PRG at CRAS 2014!

PRG Day 7 300x215 PRG at CRAS 2014!

CRAS grads Adam Parrish and Jesika Graf brought some great gear out last week to the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Production Resource Group is the largest live sound re-enforcement provider in the world. PRG’s Operations Manager, Adam Parrish and his assistant Jesika Graf partnered together with our AES student chapter to create an unforgettable experience for the Conservatory students.

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They rolled in with over one million dollars worth of audio, video and lighting equipment. They were there to oversee volunteers from our current student body load in all this gear, set it up, and run a live show which included the band Sol Ride, radio personality Kevin Gassman, and various student talent performances.

Adam and Students 300x200 PRG at CRAS 2014!

From start to finish, this epic production was full of education, inspiration and a passion for what we love to do. Everyone left with a better understanding of how a large production is formed, the importance of efficiency, punctuality and safety in a live sound environment.

PRG Students 300x200 PRG at CRAS 2014!

 

The entire event had a great turnout! Tons of students came in and helped set everything up and run the shows. This is exactly what the school is here to do – give students real world experience doing what they love – working with audio! The school is open 24 hours a day for this exact reason, and this is also why we have the hands-on teaching mentality. You can spend four hours a day in class, and then outside of class time put what you learned to the test actually running a live show, recording sessions, or just being part of the crew!

Here is a quick time lapse video that encapsulates the vibe from the week-long experience!

 

 

Thank you PRG, Adam Parrish and Jesika Graf!!

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Wordless Wednesday

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2014 CRAS PRG Visit!

PRG Logo 300x65 2014 CRAS PRG Visit!

This year we are welcoming our grads Adam Parrish and Jesika Graf back. They decided to load up a couple of moving trucks and bring us tons of gear for the students to check out! They packed up over $1 million dollars worth of audio, video and lighting gear, hauled it across the desert and last night had a grip of our students unload it all. Even with the copious amount of space we have in the Live Sound room at our Gilbert campus, the room does seem a little crowded now!

PRG 1 sm 300x199 2014 CRAS PRG Visit!Last night was just the unloading of the truck, and we have many more events to come this week, including tonight’s setup, a walk-through of the design and programming of all of this gear, which mirrors what audio engineers may find out at a commercial business gig. Later this week after the PA has been aligned and calibrated, all the lighting and video configured, we will spend all day on Saturday running a live show.

PRG 3 sm 300x199 2014 CRAS PRG Visit!The best part of all of this is that our students are the ones who are setting up everything! With a little guidance from Adam and Jesika, our students will volunteer to help with every single stage of this task.

PRG 4 sm 300x199 2014 CRAS PRG Visit!As the week progresses we will be putting more posts up about this awesome event, which so far has had a great turnout. This has been quite a busy month for CRAS students! Between tours to the Musical Instrument Museum, the Tempe Guitar Show, tour of a couple studios in town, the Internship Bootcamp, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival and now this, there is a seemingly never-ending supply of events that students can be part of, and we are glad to be able to offer such a wide variety of music related events to our student body!

PRG 2 sm 300x199 2014 CRAS PRG Visit!

I threw together a quick time-lapse video of the load in from last night. It’s crazy how much work goes into setting up for a show!

 

 

 

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CRAS at the Tempe Guitar Show

Tempe Guitar Show 300x199 CRAS at the Tempe Guitar ShowThis weekend we had the pleasure of hanging out at the Tempe Guitar Show. This year marked the fifth annual occurrence of the Show, which was sponsored by Jensen Musical Instrument Speakers and was held in downtown Tempe. This is just one great example of all of the amazing different arts festivals and shows that the Tempe area has to offer, and we were glad that we could be part of it!

Tempe Guitar Show 2 300x199 CRAS at the Tempe Guitar Show

This year we were able to snag a booth to proudly show off some of the work that our grads have done, exhibiting some flashy flair with various gold and platinum records, including Jeremy Underwood’s gold record for John Mayer’s Where The Light Is. There were five great bands there, as well as a good number of other amazing local vendors from the Phoenix music scene! This was a great opportunity for us to show off our newly designed truck that will be hauling around our broadcast trailer here in the near future!

CRASTruck 300x225 CRAS at the Tempe Guitar ShowYou may see this truck showing up to more and more events around the Phoenix area, and if you do feel free to stop by and say hi! This is the truck that will be pulling our brand new broadcast trailer, which is outfitted with everything you could possibly need for a broadcast setup – an SSL AWS console, full outboard gear rack, multiple TVs and speaker combinations, as well as a hook up to tie us into the CRAS physical locations via ethernet and fiber cables. This will allow us to emulate a full broadcast scenario, similar to what many of our grads, such as Jeremy Hinskton does with Music Mix Mobile gig!

