Category Archives: W16-X4 Info Interview/Professional Practices

Audio Engineering


I had the pleasure of interviewing an Audio Engineer that has worked in the industry for a few years. In the interview I asked him some questions that were obviously geared towards Audio Engineering. Eliezer Gonzalez is an Audio Engineer for Vertixmusic Entertainment, LLC which is an independent record label. Eliezer (Uri) has grown up around music, his older brother is into music and would drag him along to places that he would be attending and Uri just had a passion for it. Uri has been doing Audio Engineering  professionally for about three years. He’s worked with a few well known bands such as “Isaias With His Band”. During the interview I asked Uri some Questions, here is what I asked him

1. What makes you interested in audio engineering?

2. Where do you see your career going in the future?

3. How long have you done audio engineering?

4. Do you want to further your education with audio engineering?

5. Producing music/ likes and dislikes?

6. Would you be interested in being a mixing/mastering engineer?

7. What motivates you to keep going when you get stumped or feel like quitting?

8. How much time do you spend on each project from start to finish in estimated hours?

9. Favorite part of producing a beat? 

Uri answered all of my questions professionally and to the best of his ability. I think the best part of this interview is how we kind of got lost in just talking as “friends” and not really following a structure or following these questions. We got lost in talking about music and Audio Engineering and we really enjoyed talking one on one and discussing our passion. My favorite question that I asked him was question eight. “8. How much time do you spend on each project from start to finish in estimated hours?” His answer was pretty funny as each project is completely different and can range from weeks to months to complete.  Although, he did come up with an answer. His answer was an estimated 64 hours that it takes to complete a song start to finish, including Mixing and mastering. This interview was really fun and really laid back we both enjoyed the talk. On question four when I asked him “4. Do you want to further your education with audio engineering?” He replied with “Yes I would like to further my education I plan on going to school to learn more about music and Audio Engineering. I was self taught and I think it would be good to learn new things in school. I also continue my education by myself by reading articles and watching lots of tutorials on youtube.” I feel like we are the same in that way because I watch tons of tutorials to improve my sound and the quality of my music and I teach myself a lot of new things on a daily basis. Im glad that this project was assigned to us because I ended up learning a lot about someone else and got a preview into the industry.

Studio In The Snow


I chose to interview John Whitker, an old friend of my dad’s and the head engineer of his own recording studio in North Dakota, over Skype. The first thing I asked him outside of the average niceties was how long he had been recording music, whether it be his own or someone else’s. He told me at least 25 years when he started out on reel-to-reel machines in the late 80’s. I then asked him if he had a favorite kind of music to record or produce.

    “Rock and metal,” he replied. “We don’t get much around here being in the paradise state of North Dakota, but when we do it’s always extremely fun to work with. I just love the energy, y’know?”

    I laughed in agreement as that is what I expected him to say, seeing as though he is and old friend of my dad’s, and because we share that interest in common. I then asked him what got him interested in the first place; what made him want to become and audio engineer. He told me when he was younger, no one around there knew what an “audio engineer” was; you were just called a “record producer.” But nonetheless, he simply loved music and every aspect of it. Whether it was playing on stage, at home or just listening to it, it was his favorite past-time.

    He told me one day he was interested in seeing how all of his favorite music came to be a reality. So he took a trip to Fargo with his bandmates, their instruments and a setlist of 3 original rock songs to the only recording studio (at the time) for about a 200-300 mile radius. After about 2 hours, they finally arrived at the studio and were a bit dumbfounded at how small and run-down the place seemed.

    “We all stepped inside very slowly and quietly,” John told me. “All of us mouths agape.”

    “Was it super impressive or something?” I asked.

    “No, the place looked like it jumped right out of the 1960’s, y’know?” he said, laughing as he recollected.

    But, nonetheless, they stepped passed the small “lobby” area and found their way to the control room. John knocked on the door and they could hear crashing sounds on the other side.

    “He clearly wasn’t expecting company! But the front door was unlocked, it was still a business, y’know!” John laughed hard.

    A man opened the door, surprised and a bit flustered, and asked them if they had made an appointment he had forgotten about. They told him that that wasn’t the case and that they were there to make an appointment. They made their appointment for the following day, as the man was cleaning and redecorating that day. So, the band got a couple motel rooms, came in the next day and got started.

