Monday, April 21, 2014

VPA Graduate Spotlight: Mitchell Schuh

Mitchell Schuh: VPA alumnus in Audio Production and Technology

1. Tell me about your work since graduating from Tech.

My career has taken me through multiple jobs (and many, many more opportunities) that have challenged me and been on the edge of our industries expectations for technology and integration. I’ve worked with Ken in the Middle East (with slightly different experiences and projects), have worked in Morocco, South Korea, Montreal, and all over the US (NYC, New Jersey, Baltimore, Boston, Orlando, Dallas, LA, Seattle, Detroit). My work centers around control systems for entertainment. This translates to me using my background in audio, theater, and engineering to design systems (what hardware, how to connect it) and program the brain that makes all of the subcomponents talk to each other. An example of this would be that when attending a museum, you go up to an exhibit and push a button. That button is connected to a system that controls what that exhibit will do and how it will react. This idea scales up to management of the equipment (starting up in the morning, shutting down at night, notifying of failures, etc) as well as very, very large scale systems. We ( are known for our large scale video wall playback systems so I’m specializing in that even more, although the techniques and ideas are mostly the same.

Some of the projects that I was lead control systems designer and programmer:
New York Stock Exchange VIP Entrance and Trading floor video system, Downtown Manhattan, NYC
Bain Capital lobby, Boston, MA
For McHenry National Museum, Baltimore, MD

2. Why did you choose to major in Audio Production Technology at Tech?

I have always been drawn to the intersection of the technical and creative aspects of sound and show systems. To be able to pursue a degree with the rigors of an engineering background yet still maintain the nuance that resides in any creative process was a perfect fit for my abilities and desires.

Also, the winter. :)

3. What is the most important thing you learned while at Tech?

I was involved with many, many different student organizations including directing the Pep Band, managing Sound and Lighting Services, on the Rozsa Tech Crew, and other smaller ensembles and groups. All of these, paired with the classroom and lab experiences of the program, taught me how to interact with various groups. It is critically important to be able to translate different people's intentions to other parties in almost all aspects of what I do on a daily basis.

4. What inspires you?

One of my projects, the Universal SuperStar Parade, includes many favorite children’s stories (Despicable Me, Sponge Bob, Hop, and Dora the Explorer). Almost every opportunity I get, I’ll watch the children’s reactions to seeing their favorite TV star riding past them. The excitement that they express from seeing something that I put so much effort into makes every minute of hard work worth it. In general, seeing people use and enjoy my work. It’s the same feeling that creative people get upon seeing people enjoy their music or their art.

6. What is the most amazing thing you have done since graduating?

By far, the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.
LAX - Case Study from Moment Factory on Vimeo.

It features some of the most integrated and largest video walls in the world with a deployment of tons of new technology for our field. The primary goal of the system is to have as low of downtime as possible due to it being very, very high priced advertising. Because of this, we can literally lose power to half of the system and everything will continue to operate normally. It’s also absolutely massive. Over 1.5 olympic sized swimming pools of video screen LEDs and a video playback system that is larger and more complex than most TV stations.

7. What would be your advice to students choosing to major in Sound Design or Audio Production Technology at Michigan Tech?

Don’t be afraid to shape your own future. Take the courses, choose the major that will help you get to your goal even if it’s not exactly what the ‘normal’ is.

Friday, April 4, 2014

VPA Graduate Spotlight: Ben Boeshans

Ben Boeshans graduated from Michigan Tech with a major in Audio Production & Technology.

1. Tell me about your work since graduating from Tech.

Since graduating from Tech, I’ve worked for Acoustic Dimensions in Dallas designing sound systems. The company designs audio, lighting, video, acoustics, rigging and several other aspects of any spaces where a performance is held. My role in designing systems has been to meet with clients to understand their wants needs and then transform them into a system that meets their needs.

2. Why did you choose to major in Audio Production and Technology at Tech?

I chose the program because it has a unique application of Electrical Engineering Technology and live sound. When I was looking for a program (and likely still now) most programs available either concentrated on studio sound or EET and not a combination of both.

3. What is the most important thing you learned while at Tech?

It’s certainly hard to pinpoint a single thing that I learned. I think it was the value of learning from and working with as many people as possible. Classes are of course important, but learning from the different groups that toured through - talking to their crews and seeing how they did things has been invaluable. Learning to absorb and process information from several viewpoints has been a great asset.

4. What inspires you?

I’m inspired to solve problems. How can I make speech work in a reverberant space? How can I enhance fan experience at a hockey game? I appreciate when a project comes together and a client is able to utilize their space unlike they have before because of a solution that we were able to put forth.

5. How have your experiences at Tech influenced your current work?

Tech provided a foundation of information I could use as a springboard. Software changes, products change but the process of learning both doesn’t. Speaker technologies and products change, but the physics of sound doesn’t.

6. What is the most amazing thing you have done since graduating?

The amazing things I’ve done all center around the experiences I’ve helped to create. From Formula 1 to college hockey to churches all of the projects have created amazing experiences for those who enter the space.

7. What would be your advice to students choosing to major in Sound Design or Audio Production and Technology at Michigan Tech?

Get involved in anything sound you can - don’t let an opportunity pass you by.