Jeremy Hinskton M3 300x225 CRAS at the Tempe Guitar Show

This should be quite an exciting year for CRAS, and we are looking forward to many big things here in the near future! Stay tuned for more updates!

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Graduate Chris Mullings Engineers The Neighbourhood’s debut album

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I got really excited to see the headlining act at tomorrow’s VIVA Phoenix festival was a band that our grad, Chris Mullings had recorded at 4th Street Recording in LA. I got in touch with Chris to do a quick interview of his success and ask a little about his work on The Neighbourhood’s debut album “I Love You”.

Chris graduated from CRAS in 2005. Chris relocated to LA and interned at Rocket Carousel with Grammy nominated engineer/producer Greg Wells. After his time there, he started interning at 4th St. Recording, where currently he engineers and produces today! Check out his interview with CRAS below:

CRAS: During your internship, what was your most memorable horror or success story?

CM: Ping Pong Balls…no joke. I was asked to get 24 ping pong balls for the band who loved to play all day. Gaps in the fence wreaked havoc on lost balls!

So I left the studio, drove all over LA looking for ping pong balls, most of which came in packs of 6 and half were already pushed in or broken…upon my return from a 3-hour journey I was informed that the person who told me to find the balls had just ordered them off the internet! ….Details!

Engineering is all about finding solutions not just doing what you know….always think about the task at hand!

CRAS: How did you end up in your current position?

CM: After 8 months of an internship at 4th St. Recording, I started as a freelance engineer and made my way up to Chief Engineer within just a few years. I have worked on hundreds of records! Drive and tenacity play huge roles in this industry. I’ve been at this 9 years now…feels good to be pro!

CRAS: Have you ever found yourself star struck or in an unreal moment?

CM: I have worked with so many amazing musicians & talent over my career so far, including Pink, Bryan Ferry, Steve Martin, One Republic, Flea, “Weird Al” Yankovic…But I gotta say being invited to watch Bruno Mars at the Staples Center with Jim Carrey was definitely a highlight! Also, Lindsey Lohan showed up at the studio on the wrong night & left us with massive amounts of amazing sushi that was probably meant for someone else. That was pretty cool too!

CRAS: Do you have any words of wisdom for new students?

CM: Pay attention! Every song is it’s own creation, don’t just phone it in. You have to love this gig, and love helping people create their art. That’s what you are here for. Let the rockstars be rockstars. You are here to provide them with the means to do what they do and if you do it well they love you for it! I couldn’t dig this gig more…so go out there and make some records! Come steal my job!

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CRAS: Are there any tips or workflows that made your internship or job easier?

CM: Listen & absorb. If you are truly aware of your surroundings and paying attention, in 6 months time you will have seen the majority of what goes on in sessions…the relationship of artist & engineer, producer & artist, etc. Watch and listen to what the engineer is doing, even if you cant figure it out just yet…find what it is you are good at & exploit that!

CRAS: What is the one thing that sticks with you the most from your time at CRAS?

CM: I think the camaraderie of everyone there…everyone wants to be there for the music , whatever the goal may be! I had an amazing time at CRAS! They teach you respect for the technical and musical job that we provide! What they can’t teach is pure experience but they set you up to be able to walk in the room ready to learn the real deal…it’s up to you from there.

CRAS: Were there any instructors who you felt stood out or imparted some wisdom that stuck with you?

CM:  All the teachers were great and completely different which shows that there is room in this industry for anyone who cares to fight for it! Shouts to Phil Nichols!

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CRAS: What can you tell us about recording The Neighbourhood?

CM: The Neighbourhood rolled into 4th St. Recording back in the fall of 2011 to track their first EP “I’m Sorry” which is when we recorded the now “Platinum” song “Sweater Weather”. We all just seemed to click and in 5 days we were done with an EP that would lead them to getting signed by Sony/Columbia and touring the world. Within a year, I was asked to record the their 1st full length album “I Love You”, which was tracked almost completely at 4th St. Within a month or so of overdubs in New York, where I lived with the band, we were all completely immersed in the project…it was unreal and I will never forget it! I look forward to this band’s career and am honored to be a part of their history.

The Neighbourhood’s Sweater Weather video

CRAS: During the process, what did you find to be interesting or revealing that you would want to share?

CM: The Neighbourhood’s songwriting is phenomenal. That was easily handled by them. The challenge on these records technically was creating the right tones and soundscapes…they wanted to push the edge, which they did.

We used tons of distortions & mediums. I ended up recording drum loops through VHS tapes for the most insane saturation. We also used cassettes and crazy distortions that I can’t even remember how we did it!

But whatever crazy ideas we would come up with, my assistant Chase McElhaney (also a CRAS Graduate) would have to actually pull it off! Engineering is never saying, “No, we cant do that!” Find a way. That’s your job.

