Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Audio & Music Production Level 6 Faithless Trip

Students from Bucks University attended two Faithless arena shows at Birmingham Barclaycard Arena (The NIA) and Alexandra Palace on the 2nd and 4th of December. Faithless have recently had a number one album with Faithless 2.0

Following an extensive case study of the technical requirements of a touring arena show, the students, who are in their final year on the Audio & Music Production course, were taken through audio setup by Front of House Sound Engineer Mark Kennedy. Mark uses the latest Solid State Logic 500 digital console to mix 56 inputs from the stage.

Following the guided tour of the console and the l’acoustic sound system, the students were taken on a tour of the Stage, Monitor System and Radio Equipment. The students also had the opportunity to mix a recording of Insomnia through the PA

Stage Manager Toby Plant and the backline crew then took the students through each departments role on the stage before the band arrived to Sound Check.

All were then able to watch Mark mix the show from the Front of House position.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

 Audio & Music Production visit to Sennheiser HQ

Bucks New Uni’s long term partners, Sennheiser UK recently played host to our Audio & Music Production Freshers at their UK headquarters in Marlow. Sennheiser’s Phil Cummings introduced what is now widely regarded as the leading microphone and headphone manufacturing company in the world.  The trip was also an opportunity to hear about how the partnership benefits Bucks students, and in particular, the annual Sennheiser Scholarship Scheme, where the winning first year student will receive £1500 in cash, along with a range of Sennheiser gear to help them through their studies and kick start their career in audio production.  The visit included a Q &A with the students’  live audio lecturer at Bucks,  Dan Peters,  who talked about his recent work with legendary dance act, Faithless.  The morning  rounded off with an interview with Joe Campbell; long term Live Sound Engineer for The Prodigy.   More recently, Joe has been working as Monitor Engineer for Adele and the visit to Sennheiser came just before Joe headed into rehearsals for Adele’s new live show and her much anticipated follow up album to her record breaking release ‘19’.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bucks Audio & Music Production Students Working @ Glastonbury


Five lucky students were selected from Bucks to work on the Pyramid stage and The Main Stage at Glastonbury this year. We've asked them to give some idea of the jobs they undertook, their highlights and whats been happening we go....

Sam Newman

I was working for Skan PA on the other stage. In the load in i got very hands on with everything, including flying the PA (a d&b j-line rig), running multi's, building front of house (which consisted of 2 avid profiles on a flip-flop system and spare cat 5 lines for any visiting desks), running out stage VEAMs and building monitor world (2 PM5Ds on flip flop, also with spares for visiting desks) 

During the show days we were patching in the satellite boxes on the rolling risers and placing microphones. Got to work with some awesome bands, highlights being Jungle, the chemical brothers and Ella Eyre. We also were involved with changeovers and stripping the risers of microphones after every set. 

Since Glastonbury I went out on tour doing FOH and Monitors at 5 festivals throughout the UK. I was on a Yamaha ls9. These festivals included Y Not festival, Truck (in Oxford) and Tramlines in Sheffield. We provided full production across 3 stages. On our stage we had acts such as Don Broco, Lower than Atlantis and The Xcerts. 

Since then I was offered work by Skan to do a European tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash, being a system tech for the monitor engineer. 

James Desnapp

i was working with Skan Pa on the Other Stage. 

Skan invited me down to their warehouse before the estival in order to meet the team, while i was there they had me build some Yamaha Rio Racks for one of the headliners FOH system and help them load all the arctic lorrys ready for the festival.

On the Wednesday we got to fly the main PA system which was comprised of two main hangs and two side hangs of D&B J 8's and 12's and a number of subs across the front of the stage. On the Thursday the rest of the Skan crew arrived and the day mainly consisted of getting all microphones, cables etc ready for the Friday and testing and tuning the system

The rest of the weekend i spent working as one of the two mic and cable teams as part of Skans AB (or Flipflop) system, this consisted of meeting with bands, techs etc who weren't self contained (Bring own crew, mics, cables etc) and getting all microphones ready of stands and micing up everything on risers back stage, then cabling and line checking every band before they went on. 

Over the whole weekend i got to work with some incredible bands including: Jamie T, Ella Eyre, Clean bandit, the Maccabees and the list goes on. 
out of the whole weekend though, the Chemical Brothers where the stand out act.

Paul Abdullah

I was allocated a position to work with the crew at Neg Earth, one of the leading lighting company in the entertainments industry.

