Tuesday, August 28, 2012

3 Advantages of Attending Film Production School in Toronto

"I know what it is I want to study," you announce to your parents one day. You can feel their relief. It is instantaneous. They can't wait to hear what career path you have chosen. Could it be law? Or medicine? Or perhaps the trades? But no. You want to study film, and this, this makes them a little bit nervous, for someone who studies film may be bound for sunny, but expensive and far-away California. How, they wonder, will they ever summon up the cash for tuition at a foreign film school? How, they wonder, will they ever form a meaningful relationship with their unborn grandchildren if you should decide to forever settle there? Quickly, you reassure them: "Mom, Dad, I want to attend film production school in Toronto. And here's why."
1. The Canadian industry is unique.
You want to attend film school in Toronto because ultimately, you'd like to make films in Canada, perhaps working independently, or for the National Film Board or some other public agency. And making films in Canada isn't quite like making films in the United States. For one thing, the sources of funding are different. The grants are different. Even the style is different. What works for Hollywood doesn't necessarily work for Canada, where one selling point of any film is its "different-ness" from Hollywood stock.
2. Toronto is central.
Attending film production school in Toronto can be a way to ease into the local industry. An internship through school may lead to that pivotal first job. And if you are going to make films in Canada, then Toronto is a good place to be. It plays host to key industry events, such as the Toronto International Film Festival, and is home to many of the country's major players, such as Atom Egoyan and Sarah Polley.
Also, the teachers at your film production school in Toronto will in all likelihood probably work in the industry, and be able to advise you on how to best navigate it as a newcomer.
And you will also be forging relationships with the fellow students in your film production or audio engineering program. So it would be helpful if you were likely to end up working in the same film industry, where you can help one another out, by passing on information about job postings and giving recommendations, etc. Remember: film is a collaborative discipline and much of your success will depend on who you know and how well you work with them.
3. Toronto is more affordable than Hollywood.
Tell your parents to quit fretting, that attending a film production or audio engineering program won't be half as expensive as they fear. In fact, it will be darn right affordable. After all, you will not be travelling to expensive California, but attending film school in Toronto.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Envelopes of Sound: Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release

What is sound? That is an extremely broad question with answers coming variously from science, arts, and even philosophy. One way to think about sound is to consider it in contrast to sight.
In the arts, when we think of a single image, for example a painting, it is completely independent of time. It remains the same from the moment we see it to the next time we look at it. This is specifically for an isolated image, obviously not so for a watching a sunset or a movie.
With sound, it is much more difficult to think of it outside of passing time. The only way to think of this would be to imagine a single, unwavering tone, but even then, that is a single sound extended over time without any changes. More importantly, unchanging flat tones are barely considered art. When we think about the sounds that are produced in the service of music, we must take time into consideration.
When we hear a chord being played on the guitar, it comes to us in several phases that change over time. Even the singular smack of the snare drum becomes modified in our perception in just a few microseconds.
What defines the different stages in time of a sound and how we hear it are commonly known as envelopes, and they are an extremely important lesson for music recording. They are: attack, decay, sustain, and release.
Imagine visualizing a sound as a mountain, with the main part of the sound being represented by a plateau at the peak. The attack is the upward slope of the mountain. In other words, it is the amount of time it takes from the first instance of the sound (or from when the note is struck) until it reaches its peak volume. Drum sounds, especially the snare, have a lot of attack.

If our sound mountain's plateau was not actually the highest point of the mountain, but rather after we reach that initial peak after the attack, it sloped down a little before becoming flat, then this downward slope is the decay. It is the amount of time for a sound to settle after it hits its attack peak until it reaches the level the sound will be sustained for.

This is our plateau. It is the main level of volume that the sound will be heard. The longer the sustain, the longer the sound. Pianos have sustain pedals to keep the sound going longer after the pianist hits the key. Synthesizers can hold a note with endless sustain. Most acoustic instruments will have a relatively short level of sustain before beginning to die down again.

This is when we come down the mountain. The release measures the time from a sound's main sustain level until it is inaudible. With synthesizers, the release is counted from the moment the key is released, hence it's name.

Every sound has this temporal relationship with the moment the musician strikes a key or strums a chord. Music production training depends upon professionals knowing these fourtemporal envelopes well before thinking about more complex aspects of recording, mixing and producing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Off the Road and Onto the Field: Farm Equipment Mechanics

