot for your dreams. God is everywhere and will guide you if you let Him. Lastly, I want to say thank you to my family for believing in me and always being proud of me, both in my successes and failures. Thank you to the professors at The U, and UH, for all the time they’ve put into me. Thank you to Chester Rowell, for without him in my life, I certainly would not be where I am today. Lastly, but by far the most important, I thank God for having what I’ve needed in my life at the right times… I hope you found something worthwhile in this blog. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or just want to chat / jam…
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Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2015