I met up with the crew for the Pyramid stage in the warehouse for a day before the festival. The day involved marking up truss, by numbering and colour coding each piece, so upon arriving on site the truss can be assembled quickly and also marking where each lighting fixture is to be rigged as well, such as the moving lights and strobes.

The day before the main arena opened, I headed over to the Other Stage, which is run by a different bunch of crew from Neg Earth. Here I fitted in well with the crew, which had a much more relaxed atmosphere than the Pyramid stage, which was heavily influenced by the fact everything had to be spot on for TV.

After chatting with Tom Lesh, the guy overseeing the lighting aspect at the stage, he showed me the lighting desk they were using, Grand MA 2, and let me have a play with it through the use of the connected visualizer (Wiziwig) of the lighting rig.

From there, Tom invited me back the next day when the stage opened to the punters and had me doing lights for the various artists that did not have Lighting Operators. These artists included some really big names, which was amazing for me! I ended up doing lights for Ella Eyre, Everything Everything, The Maccabees and many more.

I also had the delight to build the lighting rig for Kayne West, which ended up with me being given 5 local crew for me to instruct on how to build, which was a surreal experience, but a good learning curve on how to instruct people and keep everyone occupied.

After the festival I sent an email saying thanks to both the crew at the Pyramid Stage and the Other stage for having me. About a month after, I got an email from Tom Lesh, the guy running the Other stage, asking if I was available to work for Neg Earth up in Glasgow for their festival at Bellahouston Park. I was meant to be on holiday in Holland that week with family, but I did not want to miss an amazing and possibly once in a lifetime opportunity, so I took up the offer to work for Neg Earth.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Tim Edwards – Graduate Q&A

Q. What is your job title and where do you work?

I am a freelance Sound Recordist. I work on various projects but the bulk of my work is with Amersham based ‘Boundless Productions’. For Boundless, I am one of a handful of Location Sound Recordists working on the daytime property show ‘Escape to the Country’

Q. When did you start working there?

I started working for Boundless at the end of summer 2014 after successfully completing an in-house training program with them earlier in the year.

 Q. In a typical day, what do you do?

Working on ‘Escape’, a typical day involves working as part of a small, 4-person crew with a presenter and two contributors. My job is to get the guys in front of the camera mic’d up with radio lav mics, so that the mics aren’t visible on camera. I then mix 3-4 signals down to a stereo mix which is recorded straight onto camera for sync sound. Whist each show follows roughly the same format, a ‘typical day’ can be extremely varied. We work both inside and outside, with animals, on land and on water! Aside from making sure the microphones are hidden and are sounding great, it is my responsibly to make sure that the ambient sounds of the environment we are in do not impact negatively on the way the show might be cut together. The golden rule is: if it’s not on camera, it shouldn’t be heard. Aeroplane and traffic noise are the two main offenders but nearby building or gardening work is also a concern! It is not uncommon to have to politely ask people if they wouldn’t mind giving up 15-20 mins of silence so that we can film uninterrupted. People are generally very friendly and accommodating once we explain what we’re doing!

Q. How did you get the job?

When I was at Bucks, Al Green sent us an email about a ‘trainee sound recordist’ position being advertised in Amersham. I applied for the job after seeing the same advert on a jobs board online the following year. Most of the decent sites (e.g. Production Base, Film & TV Pro) have free and paid-for sections which appropriately yield unpaid and paid jobs respectively. It’s worth doing a few of these ‘expenses only’ things to gain experience, and they won’t cost you to apply.

Q. What are the best bits of what you do?

The best bit about being a ‘soundie’ is when everything runs smoothly. Nobody likes ‘waiting on sound’, so it’s nice when you manage to do your job and make it look easy. It’s also satisfying (in a TOTALLY different way) when things go wrong and you manage to fix them quickly. For me, the variety of the job is what I enjoy. Going to places you would never normally go and meeting all kinds of interesting people keep things really interesting. When you’re outside in the sunshine, it hardly feels like working at all!

Q. What are the worst bits?

Rain, wind, cold, early mornings, traffic, strimmers, angle grinders, starched shirts and hairy chests! – for all kinds of different reasons!

Q. What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the same line of work?

Get as much experience as you can. Try and get a basic kit of your own together as this will help you get jobs. Nobody likes sorting out hire kit and having your own means you can charge a higher day rate.

