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Mike Russell: Hi, I'm Mike Russell from Music Radio Creative. Welcome to the Adobe Audition Podcast were I'm interviewing power users of Adobe Audition. We'll reminisce back to Cool Edit Pro and take you right up to date with Adobe Audition CC. If you'd like to learn about audio production – everything from vocal effects to radio imaging, commercial production to music mixing – join my next audio production course at mrc dot fm slash learn. That's mrc dot fm slash l e a r n, learn.
Mike Russell: My guest today is Mark Edward Lewis. Mark has spent nearly 30 years writing and producing musical scores, developing sound design, editing, writing and directing films and TV shows. He's also the host of Sound Advice that's a tour that's been in North America and Australia where he's taught over 1200 filmmakers about improving their production values and getting a better sound. Not only that Mark is the author of many books including the Audio Mixer's Secret Handbook, Live Audio Alchemy and I believe Mark might be able to fill us in on this. There are a couple more in the pipeline already including Cinema Audio Alchemy and Film Music Audio Alchemy. He's the main presenter at Cinema Sound. You can check out the fantastic YouTube channel that I discovered with all kinds of advice on making good audio for cinema and just great sound production advice. But not only that if you already own Adobe Audition CC go into the Help menu click or Audition Learn and you will find inside Audition Learn. I think it's nearly two hours of audio production advice, tips and tricks and tutorials on how to use Adobe Audition So, Mark a very busy man. I really appreciate the time. Thanks for coming on the show.
Mark Edward Lewis: Oh it's my pleasure. Thank you Michael.
Mike Russell: Obviously you've created Auditioned Learn inside the app. Tell us a little bit about how you're using Adobe Audition?
Mark Edward Lewis: I use Audition in a whole lot of ways not just to teach and show the nature of how to get good sound. It's got a lot of things in it that no other digital audio workstation has. And some of those things include this crazy. I actually met the gentleman who built this it's called Remix and a lot of times in music especially when you're doing library music cutting and these kinds of things you know you really need the music to hit certain parts of the screen parts of the video. You also need it to be a certain time especially if you're doing bumpers in or bumpers out and a lot of times that can be difficult to cut because you have to find where the music points are the form points of the music and then you know try to make a musical cut of it. Well this thing in Audition called Remix is like magic. You just literally tell it to analyze the sound and then change the length of it and it comes up with a musical arrangement that ninety nine times out of 100 is incredibly useful. And shockingly good I use it for that. I also use it when there is a situation with ADR where there's a sync problem and we just can't quite get it right. It has an amazing another magical thing called automatic speech alignment
Mike Russell: Automatic speech alignment's amazing!
Mark Edward Lewis: Yeah it's amazing magic and I use it for that and then it also you know for really quick things where I need to do fast edits in audio. It has again another good sound button called The Essential Sound panel filled with all kinds of stuff that normally would take a professional. A lot of plug ins and some time and a lot of button clicks to get right. But they've taken the essentials of what we professional audio people tend to use everything from compression and EQ to de-noising and hum removal and these kinds of things limiting and kind of put it into a nice little panel that's also available in Premiere but for audio only because of Audition's capabilities and dedication to a great sound as opposed a multimedia experience. I use Audition and then also you know I go back to the educational tool to learn the basics of audio how to mix, how to edit, how to deal with the de-noising and how to deal with spectral layer fixing of the siren that got into that take that can't be redone. There isn't a better tool than Audition not only because it's really easy to use and makes a whole lot of intuitive sense but because almost everybody has it if they're a Adobe Creative Cloud user well no everybody has it they're an Adobe Creative Cloud user.
Mike Russell: That's awesome. Some really really cool features there that you've you mentioned Remix. Absolutely amazing, Automatic Speech Alignment which is just like you say it's magic the way you can match up a voice that you recorded at the time with a new voice later on and make it match and sync up to the lip movements and Essential Sound fantastic stuff. So I'm curious because you use Adobe Audition I would imagine in parallel with software like Premiere Pro so tell me a little bit more about how you're sort of linking together the use of Audition and Premiere.
