This year, as always, we’ve had some really interesting new people join the Club: Sound professionals working in all kinds of different aspects of audio, from film to music to video games to sound art. I’ve been thinking recently that it’d be good to introduce some of the Club’s members on the website (especially those from places further afield than the U.S and Europe) rather than just see each others’ names tagged on the end of sound files in the collection!
So when Vijay joined recently, I asked him if he’d be up for writing a bit about himself and what he does because, although the Club has members from many corners of the world, we haven’t had that many from Asia so far and I thought it’d be interesting for Western members to read a bit about how things are done in India. Vijay has very kindly obliged with the detailed description and photos below:
I am a sound designer/sound editor/sound recordist based out of AM Studios
, Chennai and I have worked in more than a hundred projects performing various roles in the film audio industry. My experience ranges from Bollywood to BBC. I have also worked with various other European films as sound FX editor/ foley supervisor.
I studied the Master of Science degree in advanced music production from the University of Glamorgan in South Wales. I was always passionate about sound in films. I started to take it further at a very young age. I apprenticed at a famous Chennai based studio, Vijaya Vauhini
, when I was 18, then I ended up as an FX editor in the same studio after I finished my Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc Physics at Loyola College – Chennai). In 2005 I wanted to take this further which is when I pursued my higher education at Glamorgan University. After that, I was employed by an animation company called Inspire GLG in Worcestershire as a sound designer. I worked in the Midlands area for a few companies until 2010. In 2010 I decided to move back to India (which is where my roots are) and I started my own company, The-AudioVille
, and now I work with a very good group of very talented people. I have a great foley team, and FX editing team who are equally passionate at what they do and they all contribute immensely to the films I work on (one of The AudioVille’s editing rooms pictured below)
I have done a lot of Indian feature films of varying genres. Indian films are not just limited to Bollywood. There are nearly 25 different film industries here. Each state has it’s own film industry. For example, the previous film I worked on was released in 2000 screens just in the state of Tamil Nadu which is where I live. Recently – in the past 2 years – I have started doing a lot of European feature films. From my imdb page you can see what I have done….I normally get the footage (i.e. get access to turnovers)
online and my current preferred way of collaboration is with Gobbler
mainly because it is very fast for uploads and downloads. The collaborators deliver me a Pro-Res or a DNX HD picture and the AAF. I have a very fast 100Mbps upload and download leased line dedicated to collaborative work, so sending and receiving files is never a problem for me. I also normally get notes from the supervising sound editors or directors with timecoded notes on what exactly is required (normally as region groups in a Pro Tools session or sometimes as text files). Then I edit FX following these notes whilst at the same time using my creativity as well, plus recording anything if required. I also have a crew here to work with. They help me out with cutting backgrounds or FX depending on the film’s requirement. I also simultaneously record foley in our foley room (see below)
. We have a very clean signal chain there so the recording is as transparent as possible; no noise or anything like that. I also have an extensive library; both commercial (with multi user licences) and my own recordings. We also have a few recorders like Deva, Roland, Edirol, Zoom H6,
Nomad etc….and we use them from time to time when required, and some good microphones as well!!!
If required I also hire AM Studios (see picture below)
which is a step away from my place. AM Studios is one of the premier Indian post production houses (It’s like the Delane Lea of Chennai!). It is owned by the academy award winning composer, Mr. A.R. Rahman (the Slum Dog Millionaire
-famed music composer). The people at AM Studios are a fantastic talent and a fun bunch of people to work with. They have great gear which I can use whenever required. They have a great sounding film mix room with crazy Auro 3D Meyer sound speaker system
, with an Icon and a System 5 Euphonix. They have just ordered a large scale Neve DFC with immersive sound panner to replace the system 5 console….which I believe will get installed next month!!! They also have multiple Kyma
systems, Great outboard gear like Aphex, Manley, Chandler…etc..etc…..All this can be used as and when required. I am closely associated with AM Studios. All my Indian projects get mixed there and also they give me some good films from time to time.
So coming back to the point……when we are done with a reel, I upload a 5.1 bounce or send the actual session for review depending on the requirement. Normally it’s all panned, volume automated, reverbs done and “Mix Ready” all in the box. Working in the box makes collaboration much easier; if I use any outboard stuff I print them onto a separate track. The client then sends back some notes or corrections if required and we do those and send the master session. When I deliver, normally the entire film with all FX, Ambience and Foley are in one large session so it becomes very easy for the client. We are very much prepared to do lots of back and forth kind of collaboration….it seems to be the way to go these days as expectation from the directors are pretty high.
We have 3 sound editing rooms, and 1 foley room here. We also do dialogue editing as well. So the collaboration varies depending on the requirement. Also I have recently started sending some of my work to other collaborators overseas as well. The average Tamil industry films don’t spend much on sound and the budgets are shrinking but some of the bigger films have decent budgets. I am always open to collaborating with other sound designers and FX editors around the world. I strongly believe that collaborative workflow is the future as it opens a whole lot of creative possibilities and the internet has made that possible now. I see a lot of talented people in Korea, Japan, UK, US…everywhere…through Facebook, Linkedin and other networking sites. I think India is a market to be explored – especially the big films. With immersive sound becoming very popular here, the demand for quality talent on an economical budget (doesn’t mean cheap) becomes in demand. Gone are those days where a client will walk in to a studio based on the look and feel of the studio and the kind of coffee and canteen you have. These days the film makers are like, “Do you have the talent? Can you do the job in an economical way? Will you spend the budget efficiently? Will you deliver good sounding tracks? You are on!!”.
