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Articles March-April-May-June 2020

The Art and Craft of Sound Design- Interview with Bishwadeep Chatterjee

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Shankar and Siddharth Mahadevan’s Lambodara Studios – Leaves you Breathless

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Stained Class Productions - Beyond the Realms of Sound

Meet the father & son duo, Murugan N. and Mrinal N. whose musical influence has been Judas Priest and who have aptly named their studio after the fourth studio album of Judas Priest - Stained Class. Mrinal who manages the technical aspects ..... read more

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Acoustic and Audio System Design for Small Rooms - Part 1

Acoustic and audio system design for a “small room” can be extremely challenging, especially for critical listening applications like control rooms and reference home cinemas. It is vital to understand the relationship between system..... read more

Harman Reigns Supreme in Indian Cinemas

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Recording To Records

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Monitor Mixing Summit 2019

EventTech Academy Summit attracts 190 sound engineers and Event technical professionals


With an aim to fill up a huge vacuum in the industry for knowledge and audio education in the Live sound realm, EvenTech Academy, an initiative by Sound.com organized a full-day summit, focused on preparing next generation pro audio professionals for a career in Monitor Mixing. That the Summit attracted 190 paid delegates says a lot about the content, speakers and the concept of the summit. Smita Rai, caught up with Warren Dsouza, the man behind the success of the Summit to learn how he made it work.


The Art of Monitor Mixing

Professional audio and stage sound has flourished to encompass many new career paths, far beyond just mixing FOH for Bollywood hits. The expertise of a Monitor Engineer is a critical component for live performers and artistes to aurally ‘visualize’ their own sound / voice, but unfortunately very often is overshadowed by the promise and glamour of a career in FOH engineering, coupled with a lack of knowledge in the field of monitor mixing.

Realizing the growing importance of educating the pro audio industry about the intricacies of monitor mixing and his escalating desire to give back something of value to this industry, which he has been an integral part of since decades, Warren Dsouza conceptualized the EventTech Academy Monitor Mixing Summit in August this year.

“In the last few years, I got a lot of requests from artist managers asking me for monitor engineers. Then came a point in time when these calls started becoming desperate. I realized then that there is a lacuna. There are so many engineers in India, but still there was a shortage of recognizable monitor mix engineers and even if there were some, they were not prepared enough. I realized that this area wasn’t covered much or people did not have intrinsic knowledge about it and that’s how I zeroed in on the subject.”

The ‘Expert’ line-up

Speakers at the Summit were industry experts, elected or chosen to share their hands on experience and unique perspectives. The elite list of speakers included Fali Damania, Ashish Saksena, Bruce Rodericks, James Baker, Mark Thomas, Raghu Ramankutty and Vanshaj Sharma.

Commenting on the choice of speakers, Warren says, “I never had a concrete plan as such. In one of our journeys for a gig we were doing together, I told Fali about this idea of having a full day monitor mixing summit, which was just about germinating in my mind and he loved the idea and encouraged it. He was the first expert to come on board as a speaker.“

“At the PALM 2019 Show, I subsequently met Ashish Saksena and James Baker. I told them about this Summit that I had envisioned and both of them were more than willing to be a part of it. The date of the Summit was in fact finalised based on James availability in India and then everything jut evolved beautifully and organically. I knew subconsciously, I wanted Raghu and Mark on board and Fali suggested getting Bruce Rodericks to join in. Bruce too overwhelmingly came forward to be part of the initiative, and that’s how we got all our speakers in place,” he continues.

The Curriculum

During the course of the full day summit, each speaker provided insightful perspectives on monitor mixing providing realistic direction to 190 paid delegates who had enthusiastically filled up the Dublin Square at Phoenix Market City, Kurla, and Mumbai.


James Baker, elaborates on Foldback around the Globe


The Summit explored specific subjects, which included The Architecture & Design of a Great Monitor Sound by Fali; Monitor Mixing Strategies and Challenges of Mixing Monitors for top of the line Bollywood artistes by Ashish, Workflow of Prepping & Patching Monitors, Festival Monitor Mixing Dossier by Bruce, Foldback around the Globe by James, Sharing & Splitting Monitor Duties & Mixing Monitors for AR Rahman by Mark and Raghu and 3D In-Ear Mixing and Monitoring by Vanshaj.

 “There was no worry about the curriculum as we chose speakers keeping in mind what areas we wanted to cover at the Summit. Fali started the monitor mixing scene in India; he was the first in India to be hired as a monitor engineer and we wanted him to cover an overall perspective. We had Fali start the show to give people a generic view of monitor mixing, so that the other speakers could go straight into applications and not talk about basics. We chose Ashish because he has mixed many Bollywood acts and sixty percent of the audience wants to know about mixing applications for these acts. We chose Bruce because he has done a lot of Festival Monitor mixing and he is good at that subject and we chose James Baker because he could give a global perspective of how shows were done abroad. In this, way we covered a little of everything like a big ticket Indian act,” says Warren.