Mark Edward Lewis: I remember when I found out about what they called Dynamic Linking for the first time and I didn't believe them. I'm like the hardest thing for we audio land to do is to get audio from a video timeline or a nonlinear editor into a digital audio workstation it's almost like you know two programs that just don't want to talk to each other and even if you go from a fellow program from a similar company like Avid to Pro Tools or even Final Cut to Logic it's like wow guys can we just make this work? You know can it just be easy and it never is until someone showed me Dynamic Linking which it just keeps getting better and better where we do a cut even a complicated cut with many tracks of audio and video, fx, After Effects which also can be Dynamically Linked projects brought into Premiere and you can send it in seconds now to Adobe Audition and have that video directly linked actually using the Premiere Pro timeline video in real time and all the audio comes over with colors and names and positions and it's really amazing what is even more amazing and I was blown away by that but what really got me was the Dynamic Link collaboration with Media Encoder where not only does Audition update it's picture once someone updates the Premiere Pro project picture but when I'm ready to export my audio if I'm a filmmaker and I've done all the audio myself and all the pictures myself on the same computer I can send the audio and the video in via Dynamic Linking from Audition to Media Encoder and be able to export the video and the audio and anything that Media Encoder will do. All the multitracks all the After Effects plug ins everything else into OP1a or dot MOV or MP4 anything and it just goes lickety split and it's super fast. Multithreading aware. I don't know that there isn't as far as I know anything that will get even close to that kind of conforming capability cross platform.
Mike Russell: Absolutely. And what I'm hearing you say is just the the linking between the apps inside Creative Cloud are fantastic and top of the game. Now, Mark you've been in this industry in the audio and film and TV production industry for 30 years. You must have picked up some really good advice over that time. In particular you know just watching some of your tutorials on Audition Learn some of the the mic technique and the use of microphones was really interesting and really helpful to watch. I'm curious what audio production advice you've received over the years and probably if you could maybe pull out a single bit of really good advice you've received. What would that be?
Mark Edward Lewis: I've got a lot of great advice from really smart and really talented people but ironically the best advice I've ever gotten for production audio has nothing to do with production audio. It has to do with whatever it was that you want to do that you're passionate about and that's from my composition or conducting and composing to picture Professor sorry that was hard to get out. Professor Gerald Fried who has written so much wonderful television music for everything from Star Trek to Hawaii 5-0 back in the golden days really wonderful composer and he told me he said Look Mark here's the thing about being in the film industry as an audio person and he met even as a composer as a mixer a recording recordist recording anything in audio. He's like look if you're able to keep working after being up all night and your eyes are bleeding and your ears are ringing and still get excited about having your coffee in the morning knowing that you haven't slept for 36 hours and keep doing this he goes Then you might… This might be the career path for you. I'm like oh OK. And boy he was right! There have been times where in the studio in particular where we'll have mixed for 17 hours straight. And for those of you who have seen Cinemas Sound you'll know you'll be like hey wait a minute you say never to do that. Well yeah we actually mix it a low volume low volume so that we have that we don't hurt our hearing. But you know just getting the dialogue in generally alright the right place, the sound effects and ambiance, Foley, pan you know the stuff that you don't need to listen and be really acutely aware of at a strong level. We were doing it for we've done it for 17 hours and get the espresso out in the morning and laugh and go you know this is hard but we love it. We love doing media we love doing all of this. And if I had never heard that advice I might not know I might have woken up one day and going wow this is really hard. But Gerald, Jerry was just like hey if you can do this then you might make it. This might be the career path for you. Then the next best actual audio advice harkens back to something I just mentioned which is listening level and we don't talk about how loud or soft we listen to audio in any capacity whereas it might affect how we perceive it but we know for sure that our mechanical audio devices in our head the ear and the near the neurological connection to the ear is absolutely affected powerfully by how loud something is not only how much we like it but how much bass and high frequencies we receive and how easily that is to perceive them. So one of the best advice I got was make sure that in your final mix in the final thing you're listening to for judgment and is this going to work that you're listening to it at the same volume as the people that are going to be listening to it and the end result. What does that mean? Well we know that if we're in a theater we're listening to the dialogue right around 85 db somewhere there and that's pretty loud because it means that you know in a theater that's the dialogue sound effects are a lot louder than that if there are you know explosions or things like this but if you're on the Internet you're doing an internet mix that dialogue or even a podcast is going to be much much softer and much much less much much less audio bandwidth you're not going to get any frequencies below 80 hertz on a laptop speaker or really any frequencies above 16 hertz and some other things are going to be changed. And if we're listening in a really pristine beautiful studio at 85 decibels for an Internet delivery I promise it's not going to sound like what you thought it would. When you listen to it back on your laptop on YouTube so there's two bits good bits of long winded advice.
