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Avid Delivers Real-Time Global Collaboration For Berklee College Of Music

Real-time, high-definition collaborative workflows between production complex at campus in Boston and school's campus in Valencia, Spain

By PSW Staff March 3, 2015

Left to right: Rob Jaczko, Stephen Webber and Dan Thompson at an Avid System 5 console at the Berklee College of Music Boston campus.

Berklee College of Music, the world’s largest independent contemporary music college with campuses in Boston and Valencia, Spain, recently implemented audio solutions from the Avid Artist Suite powered by the Avid MediaCentral Platform, including Pro Tools | Software, Pro Tools | HDX systems with Avid analog and digital HD interfaces, Sibelius music notation software, and System 5 digital audio mixing consoles.

“Technology has been, and always will be, an integral part of Berklee’s curriculum,” says Liz Teutsch, assistant director of academic technology and associate professor at Berklee College of Music’s Valencia campus. “We’re constantly challenging ourselves to incorporate the cutting-edge into the curriculum, and this core component of the Berklee philosophy has historically kept us at the forefront in training students to enter the increasingly competitive music industry.”

To ensure its curriculum remains relevant, Berklee keeps a close eye on industry trends, anticipating what is to come and, increasingly, participating in the direction the industry is taking. “Collaborative work processes have become the norm in the industry, and in the future, distant collaboration will be a standard work process,” explains David Mash, senior vice president for innovation, strategy and technology at Berklee College of Music, and chairman of the executive board of directors for the Avid Customer Association. “We want our students to learn about this and master these processes while they’re still students.”

The new Avid workflow enables real-time, high-definition collaborative workflows between its new 10-studio audio production complex at the Boston campus and the campus in Valencia. A high-speed i2 internet connection links the two locartions, enabling real-time collaboration. With the new studios in Boston recently completed, Berklee is planning to enable remote collaboration between the two campuses on a real-time tracking session.

“We wanted our studios in Valencia and Boston to be able to communicate across Internet2, and Pro Tools enables that for us,” says Mash. “Providing students with the tools to collaborate from one studio to the other, regardless of physical location, will facilitate some very interesting real world teaching opportunities.”

“It’s no secret that Avid products are ubiquitous in the professional music community, and introducing our student body to these tools is essential to their success as professionals,” adds Teutsch. “Incorporating Avid products into our facilities and curriculum is an integral element of the technology training we give students of all disciplines.”

Avid solutions are taught directly in the classroom for recording, composing, songwriting, editing and mixing, and students also have access to the products at Berklee’s technology labs and recording studios.

“It’s extremely important to teach the tools that our students are going to see in the real world,” says Ian Kagey, chief engineer and assistant professor at Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus. “In terms of professional music production and audio for visual media, Avid audio products are the industry standard. Our goal is to make students as ready as possible to jump into a professional environment, and not just feel comfortable, but thrive.”

The college chose the System 5 console as the centerpiece for its dubbing stages in both Boston and Valencia due to its widespread use in both audio post production and by film scoring composers worldwide, its tight integration via EUCON control with industry standard Pro Tools, and the ability to incorporate Dolby Atmos surround sound workflows.

“It’s crucial to give our students the experience of collaborating remotely as this is how so much music production is achieved in today’s industry,” says Kagey. “Having two rooms on both sides of the ocean with similar capabilities and routing makes the dream of a remote real-time tracking session much closer to reality.”

An example of Berklee’s philosophy of technology being an integral part of its curriculum is that all incoming students are equipped with a laptop to record, edit and mix their music. Berklee has selected Pro Tools | Software as the official digital audio workstation (DAW) on all laptops distributed to every student as part of its Berklee Bundle Licensing Program (BBLP), giving students unlimited access to industry-standard tools. “We wanted high-quality, high-resolution audio in all of our recording studios and the same software for the students’ laptops, and Pro Tools gives us that capability,” says Mash.

Stephen Webber, director of music technology innovation and director of academic technology, Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus, adds: “As a music professional, it’s not always a good use of time to rent an expensive studio to edit and tune tracks, or audition performances. Pro Tools gives you the ability to realize an entire project outside of the studio with professional results. Of course, it’s also important to be able to effectively operate in a professional, world-class, large-format studio, which will increase your value exponentially, and Avid tools allow you to make that transition seamlessly.”

According to Teutsch, the explosion of smaller facilities operating on lower budgets and shorter timelines has had a big impact on Berklee’s curriculum. “With Avid’s wide range of solutions catering to everything from small personal studios to the largest in the world, we’re able to fulfill our commitment to teaching the full spectrum of music production and preparing students for the variety of work environments they’ll encounter over the course of their careers.”

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