Being the only non-audio engineer in the office can sometimes feel like living in a foreign country. An unknown and indecipherable language (mostly made up of numbers) is all around me. I spend a good amount of time feeling like a 4 year-old asking “whats that?” or “why?” or “how come?”. Having not come from an audio background, the best advice a head hobo could give me was, just listen.
For the past three years I have done my best to follow that advice, and it’s amazing how much Ive heard just being in this environment. What’s even more impressive, is how that knowledge has impacted the way I watch movies and TV. I dont just watch anymore, I listen.
Visuals use to be my favorite part of entertainment; searching for continuity errors was a guilty pleasure. Now I find myself actively listening to the audio. I am able to pick out poor ADR or fantastic surround choices. Scenes filmed near the ocean or on the busy streets of NYC have become suspect to the amount of natural sound verse sound design. Futuristic movies open my mind to the endless possibilities of what combinations or manipulations were created. (Cat purrs can become car engine revs?!)
At the end of the day, working in this foreign country has opened my ears to a whole new part of the entertainment industry. I encourage anyone to watch commercial breaks with their eyes closed, or pay close attention to the intricate surround sound of video games. And yes, Ive even learned to lower the volume of my headphones (Mom would be proud).