Mike Russell: I'm really pleased that you expanded on the idea of listening level it's not something that you have spoken about a lot but not only what you've just mentioned there I guess it's important also to protect your hearing so I mean for instance right now when we're recording this podcast you do tend to have youl headphones at a low level too to protect hearing. What's your take on protecting your hearing in this industry?
Mark Edward Lewis: Well you just mentioned two different things. And right now yeah my headphones are that I'm listening to on actually my Cinema Sound headphones. They're very very low. I have probably just above 65 maybe 70 db because if I hear them too loud then I start shouting on the microphone you know because you're loud and I have to be louder. But hearing there's a great article on Cinema Sound where we go into this in America we have a government basically a government run agency called OSHA and basically its job is to make sure that workers are safe not only hearing but you know people have to wear goggles when they're you know and don't get their hand caught in a you know saw blade or something like this and OSHA. I think it's a great start when it talks about hearing exposure because there's three ways to get a hearing loss. One is through sharp transients. Another one is through blows to the head or disease some actual trauma to yourself and then the last one most people forget is exposure. How long are you exposed to a loud volume and you know your ears are pretty resilient little devices. You can listen to you know 90 or 100 decibels for a few minutes and it's still OK. But I like to take the OSHA levels that they say are OK and half them that's been my experience. So for me I don't really experience any kind of weird issues with my hearing at 80 decibels. If I keep that listening to under 8 hours and then 90 decibels for two hours and then 100 decibels for a half an hour and then I do everything I can to not listen to anything above 105 because it's just it starts getting really worrying and if that's the case if that's true and it is for me what it means is if I fly to you Mike from Los Angeles where I am which is you know 11 hours give or take. I'm going to damage my hearing if I don't but hearing protection on in the plane because planes are typically 79 to 82 decibels worth of noise and that means when I get off your plane to see you. I have experienced some amount of hearing damage so you're hearing is your most the most precious sense that we have and a lot of people say sight is and I totally get it's really hard to drive blind and be successful. But there is no Lasik surgery for your hearing. And although they've got little implants that they can do now to replace damaged mechanism there's still there's no way to fix it mechanically. And you know people who are deaf suffer from a great deal of depression because you're separated from the rest of the world and my father actually right now is having to deal with some of that. And he's a professional musician and it's very difficult just psychologically, emotionally for him to feel separated from conversations whereas a blind person still has that definite connection to the universe around them. So I do everything I can to carry earplugs with me at all times and if a movie gets too loud I'll pop them in because I got at least 40 more years of these ears and when I'm 70 I want to be able to hear 12000 hertz.
Mark, you're making me turn down my headphone level as I'm speaking to you. It's amazing. That's very impactful and my goodness the thought of being on a plane damaging your hearing. So what's the best thing to do there earplugs or noise canceling headphones?
Mark Edward Lewis: Yeah anything that can bring down your headphones I have an article on Cinema Sound where I actually and unfortunately illegally was using my phone while driving to sample the decibel level in my Mazda 3 and when I was on asphalt. You don't call it asphalt the dark stuff what do you call it?
Mike Russell: Tarmac.
Mark Edward Lewis: Yeah yeah it was seventy five decibels which is fine that's fine but when I was on cement no concrete it was 79 decibels and I was on an airplane ride actually to Australia and just happened to do it there and it was 85 decibels for 14 hours. Not good.
Mike Russell: So let's talk a little bit more about projects you've worked on and projects you maybe intend to will hope to work on in the future. I know you mentioned just a moment ago about you know you were going to be able to work in this industry if you can be up all night and still want to keep going and keep doing it. So tell me about one of those epic projects are really challenging projects that maybe you've worked during your career as an audio producer, a sound mixer, a film and television director and editor. What's the most challenging thing you've you've come across or worked on?
Mark Edward Lewis: Any time. That's a great question. Any time that I get someone else's project it's almost always the most challenging thing because most people have no idea how to create or record great sound on set and to be fair it's a very difficult thing to do with you know cameras now that are digital and whirr and make all kinds of weird noises you know cleaning dialogue as a can be a full time job on a feature for a week or more. But the one that really got me. It actually refers back to that 17 hour day we did two 17 hour days in a row. We did 17 hour day we slept for a while and I came back and did it again was a project called We Women Warriors and it was an amazing documentary on three women in South America that are just trying to live life amidst rebel wars the government wars and the drug lords in where they are in South America and separate women who didn't know each other and we watched them. This incredibly courageous woman filmmaker went down there with a camera man and a simple shotgun microphone and recorded all this stuff you know stuff that's just it hurts it's so gripping and so real. Well her deliverable was a 5.1 mix. When you've got gunfire and sound effects and all these other things that ambience is in mono. You're like well shoot thi is never going to work. We have to recreate it and we took every sound that would have otherwise and was otherwise recorded on that little microphone and remade that remade it in surround and we realized it was going to be important to take her mono dialogue and create rooms even though she was outside a lot of the time but some kind of an ambience that was in the surround speakers from a very short reverb to give it more life. Otherwise it was so center channel heavy and we spent an awful lot of hours making that in a very short amount of time and we were very pleased with it and it won awards. The audio did so but it was brutal to try to go. Thanks for a mono mix. OK here we go.
