5. Technical Skills
Class Overview & Student Goals11:25 2
Getting Your Foot In the Door20:58 3
How do I get the job?19:42 4
Review & Questions24:50 5
Technical Skills29:28 6
Software, Hardware & Equipment38:12 7
Lessons Learned & Questions10:59 8
Now we start getting a little more in depth technical skills, obviously very, very important. So I kinda wanna ask all you guys what you think. You know, before we dive into this, I kind of want to get where everyone's heads at. What do you guys think are the most important technical skills that have, as an assistant, like from the outside looking in before you're kind of in the business, what would you think? Like it was going to ask you, okay, if you were an assistant, what do you think you're both valuable? Technical skill would be really understand. Signal flow. And howto look things up and create, I mean that's, just the very, very basic. Also safer, basically well rounded knowledge of just problem solving, like techniques, just like no one fix that knob real quick, you know, just being troubleshoot troubleshooter, excellent, sir, it has to do it single flow as well, but that's real that control room's, patch bay here, ableto ugo wrongs. And in a heartbeat on it. Dessert, I feel l...
ike, uh, assistant, you'd be setting up the mike's a lot, so just mic placement, knowing mike application as well? Absolutely, yeah, I know I'm so happy, and I was totally not expecting. Nobody said anything about pro tools. That's. Great, because everybody knows pro tools. Yes, sir. Documentation and taking notes, man, great crowd in here today. So all these air absolutely amazing. You'll see as I go through that, you guys were spot on. So stuff it's in the segment, you know, quick overview. The skills that you need to become a successful assistant engineer I mean hello sounds like you guys are already well versed with the job entails come why assistant engineer like because that is the gateway to every job the fastest and easiest way to get around the people no absolutely one hundred and ten percent essential engineers mix engineers producers I would say absolutely do people could become producers without being assistant engineers yeah, but we're talking about what's the easiest way to get you where you want to be and I still would say that this is the easiest way to be because as an assistant engineer you're not just assisting the producer or the engineer you're also assisting the producer you're assisting the session so you're actually getting to see everything you're seeing how the producer talks to the engineer how the engineer talks to the assistant how the artist interacts with the producer you are getting a front row seat very secretive information yeah and also I hope that you know you remembered your ninja status because your promotion from intern to assistant could come at absolutely any time let me give you some good examples I'll give you a couple examples um my example how it happened to me so when I was hired at larrabee isn't as an intern I was basically the last one on the totem pole and it was things like the floor that I was talking about or the menus is what got me noticed by the studio manager, and when essentially, my internship was up, you know, my internship timewise was up, the studio manager basically approached me and said, well, look, I have a full staff, I don't have a paid position for you, but I don't want to lose you because you're such a great asset to this studio, so what I'm gonna 00:04:02.995 --> 00:04:05. do is I can give you one paid shift a week and it's 00:04:05.64 --> 00:04:08. answering the phones of the front desk, so of course 00:04:08.81 --> 00:04:11. I'm like, hell, yeah, of course, I'll take it, you 00:04:11.26 --> 00:04:14. know, it's, not exactly what my game plan was, but 00:04:14.04 --> 00:04:16. I'm still my foot is in the door. I'm in the building, 00:04:17.5 --> 00:04:21. I'm in the studio, I want toby. I'm literally a room 00:04:21.17 --> 00:04:23. away from my idols and the people that I want to be 00:04:23.31 --> 00:04:23. around. 00:04:25.8 --> 00:04:29. So about six months passed with that and then dave, 00:04:29.32 --> 00:04:32. since otto's assistant was about to move on. So an 00:04:32.87 --> 00:04:36. assistant job it opened up. But there's six paid people 00:04:37.0 --> 00:04:41. pitt paid runners in front of me. I'm just a one day 00:04:41.05 --> 00:04:43. a week paid guy, so essentially I'm still an intern 00:04:43.2 --> 00:04:45. with one paid shift. There was six people in front 00:04:45.82 --> 00:04:46. of me, 00:04:47.06 --> 00:04:47. and 00:04:48.8 --> 00:04:51. so I'm thinking, oh, this is great. One of those guys 00:04:51.53 --> 00:04:54. is going to get promoted to be days assistant, and 00:04:54.12 --> 00:04:56. then I'm going to get a paid runner shift, and I'm 00:04:56.17 --> 00:04:59. going to be a full time six dollars an hour employees 00:04:59.36 --> 00:05:02. and that's amazing for me because that's in my game 00:05:02.51 --> 00:05:06. plan. So I'm thinking about maybe a two year haul, 00:05:06.44 --> 00:05:09. a two years of taking out the trash and getting paid 00:05:09.19 --> 00:05:12. minimum wage and waiting tables on the side to make 00:05:12.55 --> 00:05:16. ends meet. Very unglamorous lifestyle but two years 00:05:16.34 --> 00:05:18. old, that's. Nothing these people have been putting 00:05:18.04 --> 00:05:18. in two years. 