What were you doing before you came to Spirit Studios?
In 1997 I studied sound engineering at Spirit Studios and a year later I started working as a sound engineer for a small production company based in Sale. I designed and set up their post production audio studio and subsequently ran that part of the business for several years. Around 15 years ago I went freelance, specialising in audio post production and working on TV shows, corporate videos, films and radio commercials.
How did you get into Sound Engineering?
The production company I worked for had 5 video edit suits so I was thrown in at the deep end, mixing the audio for everything they edited. The early mixes were not great but I learned quickly, figuring things out for myself and reading through the entire Pro Tools reference manual several times! I always had an interest in film sound as a viewer so it progressed to the point where I was able to create sound design, record ADR and do full surround mixes for feature length films.
Any special areas of interest?
My interests in audio are continually evolving but I’ve always maintained an interest in surround sound. Also, recently I’ve gotten more into noise reduction and audio restoration.
What’s your proudest career achievement?
Personally it was when I first achieved the Avid Certified Expert Instructor status. There are only a handful of people in the UK certified by Avid at this level to teach their courses so I was happy to achieve this.
What do you get up to outside of teaching?
Parkour. I’ve been training for over 17 years now and I calculated that I’ve racked up at least 15,000 hours attending parkour sessions. I run a group called Northern Parkour. We meet up 2 to 3 times per week in Manchester. All of the training is outdoors.
Another interest is home cinema. Working in audio is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have the knowledge but at the same time I now can’t tolerate sub standard audio in any setting so I’ve gone all out with an elaborate Dolby Atmos sound system for my home cinema setup.
The production company I worked for had 5 video edit suits so I was thrown in at the deep end, mixing the audio for everything they edited. The early mixes were not great but I learned quickly, figuring things out for myself and reading through the entire Pro Tools reference manual several times!
What’s your favourite album/artist?
Michael Jackson. Bad. This was the first album I ever owned and in my opinion it’s excellent. Well written songs, superbly performed and very well engineered too!
Other favourite artists include Pink Floyd, Sting, Norah Jones, Megadeth, Foo Fighters, Zero 7.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Michael Jackson at Roundhay Park in Leeds. Dangerous Tour, August 16th 1992.
What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
I don’t know. Is Queen a guilty pleasure, or is that too good?
Tell us something people may not know about you?
I can do a handstand for over a minute (on a good day!)
Want to learn from Paul?
Paul is a tutor at Spirit Studios that teaches our Sound Engineering courses.
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