Mike Russell: So you literally you would taking pretty much every single sound effects outside of the dialogue and recreating it?
Mark Edward Lewis: We were recreating everything and every sound every donkey clip clop every ambience every gunshot every explosion every scream. That was not otherwise in the dialogue shouldn't have been in the center channel we had to recreate and some of you are going to go will you do that in features anyway and like well sort of except in features we create it and it's not it doesn't exist in the dialogue track right. So in a feature it's just dialogue and we know that the Foley the footsteps the clothing the explosions the ambiences we're going to add. But in this case it was in the dialogue track we couldn't get rid of it. So we had to find a way to mix what was in that center track duck it if we could and recreate it. It was really complicated.
Mike Russell: So looking forward obviously you get a lot of projects you working on at the moment. I know for instance the couple more books hopefully you're working on for this year. Is there any one cool thing that you would like to work on that you haven't told anyone about yet maybe?
Mark Edward Lewis: Well I'm telling people about it on Cinema Sound but the coolest thing that we're all so excited about at Cinema Sound is our Foley library and you know Foley's a pain. It's fun but only fun if you have your own Foley studio and your little you know hit boxes and you can get out there in the dirt and record and perform. I mean it's fun it's a dirty business but it's fun. But if you don't have that and you don't have the money to hire somebody to do that or somebody good you're sitting there dragging audio files and you know it sounds like a videogame instead of like a movie. This just really doesn't work. And in the Cinema Sound education we show you how to do it on your. You know you can do a lot of it yourself but there are just some things that just don't work. How do you do footsteps and dirt in your closet without a whole lot of work. What we're creating at Cinema Sound is a comprehensive Foley library dedicated to independent creatives that have you know everything like whoa tennis shoes on dirt soft tennis shoes dirt medium tennis shoes on dirt loud running shirt touch shirt move loud soft medium hit you know hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these Foley categories batched onto a piano keyboard so that you can perform them via MIDI instead of audio and are like well why would I want to do that. Well imagine that you perform some footsteps on dirt and the director or the producer or whoever else or you get into the mix and you realize wow this is really this isn't quite what I want. Well right now you either have to reperform them boo or pull out all the audio and read drag in all the audio files again and reedit them double boo. In this case you just say I've got the performances locked in MIDI. I'll just change patches and now I've got I've got tennis shoes on cement I'll change patches again. I've got tennis shoes on linoleum. It's going to be so useful. It's going to revolutionize how the independent filmmaker does Foley and adds that all incredible all important immersive element of Foley to their pictures.
Mike Russell: And from your description I think most people will pick up what Foley is. But for anybody not in filmmaking. How would you describe what a Foley library is?
Mark Edward Lewis: That's such a great question. Foley itself was created not created but identified by a gentleman whose last name is Foley. That when he was doing recordings and realized it was impossible for the onset Recordists to record things like jacket movement or even footsteps or hands on a table or even hands together or kiss a microphone recording dialogue is really not equipped and certainly not well positioned to record that. So he found a really efficient way of remaking and repeforming all of those human noises as seen on picture in post-production. We call that in his honor Foley and that's footsteps, it's handshakes, it's kisses, it's touching somebody's beard it's anything that a human being makes while on picture and the difference between Foley and a like a hard sound effect is that a sound effect theoretically it is not directly interacting with a human body so a good example might be if I push my phone onto a desk. That's Foley. But if I drop it on a desk and it hits the desk and I'm not in contact with it theoretically is sound effects.
Mike Russell: So let's just before we get into more into the depths of Adobe Audition and some of your takes on what you're using and how you're using it. I'm just curious to know. You've been in the industry for a while. I'm guessing right the way back to your childhood you probably from a very early age had an interest in and I'm curious to know where that started from for you Mark. What's your earliest memory of of audio and thinking wow this is this is cool I want to do this?