The full-day summit concluded with two panel discussions. The first panel discussion on ‘The Art & Science Of Monitor Mixing’ moderated by Fali Damania included speakers Sameer Kriplani, Kuber Sharma, Mark Thomas, Bruce Rodricks, Ashish Saksena and James Baker. And panelists on the second panel discussion, again moderated by Fali Damania, included Neeti Mohan, Divya Kumar, Alaap Gosher, Daryl Sheldon, Vinay Agarwal and Santana Davis.


Mark Thomas talks about Sharing & Splitting Monitor Duties & Mixing Monitors for AR Rahman


Explaining the concept behind both the panel discussions, Dsouza says, “In the first panel discussion, we had engineers talking about what they were doing and how they were doing things differently. The whole idea was to give the audiences a holistic view of how these guys have made careers in monitor mixing, which means that you too can be on the stage, and  you too can be that engineer two or three years from today. To emphasize the importance of a monitor engineer and sound production quality for artistes on stage and discuss day to day challenges of concert monitoring, logistics and production, the second panel discussion included an artist manager, one male artist and one female artist, one sound rental company owner, one engineer and the moderator who was again an engineer.”

“Overall, the idea was to have a mix of everything because it was a summit, not a workshop or a master class,” he adds.

The Execution

The Monitor Mix Summit attracted 190 paid delegate registrations, making it a huge success. At this point, for EvenTech Academy it had become crucial that everything panned out flawlessly. “The pressure on us now was to exceed expectations as not only did we have veterans and aspiring newbies, we also had guys flying down from various parts of India and also from Europe and the Middle East,” says Warren. ”The good thing is that we announced full house more than a week before the event and after that, we had 10 days to complete everybody’s registration & accreditation process. People were very impressed with how flawless everything was, as they did not have to change their batteries, they never lost reception, they were impressed with how simple the registration process was and how well our team managed the photo ID’s. The backend team did a good job due to which we replied to everybody’s mail within 24 hours. That is how everything fell into the right place at the right time and what really worked for us besides our content and speakers was our digital marketing strategy,” he says.

The Event was supported by PALM technology magazine, official media partners for the event. Translation partners - Translation India, accomplished live translation of the entire Summit in Hindi. The translation booth at the event was a major advantage for those who were more comfortable in Hindi.


Fali Damania elaborating on The Architecture & Design of a Great Monitor Sound


The Feedback

“I think the Summit has been an overwhelming success and most were happy with what we had delivered.  Our focus was on delivering great content and people were there for the content. Also, as more and more applicants registered for the event, the screen got bigger, the cameras got better, the ability to give delegates a visual impact got better. This is how we put value into everything. All our efforts were concentrated on doing a good job and this was well appreciated.”

 Commenting on the Summit, Ashish Saksena said, “I would like to thank EventTech Academy for organizing this Monitor Mixing Summit. It is a great initiative on Warren’s part to do something like this and I hope we carry this forward and do more such summits.”

“I think it’s an excellent initiative because everyone is in search for knowledge and information and if we can attract 200 odd people, I think it is amazing as it can only make the industry better. I don’t think you can go wrong with an initiative like this. All the knowledge and information that delegates are getting today is real life, ready to use in the field of working and it is very difficult to get all this information at one place within a duration of 12 hours,” said Fali Damania.

One of the delegates at the Summit, Nixon Johnny of NJSM Rentals, says, “We had a very fruitful day today. I really feel they should have these kinds of sessions on other related topics too.”

“I think Sound.com and EvenTech Academy has pulled off something incredible. Education is the need of the hour. Warren has done a great job and I hope this momentum grows and only grows into something bigger,” said Aditya Modi of ModiDigital, another delegate at the show.

Learnings

Warren also elaboarates that there were many learnings from their maiden voyage in education. “There were many areas we can improve in the future and that spanner is already in the works. We well received everyone’s feedback on what they liked and where we could improve and this is the best thing about our academy; although our curriculum is autonomous our delegates feedback is taken very seriously and that’s how we grow.”

Conclusion

The Summits success was a manifestation of so many things from the subject, content, speakers and marketing. Organizing this was probably only 50% of the effort followed into flawless execution from accreditation, registration, venue and on ground larger than life tech centric teaching aids resulted in the manifestation of punctuality which was overwhelming. Starting on time, running to schedule with enough time to take questions post the applications workshops and panel discussions, seemed like the event ran in auto-pilot. Each delegate went home with a Certificate of Achievement and the event concluded on a high note with drinks and networking for all. Kudos EventTech Academy!


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