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Constant training

Many of my colleagues feel they know the World inside out, especially if they have been around as long as I have. But, I think the adage ‘older is wiser’ is a dangerous precedent to adopt in this digital era. The World is rapidly evolving with smart technology, and we must be constantly aware of whats is going on.

Radio years...

Jeff Brown in Studio 1 at Sunshine 855
Me in Studio 1 at Sunshine 855

When I first worked in radio, we had Garrard turntables and 8-track cart machines to play jingles. Later on, when the pirate station I was working for eventually became legal, the tech boffins implemented one of the first automated playout systems for music and jingles on a Window computer. It was a novelty, and the DJ’s were all happy to embrace the new tech, and quite rightly so, as by the turn of the Millennium. even the BBC had made the switch to digital playout.

Welcome to the digital age of recording...

The funky design of Strongroom Studios
The funky design of Strongroom Studios

Same applied when I later worked in sound engineering. I was invited along to The Strongroom in London, a rather funky, psychedelic-styled recording studio in Shoreditch, that had recently acquired one of the very first digital recording systems, Protools, which, back then had only 4-tracks.

So, what was the benefit? Well, it meant you could record a session direct to a hard disc on a computer. And for the engineer, it meant not having to worry about threading up an Ampex or Studer 24 track tape machine. Many other benefits included retakes didn’t mean spooling back and forth, (and subsequent fine scrubbing to find the exact spot for a drop in), no need to bounce tracks down, because you had run out of tracks, and no need to worry about the odd tape ‘dropout’ at the most inopportune moment, although on pro machines thankfully those were few!

But, what we didn’t realise back then, all the outboard gear, i.e. compressors, reverb, effects units, could all disappear from racks and be incorporated into the interface, in a very logical way, without mechanical patchbays. Looking back, that first rather crude ProTools editing system I witnessed, did crash about 3 times on the Power MAC it was running on, but we all knew once these teething problems were sorted, digital recording was going to be a major force for the future.

Carry on learning

ProTools revolutionised sound mixing
ProTools revolutionised sound mixing

Currently, I am studying editing techniques within DaVinci software. My future work will involve editing video footage, and I wanted to explore the amazing world of LUTS and image processing. Without realising it, our eyes and ears are being honed towards specific values that subconsciously inform us about mood, and emotion when watching a film or drama, purely by the choice of colour and light balance preferences. Its a fascinating subject, and one I’ll quite gladly yak about in a future blog.

So, in an ever changing World, is it possible for anyone to know it all? Probably, not!

I do my best to keep up with technology, (as far as time allows) and once I have a grasp, will adopt it what I do, if I feel it will benefit my clients, or trainees.


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