Mike Russell: Back to the interview in a moment. But if you want to win my perfect audio creator set up head over to MRC dot fm slash win
Mark Edward Lewis: This is my favorite question and I start just about any presentation with how I got into music first. Music for picture. If you've been to Hollywood at all you'll know about Mann's Chinese Theater which is that grand theater on Hollywood Boulevard with all the cement handprints and footprints where all the stars get that done there and it was 1977. I was five. For those of you who are good at math you forgot how old I am. I was there with my grandparents seeing this weird movie kind of an independent feature and it was weird it started out with this weird orange text that came out and went for a while and then this big ship comes through and blows up the ship and then there's droids and this little 5 year old boy was like whatever that is. I'm going to be a part of it. And it was hard because I was really committed to being a paleontologist at 5 years old. I loved dinosaurs. I was like I'm going to dig up more dinosaurs than anybody ever. But I walked out of that theater going whatever that was. That's what I want. And fortunately for me I was born to two professional musicians who really understood the nature of audio not just music. And when I was telling them about it they said what sounds to us like what you were really in love with is how you felt. And I was like yeah feels amazing and like well that's music that's the music that did that not the I mean as cool as the effects were. And Luke Skywalker and all that. It's the music. And then I looked up John Williams and I was a superfan from five years old and realizing at that point what music did. That's what had me go into film music which had me get into editing which had me get into audio post then post-production then filmmaking then producing and it's all John Williams fault from Mann's Chinese Theater.
Mike Russell: Fantastic. So you say you were fortunate to be born to musicians so what did your childhood look like with learning how to create music and playing musical instruments. What were you doing then?
Mark Edward Lewis: It's sort of funny. I don't remember not playing piano my mother said it was my first language. I started playing professionally at 9 but what my mother recalls is that I would learn to play the pieces and then I would fix them to make them what I thought was better. And I was like well that's not how Chopin should have done that it should have been this way and then I would you know change them. And that became the basis of my learning that hey I can write my own music from scratch. So I was playing piano from whenever I started playing cello at nine playing guitar at 15 and I picked up drums somewhere in there and then as I started writing music for film in my early 20s it was a whole lot easier or not easier but cheaper for me to buy an ethnic instrument than hire someone to play it. So I would find these weird instruments like duduks. And you know old Scottish not Scottish, Irish bagpipes and just learn to play. It was terrible. But you know the wonder of non-linear editing allowed me to chop notes and fix bad parts and reperform it at my leisure. And all of a sudden I sort of you know sound like an amazing player which I was absolutely not thanks to editing capabilities but that's kind of what it looked like for me.
Mike Russell: Getting into Adobe Audition obviously we touched on this a little bit at the start of the show were you talking about remix and automatic speech alignment and of course the relatively new essential sound panel. I'm curious Mark if you had to pick out one feature only one feature in Adobe Audition as your favorite feature. What would that be?
Mark Edward Lewis: Oh I just I sell people everyday. They should give me a commission. Adobe should. I sell people on Adobe Audition with remix. I whip up in fact I may do it today but people like I don't know I like Pro Tools I like Nuendo especially music people and you know and it is you know I'm working with the Audition team on getting MIDI implementation more and more into Audition because musicians are sort of left out. I'm an evangelist.
Mike Russell: Can you talk more about MIDI?
Mark Edward Lewis: MIDI. Oh yeah. Well what is MIDI? MIDI is music instrument digital interface. It's this archaic but incredibly vital codec that musicians have been using to connect digital devices like a keyboard or a guitar with the computer. And that's generally speaking the code that is talked about from keyboard to software and in a music program like Logic or Cubase or Nuendo or Pro Tools or one of these other music based recording systems and it's recording key on like you push the key on and a little piece of data goes down the cable and the computer goes aha there's a key on data that I'm recording here at this time. And then when you pick up the key there's a key off that's sent so that when it plays back it goes oh I'm going to trigger this sound at this time and then I make it not trigger. And that's the very most horrifically basic nature of MIDI Audition has some great MIDI implementation for its controllers so if you've got you know anything like a… I don't even know I can't even think of any MIDI controllers right now but if you want to move faders or change pan knobs in the mix window it definitely does that it even uses some of the Avid codecs that are so so great and uses very well but there isn't a way to plug a keyboard into Audition and play sounds on Audition and record your performances or if you're a guitarist or if you're a wind player it doesn't do that yet and I am 150 percent committed to see that happen I can't do anything about it except say Yay, this will be great you guys. But it would change everything and for me Adobe is the only company in the world that has programs accessing every aspect of human artistic expression including sculpture if you use a 3D printer but not music. And I just I can't wait to see it show up. And I pray it will soon.
