Lights Online Film School will soon be offering an intensive 1 month online sound design course for independent filmmakers. We are currently editing the course material and plan to have the program available to the public by August 1st, 2013. If you decide to enroll before the course start date you’ll be offered a discount in your enrollment fee (see details at the bottom of this page).
HOW OUR ONLINE SOUND DESIGN COURSE WORKS
Our online sound design course was designed to teach filmmakers how to make the transition from a Non Linear Editing system (NLE) to a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). This transition doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive.
After that, our job is to help you train your ears to hear the world around you more accurately. We’ll walk you through various listening assignments using our sound libraries in a quest to help you train your ear to be able to hear a specific range of frequencies within a mix. We’ll also teach you how to identify common audio problems and we’ll work together with you to help you fix these issues in your own film or documentary mix.
LEARN YOUR DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION INSIDE AND OUT
Next, we teach you how to control the audio for your soundtrack using the many tools at your disposal (from equalizers, filters, hardware and plugins). We walk you through each of these tools and have you download work files to run through each tool which will help you get a better understanding of how each tool works inside and out. We will repeat each exercise multiple times with different work files that have different audio patterns. Soon these tools will become second nature to you and you’ll quickly increase the speed of your audio editing workflow which will help you greatly on your own projects.
By using the information we provide you throughout our course you’ll be able to create a professional grade mix will all of the elements; clean dialogue tracks, realistic Foley tracks, exciting special effects, and ambient tracks that infuse your film with an amplified sense of drama.
Our goal is to help you create the highest quality soundtrack possible. The level of quality that we strive for is generally only heard in larger studio films. However, with the right knowledge, some hands-on training and great attention to detail you can get the same professional audio output that large studio productions do.
FIX COMMON AUDIO MISTAKES
We also teach you how to fix the most common mistakes in a film or documentary soundtrack. In our lecture on “audio surgery” We teach you how to clean up muddy dialogue tracks, how to improve the intelligibility of words, how to make your Foley more believable and how to use the science of sound to “mask” any sonic problem areas.
HANDS-ON & OUTCOMES BASED
Our comprehensive 60 day sound design course was designed to be hands-on, practical, interactive and “outcomes based”. This means that we go way beyond the “theory” of sound. Anytime we teach you about a theoretical concept you can expect to experiment with the concept on your own computer using our downloadable work-files. This helps you cement your understanding of theory as well as give you some great hands-on experience as you work your way through our lessons.
To ensure you achieve this goal, we have shot a $20,000 short film that you’ll be responsible for creating the soundtrack for from the ground up using our instructions and our work-files. You’ll learn how to quickly synch audio, create the highest quality project settings, create an easy to navigate sound architecture and organization using “groups” and “stems”. Essentially, you’ll “learn by doing”. Each layer of the soundtrack will be added one at a time by you (using our per-recorded audio files). We’ll teach you how to place, edit and mix all of the layers of your soundtrack together (dialogue, Foley, ambiance, music, special effects and so on).
INTERACTIVE & 1 ON 1 SUPPORT
As a student in our course you’ll also have access to our social platform where you can create a student profile and interact with other students in our sound design program. You can post links to your work or keep up to date on the work of other students in our course. You’ll also have access to a free stock music and sound effects library.
If you enroll in our “academic” or “scholar” program you’ll also be able to take “lab chats” with our sound design students. These are live 2 hour long lectures that dive deeper into a particular topic of study. You’ll be able to ask questions to an industry professional and interact with other students in your class.
Our scholar students also get access to a feature called “listening booth” where once a month they can login and attend our “audio theater” where we deconstruct the soundscape of professional films or documentaries.
As a student in our online sound design course you’ll have access to countless downloadable work-files, video tutorials, visual and audio examples and much more. The sound design course was developed specifically with the needs of the independent filmmaker in mind. The online program will cover the following topics:
1.1. Introduction to learning online
2.1. Introduction to sound design. Jumping in: Your first project (we provide the footage. You mix the sounds)
2.2. Characteristics of sound: Understanding dynamic range, frequencies, sample rates, bit depth & more
2.3. Creating a sound map
3.2. Acoustics and recording space
3.3. Capturing professional field recordings (background, Foley etc)
3.4. Capturing dialogue (clean, consistent and intelligible)
SETTING UP YOUR AUDIO WORKSTATION
4.1. Setting up for indie film sound studio
4.2. Room acoustics
4.3. Hardware needed (optional) – control boards, i/o etc.
SOFTWARE & SOUND MANIPULATION
5.1. Software program basics
5.2. Organizing your workflow & synchronization
5.3. An introduction to equalizers & plugins
5.4. Audio compression
5.5. Audio transitions
6.1. Sound continuity
6.2. Dialogue: Working with dialogue (POST)
6.3. Background / Ambient
6.4. Room tone & Walla
6.6. Creating sound FX from the ground up
6.7. The role of music
MIXING, MASTERING & PUBLISHING
7.1. Fixing audio mistakes & reducing noise (in post)
8.1. Sound libraries
8.2. Hands on work assignments
WHAT SOFTWARE DO I NEED TO GET STARTED?
We are not a software specific course. You can use any audio program to work through our course with. However, if you don’t currently have a sound design software program that’s not a problem. Our program uses a digital audio workstation (DAW) that gives users a 60 day free trail, and it only costs $60 to buy after that. However, if you wanted to use a different DAW after the course (and after 60 days is up) that’s fine as well. We don’t teach software specific information. For example, when we teach equalization the concept is the same for DAW’s such as Pro Tools, Nuendo, Logic, Cubase etc. However, for the purpose of keeping all of our students on the same page and showing visually how each of these elements work, we’ve decided to go with a program that offers a free 60 day trial to help our students work side by side with our instructional content and videos.
HOW DO I ENROLL & HOW MUCH IS ENROLLMENT?
Our next course start date is March 7th, 2014. Sign up below!
1 year access
1 year access
1 year access