    “And it was basically from that moment on,” John said, “that I knew recording was what I wanted to do.”

    They all recorded their parts together, except for the singer which is relatively common practice to get as much clarity out of the vocals as possible. As they recorded their singer, John and the band sat in the control room. The other members were watching their singer do his takes, but John was fixated on the recording equipment itself.

    “It was the first time I had seen anything like it!” he said. “Nowadays you can go to a pawn shop or a secondhand music shop and pick up a lot of this stuff for relatively cheap, but back then it was a very rare to see!”

    He told me that, since then he knew that he wanted to be an audio engineer. Seeing how his favorite thing was made ultimately decided it and he’s been doing it ever since. He studied under Michael Abbing, the engineer from that studio, for a few years when he could afford to make the trip. Eventually he moved out to Fargo and worked in his studio for about 8 years before finally starting his own business.

    “And here I am, y’know?” he said, calming down from his story. “I wouldn’t call myself a huge success, but I’m comfortable. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. As long as I can help a musician make their musical dreams come to life, I have a purpose. Otherwise, I don’t know what I’d be doing, y’know? But there’s always a demand for music, meaning there’s always a demand for an audio engineer and producer; and that’s what I’m here to do.”

    I had a few more questions for John, but after such an interesting story (that I actually had to cut quite a bit out of) I figured that would be good and entertaining enough. We talked for a bit longer about unrelated things, made some jokes and talked about the differences in Oregon and North Dakota and I thanked him for his time.

    “Today is a different age,” he said, just before ending the call. “But the rules still apply. Work hard and stay very determined and there’s no way you can fail in this field. It’s all about making your own path without running through someone else’s, y’know?”
-by Ryan Scott

Maker Expo

maker expo

For my X4-Professional Practices assignment I attended the Maker Expo: See & Do at the Eugene Public Library. The Eugene Makers is a non-profit community focused on introducing technology, science, art, and culture to everyone ages 1 to 101. Really, they want to include everyone, and they want to build an environment where like minds come together to collaborate and contribute. They have a home base in the warehouse district in West Eugene, and every Tuesday and Friday from 6pm to 8pm they host an “Open Hack” night where anyone can bring a project to work on or share.

When I attended the free expo at the library I had no idea what to expect. First of all, I had my 4 and 1 year old with me, and you never to know what you are getting into with them tagging along. Most the time it is great, however, a change in the wind direction can cause unprovoked fits of terror. After walking into the conference room, I could not believe what I saw. There was a 3-D printer, green screen photo booth, synthesizer, embroidery machine, littleBits customizable electronics, wood working tools, robots, and so much more. My 4 year old immediately spotted the Eggbot art robot and asked if we could get one to decorate our Easter eggs this year. It was super cool, but for $195 I told her we would be decorating our eggs the old fashioned way.

Honestly, at this point I could not believe I had never heard of these people before, especially as a multi-media major. They offer so many resources for learning and networking and it’s all FREE. Not only do they have the main home base in West Eugene, coming spring 2016 the Eugene Public Library will offer Maker Hub rooms with access to a digital lab with state of the art audio, video, design equipment and software, and all you need is a library card. How cool is that?

Unfortunately, I did not get to speak long enough to any one person representing the Maker’s due to chasing around little ones, however, I did not need to. The conversations I did join in and picked up on made it clear that this fantastically diverse group of people came from all walks of life. Students, professionals and hobbyists, all innovators and creatives wanting to contribute and expand their own knowledge. They are a wealth of information and very friendly and interested in your thoughts and ideas. I never once felt out of place, even with the kiddos running around. In fact there was so much going on, the girls were having a great time. The “Makers” had something for everyone, even my 1 year old was encouraged to be hands on with the robots. I look forward to visiting their main headquarters soon and can’t wait for the new facilities to open at the library this spring. I highly recommend anyone in the Multi Media field to check them out and make some time in your schedule to pay a visit.

Intrview With Barry MacGuire – By Karl Reindel

20160206_143334It was my pleasure to interview Barry MacGuire for Exercise 4, in my Introduction to Media Arts 101 class. I caught up with Barry while he was working at a Mardi Gras event, acting as the Master of Ceremonies and DJ. I had prepared a list of questions, many of which he answered in the course of our conversation without me asking directly. I have listed the question asked directly, and in parentheses are the related questions that were also answered.