Mike Russell: Amazing that would be definitely a game changer for Audition. I'd be interested to see if that happens. You know how that would change the the user base of Adobe Audition it'd be able to do pretty much everything.
Mark Edward Lewis: What I tell everybody is that look especially if they're an Adobe person is like every Photoshop almost every person who uses Photoshop is in one way or another a frustrated musician and I'd say that tongue in cheek of course it's not true but obviously people who are in one kind of art usually are in another kind of art too because it just goes without saying. And if the Photoshop community had access to linking or dynamically linking their ability to make music with Photoshop or After Effects or even Premiere. Yeah it would be a complete game changer for Adobe in general.
Mike Russell: So let's talk about workflows and timesaving shortcuts in Adobe Audition I know Mark that you've shared plenty of your knowledge inside Audition Learn so anyone listening can find out more there. And it is quite interesting see the tutorials and see the way you use it. It's lovely to see different ways of using the software in different shortcuts you don't even know exist so maybe you can you can share some of your favorite workflows and shortcuts?
Mark Edward Lewis: I actually learned one yesterday sitting in Adobe live with Durin who was the head of development for Adobe Audition and it goes along with something that I blow podcasters minds away with and you probably know about this Michael. When you use a marker in the spectral or waveform view. Unlike many digital audio workstations Audition allows you to have markers which also possess duration so that marker can actually mark in and out or a space in between. And many podcasters want to get rid of breath noises and you know it's a lot of editing to do that. Although in Audition it's probably the fastest program to do that in. It's still a bit cumbersome in the spectral view waveform view. You can set duration markers for where the talent is talking and then leave out where they're breathing and do it pretty fast. Using certain key commands once you've done that and save it saves Audition saves those markers in the audio file. As long as you're saving in wave or aiff those markers can show up in any digital audio workstation and anyone else that you need to send it to could basically see those edits and do it anyway you use any way you want but the real brain blower is if you go back to the edit window and engage the button on the markers window that says see all markers for all projects or all files. I think it is. You'll see all those markers in the edit window you can select all drag them to your timeline and an all of the dialog that you selected will show up nicely bundled together with no breaths and it's one stroke and it's all there. It's crazy then what Durin showed me is you can do that automatically from the device is it the device control but basically you can pull this down and say hey set certain parameters that allow you to say well if it's this loud like the dialogue mark it if it's this soft like the breaths don't mark that and then it you hit scan and then mark all and then all the markings are done automatically for you. It's nuts.
Mike Russell: Wow. Wow that's super cool so yeah. Like you say you can you can get the markers in place and you can you can be cutting out breaths or gaps that are a little bit too long in podcasts really really cool stuff. And you also touched a little bit on spectral frequency display. And I've seen you using that in really cool ways in particular on your Cinema Sound channel. There was one video I particularly found that I found really really cool. You were basically scribbling on some dialogue and creating a whole new sound design. That's cool. So yes some really good stuff I always like sort of looking at the features and seeing how you can hack them and that video in particular was really like wow that's cool and it just opens up a whole new world. When you work not only in waveform but also in spectral so you can you can isolate frequencies. It's really cool stuff. Anyway I'd really like to get onto gear and resources. So obviously you have a fantastic set a studio with so much kit in it. Tell me a little bit more about the the resources the gear your favorite kit that you use when you're creating audio?
