TFWM: What is one integral piece of advice you have for up and coming live sound engineers?
Robert Scovill: Be patient and learn the craft thoroughly before you go after the big gigs. It’s important to take some time and get some real experience while the light is not shining very bright on you. A big part of that development comes from having made a lot of mistakes in your time and most importantly, learning from them. The old adage holds true that “success is built on a foundation of failures”. It’s the basis for my favorite line when talking to a big time artist right before a big show… “Hey, don’t sweat it, I’ve messed up bigger shows than yours”. That always seems to calm them down.
TFWM: Tell us your opinion on how Pro Tools and DAWs in general have improved studio mixing environments.
RS: The recording workflow has changed significantly. You don’t have to commit to drums sounds, guitar sounds, keyboard sounds, vocal “sounds”. You don’t even have to commit to key signature or tempo anymore. All of that can be reassessed and readdressed during mix down. Now while that power is incredible, it also comes with great responsibility. That amount of power makes it tempting to simply be lazy and rely on the machine to do all the heavy lifting in regard to quality musical performance. In the end you can’t blame those choices being made on the technology itself; it lies squarely in the laps of the people making those choices.
TFWM: Where can one access some resources for learning how to use Avid’s various product lines?
RS: In regard to the VENUE line, we offer regular webinars focused on specific features and workflows as well as high profile guest engineers sharing their ideas and uses of the technology. Those are archived on our web site for anytime viewing. I also conduct basic trainings and technology presentations around the world. We offer some basic instructional videos on products like SC48 that can be accessed online and have an active community of users sharing information on the Avid Audio Forums. We also offer numerous levels of VENUE and Pro Tools certification courses that are taught at our headquarters in Daly City CA as well as on location at the customer’s request.
TFWM: Do you think that on the whole, awareness and competency is improving for HOW audio as compared to five years ago?
RS: Most certainly, without a doubt. Much of what is driving this improvement is a new awareness by the worship leaders and pastors of the world as well as a much needed reassessment of the people they have working for them. For many years, and it still continues today on many levels, there is simply a lack of understanding, and in the end respect, by the pastors and worship leaders of the world for just how difficult good live sound is to accomplish. In the end what needs to happen is that the audio discipline of live sound gains respect by all parties involved; pastor, worship leader, mixer & congregation member. Once that happens, and it is happening, you will see a considerable push for skilled audio people in those facilities and organizations.