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Photo credit:The Neighbourhood

CRAS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

CM: It’s really hot in Arizona…

Thank you Chris for taking the time out to talk with us!  We are excited to see what you are working on next!

CRAS will be at VIVA Phoenix tomorrow!  We are excited to be a supporter of this great event!  You can find more information here:

VIVA LOGO 1 300x94 Graduate Chris Mullings Engineers The Neighbourhoods debut album

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Grad Spotlight : Ian Shedd

Grad Spotlight: Ian Shedd

IanShedd 300x225 Grad Spotlight : Ian Shedd

Recently I had a chance to talk with our grad Ian Shedd and congratulate him on his 50th credit as a sound editor. You can check out all of his credits on his personal IMDB page here! While a lot of our grads go out to work at recording studios and live sound venues, we do have a considerable amount of grads work in the film, TV and post production industry, and that is where Ian spends most of his time.

When did you attend the Conservatory?

Ian Shedd: May – Dec 2010

What is your current job title?

IS: Supervising Dialogue Editor

What industry do you work in?

IS: Post Production/Broadcasting

Where did you complete your internship?

IS: Monkeyland Audio (and I still work there!)

During your internship, what was your most memorable horror story?

IS: I had backed up the mix of a TV pilot we worked on but didn’t double-check that the transfer was successful. A year later when we needed to restore the backup, we discovered that the files were corrupt and could not be restored. Since I didn’t double check the backup, we lost nearly all the of the mix work we put in to the pilot.

How did you end up in your current position?

IS: As an intern, I was expecting to learn sound design and effects editing. However when I learned that Monkeyland was looking for dialog editors, I made it my mission to prioritize learning that. I had little idea of what dialogue editing was at first — let alone if I’d like it — but since I was more likely to get hired for an open position than a closed one, I gunned for it.

The owner then gave me a couple reels from already-completed projects to work on. Dialogue editing proved to be way over my head so after a few tries I gave up on it to edit foley instead. After a few months of experience doing that I felt ready to try dialogue editing again. I think the first big film I worked on as a dialogue editor was Piranha 3DD. By then I had been in LA for just under a year.

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Have you ever found yourself in star struck or in an unreal moment?

IS: While I was an intern I met George Takei. He just walked right up to me, shook my hand, and said “Hi, I’m George Takei”. The next time I saw him I was still nervous and accidentally called him “George” instead of “Mr. Takei”. I kind of remember him sort of scowling at me after I called him by his first name. That was my last interaction with him. Oops!

GeorgeTakei 282x300 Grad Spotlight : Ian Shedd Do you have any words of wisdom for new or current students?

IS: Love what you do. Remember that every achievement and every failure is a learning opportunity. And you’re solely responsible for your own success.

Are there any tips or workflows that made your internship or job easier?

IS: Back when I was 19, the manager from the first job I ever had gave me simple but effective advice that I use to this day: ‘get good, then fast’.

There’s a lot of pressure as an intern to get menial tasks (making / getting coffee, taking out the trash, etc) done quickly, which is fine for those things. However when it comes to editing or recording, essentially the continuation of the CRAS education, it’s important to learn and practice thoroughly with less value placed on how long it takes. Speed comes naturally in time and with experience.

Learning quick-keys and keyboard shortcuts is a great example. Not all of them are entirely intuitive, and doing things like looking them up on the internet or hitting the wrong key by accident all the time can waste a lot of time. But over time they become second nature and when mastered will more than make up for time ‘wasted’ during the learning process.

A specific example I use is recalling memory locations to change which tracks show in the edit window of Pro Tools. Setting memory locations with specific tracks shown and the rest hidden, then recalling them with “period – memory location_number – period” (all on the numpad) makes switching the view between banks of tracks a breeze. I have a memory location to look at dialogue tracks, another to look at ADR tracks, and a third to look at all tracks.

Another similar example is recalling window configurations. Using “period – asterisk – period” (also on the numpad), I can quickly call up multiple AudioSuite plugins at once. Plugin parameters are saved to each configuration, so an EQ can be set up to be all narrow notch filters on one configuration, and the default on another other. No more diving into the plugin’s menu looking for those favorite presets!

What is the one thing that sticks with you the most from your time at CRAS?

IS: Playing with the SSL and other consoles I think was the most fun. As an editor in post, I don’t do a whole lot of fader-work, and if I do it’s with a Command-8. Getting to spend time with the big beasts at school is something I’ll always remember.

Were there any instructors who you felt stood out or imparted some wisdom that stuck with you?

IS: I don’t think I could pick one. I think just the general enthusiasm and constant interest in the work rubbed off on me. Also the attitude of being flexible and always ready to work taught to me by the intern coordinators went a long way towards helping me succeed.

What can you tell us about the body of work you are currently working on?