Mark Edward Lewis: On Cinema Sound we have a whole lot of sponsors and I sometimes get accused of just promoting sponsor stuff because they're sponsors. And while that may be true for some folks I don't take sponsors unless I already use their gear or I love their gear and have used it. So when I say to you that the speakers that I recommend everybody purchase if you're a budding filmmaker or just want to really up your game are the JBL LSR305s in fact the new Mark 2s just came out they're like a hundred and fifty dollars each. They're ridiculously flat. They sound great. You can stick him anywhere they're light. I'm telling you I owned them long before they were a sponsor. That's what I tell everybody to go get. I use them when in a pinch in a surround fashion they have a little bit of a high end excitement. But as long as you know that what they provide you in clarity in the low end is like you can't get any other five inch speaker it just doesn't exist. And for the price point you're just so golden our main monitors are now the Series 7s. The JBL Series 7s which are like you've died and gone to heaven. Changed your religion kind of stuff. They're are amazing. The interface that I have been using since wow I was in college was some form or another Mark of the Unicorn audio interface. The one I'm using now is their 1248 but the one I recommend filmmakers get is their Ultralight Mark 4. It's got everything you need in it including timecode in and out and if you want to do recording on set which it can definitely do with your microphones. I love that. Let's see kit. I'm running a Macintosh. I don't mean to diss Apple but I know you PC users are like yeah diss Apple diss them. I'm no fan of the trash can Mac the little round thing because for those of us in the audio world we need PCI slots we need them for all kinds of things if for nothing else than expanding your USB capability. I have a Magma chassis which gives me actually 7 more PCIe slots because I use all kinds of stuff but my mac is an old and the main studio is an old 2010 12 core that I have up. What do you call it? Up clocked to 3.6 gigahertz. Got 128 gigabytes of RAM thanks to the OWC RAM upgrade that they give you for like 600 dollars it's ridiculously cheap and all of a sudden you got 128 gigs. It's great it's a great old machine. The 2012s are also really good. And then in the studio I didn't even know about Prime Acoustic for audio treatment. We all know about Aurelex but honestly our Aurelex is more money and less service than Prime Accoustic is doing the same thing for less money and better service so they also do these really cool things where you can print your logo or anything you want on these panels and hang them and you've see them if you look at any of the Cinema Sound videos you'll see Cinemas Sound Prime Accoustic on these panels and they'll do anything you want and it's really great especially if you're doing podcasting or video casting or like you do Michael too like you can have some of those things in your studio and just have anything you want on them it's like. Put your happy face and everybody sees three or four of you would be amazing. What else have I got in that studio? Oh we've got the Slate Digital Raven. You kidding me. The Raven. It's for you who are PC users. It may not be that exciting because you already have touchscreen capabilities. But imagine if you could just grab your faders in Audition or in any of the digital audio workstations that you want to use. It doesn't yet support Audition. They're working on that but I'm going to put out an article very soon where I can show you how to edit actually doing edits in the timeline with key commands that you trigger by putting multiple fingers on the screen twisting your hand. Splaying with two fingers three fingers four fingers five fingers zooming. It's like a whole new the next generation way of editing and moving things around in the timeline. And for the price point it more what does it a thousand dollars more than makes up for its price point with when clients walk in and they see you touching a screen and editing. They're like whoa this guy is so cool or this gal is so cool. We want to hire them again.
Mike Russell: Actually I remember when of you Audition Learn videos and you were showing how to very quickly zoom in and out and you hit the key and you see everything and the hit another key and you're back in the waveform view. That's a pretty good way to impress clients. Hopping around the multitrack quickly.
Mark Edward Lewis: I used to be the head engineer at Michael Boddicker studio. Michael Lehmann Boddicker studio Sol7 and it's in my mind the best studio to mix in in Los Angeles. He's done all the keyboard parts for Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones and I mean he's just you know a venerable staple of pop music. And when we were building his studio his first concern other than sound was it has to be producible. And if you have clients coming over your studio can't look like you know a bachelor pad. It has to have some kind of appeal even if it's just some cool central piece of gear or even artwork. It's got to have something that people go Well you know his clothes are on the ground. But boy that studio is so cool because of whatever it is and the Raven brings a lot of that producing factor approachable factor to it.
Mike Russell: That's great. What about mics?