Be friendly and as helpful as you can be. Working in TV is as much about getting along with people as it is being technically god at your job. Especially when you’re starting out, try and tread the fine line between showing that you’re capable and being a know-it-all. That said, it never hurts to have at least some understanding of everybody else’s roles. This will help you work well as part of a team and make some sense of the jargon that is associated with each job.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

Do as much as you can whilst you’re at Bucks, the kit you have access to will cost you a small fortune in the ‘real world’ and being able to use it for nothing will get your foot in the door of countless opportunities outside of uni!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Escape to the Country

Our graduate Tim Edwards was the Sound Recordist on today's episode of BBC's Escape to the Country. Soundin' good Tim!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Sound Design showreel

See some examples from last years graduation work here.

On most productions, Audio & Music Production students handled sound recording on location, sound mixing / sound design, and music

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

AMP student work recognised at UK Music event

On March 3rd I was invited to attend an event organized by UK Music. 
Essentially it was a high profile acknowledgement of having devised and led the pilot initiative with BBC Introducing, which we have now been invited to help instigate at other Universities and Colleges, in-keeping with the BBC’s remit to promote new music.

The centrepiece of the event was the screening of our BBC Introducing making of video ( ); great for our profile! Huge credit to Steve Dominey who edited the film, which was very well received by the attendees and drew lots of positive comments. 

Although Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Sajid Javid) didn’t turn up (he was called to China at short notice), Baroness Jolly, who deputised for Sajid Javid, and the Shadow Culture Minister both made a speech. 

The Head of Universal Music was there, along with a few other major industry players. Dennis Weinrich from JAMES was there, supportive as ever, and Lorna Finlayson from UK Music grabbed me on arrival saying she wanted to introduce me to some people from the University of Westminster who want to do something similar.

I also caught up with BBC Introducing Producer Kieron Yeates, and they all seem delighted with what we have done – impressed by the production values and amazed at the quantity of output; 4 shoots delivered to date with another three scheduled for 

In short, this was a great showcase for our Audio & Music Production and Film & TV Production undergraduates. So well done everyone, it’s all good!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Bucks students record artist Natasha North for BBC broadcast


Students from Buckinghamshire New University have enjoyed the chance to record up and coming singer-songwriter Natasha North for a show to be broadcast by the BBC.Artist Natasha North is recorded by students in The Gateway recording studio.

As part of a partnership that the University has with the programme BBC Introducing, students from the School of Media Production and Performance had the opportunity to mix and record three of Natasha North's tracks as well as film and edit her performance on campus. The show will be aired on BBC Three Counties Radio and the BBC Introducing website this Saturday.

Daniel Garise, who is in his final year of a BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree, said: "This is my first experience as a producer and it's been exciting and challenging to make sure everything runs smoothly.

"We first started talking to Natasha and her team a couple of weeks ago to finalise the track list and to find out what we need to mix and how the day should run. It's been a great experience for me and very rewarding to work on a show such as BBC Introducing."

Students worked with singer/songwriter Alex Bay for the programme BBC Introducing.The show, which was recorded in the University's recording studio in the main Gateway building, enabled students to get a taste of what it is like to work in the media production industry and to put into practice the skills they have learned throughout their studies.

Lecturer Daniel Peters, who supervises students studying BA (Hons) Audio and Music Production, commented: "These sessions give final year students the opportunity to work in a professional scenario. From pre-production, to the shoot and then to post-production, students are expected to liaise with industry professionals, hit strict deadlines and produce work fit for broadcast." 

Natasha North said of her experience at the University: "It has been extremely professional and everyone knows exactly what they are doing. The students have been brilliant at sorting everything out."

Students previously recorded band The Scruff for BBC Introducing, and the series is due to continue featuring student recordings as part of its ongoing partnership with the University.

The latest artist the students worked with was singer/songwriter Alex Bay and guitarist Kaid Hussain.

Student Adam Taylor, studying BA (Hons) Audio and Music Production, said: "I really enjoyed the experience of having Alex Bay in for a live shoot.
"Having the challenge of an outside artist coming in gives you some real life experience you cannot get in lectures. It was unpredictable and forced us to think on our feet and problem-solve. Challenging and fun!"
Main picture: Artist Natasha North is recorded by students in The Gateway recording studio.
Second picture: Alex Bay with students following his recording.

Find out how you could study the courses featured in this story