Tonmeister placement year – the 5 coolest things

The placement year forms an important part of your education and aims to develop your professional, practical, interpersonal, organisational, and creative &/or technical skills, and to allow you to apply some of the theory that you have learned in the first two years of the programme. Full placement scheme details for current students are available in the programme handbooks and module descriptions but, as a taster, here’s what some of the students on placement in 2014/15 thought were the 5 ‘coolest’ (i.e. most useful, interesting, remarkable, exciting, impressive, enjoyable, etc.) things about their placements…

Adam Welch : Plus 4 Audio : Trainee Engineer

  • Learned to use industry standard equipment.
  • Worked in famous venues.
  • Gained a wealth of knowledge from experienced engineers.
  • Worked on live television shows.
  • Made loads of contacts in the live entertainment industry.

Alexandra Webb : Dolby Laboratories (Content Services) : Technical Facilities Engineer

  • Mixed a live performance of my favourite Bombay Bicycle Club song in Atmos which is now used regularly for client demos.
  • Met and independently ran a short film screening for Brian May.
  • Drank an abundance of free alcohol and ate an abundance of free sushi.
  • Watched tonnes of films prior to their public release.
  • Got to play The Last of Us, GTA and PT demo on PS4 in a dark, empty cinema with audio upmixed to 9.1. I cannot stress enough how terrifying yet awesome an experience this was.

Alex Hill : Graveney School : Music & Sound Technician

  • Taught Early-Entry GCSE club dance composition to students who all achieved A* grades. This helped the department attain their highest GCSE results on record (93% A*-A).
  • Restored the department virginal with new plectra and strings. Stained and repaired woodwork to a fine finish.
  • Produced a CD which was sold to parents making 900% profit on each CD for the department.
  • Helped organise and accompanied the department on two fully paid up weekend trips.
  • Recorded, mixed and catalogued over 100 performance exams.

Alistair Bolt : SNK Studios : Junior Runner

  • Having my library track used for a national advert in Canada.
  • Watching experienced full time engineers work and learning from them.
  • Meeting Emma Watson and Sir Ian McKellen and making them tea.
  • Recording a special ‘cat keyboard’ by myself on location.
  • Being solely responsible for recording, editing and mixing a radio advert.

Andrew Denyer : Royal College of Music : Trainee Recording Engineer

  • Put a lapel mic on Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Recorded lots of fantastic up-and-coming classical musicians
  • Ran many epic scoring sessions
  • Worked at the renowned Wigmore Hall for a live streaming
  • Learned how to use a vision mixer and cut live for a number of concert recordings

Angus Cousins : Focusrite Audio Engineering : Assistant Service Engineer

  • I learnt a lot about audio electronics
  • Serviced a large range of products from MIDI controllers to network based interfaces and rare vintage pre amps and channel strips
  • I had input into new products from a design and servicing perspective
  • Independently repaired units for well-known artists such as ‘Rudimental’ and ‘You Me at Six’
  • Helped international repair centres with repairs from around the world

Lottie Thomas : Focusrite : R&D Engineering Intern

  • Experienced working in a busy R&D department and contributed to the development of a variety of exciting products
  • Surrounded by a diverse team who were all willing to share their knowledge
  • Learnt loads about hardware and firmware design
  • I was a valued and respected member of the team
  • Saw positive feedback and 5 star reviews for products I’d worked on

Chris Kalcov : Floating Earth : Assistant Engineer

  • Turned around a recording of the BBC Concert Orchestra straight to stereo in 90 seconds for the opening titles of the BBC Music Awards
  • Discovered the technical differences between OM numbering and single vs multimode in optical fibre installations
  • Got nominated in the Pro Sound Awards for Broadcast Team of the Year for ENO’s Pirates of Penzance
  • Drove to Paris by myself without a satnav to livestream Lady Gaga’s final show of her tour
  • Mixed Hans Zimmer at the iTunes Festival with the Eric Whitacre Singers

Craig Cieciura : Producertech : Course Content Manager

  • Learnt all about a genre and production style I was previously ignorant of – Electronic Dance Music.
  • Berlin is an incredibly vibrant and exciting city to live and work in.
  • Developed relationships with industry leading companies such as Ableton, Native Instruments and Liine.
  • Worked in a professional environment at a small and very friendly company and was given loads of responsibility
  • Developed skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise learnt on the course.

Curtis ElVidge : Monnow Valley Studio : Assistant Engineer

  • lived and breathed recorded music
  • worked with artists from Courtney Barnett to Nigel Kennedy
  • worked on music from folk to prog-metal
  • acted as head engineer, producer, or session musician from session to session
  • got to work in an amazing room with amazing equipment and amazing people

Daniel Clark : Focusrite : Technical Support Engineer

  • Free breakfast and lunch for a year.
  • Winning the Pro Tools Expert award for best customer service.
  • Huge staff discount on a Clarett 8PreX
  • Christmas party overlooking London at Centrepoint
  • Playing my own music live to the whole company at a staff party.