What got you started in audio? (What got you interested in audio? What got you started in being a DJ? What got you interested in being a DJ? How long have you been doing audio work?)

Barry is originally from Vancouver Canada. In high school, he wanted to be a dentist. But after taking the classes that were related to that field, he decided that dentistry was not for him. In considering his options, he thought about what else he might like. “I like radio, I like sports. I originally got in to radio to be a sports caster.” He attended Columbia School of Broadcasting, in Los Angeles for a year. The first job available after broadcast school was in music radio, up in Bellingham Washington, where he commuted 30 miles across the border for 6 months. “I have been doing music ever since.”

Barry has worked in San Jose, California, Redding California, Shyanne, Wyoming and for the last 21 years or so, in Eugene. The first 13 years he lived in Eugene, Barry was at KDUK, 104.7. For the last 8 years, Barry has been doing the afternoon show on KOOL 99.1.

Barry MacGuire also owns his own company, BMAC Productions, offering services such as master of ceremonies and disc jockey at events and weddings.  “It includes two other radio DJ’s and myself,” Barry explained. He went on to say that they are very good at working with the microphone and working with the public. In this way, his company is a bit different from other disc jockeys in that they are used to “MC’ing” large events. “It’s easy to play the music and press the button, but it is very tough to get on the mic as Master of Ceremonies and keep the audience interested. It sets us aside from other companies.”


What types of jobs have you done with audio? (What do you do now at the radio station?)

“Mostly working in radio, that’s my main job.” Barry MacGuire is the Program Director at KOOL 99.1. Being Program Director involves daily scheduling of the music, dealing with staff issues, commercial promotions such as give aways, or whatever they are doing at the time. He also does quite a few commercials at the radio station. It is an 8 am to 7 pm job, as opposed to the typical disc jockey who begins at 2 in the afternoon and is done by 7 in the evening. It’s a pretty long day.

Then there is the work Barry does with BMAC Productions. “I got involved with that, so that my wife could be a stay at home mom,” with their two young children. This choice was very important to his family. BMAC is a good second source of income for them. “I really like it, it’s a lot of fun.” Barry says he really enjoy working at Sweet Cheeks, Bennett’s, King Estates, Paradise Springs, … lots of the vineyards, “…they are really fun.” “I enjoy weddings the most. It’s a positive event, everybody is there to have a great time.”


What is your training? Formal and informal?

At Columbia, Barry says that they did not learn a lot about the technical side of things, “the focus was on the content and delivery of what we were doing.” He learned commercial writing for 30 second spots and 60 second spots, and how to deliver that commercial. It was more about voice work.


What advice do you have for those of us starting out in the field?

“Best way to get in to a field, this or any other really, is to volunteer some time, … intern. That way you are getting hands on experience and seeing if you like the industry.” When Barry is looking to hire a prospective person, he considers three things.

  • Being outgoing, not afraid to get on the microphone and entertain the crowd. It doesn’t have to be too crazy, just as long as you are a good communicator, that is what counts.
  • Being responsible, showing up on time, looking presentable. A lot of times those two things (items #1 And #2) don’t always go together.
  • “Having some music knowledge, know the music that you are playing. You need to know your audience, like if you have an older crowd, or a younger crowd, just kind of know how to cater to those people and play the songs that they want to hear. Keep them on the dance floor. Same in radio, cater to the audience.”


I asked Barry about his technical set up, what does one need to know about the hardware?

Barry said it’s pretty basic, plug in the speakers and turn things on. “Computers do it all, play list and all.” Barry uses Virtual DJ. He controls the laptop with his control board (like an old school control board). He uses a SURE microphone. It’s a cardioid type of microphone.

At the radio station, they have two engineers, who work with a number of radio stations. Once they come in and set the levels, “we don’t do much to change them.” The engineers also fix things that break. They generally visit monthly.

In working with the commercials and editing sound, the station use Cool Edit Pro. However, Barry said that what we are using at Lane Community College, Pro Tools, is the industry standard. Most people in industry use Pro Tools. The station is switching over to Adobe Audition (who bought Cool Edit Pro), but Pro Tools is what most people use. Barry records and edits all the commercials and is responsible for the sound effects as well.

