THINKING The pros behind Conference productions offer an inside look at audio engineering BY SPENCER WATSON
nyone who has ever surveyed all the dials, sliders, scopes and other enigmatic mechanisms on a sound or video board might wonder how anyone could possibly ever decipher, much less master, such a complicated contraption. Even for a technology savvy person, it can be intimidating. EAST offers good practice, experts in the field said. Not just for the knowhow but the hands-on philosophy, too. “The best way for someone to learn is to just get in there and do it,” said Shawn Browning, a production manager for Maumelle-based Sound Logic, a full service production company whose 12
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work includes audio, video, staging, lighting and anything else that needs doing to make concerts, festivals, corporate events and even weddings turn into full-scale productions. Sound Logic last year took over the production work on general sessions at the EAST Conference — opening plenary, the awards gala and the closing session — and do so again this year. “Everybody here has a passion for this industry, and we’ve been given an opportunity to take that passion and actually make a life of it, so we can actually afford to do what it is we do,” said Sound Logic owner Kym Evans.
For his part, Evans was always into music — band, choir, music theory and everything else. He checked out books on multimedia and mixing and was a regular at the music store. Browning, likewise, was an enthusiast, but he also went to school for audio engineering. His assessment? Doing is learning. “I saw a lot of people that came into school fresh, had no idea about anything. And by the time it ended, they still didn’t know,” he said. “They couldn’t apply what they were being taught. Being in the classroom, being shown how to do something, then trying to go apply it, that’s very different. If you knew how to do it and then were learning in the classroom, it was so much easier.”