What schoold did you attend to get into the sound design field? Where your experiences good? I am looking at VHS. Any reccommendations for good sound design programs that will prepare me for the field?
I'm attending to the IAV (www.iav.com.br - site in english available) school in Brazil, which is absolutely fantastic. It is focused in general audio, not just in Sound Design tho. Brazil lacks a great Sound Design school and the prices all over the world are unaffordable for a third world student. Really awful, gotta say.
What do you mean by Sound Design?
I went to a film school (NZ Film & TV Training School, Christchurch) because I specifically wanted to be a sound effects editor for film and understanding how films are made is very important. So I learned about every aspect of film making, which is why I ask what do you mean by Sound Design? for Film? Games? Music?
All right, I have been pegged with the task of describing the school I'm attending, though no one is asking me to do this, I feel I should iterate it's doings.
I'm attending Metalworks Recording Institutes in Mississauga, Ontario, and am enrolled the Audio Production and Engineering course. It's not a sound design school, despite there, there's six hours worth of post production class a week. This involves mic'ing techniques for booming, field recording, mic's used for recording applications, and general terminology. As well, there's a post production class dedicated to sound design, and mixing, where you're in Pro Tools, doing the sound for film segments, from the ground up.
It is NOT a school dedicated to sound design, or post production, that's one aspect of it. I would say the schools primary focus is split between mixing, and recording engineering. We spend a lot of time in a studio, getting our hands on an SSL, as well, in the second semester, you're tracking once a week. There's also a fair bit at the school about working as a producer, but a lot of that comes with learning the gear, and techniques for recoding and making music. If a producer can say 'I think the Tef47 sounds too clear going through the Neve Pre, let's run an AKG414 through the SSL's pres', that's valuable information for a producer. It seems I've digressed, let me explain the classes;
Post production theory; What it sounds, mic'ing techniques for field recording, booming, mic selection, terminology used in post production, things like. Post produciton lab; Getting hands on in Pro Tools, doing post editing and mixing. Recording engineering theory; Learning about mics and mic selection for recording certain things, going over mic'ing techniques and how they sound, how different mics sound, and learning the ins and outs of an SSL. Recording engineering workshop; This is where you're hands on in a studio, on an SSL, with an HD rig, either mixing or tracking. Music production; Going over all the common instruments you'll find in a studio, and why they make the sounds that they do. They also go over tuning a drum kit, and setting up a guitar, and pretty much everything else you'd need to do make a shitty sound instrument sound not shitting. MIDI and synthesis theory; You learn about MIDI, on off note messages, least signifcant and most significant bytes, poly aftertouch, frequency modulation, tremolos, LFOs, resonators, oh my! It's a really cool course, which is complimented by... MIDI and synthesis; Lots of hands on time in Reason and Logic here.
And soem odds and ends here and there, like business and contracts (valuable course if you want to start your own post production house like I do), Styles and Genres (more a class for the producers, so they can speak in music terms other people can understand), principles of acoustics, where you learn about the science of sound, oh, and a music theory class, which covers the first three tiers of the royal conservatory in on year, so, it's intense.
I've yet to start the courses on studio design, and in a class I haven't started yet, you do a lands of hands on with soldering, and learning about how electrical circuits operate so you can mend DI boxes, guitar pedals, and fussy consoles. As well, I haven't started the final project, which is to find a band, bring them into Metalworks studio 6 and record them.
It's a year long course, and it's pretty god damned intense. If you want more info about it, let me know
There's another thread on SSD about education here...
As I said there, I did the MA in Sound Design for the Screen at Bournemouth University, UK.
The Media School was truly excellent. Great facilities and great staff. I really enjoyed the philosophy that theory informs practice and practice informs theory. In addition to sound you also got Film Theory, Production Theory and even how to file a tax return for when you're employed.
One of the hard lessons I learned, and I do not believe this applies to every person, is that I wish I would not have gone to school for specifically audio or audio engineering. Study composition, phycology, musicianship and the like, all while keeping a finger or two in sound design.
For example, study to be a composer, but also take some of the audio engineering classes offered by your school as well. There are plenty of amazing sound designers that went to school for sound design, Erik Aadahl comes to mind, but there are also sound designers and engineers that had other prosperous careers before moving to sound, such as Roger Nichols, who was a Nuclear Engineer before moving to a career in music and would produce award winning albums for Steely Dan.
As always, my $.02
I took a B.A in Film, with classes in Sound and Scriptwriting. I do however wish that the sound side of things had been more technical and deeper. I tried to teach myself a lot about electronics and that sort of thing, but time time time at college....never seems to be enough. The good thing about the course, although being light on theory, is that I got to make a number of short films(some better than others).
Thing is, I find myself now looking to do university courses in Engineering .... :) There's things I'd like to know that I just can't teach myself, which I feel would be of enormous benefit to me in the future. I'm especially interested in sonic interaction and product sound design.
Like Nick Meade said above, learning something related to sound design can be enormously beneficial. Programming, Music, Electronics, Physics...
We are a music production college based in North London but we also run an online school. We offer a 12 week course in sound design -
The course uses Kontakt and Reaktor. Take a look at the link and give us a call if you need any more info on 020 7729 4884
I never had any real education in sounddesign at all, though I did start out as a music producer, musician and audio engineer in mostly Industrial, Ethno (mostly African and Indian), Techno, Classical, Rock, Hard Rock, Metal, Goth, EBM and Electro. I got my diploma after a year as a combination of student and apprentice in a record company/studio licenced to give this kind of professional education. Up till that I learned everything I knew by myself through trial and error as well as books. When getting into movies and television pretty much nothing except purely technical knowledge translated at all, and I had to make up totally new methods and philosophies to make it work. One of the biggest differences to get over was the fact that individual voices and sound sources in music isn't ment to be neighter too natural nor too dynamic as it will mess up the mix or sound boring and dull. In movies, being a much more "airy" media, dynamics give both life and space to the story. Not to mention credibility overrides artistic expression much more here where it's the exact opposite in music.
Frankly, even though it did take a lot of time to train myself to become a working Sounddesigner/Location Recordist/Audio Engineer, if I was given the choise to go back in time and get a regular education, I quite frankly don't think I would want it. Not saying it's a bad thing to do get a regular education in the field, just saying I'm a little worried by all the teachers I've spoken to seeing everything in absolute black and white. It's true that there are rules, and they're there for a reason, but imho often the best works are those breaking the rules in a way that makes the movie better.