Barry invited me to stop by the radio station sometime to look around. We discussed the possibility of my doing some volunteer work with him editing commercials over the summer. I really enjoyed my time with him. He is a very nice person and easy to talk with. I look forward to seeing him again sometime soon.

Filming the Fight


Room 111 in building 17 was transformed into a stage complete with foam mats, microphones, cameras connected to giant screens and about 3 dozen chairs lined up in rows. This room would serve as a stage for former Marine, stutman, theater director and master of fight choreography Chris White. White came prepared with a well organized powerpoint that was equipped with definitions, examples and videos. He started off by talking about the different kinds of fights. There are comedic fights (ex. Austin Powers), artistic fights (ex. Blood & Bone), Realistic (ex. Oldboy), and unrealistic (ex. Anchorman 2). White went on to discuss different actors across world who are known for participating in fight scenes. From the western parts of the world he talked about actors such as Douglas Fairbanks, John Wayne and Bruce Willis. From the eastern parts he talked about Akira Kurosawa, Bruce Lee and Ika Uwais (The Raid).

Once he managed to introduce us all to the basics of on-screen fighting, White walked us through how to create a successful fight scene. The first thing he stressed was how vital storyboards are. When writing a fight scene, the writer must establish a clear beginning, middle and end. He suggests keeping the scene high concept, in other words, the scene should be able to be explained in a sentence or two. This keeps the viewer from losing interest or getting confused.

The next important part to creating a successful fight scene is to establish the choreography- the movement of the talent, the movement of the lights and camera. In order to save time and money, White advises to always test your footage before getting on set. He told us to make sure to consider the costumes, the props and the CGI, because these all affect the choreography of the actors. The one word he mentioned more than any other was “rehearse”. He showed us a behind the scenes video of a fight scene where the female actress was smashed over the head by the weapon of her scene partner, because one of them moved just the slightest bit incorrectly. Speaking of weapons, White stressed how important it is to research your weapon before you include it in your film. He talked about the unfortunate accident with Brandon Lee on the set of The Crow and made it a point to stress the importance of gun safety on and off set.

Another aspect of successful fight scenes White talked about was camera movement. He spoke about the importance of how lighting works in a scene. If your scene is too dark, it usually implies that you don’t want your audience to see the poor stunts. The facial expressions of the characters are always important to consider. They affect the mood and the hierarchy levels of each character in the fight. White gave the example of having a character wince after being punched in the face and asked us what would happen if the character chose to smile instead. Those two facial expressions each convey very different feelings.

The last important pieces of advice for filming a successful fight scene were all about the editing, which Jackie Chan claims to be the most important part of the process. White taught the audience about the difference of cutting between action and cutting on action. He talked about how removing frames from a video makes the action seem quicker paced. One of my personal favorite things he said was about timing. White said that the audience doesn’t realize there’s a beat in a fight scene until it’s gone. It’s like a dance, and the whole crew must be dancing- the cinematographer, the talent, the editor, etc. He wrapped up the powerpoint by talking about sound and how no music can sometimes make for a more realistic looking sequence, but well-chosen music can add to the drama. Foley can really make or break a fight scene, because those hits must make impact and that illusion usually is created with sound.

After the powerpoint, White opened up the discussion to questions and gave students the opportunity to come up on stage and practice. The audience was able to see on the giant screen just how the action would look if it were being recorded. It was very interesting to see just how far a person’s fist can be from their partner’s face and still have the hit appear real on-screen. Throughout the workshop White continued to remind the audience that we have the potential to make great fight scenes and he quoted the incredible Jackie Chan who said “you can do it! Except, do you have the patience?” The most important lesson I took from this workshop was how necessary storyboards are. Before you start filming, your storyboard will establish your rules and create an all around smoother filming process. Overall, I really enjoyed the workshop and felt as if I took a decent amount of knowledge away from the experience. All I want to do now is film people getting beat up. Thank you to Chris White, LCC and the multimedia program for putting this together. I am looking forward to more workshops in the future.

Photo credits: skeeze, Pixabay – CC0 Public Domain