Elizabeth Ng : Guildhall School of Music and Drama : AV Intern

  • Recorded audio and video using in-house facilities on a regular basis in the Barbican Hall, gaining lots of experience using robotically-controlled video cameras.
  • Worked with tons of world-class musicians and actors.
  • Engineered multiple recording sessions in the Guildhall Recording Studio and Milton Court Concert Hall, including for an ex-BBC producer.
  • Had free entry to most operas and concerts that Guildhall was involved with.
  • Gained some freelance work at LSO St. Luke’s.

Harry Wilson : Spitfire Audio : Production Assistant

  • Worked regularly as a client at one of the best studios in the world, with some of the best musicians in the world
  • Spent a lot of time engineering at Spitfire HQ
  • Planned, managed, and engineered my own international projects in Iceland, Berlin and LA
  • Heard our hard work on countless films and TV programs
  • Worked with an incredible team, comprised of the nicest people in audio

James Holliss : Ben Holland Sound : Assistant Engineer

  • Worked for someone at the top of their game and industry.
  • Worked on multiple BAFTA winning shows, and then the BAFTA presentation show.
  • Had my mixes heard by millions of people and had numerous credits on TV.
  • Built up lots of contacts, established myself as a freelancer and travelled lots with it.
  • Met Taylor Swift, twice

James Trusson : Aquarium : Audio Assistant

  • Given sound design and Foley projects for feature films and TV shows.
  • Technical reviewer for Atlantis – a prime time BBC1 TV drama.
  • Part of the commentary editing team for best-selling computer games FIFA 16 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2016.
  • Worked alongside BAFTA award-winning engineers.
  • Based in central London – a very exciting place to work!

Jamie Gamache : Sound Disposition : Sound Assistant

  • Working on over 10 films in one year.
  • Designing and mixing sound for over 150 BBC trailers.
  • Getting my voice in 2 trailers!
  • Mixing two 5.1 short films.
  • Managing to sit through 56 hours of Erotic Audiobook recordings.

Jonny Firth : Tileyard Studios : Studio Assistant

  • Picked up a lot of recording and producing techniques by working with various engineers and producers
  • Learnt how to master and cut vinyl records and used lots of vintage audio equipment
  • Tileyard is a great place full of really big names in many areas of the music industry – made lots of contacts
  • Had a lot of responsibility and was trusted from early on in the job
  • Used studio downtime for personal use a lot

Oscar Eriksen : Peter Gabriel Ltd. : Assistant Engineer

  • Spent a month on Peter’s European Tour
  • Recorded for Peter, Birdy and Pussy Riot
  • Mastered for iTunes Peter’s entire catalogue as well as for Youssou N’dour and Toto La Momposina
  • Met some high profile musicians
  • Created a vast sample instrument arsenal of unique sounds and instruments

Robert Gilmour : Chandos Records Ltd : Editor / Recording Assistant

  • Edited and Mastered many professional CD/SACDs by myself using SADiE
  • Received credits for every disc I worked on (Editor / Assistant Engineer / Mastering)
  • Assisted on a range of professional recording sessions with both chamber ensembles and orchestras
  • Worked with several skilled producers and engineers as well as some of the UK’s top musicians and orchestras
  • Had the opportunity to visit BBC Maida Vale studios for a day of BBC SO recording

Robin D’Arcy : Chapel Studios : Studio Assistant

  • Worked with talented engineers, producers and artists.
  • Did an entire session on tape.
  • Got to use rare vintage microphones and equipment.
  • Had a high level of responsibility and was very involved during sessions.
  • Met lots of valuable contacts.

Samuel Ziajka : Guildhall School : AV Intern

  • Directed and vision mixed multiple cameras in Barbican Hall for a web broadcast.
  • Got to record lots of very talented musicians.
  • Learnt in-depth how Soundfield microphones work.
  • Got to research and implement new video editing workflows.
  • Worked alongside a great and fun team.

Steve Marsh : BBC Research & Development : Tonmeister Intern

  • Mixed binaural audio for Oculus Rift
  • Recording and mixing the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Creating three-dimensional soundscapes
  • Put together state of the art listening room with a 34 speaker arrangement
  • Worked in MediaCityUK in Salford Quays

Timothy Grasse : Environ Audio Ltd : Design Technician

  • Visited some of the most luxury properties in London
  • Tested out billionaires’ home cinemas
  • Learnt about a new industry and the other side of the Tonmeister degree
  • Learnt extensive skills in AutoCAD
  • Very friendly work environment

Verity Greatorex : Script Ltd : Studio Assistant

  • Recording strings for Ella Eyre
  • Composing film music for independent director, Saam Faramund
  • Assisting a session with Gilles Peterson
  • Recording a live album for a Ska covers band
  • Recording “Black Betty” advert for BBC’s “The Voice”

Wes Hicks : Daryl Griffith : Production Assistant

  • Travelled to Budapest for orchestral recording sessions
  • Operated on-set playback rig for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast feature film
  • Filmed and edited promotional video, distributed worldwide for new catalogue launch
  • Engineered Source-Connect overdub session for short film shown at Cannes festival
  • Edited multiple production music albums for commercial release