Michael C. Williams
Sound Design & Writing Scores
Pinnacle College Graduate Brian Ingoldsby Scholarship Award Recipient Graduated with Honors and 4.0 GPA Audio/Video Technician with PSAV
I am a Sound Designer and Music Composer that attended Pinnacle College's Recording Engineer Program from January-December of 2013. My full-time job is as an Audio/Video Technician with multi-national company PSAV; however, I still enjoy doing freelance work in addition (especially to keep up my studio production skills).
During my time at Pinnacle, I maximized my exposure to the studios, arriving early frequently to work on my music and producing a podcast with my classmates. For class projects, I often helped lead the class in running the equipment, gaining plenty of experience with the process of setting up a signal chain. After awhile, I became known as that "guy who's always in the studio," and was occasionally called upon by other students to help troubleshoot various hardware and software issues they were having.
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Interview with Michael C. Williams
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Most Live Applications: Analog. Much lower chance of a catastrophic failure. Most Studio Applications: Digital. Simply more practical. I would love to work on an analog project for the experience, but not as a day-to-day preference.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: When recording vocals, make sure the vocalist has reverb in their headphone monitors. This prevents them from subconsciously forcing their voice to carry and hindering the performance.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Post-Production Sound: 1) Create spreadsheet with sounds needed, timecodes, dialogue file names, etc. 2) Add dialogue and any pre-existing sound effects I can include. 3) Foley. 4) Mixing. It's a bit more nuanced than that, but it's a sufficient summary.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Post-Production Sound
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The Pinnacle Weekly Podcast. This was a podcast I created, produced, and hosted. I conceived it with the idea of giving myself and classmates more experience in a studio environment. Key goals included rotating the Recording Engineer role every week, promoting the music of myself and my classmates, gaining experience in the producing aspect of an audio production (booking guests, keeping schedules, etc.). It ran for 11 episodes with moderate success among my classmates and the Pinnacle faculty. While I do wish it had been more successful, I am proud of what we did and gained plenty of experience from it.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: My own personal music.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Color One LED(s), DMX Cable(s), Lighting Console, Power Generator, Gas. Basically I'd program a SOS signal.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Sound Design: Finding creative ways to simulate/emulate an on screen object. (My favorite example is turning a the sound of a snoring man into a pulsating engine sound) Music: Breaking out of my comfort zone with my writing style and realizing just how much I don't know, which is both daunting and exciting.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: In 2010, I decided I wanted a career in composing music for film, television, and video games. To start, I began using my brother's keyboard (which had been lying around unused) and recording into audacity with a simple headphone-to-microphone port patch. In 2013, I attended Pinnacle College to better the technical side of music production, picking up plenty of other skills along the way. I am now familiar with mixing music, sound design (foley, editing, etc.), recording, live sound, and the like. In 2016, I was hired with PSAV in Downtown Sacramento as an Audio/Video Technician. Most of my work has been at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento and the Sacramento Convention Center.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: John Williams. Because Star Wars. That's why.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Orchestral and Metal
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Computer: I switch between my Macbook Pro and custom Windows PC. DAWs: Pro Tools, Sound Forge Pro Audio Interface: Tascam US-1800 Headphones: Grove SR225s* Monitors: Mackie CR3s
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Music: John Williams, Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Shimomura, Bear McCreary, Jeremy Zuckerman, Pinnacle College Instructors