00:05:20.8 --> 00:05:25. And while I'm doing this one of the jobs of the runner 00:05:26.3 --> 00:05:29. or the intern is to clean the control rooms before 00:05:29.4 --> 00:05:32. the session so you come in early nine am am ten a 00:05:32.72 --> 00:05:35. m usually sessions start between noon and like two 00:05:35.69 --> 00:05:39. p m so as you're cleaning these control rooms I'm 00:05:39.91 --> 00:05:42. getting to be in the control room with mixes up you 00:05:42.98 --> 00:05:46. know big ssl mixes big songs um 00:05:48.1 --> 00:05:51. and I'm in there your job is to clean the room and 00:05:51.24 --> 00:05:53. make it look spotless before the engineer comes in 00:05:54.6 --> 00:05:59. well this is the perfect ninja moment because you're 00:05:59.05 --> 00:06:02. in the room and you get to see everything that's in 00:06:02.08 --> 00:06:06. there can you touch anything? Absolutely not but you're doing this and you're like the spy we were talking about earlier that you know they're in there cleaning something in as you're cleaning you're here you're seeing everything patch bay I mean you better get to know that things like the back your hand what better opportunity to see how things were hooked up in a patch bay than when you're cleaning the room and there's nobody around so I would go in there take mental notes look at how this is hooked up look how this is looked up hopefully your sufficient on an ssl consulate here in recording school again this is something that you an advantage you would have over someone else that isn't in recording school is when you look at one as a cell you've seen them all it's the same thing but now you get to see how these guys are using them how are they routing things these are all things that you're taking into your mind because this is all preparation for this that could come at absolutely any time in my mind I was two years away from getting a chance to be in the room but I was doing this at a month and as luck would have it luck would have it dave went through all those assistance and they just didn't really work out so he was at a point where he was going to hire from someone from outside the studio and the studio manager said absolutely if you have to do that we can do that but before you do that you should check this guy andrew out because he kind of knows his stuff I think given like a one day shot he was like sure no problem that was my first break or my second break I could say my first break was getting the internship my second break was that opportunity that came at six months that and I was thinking it was going to be two years that's what my preparation my mental path was that it was going to be two years but it came in six months so if I wasn't a ninja and I wasn't prepared I would have been ready for that at six months I would've waited to a year in three months. And then I would've been ready. But no, I was ready in six months. Got the job because I was in the control rooms already, knowing how everything was set up. Because I had already ninja in my way in there, without anybody knowing. This is kind of where, you know we were here. Now, we're starting to talk about here. So this is where things can branch out. This is your path to all of these. I mean this. You can kind of, especially these days with the way music is made. Now you have mork kind of want one man band type of things. You know that where they kind of where all the hats, but we're talking about the big time here. Even in the big time. It doesn't really happen very often. You have these air three separate jobs, and they all stem from this because this guy works with all these people and he's seen all these people. So just go over a couple more details on how things in studios work um you have you have different past you can take us in the system um this is a little more rare this is a little more common this was this was me you have engineers that are called residents so basically they have permanent locks on a room these guys are so busy and so on fire I guess you could say that they have enough business to lock down a commercial studio room for years at a time sometimes ten fifteen years sometimes five years years at a time worth of business to pay for a room so these air called residents and with a resident engineer comes a resident assistant so once you are locked to that engineer it becomes a mentor apprenticeship type relationship if you want to be a mix engineer this is the best way to go um like I said it's like being in a two year long since otto's place and I had god's blessing of getting to be with dave which was amazing this is the