At least, these are the types of film makers that I am targeting. They also end up respecting us for what we do for their films. I think it is the same even in the UK and everywhere. Sometimes the budgets may not be right for one person but perhaps it might be good for the other. So it really comes down to passion and commitment.
Look out for a new Sugarsync invite appearing in your inboxes soon; I’m sending out invites to all members to a new folder with a few random sample files in of various lengths. The difference is that I’ve only given you read-only access to this folder.
Recent changes in the latest update of Sugarsync mean that I can now give you all read-only permission but you’ll still be able to see your Club folders as a drive in your Finder window on your desktop (see pic below). The only difference will be that that ‘drive’ won’t be an actual hard copy taking up space on your hard drive – it’ll be in the cloud but accessible / visible directly from your desktop so you won’t have to open Safari, Firefox, etc. in order to grab a sound from them.
I’m planning on changing all the theme folders to read-only when we start the new membership year on 1st May, so the plan is to use this ‘sample folder’ to road-test whether this change throws up any significant or insurmountable obstacles or objections before then. If not, we’ll change to this read-only setting for 2013-14.
This will instantly eradicate a chunk of maintenance work I currently have to do as a result of the inevitable accidents that happen due to everyone having read and write access to the folders.
You know the drill by now – give me a shout if anything doesn’t make sense or if you have any issues with this change; I’m happy to explain things further where needed. I get the impression that members access their folders in many different ways – some go online, some sync to their computer, some make copies onto their FX drives, and so on – so any feedback on how this changes your user experience of the Club is very welcome.
The Night and Day collection is back in action, which means that all Club themes are now back online for members to start contributing to again – but this time with a bit of a difference.
As 2011 has passed by and the collection has grown, I’ve already begun to think that The Sound Collectors’ Club needs to find a more suitable location to store it’s collections in than Soundcloud. Soundcloud is great aesthetically and perfect for linking to other social networks and blogs, and I’ll definitely continue to use it for the mp3 samples that can be auditioned in the Browse The Collection page. However, as a means of cloud storage for an ever-growing sound fx library, it isn’t ideal – the more themes we amass, the larger the amount of ‘secret links’ we’ll have to keep hold of and keep handy for whenever we want to access the collections. Downloading and then re-loading file metadata is also cumbersome via Soundcloud. What I feel we need is a form of cloud storage which more closely mirrors the way we store our own sound fx libraries on our work computers.
In my opinion, the application that currently fulfills this brief the best is Sugarsync. There are many other similar applications but they all seem to fall down on one or more particular function that is essential for the Club to work well by this method. For example, Dropbox is great, but it requires everyone sharing a folder to have the capacity for the full size of the shared folder in their personal account, which is impractical. You can get around this by signing up for one of their Team accounts but that costs about £700 which is obviously far too expensive.
With Sugarsync, only I need to buy the amount of storage needed to hold the Club’s collections. I can then share it with all contributors, who only need sign up for the free account. You will receive an e-mail from me saying that I’ve shared a folder with you; if you’ve already signed up to Sugarsync you can access it straight away. If not, you can click on the ‘Sign Up’ link on the e-mail and then let their website lead you through the registering process before returning to the e-mail to access the shared folder.
As soon as you access the shared folder, it will be synced to your desktop – if you’re on a Mac, it will sync to a new folder in your ‘Documents’ folder. It isn’t ideal but this folder has to stay in this location in which it is created AND MUST NOT BE EDITED OR ADDED TO!!! This is because in order for you to be able to sync the folder to your desktop I have to enable you to access AND modify it. I’m pretty sure better permission controls will come along before long so that I’ll be able to let you access but not modify folders but, for now, please don’t change, move, delete or add to this folder, as it will change the folder for everyone else as well and will get very confusing. For this reason, please install Sugarsync on your personal computer rather than any shared work one that you might use, in order to minimize this risk (you can still access Club sounds via the internet on shared computers). However, having said that, I do have backups should any accidents happen and Sugarsync has quite a good ‘undo delete’ system, so it’s not quite as precarious as it sounds.
As is often the way, there are workarounds to these slight flaws: If it’s a bit of a pain having to go into your ‘Documents’ folder to access the sounds then you can, of course, create an alias of the folder in a more easily accessible location. However, for now, it’s probably a good thing that the sync folder is tucked out of the way because you’re then perhaps less likely to accidentally edit it. In my opinion, it’s maybe best to create a new ‘The Sound Collectors’ Club’ folder in your sound fx library then create new folders within that for all the sets that you have access to. Once you’ve done that you can just use the sync folder in ‘Documents’ to copy new audio to your sound fx library from whenever I tweet that new sounds have been added to the collection. Please let me know of any other non-destructive workflows you devise to incorporate the Club’s collection into your sound fx library.
So that’s the downloading taken care of! As for the uploading, we’ll stick with the existing system via Soundcloud for now – I don’t want to throw too many new systems at you all at once so I’ll probably hold fire with any new uploading instructions until the New Year. I’ll gradually start adding step-by-step instructions or even a tutorial vid to the website to explain the new process (as well as gradually sharing all the other collections) but hopefully, for now, this post will suffice in pointing you in the right direction towards setting up your Sugarsync account then syncing collections to your desktop. Obviously give me a shout if you have any problems.
However this system ends up being adapted to suit our needs, I really feel this type of cloud sharing is the future for the Club so do please give it a go. I think the ideal scenario would be for all Club members to have a dedicated folder (which they can’t erase) somewhere useful on their computer (such as in their fx library or in their menu bar like Dropbox) which auto-syncs whenever new sounds are added to the collection so that you only need to drag and drop them into Soundminer / Audiofinder / etc. from time to time. Sugarsync may just be the first but vital stepping stone towards that goal – please let me know how you get on with it.