In its sixth iteration, the Music & Sound for Visual Media Networking Event re-emerged with a new moniker and a larger scope. Previously focused on music for film, this year the event encompassed all sound elements for the video game, film, television and other visual media industries. A pioneering collaboration between Berklee student groups, and the Film Scoring, Electronic Production & Design, and Learning Center departments, the event offered a venue for visual media creators, composers, sound designers and audio engineers to meet, showcase their interests and talents, and develop future collaborations. With over 240 in attendance from schools all around New England, including CDIA at Boston University, Emerson College, Fitchburg State University, and New England Institute of Art, this year's highlights included a keynote by Oscar winning film editor Paul Hirsch (Star Wars) via Skype, a panel discussion with Shawn Robertson (Lead Artist) and Jeff Seamster (Senior Audio Designer) at Irrational Games, makers of Bioshock, a presentation by Diego Stocco (with credits in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Sherlock Holmes) via Skype, a panel with collaborators from the short film, Lover's Leap.
Interviewed by Dan Carlin (Film Scoring Chair), Paul Hirsch discussed the power of music in film for the keynote address at the Music & Sound for Visual Media Networking Event. With a long and illustrious career spanning collaborations with Bernard Herrmann to Michael Giacchino, Hirsch's film editing credits include Star Wars (Academy Award winner), Ray, (Academy Award nomination, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mission: Impossible, and recently Source Code, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, plus dozens of others. Hirsch told a story about the first time he saw Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. In a scene in the film, actress Janet Leigh is driving with the police in pursuit. Hirsch discussed that the scene cut between only three shots, one of Janet Leigh driving, one of her view of the road, and one of the police in the rear view mirror, yet was gripping because of Bernard Herrmann's score. Hirsch believes a great score should delve into the mental or psychological state of the characters, rather than just commenting on their physical actions. As an editor, it is important to Hirsch to consider rhythm as he is cutting film, between dialogue, cuts between shots, etc.. He discussed its importance, not only to engage viewers, but to make scenes work better with music.
FILM SCORING CONTEST 7
SHOWCASE & AWARDS CEREMONY
Part of the Music and Sound for Visual Media Networking Event was the 7th annual Film Scoring Contest Finalists' Showcase and Awards Ceremony. With 57 entries to the contest this year, the caliber and talent on display was fantastic. Each of the seven finalists, whose scores were premiered, shared with the audience their interpretation of the movie and creative process when composing their scores. The winners were chosen by our judging panel, which included: Mei Mei's Birthday director Uta Arning, film composer George S. Clinton, Vice President or Film/TV Relations at BMI, Associate Professor of Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music Michael Sweet, and last year's contest winner and Berklee student Greg Martin. One of the event highlights was skyping with Mei Mei's birthday director Uta Arning all the way from Germany, to hear her reaction to the scores. Check out the Film Scoring Contest 7 page to hear the winning scores.
THE ART OF SOUND DESIGN FOR VISUAL MEDIA
Diego Stocco, sound designer and composer is the creator of a widely acclaimed series of videos where he explores the creation of music from everyday objects and instruments he invents himself. These videos can be viewed at vimeo.com/diegostocco. One of these pieces, using an original instrument dubbed the ExperiBass, landed him a job working with Hans Zimmer on the score to the recent Guy Ritchie movie, Sherlock Holmes. In addition, Diego has worked with the software company Spectrasonics on many of their highly regarded instruments and also contributed to the video game Assassin's Creed Brotherhood as well as provided sound and music duties for a wide range of film and television works. In his interview, he talked about working on many of these projects and described his process as well as some of the tools he enjoys using, such as Pro Tools and Roe microphones. At one point he went digging through the depths of his workshop to produce a stethoscope used in many of his videos to record certain sounds, and enthusiastically described the manner of interfacing it with a microphone using common tools and hardware store materials. Diego Stocco will be visiting the college in a few months and we look forward to his upcoming presentation.
LOVER'S LEAP: A SUCCESS STORY
A true Music & Sound for Visual Media networking success story, Filmmaker Atanas Bakalov (Boston University) attended the 2010 [then titled] Music for Film Networking Event, where he met [now alumni] Berklee students Cesar Suarez (composer) and Matteo Stronati (sound designer). Bakalov was already at work with another Berklee composer on a different project, but due to the talent and strong work ethics of both Suarez and Stronati, Bakalov brought them on for his next film project, the short comedy Lover's Leap. The film is a romantic comedy which explores the heightened emotional reality of high school kids. Posing many challenges, the film incorporates underscore, and many source music cues, including onscreen singing by the main character. Moderated by Berklee's Film Scoring Assistant Chair, Alison Plante, the three-member panel discussed their backgrounds, how they met, details of their collaboration on the film, and the future of the film. Representing Bulgaria, Ecuador and Italy, Bakalov, Suarez and Stronati formed a truly international partnership.
THE SIGHTS & SOUNDS OF BIOSHOCK
Moderated by Akash Thakkar (Berklee Video Game Music Club President), Shawn Robertson (Lead Artist) and Jeff Seamster (Senior Audio Designer) of Irrational Games, presented the Sights & Sounds of Bioshock. With multiple-millions of copies in sales, BioShock has received wide critical acclaim. Mainstream press reviews have praised the immersive qualities of the game and its political dimension. The Boston Globe described it as "a beautiful, brutal, and disquieting computer game ... one of the best in years". The New York Times described it as: "intelligent, gorgeous, occasionally frightening" and added, "Anchored by its provocative, morality-based story line, sumptuous art direction and superb voice acting, BioShock can also hold its head high among the best games ever made." The game has won numerous awards including Game of the Year and Best Original Score from the Spike TV Video Game Awards, and IGN's Best Artistic Design and Best Use of Sound. Among many topics, Robertson and Seamster fielded questions on the structure of a game company, their team's working process, and tips for getting into the industry. Thakkar played a few videos of Bioshock gameplay, and the two described the behind-the-scenes process for creating the sights and sounds.