other route which is oh no this is okay all right the studio okay so yeah about the this were pretty retains of the residency so when you're in this situation the studio pays you essentially you're an employee of the studio but you don't really work for them anymore. You work for the engineer. When I was an assistant I had keys to the studio I came and went as I pleased if I was asking for something, it was basically like dave was asking for something so it's you base could become an extension of them you are their right hands, so to speak the right hand of the engineer go on so really all the studio doesn't pay you you don't really have to answer to them you answer to your mentor the person who becomes your mentor the other route in the studio when you're not working with a resident is also equally valuable because you're could be working with different people every day. One day you may be doing tracking sessions, maybe tracking a string section the next day you could be mixing that same song or mixing a different song you could come in and urban dr dre could come in and you could assist for him than another day, you know, but laying may come in and record some guitars you just never know you could be working with so many different people and this is an excellent ninja opportunity because you're working with different styles of music, different styles of producers and engineers, different ways of getting different sounds and you're learning you're storing all this in your mental brain the same way you were storing the way people conduct themselves as an intern you take that same mentality into the control room in order to be the best ninja, you have to know your enemy, right? Like you have to know. You know, when you touch down into a building to assassinate somebody, you need to know where they're going to be, where they could go, where the exits could be, because you need to make sure that there's no way that they're getting out of there before you take him out. So you have to understand all the chess pieces, whether you use them or not, and this becomes important later in your career. When you start getting your own styles and implementing your own taste on what you're doing, you still need to know everything about every technique, every style. Because it's all stored in your mental roll index of techniques, howto work things. This is all pertains back to your battle plan. Information information. The more you can store the better obsession. You're really job description, all right? You are another piece of gear that comes with the room remember that that's really what you are when and this is this talking mohr we're kind of away from the residency part now. This is more of when you're an assistant to a room with different people coming in and out all the time you are you come with the room, you're an extension of the room, the engineer, the producer may have never been in that room before. Chances are they have because a lot of people come to studio is that they, like, you know, they repeat customers, but you have to know everything there is to know about that room, everything because it's their job to be creative and create a record and it's the producer's job. Teo, think of the idea the engineer's job to figure out how they're going to make the idea and the assistant's job actually hook to stuff up so they can get the sound that they want. But you have to have the answers that's, why you're there you have all these, you know, e cuse compressors, everything in the room, you're the how does this work piece of gear your how can we make something happen, how can we get this sound to happen? So the actual task that you re doing it depends on the session. In a mixing session, your tests are going to be setting up the mix. A lot 00:14:14.578 --> 00:14:19. of mixtures travel with a lot equipment, so your task 00:14:19.12 --> 00:14:21. is going to be to incorporate that equipment into 00:14:21.74 --> 00:14:23. the signal flow of the room that you're working in, 00:14:24.15 --> 00:14:27. so they may have towers of their own compressor. Zeke, 00:14:27.62 --> 00:14:31. whose effects or whatever you have to basically turn 00:14:31.16 --> 00:14:34. their gear and make it seem like it is, was always 00:14:34.05 --> 00:14:34. part of the room 00:14:36.2 --> 00:14:39. incorporated into the room, so that when the engineer 00:14:39.49 --> 00:14:42. comes in and they want to make something work, it 00:14:42.43 --> 00:14:43. just automatically works. 00:14:45.25 --> 00:14:48. So patching. We're going to get in the patch bay in 00:14:48.45 --> 00:14:51. a couple minutes here. You guys obviously are aware 00:14:51.68 --> 00:14:52. of that and that's, great. 