Category: Audio

Self Employed In 90 Days

Hello,

I’m Sean Witzke, and I’m a music producer, videographer, photography, and all around media enthusiast. 90 days ago I cancelled my Netflix subscription, and set out on a journey to upgrade my personal skill set, become self employed, and in the end foster a lifestyle of learning and creativity versus consumption and laziness. In turn, I exchanged my Netflix subscription for a Lynda.com subscription; a website which develops university level online tutorial videos (photography, videography, music production, photoshop, autocad etc.). This website gave me the platform to help achieve my goals, and in the end, I achieved them.

What started off as a personal experiment, trying to teach myself how to program, turned into a full on lifestyle change through pursuing business opportunities, learning new skills, and overall being more prone to take risks and adventure out into the world. I can say that I’ve accomplished more than I ever have within 90 days. I went on multiple road trips across the coast of Oregon, and British Columbia; both endowed with amazing scenery and photographic inspiration… upgraded my video production arsenal far beyond what I thought I would personally own at this point in my life… founded my own video production company which currently specializes in wedding videography, Small City Film… and built a hefty portfolio in both videography and photography.

A Change In Direction

I look back now, and it’s interesting to see where this journey has led me. My original intent was to learn different programming languages, and see where that would take me in the world of technology, but after multiple nights on Lynda.com, I began watching tutorials on video production; more then I planned. I started growing more in my confidence as a videographer, throwing myself into new opportunities, and taking on projects I thought were once out of my reach. Overtime, I started filming more and more, and eventually landed multiple wedding video gigs over the summer. My goal at becoming self employed grew far closer then it ever did with programming, and so the switch was made.

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Day 85: When Failure Happens

It’s ironic. My last post was about being ok with failure, but this last wedding shoot I encountered just that. Failure.

The Gear

The day before filming this past wedding on Friday, I decided to rent a few things from my local music store. Mainly some audio equipment. I borrowed my friend’s H4N portable audio recorder, and rented a wireless Sennheiser G3 wireless lavaliere microphone. Little did I know what I was to expect.

On the day of the wedding I was setting up a few tripods with my second shooters for the ceremony. I finally whipped out the lav, and mic’d the pastor who was marrying the couple. As he went off to mingle for a bit before the ceremony I checked the audio on my H4N. It was all good. Nothing to worry about.

The Problem

The ceremony starts, and my minds in the game. We were shooting for the next 40 minutes, and that’s all there was to think about. The ceremony went well, until I got back to my H4N and reviewed the audio. As soon as the pastor started walking towards the alter to begin the ceremony, the mic cut out. The wire was broken. This was something I didn’t see coming. I tested the signal, but I never tested how resilient the wire was. It turns out, I’m never renting a lavalliere mic again. Now I know what my next investment will be…

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Day 45: Great Things Happen With Great People

Recently, I was able to do a collaborative piece with my friend Braedin. He had three friends Emily, Tsion, and Kate sit in a field and jam out their Bob Marley cover of Is This Love. I was able to help with location sound and editing, and the final product is the video below.

This collaboration was a lot of fun, and I’m glad that I was able to be apart of it. Looking back, there was one thing I learned specifically, and I’d like to share that with you.

Great Things Don’t Happen On Their Own

Whether you’re a musician, programmer, videographer, etc. You will at one time or another get the feeling that you can do it all on your own, and that you don’t really need anyone but yourself. Sure, you could release your own solo EP, program your own app for the iPhone App Store, or make your own documentary, but you wont accomplish anything great. It’ll be good. Not great.

Most of us are usually really great at one or two things, and pretty good at a lot of things. So, when you start dabbling in a big picture concept or production alone… you finish them… but all that was added was your one or two great things. As soon as you start bringing on more people to fill in specific roles and duties, the higher the chance that all of those roles will be accomplished with a higher sense of efficiency and quality.

Specialization Is Key

For this project I operated as the sound engineer, Braedin operated as a director of photography, And of course, you also have the musicians. I myself am a videographer, but for this project, that wasn’t my focus. If Braedin decided to shoot video, setup a bunch of tripods, and sync up all the audio, sure, he could have maybe come out with the same result. But the truth is, we didn’t have that much time to film at the location, so operating as an efficient team was key.

If you ever try to record drums in a studio by yourself, you’ll understand what I mean. You got to setup your session. Have an ample amount of time to get to the drums after you click record. Finally, click record. Play your part. Come back. Listen. Repeat. It can get mentally exhausting very quickly.

Instead of thinking about what you could accomplish on your own, think about what it is that you want the final product to be, and then assess what kind of team you need to get you there. Then either 1) you’ll finish your project more quickly then you expected too or 2) you’ll finish it with a higher sense of quality and greatness. Both of which are desirable outcomes. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself… Who do you want on your team?

 

Day 24: Sometimes You Need A Teacher

This past while, I’ve been finishing my Pro Tools 10 Essential Training course on Lynda.com and I found that I learned how to troubleshoot my sessions better.

What Is Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving, often applied to repair failed products or processes. It is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem so that it can be solved, and so the product or process can be made operational again.” – Wikipedia (Because I love Wikipedia)

What I Learned

Pro Tools handles your computers RAM in a way I never really knew about. Knowing about it will now help me be able to streamline my computers processing power in different types of recording sessions. One thing I never knew about was how the undo commands in Pro Tools were stored in your RAM. (But I guess all undo commands in any program are stored in your RAM, so I learned something new all together) You can have a max of 32 undos stored, but each one thats being stored takes memory away from other memory intensive tasks.

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