IS: I recently began work on my 50th Film / TV show. It’s been a busy 3 years since I moved to LA after graduating!

At Monkeyland, we typically work on feature-length films and documentaries. We work on a few TV shows and student thesis films a year as well.

A majority of what I do is dialogue editing, which is cleaning, cutting, and smoothing the audio captured on set. Many of the feature-length projects also require what we call a “dialog assembly”, which involves conforming the raw .wav files from the entire shoot to the picture cut.

During the process you were involved in, what did you find to be interesting or revealing that you wanted to share?

IS: I think how fragile the movie-making process is pretty eye-opening. Most of the movies we work on are hoping to just get in to the festival circuits like Sundance and SXSW. Even in the final stages of the sound process nearly all of these projects don’t have distribution deals in place. It can take months or years after the final mix before movies see the light of day.

 

Thanks for sharing all that with us Ian! It’s great to hear a student of ours have as much success as you have! Keep making us proud!

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Album of the Week : Weezer – Weezer

Weezer – Weezer

weezer blue album Album of the Week : Weezer   Weezer

Submitted by Eli Salazar

Weezer, also known as the blue album, was the first studio album from Weezer. The Album was released on May 10th 1994. It was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. It was produced by former Cars frontman Ric Ocasek. To date this is Weezer’s best selling album. It is currently certified triple-platinum.

The first single was “Undone-The Sweater Song.” The music video was directed by an unknown Spike Jonze. It became an instant hit on MTV. The video consists of Weezer playing in front of a blue wall and a pack of dogs running around about half way through the song. This song peaked at number 6 on the US Modern Rock Chart.

The second single from the album was “Buddy Holly.” The music video was also directed by Spike Jonze. In 1994, when I was a teenager and when MTV still played music videos this was on at least once an hour. It showed Weezer as if they were part of the 70’s show Happy Days. If any video has a cameo of the “The Fonz” it is already certified super cool. The popularity of the music video won Weezer 4 MTV video music awards.

My favorite song on the Album was the third single is “Say It Ain’t So.” The song is very Melodic, but has a really rocking chorus. The Video was Directed Sophie Muller. It was very simple compared to their other videos. It is just them jamming in their practice space and playing hackey sack outside.

From start to finish this is a very complete album. My Name is Jonas, Surf Wax America, In The Garage are my other favorite tracks. In 2003, Blender magazine put it on the “500 CD’s You Must Own Before You Die” List. It also ranks as #297 on “Rolling Stone’s” “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

Finally in the Words of Weezer.

I’ve got posters on the wall,
My favorite rock group, KISS.
I’ve got Ace Frehley.
I’ve got Peter Criss
Waiting there for me.
Yes I do, I do

 

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Album of the Week – Van Halen : Van Halen

Van Halen-Van Halen

van halen 1 300x299 Album of the Week   Van Halen : Van Halen
By Jeff Thomas

Some people have musical experiences in life that that they never forget. Bobby Frasier told me once that the first time he saw the Beatles play on TV that was it for him. I too have had my own profound Beatles experience, when I broke into my mothers record collection and was mesmerized (like so many others) by the song “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. I immediately ran out and bought the Beatles Blue record (the later years) and that really hooked me.

But when I was 14, I had another revelation: the first time I heard “Eruption” leading into “You Really Got Me”. At that point, I knew that I was always be a fan of hard rock music.

There was a combination of things happening here. First off, you have this incredible guitar player who was doing things that no one has ever heard before, not only musically, but in his tone. All guitar players are tone chasers, but he thought of trying things that no one else had tried- like lowering the voltage to his amp to starve the tubes and make them go into distortion quicker… brilliant!

Then you have a charismatic (and yes, sightly crazy) front man that could sing with power and authority and at times be very “tongue in cheek” (check out “Ice Cream Man”).

Van Halen caught the eye of Kiss bass player Gene Simmons, who flew the band to New York and did their first demo at Electric Lady studios in 1977. The demo, unfortunately, did not land them a deal. It was not until producer Ted Templeman saw them at the Starwood Club that they got a recording contract with Warner Brothers Records.

The album was recorded at Sunset Sound with Ted Templeman and engineer Donn Landee, who would both work on the next 5 Van Halen records. The pair would also team up and record the most successful Doobie Brothers and Montrose records of the 1970’s.

On release, Van Halen reached #19 on the Billboard pop music charts, and has been certified Diamond (10 million sold) by the RIAA on 08/07/1996. The band toured for nearly a year, opening for Black Sabbath (and stealing the show just about every night they played,) establishing their reputation.

There was an audiophile version available from DCC Compact Classics (the company is now named Audio Fidelity) that has a noticeably superior sound quality to the standard cd version. If you can find it, grab it.

Two other Van Halen must haves, as far as I am concerned, “Fair Warning” and “Women and Children First”.

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