00:14:54.8 --> 00:14:57. You know I want in l a two way on this lead vocal 00:14:58.65 --> 00:14:59. patch it up for me 00:15:00.65 --> 00:15:02. make it happen that that's what you're going to be 00:15:02.62 --> 00:15:03. doing in the mix session 00:15:05.35 --> 00:15:07. tracking you're gonna have a much busier day 00:15:08.65 --> 00:15:10. actually I skipped one thing in the mixing that's 00:15:10.99 --> 00:15:14. very very important that's on here too documentation 00:15:15.35 --> 00:15:19. when the mix is over you got a document the settings 00:15:19.15 --> 00:15:22. on everything because what happens if a month down 00:15:22.05 --> 00:15:24. the line they're like okay well we really like the 00:15:24.43 --> 00:15:26. mix we just want to turn those guitars up a little 00:15:26.24 --> 00:15:26. bit more 00:15:28.45 --> 00:15:32. well what if he was using compressors and accuse and 00:15:32.05 --> 00:15:34. stuff to get the guitar sound they have to get the 00:15:34.51 --> 00:15:37. same sound they don't want to change the sound they 00:15:37.13 --> 00:15:37. just want to make it louder 00:15:39.65 --> 00:15:41. so I hope your documentation was right 00:15:42.75 --> 00:15:45. and you guys are obviously pros at that I mean you 00:15:45.68 --> 00:15:46. guys are already on your way 00:15:47.75 --> 00:15:48. just hope your handwriting's good 00:15:50.15 --> 00:15:50. yeah 00:15:51.45 --> 00:15:54. it's okay, now we can move on setting up sessions 00:15:54.61 --> 00:15:55. patching 00:15:56.65 --> 00:15:59. taking documentation working in a mixed session is 00:15:59.85 --> 00:16:06. an assistant is a fairly uneventful not not is stressful 00:16:06.51 --> 00:16:10. and and crazy as a tracking session this is where 00:16:11.17 --> 00:16:12. pressure can really get to you 00:16:13.65 --> 00:16:14. tracking sessions 00:16:16.05 --> 00:16:17. you are very, very busy. What if it's a two hundred piece orchestra if you doing scoring for a film not only is it a bunch of mike's in a bunch of people, but you're dealing with union musicians. These guys are making big time money, and overtime is even more. And these guys, they're so spot on and so good at what they do. They're in and out. However, if there's a technical problem, it could be disastrous. In a tracking set, setting the system is basically going to be responsible, forgetting the studio, ready to start recording. All the mikes are going to be up. All the mikes are going to be routed. Everything is going to be. The signal is going to be right, is going to be flowing and routed and everything literally, the engineer is gonna want to sit down, pull up the fader and say, ok, let's, where's, the sound like I want to hear, okay, guitar left, okay, we're like they're not gonna do anything. They're getting paid for this for the sound, okay, let's, get the sound right. They're not getting paid to make the sound come out of the speaker like that's, the assistant's job and what you're doing, a tracking session. That is a lot of work, so the things that you'll need to know. Basically, the first thing that you brought up julie signal flow. Now we go into each of these in detail. But if you know this, your life is gonna be a lot easier if you don't know this. No, I want to tell you, good luck, okay, so some other things, not as really not as important as the other ones. I mean, they're important, but the other ones are what you should be focusing, focusing on more setting up instruments, sometimes usually it's kind of. You don't really touch people's instruments unless you have to running pro tools. Anybody that's two hundred fifty bucks into guitar center credit card can run approaches these days. Honestly, that goes without saying, like you should be knowing that before you're even an intern food and coffee, sometimes mostly that's, just dictated towards the runner. How about just anything that they ask anything? It's, your job and this welcome to the world of assistant engineering. Get used to this because it is going to happen to each and every one of you get used to not sleeping. No, I would do forty eight hours, sometimes straight. When I started, I worked eight months without a single day off. And not just a day like we're talking fit. Twelve to fifteen. Sometimes twenty hour shifts for every day, seven days a week for eight or nine months. How bad do you want that it's? A deal breaker for some people some people can't function on is the physical thing. They can't function with no sleep, find a way to get over it, that's all I can say, yeah, I know that's kind of hard, you know, like I literally can't function on no sleep. I understand they find a way to get over it, learn to drink a lot of coffee, change your body into getting used to having no sleep. I mean, that's, really. This is really critical, it's essential, no, and also realised that absolutely everything matters, especially the things that seem like they don't matter, meticulous and great documentation again. All right, this again detail. The smallest, tiniest little thing that you think would not even matter to anything could probably be the most important thing. Maybe it isn't for that particular thing that you're working on but you're trying to turn this into a habit trying to form your attention to detail into being a habit so it's the same every single