Tag Archives: mixer

Jake Kluge’s Tips: How to be a successful audio engineer

Audio editor/mixer Jake Kluge has worked at Dallas’ Charlieuniformtango for over 14 years. This audio vet knows a thing or two about how to succeed in this business. His recent work includes spots for Fiat and Home Depot out of The Richards Group, as well as a project for Universal Orlando via TM Advertising.

This busy pro was kind enough to share his wisdom with postPerspective.

Collaborate
If you’re the type of engineer that works with a client sitting behind you, as many of us are, your middle name should be Collaboration. You’re working for your clients. Their word is final. But, there is a reason they come to you — you’re good at this “sound thing.” So it’s ok to ask, ”What if we tried something like this?” It’s even more ok to ask, “What were you hoping to hear for this area?”

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Kluge recently collaborated with The Richards Group for Fiat and Home Depot.

Your Ears: Take Care of Those Money Makers Inside the Studio
Monitor at a reasonable level. You’re going to be using your ears to make a living. You’ll probably even use them when you get home from work. Do not monitor at 90dB. Do not monitor consistently at 85dB. Use your judgment, but keep it down to a reasonable level. The rule is, if your ears are ringing after a session, that’s bad. Don’t do that.

Your Ears: Take Care of Those Money Makers Outside the Studio
Carrying over from the last tip. Those ears of yours — moneymakers — are pretty darn important to your career. Wear earplugs at concerts. Wear earplugs at band practice. Wear earplugs during fireworks. Just wear earplugs. Buy some good ones and keep them with you at all times. You won’t regret it.

Change Your Mouse/Trackball/Tablet Every So Often
I’ve been track balling for 15 years solid. Recently, I have experienced what I am assuming is carpel tunnel syndrome in my wrist. It’s not bad, and if I switch from my trackball (old faithful) to a mouse, my wrist feels better. So my conclusion is, switch it up every once in a while. Oh, and stop slouching, you slob.

Other People Have Good Ideas Too
If you’re lucky enough to have other audio people working with you, pick their brains about everything. “What’s another good search word for “whoosh?” “Why is my master fader clipping so hard?” “Do these pants make me look fat?” That kind of stuff.

Fortune Favors the Bold
It’s true. Go out and get the big job. Try out crazy ideas in your sound design or mix. Ask out that girl/guy you’ve been crushing on…. send me the wedding picture.

Jake Kluge is an audio editor and mixer at Charlieuniformtango (@CUTango) in Dallas. You can reach him at jake@charlietango.com.

Behind the Title: Formosa Group mixer Tim West

NAME: Tim West

COMPANY: Formosa Group‘s Villa commercial division.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Audio post for features, TV and commercials. We have sound editorial teams working on different feature projects.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Commercial and ADR mixer.

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I record, edit and mix commercials for TV, radio and theatrical presentations and replace dialog for movies and TV shows.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
The amount of file management and the printer problems I deal with.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
I use an Avid Pro Tools rig with an ICON console, Adam monitors and John Hardy pre-amps.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
The social aspect — the clients and actors I work with. I love hearing old Hollywood stories from the horse’s mouth!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Mornings! I’m definitely a morning person.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
It’s been a while, so I haven’t considered anything else for a long time, but probably something to do with construction and property development.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
Since my mid-teens when I interned at the BBC — I got distracted for a few years, but I got back into it in my mid-twenties.

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CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Taco Bell’s “Breakfast Defectors” campaign and The History Channel’s Texas Rising.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I worked on a campaign for Chevy Silverado a couple of years ago which told the stories of various people and how they used their Trucks. I had enough time to make them sound really great, and they were beautifully produced and written pieces.

I watched Texas Rising in a theater for the cast and crew screening, and was struck by how proud everybody is of their work; it sounded and looked truly awesome.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My Dolby Media Meter, a good microphone and my coffee machine.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I think I have a healthy amount of stress to keep me on my toes, but I like to sail, and hang out with my kids (which isn’t stress free!). My nine year old has suddenly become a really great drummer, so I keep my Marshall amp in his room and we rock out a few times a week. I’m not saying we’re any good, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun!

