LOS ANGELES — The LA Film School and its division, The Los Angeles Recording School, are relying on the
Soundly sound effects library and management tool. Founded in 1999, the schools offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in majors pertaining to the media and entertainment industry. Audio, both for music and production/post production has deep roots at the schools, having been a core part of the curriculum from the beginning. Classes dive deep into the art of sound design and mixing.
“My approach to the art form is basically to make audio its own thing, not always necessarily linked to film but almost as an art form in itself,” says Andres De La Torre, sound design instructor, LA Film School. “One of the tasks my students undertake is to produce audio dramas, so they delve into storytelling only with sound. That’s the approach I try to take, so they can figure out how to best utilize the art form inside a film.”
Initially, sound effects were stored on local network hard drives at the school and students could access them in the editing labs. At one point, De La Torre and the staff copied sound effects to flash drives and handed those out to students so that they could do their homework.
“It was never ideal, because it was a fixed set of old SFX that everyone was sharing and it was nearly impossible to add sounds that people were capturing to a master library,” says De La Torre. The department wanted a better solution for storing and accessing sounds, one that was centralized and could be accessed from anywhere, and they wanted the library to constantly grow as students added the best captured sounds each year. To create a centralized library that could be accessed from anywhere, they turned to Soundly, a cloud-based sound library and editing tool.
De La Torre noticed that the sound of projects changed almost overnight once students had access to a larger library with a fast, online search tool. Sound mixes had become more creative, richer and more interesting than before. In addition to the high-quality SFX available from the Soundly cloud library, the Soundly search tool also lets students search the vast Freesound.org library. The Soundly application allows the students to edit and customize the precise part of a SFX that they need which saves precious time and space in their projects.
“They simply set markers on the portion of the sound they want and drag the sound directly into their Avid bins, or directly onto the Pro Tools timeline,” says De La Torre. “If they wish, they can change the pitch, reverse the sound, normalize the gain, convert to mono, all in the Soundly application, which saves loads of time from having to edit it in Pro Tools. Once we show students the “Spot-it” function in Soundly, where sound is instantly copied to the Pro Tools timeline wherever the cursor is parked, they realize there’s no faster way to work.”
Students in the LA Film School Film classes receive a laptop with programs such as the Adobe Creative Cloud, Avid Media Composer and Final Draft. Many students work at full or part time jobs in addition to going to school, so the laptop allows them to do school work from home. With access to the Soundly library in the cloud, they can work on their projects from anywhere.
“The Soundly interface was a big hit with the students,” says De La Torre. “Everyone knows Spotify, and Soundly is essentially Spotify for sound effects. Because it’s so familiar, they are up and running with it right away. I’ll show them a couple things, how to pitch things down from Soundly, how to look for information that might be important, like sample rates. This allows me to use Soundly as a teaching tool as well.”