time maybe the tiny details don't matter on a particular project but they always need to matter to you because you can't treat one situation different than another you have to have a system and the system starts with being meticulous in great documentation and most engineers and producers and mixers are just really detail oriented just by nature so two people that have the natural ability this is something that becomes pretty natural and if it doesn't like the sleep thing you need to learn it because it's absolutely essential come your handwriting my handwriting is terrible obviously it looks like a kindergartener his hand writer but when I was labelling oppa console or taking documentation better believe it looked like a typewriter I don't care if it takes you ten minutes to write one word make it look good I mean even if you have bad handwriting you can sit there and make something look good if you take the time documentation is so important because you are the person that setting it up you are gonna be the person tearing it down and most importantly, you are going to be the person is gonna have to recall it say you're doing a string date you got a whole orchestra in there and like we're talking about with the union musicians time is money, time, time, time all of a sudden okay we're out of time let's pick this up next week the musicians got to go somewhere or something let's pick this up next week well when they pick it up next week they're not just going to leave the room as it is for a week they're going to tear it down have other sessions and then they're going to set it back up a week later well who is going to set it up you are and it better be exactly the same as when they left everything every little detail from the way the mic cable is wrapped on the floor it's going to look the same because of me the engineer if I walk into a session and I noticed something is a little bit different I'm gonna think everything's wrong I mean like oh that my cables are well what else is wrong like this they might going to the right place and bob loblaw and start spiralling in your mind 00:22:30.62 --> 00:22:32. because time is money and as soon as you start wasting 00:22:32.98 --> 00:22:35. time you start wasting money as soon as you start 00:22:35.14 --> 00:22:38. wasting money you're in trouble nobody likes someone 00:22:38.82 --> 00:22:41. that's costing the money the system that can happen 00:22:41.96 --> 00:22:44. to the assistant because that's what they're responsible 00:22:44.22 --> 00:22:46. for ah beautiful patch bay 00:22:48.37 --> 00:22:50. this looks like a naive patch bay maybe 00:22:51.62 --> 00:22:54. and I'll get more in detail in a couple slides into 00:22:54.86 --> 00:22:59. what exactly the details of you know. But this is 00:22:59.1 --> 00:23:01. your best friend is an assistant. This is how you 00:23:01.28 --> 00:23:03. get. This is the key to victory. Is this how you get 00:23:03.41 --> 00:23:06. everything to anywhere? Anything that you want to 00:23:06.75 --> 00:23:08. accomplish in the studio is accomplished through this 00:23:08.99 --> 00:23:11. patch bay, so study it, learn it, 00:23:12.75 --> 00:23:13. memorize it. 00:23:16.43 --> 00:23:19. All right, so our next lesson. To become a student 00:23:20.22 --> 00:23:20. of the game. 00:23:22.08 --> 00:23:25. This is now you're in the room you're in. You're assisting 00:23:25.53 --> 00:23:26. for these people 00:23:27.48 --> 00:23:30. the same way that you were learning and re conning 00:23:30.45 --> 00:23:33. as an intern. And, you know, like with the cleaning, 00:23:33.4 --> 00:23:36. the control rooms and being a ninja and learning what 00:23:36.41 --> 00:23:38. assistance we're doing now, you're an assistant in 00:23:38.65 --> 00:23:40. the room. And now you can start learning with the 00:23:40.47 --> 00:23:41. engineers are doing. 00:23:44.52 --> 00:23:45. So become a student of the game 00:23:46.92 --> 00:23:50. find out what the best guys in the world use I mean 00:23:50.11 --> 00:23:53. there's a reason why the guys used pretty much the 00:23:53.04 --> 00:23:53. same 00:23:54.82 --> 00:23:57. forty or fifty pieces of gear the top guys because 00:23:57.5 --> 00:24:00. they've tried everything and they found that this 00:24:00.02 --> 00:24:03. works best so do your research and don't waste your 00:24:03.02 --> 00:24:05. time with the stuff that they've already thrown out 00:24:06.12 --> 00:24:06. I mean 00:24:08.38 --> 00:24:10. you don't want to reinvent the wheel I mean you want 00:24:10.67 --> 00:24:12. to put your own spin on it but the wheel is still 00:24:12.58 --> 00:24:16. the wheel you can't reinvent it you know used what 00:24:16.24 --> 00:24:20. other people have already learned and just bypass 00:24:20.14 --> 00:24:23. all of their you know this doesn't work I won't use 00:24:23.47 --> 00:24:26. this find out what they used question question for 00:24:26.04 --> 00:24:29. you on that sum we talked about absolutely is uh you 00:24:29.8 --> 00:24:32. know ah lot of