Behind the Title: Hackenbacker founder/mixer Nigel Heath

Name: Nigel Heath

COMPANY: Hackenbacker Audio Post Production (@hackenbackerltd)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Hackenbacker is an audio post company based in London’s Soho. We work on high-end television, feature films and computer games.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Founder and Re-Recording Mixer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As re-recording mixer, my job is to bring together all the material prepared by the sound editors on shows. It’s my responsibility to make sure that dialogue, ADR, Foley, effects and score all Continue reading

PC Munoz creates score for ‘Brujo’ at Studio Trilogy

First-time director Glen Mack brought his feature film Brujo to San Francisco’s Studio Trilogy to record scoring sessions with musician PC Muñoz. The sessions were led by chief engineer/co-manager Justin Lieberman. Muñoz is known for scores that stretch the boundaries of classical, funk, hip-hop, and the avant-garde.

Brujo (Spanish for sorcerer) revolves around the activity at a modern dance workshop. The story, one of jealousy and disaster, also chronicles the creative intensity of artists coming together to collaborate on a project.

Mack had been using a classical recording of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” as a temp score for the film and went to Muñoz for a new recording. “When I do interpretations, I always pretty much radically reimagine them,” explains Muñoz. “I said I’d like to do something completely different, almost render it in a jazzy style. I suggested to him that we do a drum set and cello rendering.”

Muñoz met at Trilogy with former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud. “We brought Joan in and had a brief discussion about it. Here’s the Vivaldi. We both know it, but we’re not going to try and play it as a strictly classical piece. We’re going to do it the way we do the music that we usually create. We talked a little bit about switching the time signatures and the kind of pulse it would have. Fortunately, for that session, Glenn was there. He’s super great to work with and we just wanted to make sure that the vibe was right for his picture.”

They had the picture on the big screen and ran through different ideas for the arrangement until they landed on something. “Especially in terms of the drums, because, obviously, there are no tracks of drums on the original Vivaldi. I had to figure out a way to make it rhythmically cool, useful for the scene and something that Glenn would dig. We just sat there and knocked out a few takes.

“The way Joan and I often work is with a beat that I make either acoustically or electronically,” continues Muñoz. “In this case it was all acoustic, and then Joan started to layer different cello parts — some rhythmic stuff, some long, legato stuff, some pretty stuff, and some stuff that evoked different types of moods for the scene.”

Justin Lieberman and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud

Justin Lieberman and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud

According to Lieberman, “We output the video to the two isolated recording spaces via our Blackmagic video cards. Both PC and Joan watched the video play while performing to make sure certain musical cues landed in the right spaces. I helped to find a good tempo that supported the musical cues landing in good spots. After we got a good basic track we overdubbed a few cello parts and a percussion part or two.”

Lieberman mixed the piece on an API console and gave Chris McGrew stems and a mix.

postPerspective decided to throw some additional questions at Muñoz to find out more about how he works and about his process on this film.

You have an eclectic background. Do you tackle each project in a similar way? How do you begin your process?
Each situation is different, but I think the one thing I try to do in every project is establish really clearly what my role is. Especially in very fluid artistic environments where there is constant give and take and exchange of ideas. It can be easy to lose track of who is actually responsible for what. I’m able to dig into the work much better after I’ve been able to assess the situation and consider what I can best do for the project. That goes for projects that I’m leading, as well.

Whether I’m producing a song, developing a multimedia stage production or working on music for film and dance, I do tend to begin the same way: I try to understand the big picture first and envision what the final product ought to be. After that, I start looking at details, and often let the details present themselves organically/improvisationally.

How did you work with the director on this film in particular?
Glenn had very specific ideas for what he wanted to hear in certain sections of the film. I’m not sure how he worked with the other music creators, but my role was typically to come up with unique versions of classic pieces of music.

He would tell me the piece he wanted — in this case, Vivaldi’s “Summer” from the Four Seasons — and I would get back to him with the instrumentation context and arrangement I was imagining. We would discuss it a bit then we’d go make it happen. He was present for this Vivaldi session, which was great. I loved working with Glenn; he’s very open and collaborative.

What stood out about this one? What part are you most proud of?
I really love re-imagining established pieces of music, and I don’t always get to do that, so it was great to be able to focus on that, which is a different kind of thing than composing or sound design. I’m proud of all the things I worked on for the film, and it’s always great to work with Joan Jeanrenaud, all the folks at Studio Trilogy, fellow music producer/sound designer Chris McGrew, and the film’s editor, Kirk Goldberg. I also like that the film is very much centered around dance, since I’ve done a lot of work in that area and always enjoy the task of matching music to choreography.

Meet Commercial Mixer: Nick Bozzone

POP Sound’s Nick Bozzone has been interested in sound since he was a little kid. He grew up wanting to be a music mixer, but when he discovered the entire post production side of sound his world opened up and he knew he was “home.”

He took time out recently to answer some of our questions, which are designed to get behind a person’s job title. Enjoy.

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