A 24-week course designed for high school seniors who seek a vocational education in the production Arts. This course is intended to augment the final year of high school with the fundamentals of audio, lighting, and stagecraft. A student who successfully completes this course will be completely prepared to attend a year-long hands-on production arts school like Production Institute or Full Sail. These vocational education programs are expensive and fast-paced and poorly prepared students will struggle to keep up with the top-level students in their class. It's essential that students at these programs stay at the top of their class to improve their chances for future employment.

This course is intended for students who seek alternatives to a four year college. This course will have a focus on audio but will cover the core concepts of performance production techniques. The course is designed to start students with the rudiments of terminology, introduce them to the concepts and devices used in theater and concerts and take them through the fundamentals of audio, lighting and A/V technologies. This online course will be an excellent primer for students who wish to attend the Production Institute in Athens GA or any other school for vocational training of audio engineering. If a prospective student can complete this course they will be well prepared to tackle the fast paced environment of a hands-on setting type classes in real-world situations. Don't spend tens of thousands of dollars on a course without first gaining the fundamental knowledge you'll need to stay at the top of your class. The production arts are a group of highly specialized skill sets and they all start with the fundamentals of the science of sound and lighting and the conventional wisdom of the industry professionals. This is the best place to learn those fundementals!

A look at the various jobs that the Production Arts encompass and a guide to Career Development for students who are interested in these areas of the entertainment production world.
Terms for Pro Audio, lighting, video, staging, rigging, theater etc etc etc. Gotta know what the heck people are talking about!

Diagrams, drawings and documentation are an essential part of planning and communicating with other audio engineers and audio vendors.

Understanding and generating these documents is the first step in professionalism. After all, if you can't explain what's in your head with diagrams, lists and maps, how well thought out can it be? 

The devices used for audio processing in modern PA systems and the concepts behind them.
Understanding some of the basic concepts and simple ideas about how light works, will lead the students to a whole new level of understanding. We will examine some of the physics behind light, but additionally, we'll look at how the Human brain plays the central role in "creating" color from electromagnetic energy! Some of these concepts are directly related to themes that occur in the area of audio as well. Known as psycho-acoustics, the mind plays a fundamental role in creating a coherent picture from many simultaneous inputs, and understanding some of these concepts is central to creating art and artistic environments. 

A/V systems are comprised of individual elements and devices that work in unison to deliver sound and visual information to audiences. Audio or PA systems, lighting systems, projection equipment and several other modern production devices are all used in concert with one another to enhance performances and events.
For this course and this week, we will focus on sound, lighting and projection systems.

Cabling for everything from consumer products to pro audio systems. One must be able to instantly identify many types of cabling by sight and infer it's intended use in the signal chain. The correct operation of the equipment and personal safety could be at risk if you can't recognize cable and connectors by sight instantly.

An overview of connectors of all types used for audio, video, lighting, high voltage and many other types. Instant visual identification of cable types is essential for operating in a modern stage environment. We'll examine the sexual logic of audio connectors and standard conventions for connecting pro audio devices with a wide range of other A/V devices and conventions. Impedance, load and power, and networking overviews.

Signal Path must always be planned ahead of time. Often signal path is established well before any show ever takes place. And there's a good reason for that. Cabling is always limited and smart planning is required to ensure that you can transport signals to where you need them for the performance. 

Signal path is the term used to denote how you get certain types of audio signals from point A to point B and then back again. You might be required to account for literally hundreds of different wires that are all carrying signals of different type, strength and usability and could quite possibly be quite dangerous. Only by planning ahead can you ensure that you are prepared to get signal where you need it. Diagrams and documentation are the first and foremost part of planning but the creative visualization techniques discussed in Chapter 1 are good to employ when one is planning an event. Audio engineers are often called on to provide audio signal feeds from mixing consoles to support everything from TV programs to speeches. Understanding the characteristics of the cables and the connectors and the signal you are using is important for normal operation.

Analog and digital consoles examined! 

Despite the fact that Analog and Digital consoles use the same audio toolbox, there are serious differences that must be considered when using either type of mixer.

Achieving the proper gain structure within either is a good contrast in methods.

An examination of Gain Structure in mixing consoles and PA systems. 

Gain structure is the most misunderstood concept in the audio universe. Achieving high amounts of gain without over-saturation or clipping is the goal and it takes a "big picture" point of view to understand and adjust the gain structure of your console or PA system. You read that right. The console has a different gain structure than the PA and getting the two to work in perfect harmony is the goal.

Microphones types and the proper application and positioning of mics for different instruments.

An in depth look at signal processing such as noise gates and compressor limiters.

Audio dynamic processors are some of the hardest tools to use and implement correctly. Audio engineers must be able to control dynamic range, excessive signal levels and audio bleed-through. Dynamic processors are how you gain control over these audio problems. Failure to properly apply this type of processing can actually make your mix sound bad!

FX for beginners. 

Learning to use effects for live audio mixing will take your sound to a whole new space! The psycho-acoustic phenomena associated with delays and echoes have been used for years by audio engineers to improve their mixes. Reverb, chorus and other types of effects can also play an important role in defining the emotional content of songs and performances as well.

This week we will learn some techniques to control the volume and timbre of your mix.

How to use your ears and technology to tune the acoustic feedback out of amplified audio systems.

Eliminate feedback before it can happen. Learn how professional audio engineers eliminate feedback from the audio system before any artist walks in the door.

Identifying the room modes and free air resonance frequencies of a performance space and eliminating them before sound-check is the only way to assure that acoustic feedback cannot happen during a performance. There are straight forward methods that do not involve machinery or analysis by anything but your ears. There are also many useful devices for pinpointing troublesome frequencies, nodes and anti-nodes and other wave phenomena that can  severely affect your mix. We will examine both approaches in this class.

Work flow is one of the most important thing to learn in any job. You need to know what order to do things in. Which comes first and which to save for last. We will examine some rule of thumb approaches to work flow for the production arts professional.

Learning to control large numbers of inputs and all the other equipment at your fingertips is one of the biggest challenges of the professional audio engineer.

Audio engineers have developed hardware within mixing systems to simplify this process and give themselves the tools they needed to stay on top of the fast paced environment of a live performance while maintaining excellent Gain Structure. Learn the workflow of a pro in this class! 

An intense examination of the dangers of working around portable AC distribution systems. An examination of common equipment involved as well as best practices used for troubleshooting and repairing broken power distribution equipment.

Power distribution is paramount to the correct, noise free operation of your equipment as well as the safety of you and your artists and your guests. Alternating current is dangerous and learning the safe and acceptable methods to distribute power is fundamental to any production. 99% of all buzzing, humming, 60 cycle noise etc is caused by improper grounding and multiple ground paths. Electricity always seeks the path of least resistance. 

An overview of stagecraft and the various skills involved in entertainment production.
Terminology for performance and theatrical lighting.
A step by step walk through of the PA system and how to move the equipment and set it up. By now you'll recognize what the different cables are for and where to connect them. You'll see the relationship of the Gain Structure and console classes to the operation of your PA system.
An overview and walk through of the setup and basic operation of a Lighting system.
A review of Customer Service techniques and other approaches to achieving higher customer satisfaction.