Matthew is interning with Jeff Watson at Golda Och Academy.
-------------------------------------------------------MARCH 25, 2021
Although I just recently began working for Mr. Watson, I have enjoyed working with him, and have already learned a lot. We will be working for GOA, and I am already helping with some projects that are in progress. For example, this week on Monday and Thursday we went to the Lower School campus to record for the 1st grade Siddur play. In the future, we will also record for other student plays and projects at the Lower School. In addition, we will be creating websites for some of our projects, such as the Science Fair and Biography Day.
In order to start these projects, I had to learn multiple pieces of software, one of which is Adobe Audition. Audition is the audio program that I am/will be using to edit audio. Despite my unfamiliarity, it wasn’t too hard to learn because I was already familiar with other audio programs. However, I did have trouble learning where everything was located within the program and I had to learn the keyboard shortcuts for Audition, which took a while. While I had some ease learning a new audio program, I also had to learn two new video editing programs.
Adobe Premiere is one of the two video editing softwares I needed to learn for this internship. Again, learning this program wasn’t too hard, but that was because of the software’s built-in tutorials, and relatively small number of features. In my opinion, Premiere is more of a video sequencing software, that has transitional effects, rather than a video editing software. When it comes to actual video editing, and video effects, Adobe After Effects is the better software. I also had to learn After Effects, which has proven to be difficult. Mr. Watson describes After Effects as “the Photoshop of video software.” I would completely agree with him, after spending some time using the software, and given the trouble I have with Photoshop and utilizing all of its features. I expect to have more trouble using this software. After Effects is more complicated than Premiere, because it includes keyframes for animation and special effects.
So far, I have had a few jobs. My first job was technically learning the software, but my first actual job was to create a template for a website with Google Sites for Biography Day, a day in which second graders dress up as famous figures and talk about their famous figures' lives. The website was planned to be an alternative to actually holding the Biography Day in person, with video recordings of each student reciting their information. However, this decision might have changed. Regardless, the website will be made. I expect that there will be the choice to go to Biography Day, and if someone can’t, they will use the website. The website will consist of separate pages for each student, which will show them in costume, and will have their videos that they recorded. On the main page, the students will have their school photos, and names to show what they look like outside of their costume.
Another job that I have is related to on-campus recording of the Siddur Play for the first graders. I was joined by some fellow seniors at the Lower School setting up tripods, cameras, and a microphone to record the first graders singing their songs. We also set up lights and a green screen inside the cafeteria to record the students for a montage. For the singing, we set up two cameras on tripods outside in the parking lot. One is placed in front of the kids and is fitted with a wide-angle lens, and the other is simply placed diagonally in relation to the kids, in order to fit everyone in the frame. In addition, someone uses a handheld phone gimbal to get moving shots. Next to the camera placed directly in front of the children, we set up a table with a Blue Yeti microphone, and a computer fitted with Adobe Audition to record audio.
This internship has already taught me a lot about video production, audio editing, and website design. I learned how to use multiple pieces of software, and through tutorials, I learned how to edit audio and mix vocals to sound better. I also learned that Google Sites is a tool open to everyone, which helps with creating websites that look and feel competently made. May 10, 2021
In the weeks since my last blog, I have learned and accomplished many things. I visited the lower school campus to help film the first graders’ Siddur Play, as well as some of the third graders’ Rosh Chodesh celebration. I also edited a portion of the Siddur Play, as well as a video of sophomore Ava H. singing the national anthem.
When Mr. Watson and I went to the lower school to film the first graders for the Siddur Play, we filmed the children passing a siddur from person to person in front of a green screen. I was the one who edited the sequence, and had to learn how to green screen people in order to complete the sequence. This proved easier than I expected. Essentially, green screening is actually called “Chroma Keying” within video editing software, such as Adobe Premiere. It is an effect that allows the user to remove one part of the image and replace it with another image. In this case, the only thing required is that the computer/software knows that the only part of the image it should get rid of is the green background. This is very easy to do – it requires use of an eye dropper tool, a color selector, to tell the computer which color to get rid of. Then, in order to get a good green screen, you would need to tweak a couple of settings that determine how lenient the software should be in getting rid of the background, as well as how much of the area should be affected. The latter parameter can make the subject of the video – in this case, the children – look skinny, or unnatural if done incorrectly.
Besides the work I have done for the school, I have learned quite a lot about mixing music and Adobe software. While I continue to use Ableton Live 10 for my personal music projects, I have been playing around with Adobe Audition. Audition is Adobe’s audio software and is more for mixing and mastering audio, as opposed to creating music from scratch. The other day, I was talking to Mr. Watson, my supervisor, about autotune, because I found an autotune plugin that seemed professional and was absurdly cheap for software of this quality. He told me that there was a built-in autotune in Audition that I should try before I buy that one, so I spent a couple of hours playing around with the software in Audition. One thing that I noticed was that the autotune in Audition was not in real time. This means that I had to take my audio file, tweak the settings of the autotune, and then wait a little in between applying my settings and being able to hear what the autotune sounds like. The audio has to render before I can listen to it, while this other autotune that I found allows me to listen to the audio as I am changing the settings.
On another note, I am currently working on an album. The music will be entirely produced by me, with a number of musical artists that I have met via social media, providing vocals. During this process, I have been asking Mr. Watson for tips and ideas regarding how to mix my music properly, and I have adopted an effective way to mix vocals. It involves a lot of effects and makes the vocals apparent within the song, regardless of how loud the song is playing. This is all thanks to something called compression. Compression is an effect that minimizes the volume of loud sounds while heightening the volume of quiet sounds. Compression can be destructive when overused, because it can highlight unpleasant frequencies, and background noise (or hissing, vinyl crackle, and other slightly annoying sounds), it works well on rap vocals because the rapper is essentially just speaking, which normally doesn’t present many unpleasant frequencies.
I also learned about another effect called a DeEsser. From what I understand, a DeEsser is another type of compression. However, this type of compression targets hard “S” and “P” sounds. When a rapper really tries to emphasize their words, and speak clearly, they might put a lot of strain on their S’s or P’s. The S’s make a hissing sound that is annoying to the listener, and the P sounds make a bassy pop sound that can get in the way of other bass frequencies within the song, and make some parts of the song sound unpleasant. A DeEsser compresses these parts, and makes them the same volume as the rest of the vocals, which makes the S and P noises much more bearable.