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Tag: vocation

A great documentary

The other day I saw a link on Twitter that directed me to a Youtube video. As I was buried under work, just quickly saved it to Pocket so I won’t forget to check it out later. Few days passed by and one night I just checked the tons of things I saved that week into Pocket and this link came up again. This time I clicked on it and honestly I was fascinated by this documentary, The Art of Listening.

It’s good to see how obsessed musicians and engineers are when it comes to music and their own work and vocation. I know it from my own path and career that once music get a grip on you, there’s no chance to escape, not that I would like to. It really is a lifetime of learning and passion. Have a great time watching this:

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Plan your sleep

Plan your sleep as precisely as your work. It may sound really strange on a audio related blog, but read on, I guarantee that it’s worth. Yes, even sleep is deeply connected to our job, or to be more precise, many times, the lack of. Sleep deprivation is common when overly tight deadlines approaching.

No need for sleep

Many think that sleep is a kind of human behaviour which is a defective side effect of our existence, and sleep deprivation can lead to more work done. Some even like to brag how little he/she slept over the last few days/weeks.
But is it true? Does sleep deprivation makes you stronger? Does it let you to do more work? Or even on a more serious note, is it healthy?

Well, we can’t argue that sometimes less sleep equals to more work, which eventually means that you do more edit/mix/sound design.
Some even say that they feel more productive when they sleep less. But be aware that there are serious pitfalls!

Effects of sleep deprivation

While you may feel more productive, more strong after some sleep deprived days, it seems that it’s almost only you who thinks that. It is almost the same effect as when drunk people try to drive a car and they definitely think they could win a Formula 1 race. Our problem is much less dangerous in short run, as no one will get hurt by it. No one, but your job might be affected quite seriously.

Let’s see what are the symptoms:

  1. Your brain will start to crave for the most probable and fastest solution. While this might sound like a brilliant thing, it means that without your conscience decision your brain will drop many many creative ideas and solutions and makes you focus on the target, without serious alternate paths. This means exactly that: you loose creative power. And as you become more sleep deprived, your brain will try to compensate even harder, so in real life, you become much less creative.
  2. Lack of judgement. First it may not be that serious, but even after a few days, your judgement is compromised quite heavily. For example in a mix session you may think you have brilliant ideas and solutions but as others might check your work, they recognise that it is full of bad decisions and wrong paths. This is true both creatively and mix wise. Add too much or too little highs or lows, over-compress certain things, miss obvious bad edits or fades, etc. I think you get the idea.
  3. Loss of precision. Post people are usually extremely organised and precise in their jobs. Nobody want to miss and edit, every little detail have to be perfect. Bad news, with less than optimal sleep, you’ll loose more and more of these minute details, which eventually means that the quality of your work suffers. While some might endure sleep deprivation better than others, everyone is affected no matter what he/she thinks.
  4. Distractions. Every little thing, even very tiny things can distract you, which again, means less precision, more bad edits or mix decisions. In extreme cases it can go such a long way as even your well-known equipment can become and obstacle, and as we all know, if you fight the equipment, you cannot do a brilliant job.

These are just a few examples of the side-effects of sleep deprivation. Remember? First you might thought that this article has nothing to do with sound, but as you can see now, although not directly, it is very much sound related. Probably the most dangerous thing is that these things are happening to everyone whether the person is aware of it or not. So while it is mandatory to keep the deadlines and get the job done, it is in your best interest to sleep well and have a fresh brain. And the aforementioned examples are only focusing on our vocation, but as we all know, these things can seriously affect your health in the long run. To summarise it, I share a brilliant TED video, where Russel Foster very eloquently and professionally explain why proper sleep is necessary for all of us.

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Status update

Sorry for the long pause, but I had so much things to do I really didn’t have any free time in the last few weeks. Now I’m officially a post production engineer at MUPA at Budapest.

As this is a huge organisation with lots happening behind the curtains I thought I would write a little bit about what we do here, and maybe more importantly about the workflows and gear we use there. The picture above is the big concert hall, which is amongst the best 20 concert halls in the world.

New job, new adventures

First let’s see my role. As post prod. engineer I have to record concerts, mix and master them. Record, sound design, pre-mix and mix tv and radio shows, promos and occasionally films. We have a bit odd, but fully functional archive and obviously we need to take care of that too. My first week was almost full of learning the different rules in the house. I don’t want to bore you with more details, I guess everyone knows what’s happening in a huge building where you daily meet live gigs, theatrical plays, film shoots, etc. Versatility is the key here.

Technical background

We have four studios here, some exchangeable, some serves a few limited purposes. The whole complex is wired through madi optical and gigabit network so virtually I can reach any workstation from everywhere. Live broadcast or recording can happen in three studios. For this purpose we have Studer Vistas (for live mix) with a bunch of outboard gear like: TC system 6000, Lexicon 960, Tubetech multiband comps, SPL eqs, SSL bus comps, etc.

The DAW side is more varied. In every room, we have Nuendo, Pyramix, Pro Tools. This is essential for compatibility and versatility. Every DAW has its own dedicated workstation with around 900 gigabytes of storage. It may sounds big, but due to the vast amount of work, actually we almost always run out of space.

Because of this, every recorded material goes to the Sound Storage, which is huge raid connected to our gigabit network and it is around a few petabytes (constantly growing). After that it’s your own choice if you would like to work from the network raid or copy back the data to a workstation and start your job there.

This freedom has some inherent danger. If you’re not check everything, you can easily ruin your colleagues work. For example if someone is recording in studio one, and you start to copy huge amount of your data through the network, the recording machine will likely to crash or stop recording. For this purpose we have very strict rules and every room has a mandatory checklist you must follow in order to not cause any trouble around you.

After this quick update I will post some workflows, I hope it will be interesting for you, and very soon I plan to continue all the series posts: the favourite sound of the week, shortcuts for our pleasure, etc. In the meantime, don’t forget that we have one of the best vocation in the world.

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