people will say you say why do you 00:24:32.96 --> 00:24:34. use this for that piece of gear this piece is offering 00:24:34.77 --> 00:24:37. the well that's what someone so does my hero should 00:24:37.99 --> 00:24:41. you just you know copy what your heroes do or you 00:24:41.67 --> 00:24:43. know should you find your own path or you know what 00:24:43.87 --> 00:24:47. do you mean study what away you find your own path 00:24:47.17 --> 00:24:51. is by copying what your idols do and figuring out whether it works for you or not like copying what other people do is a great starting point it doesn't mean that that's how you're gonna make a name for yourself in the business because the people that make names for themselves are innovators, not followers. But the way they learned how to innovate is by copying what other people do. So should you copy what other people do? Absolutely and learn and and figure out, why did they do that? And then once you start getting copying, enough of different people cause everybody's different. It's. Okay, I'm a copy what this person did. I'm a copy with this person. Did a copy with this person did. Once you've copied enough of what people do and you started in your mind, then you can draw from all of that and create something on your own. And that comes with experience. Learning how things change sounds, what this does to a sound and once that's all stored in your mental roll index of sound in tone and gear, you can start picking stolen ideas from a million different places to create one original idea. I mean, no ideas, a really original everything stolen from somewhere else, even if it's the smallest detail of it that's it's still stolen from somewhere else. But if you steal ten thousand things and create one thing with its not really stolen its its original idea. Get your hands on the gear as much as you can. This is different in different environments, sometimes it's, tough, sometimes it's, easy. If you're in a residency situation, like I was lucky enough to be in, I have free reign, free run of the room, so any time we weren't doing an official mix, I could go in on the weekend or, and this goes back to the obsession. I'm I work nine days without a day off, and a lot of that was because when I there was a sunday or a saturday night or sunday night, where the session cancelled earlier, they were gone. I stay in the studio and worked from all my own stuff, or I would what I would take a session, that we were mixing for someone else, and I would mix it myself without anyone knowing, just to learn. We'll be out here so this this just kind of shows your mentality when you're attacking all of this, you're always doing re con for the job ahead of you. When you're an intern, you're keeping your ears open and could because you're re conning to the people trying to get the job of the person that's in the room, the assistant engineer. Now that you're in the room, you're you're in a gold mine, like you're getting to work with these people that no one else gets to work with. You're in the room, you can start doing re con for their job. Why do they do this? Why do they record this way? Why did they use this microphone? And you're hearing the same things that they're here. The only difference is is they know why it sounds that way, it's a conscious decision of why they made it sound that way and you don't know yet you just know that they did this and, you know, because they told you to do it because you're the assistant use this sm fifty seven on that, we're going to do vocals with an s m fifty seven with the transformer taken out, huh? Okay, why well you're about to find out when you hear it. Come, yeah, so just when you're an assistant, you're doing to re kon to be an engineer, this isn't always true. I thought all engineers want toby mixers, but the way you learn how to mix is to engineer you don't just walk into a control room and start pulling up sound to be like, oh, I'm a mixer now, like you have to understand the process of how things were recorded, why they're recorded that way in order to fix a problem or get a certain sound mom. If a vocal sounds booming here, there's something odd with the way the vocal sounds understanding of how it could have been recorded that would've caused that problem would be the fastest way to fix it rather than just start blindly pulling the cues and start messing with stuff there's a time and a place for that, too, but right now, the easiest way to get good at this is understanding this. The way you get good at this is by being this and being in the room with these people, you watch what they do and you over time, you start to understand why.
Ratings and Reviews
perfect for future music producers!!!!!! the hard but sweet reality !
El Bulbo Studio
From students and intern-level engineers to working professionals, this class will give you priceless advice. Andrew shows you the way of the ninja, from finding your path, listening and learning to timely executing and having a long ethical career.