I can work on your project.

Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Thursday, December 29

2011 retrospective

This will be my last post of 2011.  I figured I'd do my list of things that I've learned this year, which will be kind of stream of conciousness, so have fun with all of that.

Things I've learned this year:

  • the sound community is amazing
This is more true than I knew coming into the year.  In this year I've had the great honor of executing a successful kickstarter project, launching a successful sfx website, running a successful blog, and meeting up with dozens of truly gifted and inspiring sound artists.  None of that could be labeled successful without the consistent and selfless moral, emotional and financial backing of this incredible sound community.  That trolley kickstarter got over 50 backers, the sfx website sold more than I could expect in its first 48 hours, and this blog gets hundreds of hits per day - all of which completely humbles and inspires me.  I love you guys, and I gain so much from what you put forth on a personal and professional level.

  • Building an sfx website is hard
In the last few months my coworker Brad and I developed and launched the echo | collective website,  and it was a mammoth effort.  On top of conceiving of and creating all of the sound effects, video, metadata and licensing content, we had to develop an entire web presence inclusive of the logo, web layout, url, wordpress template, photography, website copy, email account, soundcloud acount, vimeo account, twitter account, ecommerce account, and amazon s3 account for file hosting.  Its not rocket science, but its a ton of details to get right.  Going through the process has given me huge respect for the others in the field that do this at a high level.  If it were easy everyone would do it, and it aint easy.

  • Twitter is awesome
I've been on twitter since Aug of 2010, but it was really this year when I started feeling the full potential of what twitter can do.  I found myself constantly interacting with people that I would otherwise not have the opportunity to converse with.  Twitter became my primary news source, my primary update source, and my primary window to the internet as a whole.  Its a pretty beautiful thing that I was very skeptical about before I joined.

  • DPing is hard
A year or two ago I picked up a Canon 7D and set about learning how to shoot with it.  I read voraciously and shot and shot and shot until I started getting results that I became happy with.  After working myself to a spot where I felt that I was consistently getting good results, I took on my first director of photography gig on a short that a few friends and I produced.  I had no idea how in over my head I was.  Its one thing to look at a naturally lit situation and say "ok, I want a shallow depth of field so I'll shoot F2 at 800iso with a neutral density filter here because that's what the light allows for" and its entirely another to have a really good grip asking which F stop and ISO I would like him to light for.  I felt like I was giving him safe answers and maybe not necessarily creative ones.  As much as the photography and recording disciplines are analogous, they are still clearly endeavors that take lifetimes of their own to master, and I feel like it was conceit more than naivety that caused me to think I'd be any good at DPing anything.  In the end I'm very happy with the final results, but still kind of harrowed by the experience.  I may have to do it again.  :)

  • quad is awesome
I've had something of a revelation in the last few weeks after experimenting with some quad recordings.  I really like it.  I realize how niche quad recordings are, and how certain things are just totally useless in quad, but the things that work in quad really work in quad.   I feel like I never want to record ambiances any other way.  Recording things in quad and then placing them in the speakers is a similar experience to when I first recorded something at 96k and pitched it down.  I love it.

  • My line audio CM3s are awesome
I really love these mics.  I'm sure that comes across in this blog, but the sentiment is true.  They sound very expensive, they fit anywhere, they weigh nothing,  and they're not some mainstream mic that everyone is using.  After recording so much stuff with these things I'm very seriously eyeballing that quad LDC that they make as well.

  • very good stealth rigs are difficult to build
I still haven't succeeded in achieving the holy grail of top shelf sound quality coupled with utter stealth transport and proper wind protection, but I feel like I'm getting close.  I think the CM3s will be the key on the mic side because they are ridiculously small (and IMO they sound better than the DPA lavs) but the trick will be mounting them in a hat with proper wind protection and running cables down to a recorder.  I'm convinced it can be done, I just haven't polished this off yet.

  • cross discipline study is huge for developing one's aesthetic
The two steps to making good art are to have a good aesthetic and to have the technical skills to execute work within that aesthetic.  I've known for a while that cross discipline study is important to developing aesthetic, but this year I really had a chance to dive into photography and writing in ways that influence the way that I develop and study sound.  I also became a much closer student of people that design for a living, and have found a huge well of inspiration within them.  

  • the better I get at what I do, the more work it takes to get my work up to par
seriously, it doesn't get easier.  It just gets harder and harder to meet one's own standards.  That feeling I get when I reach them is really nice though.

So there it is.  Here's to a great 2012.

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