Digital Theatre Sound Design Workshop:
Summer 2005 the North Carolina School of the Arts hosted
a continuing education workshop: Digital Theatre Sound Design. The workshop
was well attended and SFX took center stage! The workshop
was so successful that we’re doing it again in summer 2006!
There is no way we can condense our four-year BFA training program into a one-week workshop so we identified three main areas that we would focus on. The theme we identified was digital editing and playback tools. Digital sound software has completely changed the way we design sound. It has changed the way we create the content and the way we play it back in the theatre. Once we’re playing back the sound with this technology, it also changes what we can do with sound in the theatrical space. The workshop is split up into three days of training. Day 1 is dedicated to producing digital sound content, Day 2 is dedicated to programming digital sound playback, and Day 3 is dedicated to executing the content in the theatrical space.
we decided to focus on for Day 1 are Pro Tools and Reason. The workshop
participants will spend the day producing three complex theatre sound
cues using these tools. Each participant has exclusive access to a workstation
so they are spending the entire day with their hands on the equipment.
Techniques covered include editing, creating sound effects, combining
sound and music, and MIDI sequencing. Each participant ends the day
ready to dive in to the world of digital editing and sound production
on their own and will have several weeks worth of lesson material in
their hand to use in teaching their own students and co-workers.
day three we go in to a theatre and connect SFX up
to a multi-channel surround sound system and learn what is possible
once you have more than one playback channel and more than one localized
sound source. We demonstrate techniques using diffusion and reflection
to soften all the point sources. We show how Mid-Side playback can give
you much better results than trying to get a stereo image to cover the
entire theatre. We demonstrated how to use SFX to move
sound around the room. We initiate a ban on the standard ten second
fade in and out and use SFX to demonstrate better ways
to start and end your cues naturally and with a three-dimensional shape
similar to the rest of the production elements.
Jennifer Burg, a participant last year’s class said this about her
experience: “There wasn't a moment of wasted time in the workshop.
I can't imagine how more information could have been crammed into the
three days. One thing that makes the workshop particularly interesting
is the fact that Jason doesn't just use trumped-up classroom assignments
-- he uses examples and exercises that are drawn from his own work in
the theatre. He takes you the whole way from the "problem" (a
scene in a play) to the conception of a design to the implementation of
this design, and finally to listening to your composed sound in the theatre.
You get your hands on the software and hardware and learn how to use it.”