The history of agriculture is in many ways a great example of the history of technology. Over nine thousand years ago, areas in and around modern-day Egypt saw cultures discovering small-scale planting of wheat. Roughly two thousand years later, the ancient Sumerians began using animals to help them in the fields. With the coming of the industrial revolutions, agriculture began to be mechanized, vastly increasing agricultural outputs to supply the increasingly populous urban centres.
One of the main developments that helped mechanize farming was the internal combustion engine. Animals came to be replaced with tractors and other automotive devices, which could do all sorts of farm tasks with greater efficiency than oxen, mules, horses, and the other pack animals they replaced. Today, it is not uncommon to see farm equipment mechanic courses taught in mechanic schools. Much of the same foundational knowledge applies to road-ready cars as it does to mechanized farm equipment, such as knowledge of fuel systems, ignition systems, transmission, emissions, and regular, everyday tune-ups and servicing. But due to the size of the vehicles, the terrain on which they operate, and the other work they perform aside from simply driving, farm equipment mechanics need to know some different areas of service.
If you want to become a mechanic to work on farm equipment, here are two machines you need to be familiar with: the tractor and the combine.
The Tractor
The tractor's specialty is pulling-that is, it is a high-powered machine that uses great amounts of torque for the purpose of moving, hauling, or towing material or other pieces of farm equipment, like tillers or ploughs. Though they use many different kinds of engines, tractor mechanics should have an excellent familiarity with diesel engines. Tractors also can come with unsynchronized transmissions (usually older models), or synchronized transmissions (newer models). Because tractors are replaced less often than cars, a good mechanic needs to know both older and new tractor transmission designs.
The Combine
The combine is an automotive farm machine that is mainly used for harvesting. Its name comes from the fact that it combines the processes of cutting and gathering the ripe crop and separating it from the chaff in one process, all while remaining mobile. It takes mostly diesel like the tractor. Working on a combine, the mechanic needs to know about its motor processes as well as the rotating blades for reaping and the rotating cylinders for threshing. Combines regularly drive through deep terrain using tracks instead of tires, which the mechanic must also be familiar with.
Agriculture will always remain an important industry, and will always continue to take advantage of new technology. The best kind of mechanic school is not only one that keeps up with this technology, but prepares the mechanic to work with anything from cars, to trucks, to tractors.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Can a Car Salesman Benefit From a Mechanic's Education?

It is quite the negative stereotype we have of car salesmen in our society as being mistrustful people. Perhaps the reason for this is that when we walk into a car dealership and are confronted with a salesperson, we ask ourselves if their enthusiasm and loyalty to their product is genuine, or is it merely because they are employed at that particular brand's dealership. If a salesperson is working at Toyota, for example, they might insist that Toyota is far superior to Honda and give you many reasons. But if next week, that salesperson is offered a better job at a Honda dealership, they would easily flip their argument, arguing for Honda over Toyota.
Auto mechanics have a slightly different relationship to the cars they build and work on. One might trust a mechanic more because we assume their knowledge is genuine due to the fact that they truly know the ins and outs of how their cars are manufactured, and are not merely relaying statistics from a salesmen's handbook. The assumption is that people who build things take pride in their products, maybe more than people who just sell them.
Now this isn't necessarily the truth. A mechanic might believe that a rival's car is better-made than their brand, while a salesperson might have a true commitment to the brand they work for. Nevertheless, if one is considering a career in either field, attending an automotive training centre with programs both in mechanics and sales can only result in a more rounded and educated professional in either field, but probably more so for a salesperson.
How a mechanic would make a good salesperson
The main reason for this is knowledge. The more one understands about how a car is made, the better able one is to inform customers. It relieves the customer's suspicions that a salesperson would say anything to impress them, because they would make it their priority to explain and give good, foundational reasons why this car is made better than the next. The mechanic's edge instills a pride in their product that translates to honest sales.
Some setbacks for a mechanic wanting to go into sales
With extensive auto technician training, a salesperson might make the mistake of assuming the customer has a much greater knowledge of how cars work. This runs the risk of speaking too technically, or in jargon, which can confuse and alienate the customer, making them think they are being manipulated with complex and impressive data.
In conclusion, a salesperson would definitely benefit from having a solid background in auto mechanics. But this transition is not completely smooth if that person does not have any training in sales as well, specifically to learn good customer communication. In the end, a great education in the product's manufacturing only goes so far without the people skills that salespeople depend upon.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Vocational Training: Why It's So Important

After the recent ups and downs of the global economy that left so many people out of a job, many individuals across the globe have come to realize just how important it is to have a backup plan. One of the best backup plans that one can have today is to have undergone vocational training. As a matter of fact, undergoing vocational courses is such a good idea that so many youngsters are not even looking at it as a backup plan but as their main blueprint to a better future.
Vocational education aims to teach individuals hands on skills in the various trades available across the globe today. Vocational schooling thus does not really focus on the theoretical aspects of various employment sectors but instead focuses on the hands on skills required for performing the manual jobs in respective sector. It is a widespread form of education that rivals professional education with the only difference being that it focuses on manual skills. In practically any industry that an individual has a passion for, they can get some vocational tuition that will help them land a job and begin a successful career in that specific sector. This is one of the factors that make it so appealing to a lot of individuals all over the world.
Being able to cater for a lot of industries is not the only reason that more and more people opt to undergo vocational programs. Another big reason that has seen so many people choose vocational training over professional careers like medicine or teaching is that it focuses on hands on skills. People need to have certain kinds of smarts to get into professional careers like medicine or law. With vocational training, anybody that is interested in a certain type of vocation can be taught how to do it as it depends on their manual skill set. This opens up many job opportunities for those who cannot or do not want to attend professional education training like law.
One other advantage that comes with vocational training is that it does not really look at one's age like professional career education. For example, if you are 45 years old, it is practically futile to begin a medical degree as it is a long path to success. Vocational training on the other hand can be done by individuals as young as 14 or as old as even 60 years of age.
A majority of the vocational training institutes will not require much from an individual to enroll them for training. All that one may need is to have completed their high school and they can enroll in vocational training programs.
A few years ago one may have considered vocational programs a waste of time as anybody could find employment as a forklift operator for example. Nowadays however, a majority of employers do not have time to employ individuals with no prior training and then train them on the job. This has made it almost mandatory to get vocational education. Those who are lucky to get employed without prior training have the disadvantage of receiving lower wages than their counterparts.
All in all, the importance of vocational education is not one to be overlooked in this day and age. If you can get it then you should do it now as it will be a second string to your bow.