Mark Edward Lewis: Oh mics oh I forgot all about that. If you know Royer Labs they make ribbon mics wonderful ribbon mics well before they did that. The man who invented that technology not ribbon mics but the Royer Labs microphone. His name is Dave Royer and he lived down the street from me in Orange County Los Angeles California and he was working out of his garage. And I bought three of his microphones. Now these microphones are irreplaceable they don't make them anymore. Mojave Audio which is their sister company makes a certain version of them but it's a U47 capsule which is you know a beautiful old school capsule that has a really rich warmth and depth. But he's put tube technology in a solid state shell. So it's the best of all worlds. It's the beautiful old diaphragms with the new version of tube technology so the tubes don't die all the time and I've got three of those things. They are just like gold. I take them to other people's studios and they're like where do we get these? I'm like I'm sorry you can't get them anywhere. I've got a large assortment of Rode microphones. I've got a good assortment of Samson microphones. I'm actually talking to you right now on the Samson G Track Pro because it's really simple to plug into my laptop and it sounds great. And then I've got a bunch of shotgun microphones that I just discovered last month sound great in studio. I had a situation where my neighbor decided to have somebody come over and chop his trees down while we were doing a session with players and no matter how much soundproofing you have if somebody's out there with a buzz saw ten feet away you're doomed. And I had all of my microphones out and I thought wow this is going to be horrible. And we're never never going to make this work. But I whipped out the NTG 3 the NTG 8 the NTG 4 the Sennheiser 416 the NTG 2. Just whipped them all out and plugged them in and said well let's see what happens. Put pop filters in front of them for the vocalists and then just ran them direct to the violins and violas. I've got to tell you Michael I was I was really afraid. Like what is this going to sound like. But they really came through for me. And there was no sign of those buzz saws. The last microphones that I use that I'm really proud of which I actually learned about working on a project in London called The Great Dance is these old Russian microphones called Oktavas the MC012. And you can buy them in America now. They remade them they're a little bit different but the ones that I have I have four of them and all the capsules. They don't sound anything alike because they were handmade they had like zero quality control but I tell you except for trombones which have a lot of air they sound great on everything. Dialogue voice any double reed instrument violins pianos everything. I mean it's crazy these things. The new ones are fine too but you can get a stereo matched pair of MC 12s now but in those days you know 20 years ago you couldn't they all sounded somehow a little bit different so that's kind of my my mic cabinet.
Mark Edward Lewis: Finally just to wrap up then Mark. I would like to ask you you've given some great advice that you've been given earlier on in the show about if you can do this all the time constantly all night ears ringing and still keep going. This is the industry for you. If you had to give your own piece of advice to a young and aspiring audio producer who wants to get into the industry what would your advice be?
Mark Edward Lewis: It depends on how old they are and I'll just break it into folks in college and folks out of college. If you're in the college age even if you're not at college or younger. Get to your nearest college and even not so near college and befriend take out to lunch or coffee every filmmaker whose work you like at that school you're going to get one chance in 20 that one of those filmmakers is going to go somewhere and do something great and they will hire you and they will remember you and you'll learn a ton being on their sets. Way more than you will being at their school. As a student. Work with them and I tell composers this all the time befriend every student at your local college that has a film program of any kind even if it's not so local. Then if you're out of college age or older by then my guess is you've already got a career that you're doing. Financial matters obviously are important. Like if you have a family you don't want to drop everything and you know go wild on gear because of bills. Strangely enough keep keep coming. So what you got to do is start it as a hobby and there's no there's no shame in that. Go buy your first microphone. You know we have Cinema Sound a beautiful and growing archive of actual recordings of all the microphones many of the microphones that you're going to want to take a look at purchasing and you can listen to them for yourself and go that one sounds great and then certainly we're happy to help you on Cinema Sound as I know Mike is find great value in microphone choices and recorders and all of the stuff that you'll need and then just befriend as many again filmmakers you don't have to be a college in this case. But you know just start looking around for getting on projects that you could cut your teeth. Find the best mentors who may be doing that kind of recording or mixing or whatever it is that you want to do already. See if you can sit in on their sessions or go be an assistant with them or hold the boom pole on set. Get your experience as a hobbyist and then when you're ready to start marketing yourself you know set a good price and be a good business man or a woman and then slowly start transitioning your finances from your 9 to 5 or whatever job or career you have into being that full time loving your life doing your dream. Audio person and whatever that looks like and to be fair and this is a little hard but to be fair almost everyone that I know who has made it in the film or media industry has done so in real estate. So sometimes it's okay to keep your other job or your other investments and do your dream start it as a hobby and transition it as you feel more comfortable and keep up on your gear game and it's so much easier than I'm just going to jump in. Yeah! That's a really hard thing to do.
Mike Russell: Yes that's cool. I really like it so Mark. You've been more than generous with your time today. Some fantastic advice and I think one of those episodes a lot of people want to go back and play again just to listen back and hear some of the tips that you given out during the show. So really really appreciate that and just finally if anyone wants to find you online what would be the best place for someone to go.
Mark Edward Lewis: This is great Cinema Sound dot com is kind of the hub and then my Twitter is Lewis Mark Edward L E W I S M A R K Edward and then Facebook. Just search for Mark Edward Lewis and you'll see my happy bald head
Mike Russell: Amazing Mark. Thank you so much for joining me.
Mark Edward Lewis: Thank you sir. So wonderful.
Mike Russell: That concludes this episode would you like an extra chance to win the awesome audio gear giveaway? Hit subscribe and review this podcast then email the details to podcast at MRC dot fm to have an extra entry into the awesome audio giveaway. Good luck.
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