ART301 - Introduction to Audio Design for Visuals and Games
This course deals in depth with the audio for visuals both from a technical and expressive point of view, from production and post-production up to the listener’s experience. The course will begin with a historical perspective, focusing on the scientific and technological advancement related to sound and image. Languages, technologies and all professional figures (from the set to the mixing room) will be analysed in depth, including managerial and organisational aspects. The course will conclude with a quick introduction to the audio for games in order to highlight its connection with audiovisual sound and its prerequisites that will be covered in core courses.
ART310 - The Shape of Sound: Understanding Film Sound Cultures
By doing so, it will equip students with the necessary skillset to identify, understand and build on their own local culture of production to maximise creative and business opportunities, wherever they may be based.
The module will provide students with a valuable insight that goes beyond traditional generalisations based on accounts of technological innovation and individual creative genius by casting a wider net on a number of key factors behind the success of particular sound design approaches and postproduction houses.
The module will articulate around a series of key concepts that will be looked at in detail using real life experience and case studies.
One major case study will be that of Skywalker Sound, arguably the world’s most influential post-house.
Key concepts covered include: Location, Culture, Clusters/innovation, Personal memory, Language, Collaboration, Support and rewards systems, Diplomacy, New and developing work trends that are likely to shape the future of film sound.
AE301 - Microphone Technology and Application [Elective]
After a short brush up on the characteristics of sound fields, (point-, line-, and plane sources) the connection between the sound field, air molecule displacement, and the microphone’s diaphragm is investigated in depth.
The principles for the pressure microphone, the pressure gradient microphone and the combination thereof are explained in depth. The derived directional characteristics are explained, demonstrated, and the students perform exercises to determining the distance factor of the various directional characteristics.
The proximity effect of gradient microphones is explained in depth and demonstrated with a particular focus on the relationship between proximity and application.
Transducer types are explained with primary focus on the dynamic micro-phones (moving coil and ribbon), and condenser/electret condenser microphones. Directional characteristics obtained by double-membrane condenser microphones are explained.
All related and relevant microphone specifications are explained: Sensitivity, self-noise, signal to noise ratio, max level, dynamic range, distortion, powering systems for microphones, etc.
Basic microphone array technology related to the application is explained and demonstrated: MS configurations, A- and B-format recording (Ambisonics/Sound Field). Directional characteristics are calculated by the individual microphone types applied for the array.
Practical advice regarding the selection of microphones for various applications is given throughout the lectures. Timbral differences are trained by exercises and demonstrations. Limitations and consequences are explained and demonstrated.
AE302 - Audio Metering
The course starts with some background on level measurement concepts, and an in-depth look at all types of level metering and the different scales and ballistics available.
The various standards and recommendations used in the industry are explained in depth, with a focus on how they can help you get optimal and consistent audio levels in your recordings for different applications (cinema, broadcast, music etc.)
You learn everything about oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers and vectorscopes. You’ll also get a deep understanding of advanced displays, such as the 2D and 3D spectrogram available in iZotope RX.
You’ll learn also how an electroacoustic chain can be analyzed in terms of alignment of analog and digital signals clarifying concepts about headroom, loudness, SPL, mic sensitivity, ADC and DAC, digital levels, amplification, loudspeaker’s sensitivity.
AE303 - Fundamentals in Audio Engineering
The following topics will be covered:
– The physical sound (elementary physics, materials, waves, boundaries, mechanical-electrical models)
– Oscillations (simple and complex harmonic oscillators)
– Acoustics (acoustic systems, intensity, propagation effects, oscillations)
– Psychoacoustics (sound perception and cognition, auditory scene analysis, auditory memory, listening strategies, physiological responses to sound, relations between sound, language and knowledge)
– Digital Signals (signals and systems in the time and frequency domains, Fourier and Wavelet approaches , multiresolution analysis)
The discussion will be kept to a qualitative level as much as possible in order to make the course accessible also to those without an engineering background. We will assume only a basic knowledge of high school mathematics and physics, although a basic understanding of the fundamentals of linear algebra and signal theory would be an advantage.
AE304 - Spectral Processing of Audio Signals
Core courses – Music
MUS310 - Principles of Music Design
AE330 - Orchestral Recording and Mixing
AE370 - Psychology of sound
It is therefore necessary to apply the psychology of perception, taking into account narrative needs, interactions between sight and hearing and the emotional path on which we intend to guide the viewer. You will also learn to use subliminal elements to enhance the message conveyed by the story, whether it be film, advertising or whatever.
Of course, a good part of this course is also valid for applications limited to audio only.
AE360 - Digital Sound Tools
EE350 - Audio Coding and Standards [Elective]
The need for significant reduction in data rate for wide-band digital audio signal transmission and storage has led to the development of psychoacoustics-based data compression techniques. In this approach, the limitations of human hearing are exploited to remove inaudible components of audio signals. The degree of bit rate reduction achievable without sacrificing perceived quality using these methods greatly exceeds that possible using lossless techniques alone. Perceptual audio coders are currently used in many applications including Digital Radio and Television, Digital Sound on Film, Multimedia/Internet Audio, Mobile Devices, etc.
This class integrates digital signal processing, psychoacoustics, rate/distortion optimization, and programming to provide the basis for understanding and building perceptual audio coding systems. We review the basic principles underlying all the core components of a perceptual audio codec and study the design choices applied in state-of-the-art audio coding schemes, e.g. AC-3 (aka Dolby Digital), Enhanced AC-3, AC-4; MPEG Layers I, II, and III (MP3); MPEG AAC; MPEG-H. In-class demonstrations will allow students to hear the quality of state-of-the-art implementations at varying data rates and, as a final project, you will be programming your own simple perceptual audio coder.
AE380 - Audio Restoration
As far as cinema is concerned, the discographic, optical and magnetic supports will be analysed, as well as the analog and digital technologies that have followed one another in a century of history, and the most common problems in the restoration of this type of material and the issues raised by reeditions, that is, the enhancement of the work by freeing it from some of the limitations linked to the era in which it was produced.
Core courses – Visuals
AE340 - Field Recording 1
AE341 - Field recording 2
In this course you will learn how to place lavalier mics on actors and how to manage the boom, also moving accordingly to the needs of photography. In Rome you will have the chance to play the role of sound engineer and microphonist accompanied by the best professionals in the field who have been working for a long time with the most important Italian directors. All recorded material will be analyzed and selected in the mixing room during the live sessions of Sound Editing and Re-recording mixing courses.
AE342 - Pro Tools Fundamentals [Elective]
AE343 - Sound Editing
AE344 - Foley
You will learn how to use the body and the strangest tools to generate sounds related to the performance of the characters (props, clothes, human and animal steps on different grounds…) with established techniques of traditional Foley.
AE345 - Special Effects and Backgrounds
In this module you will learn how to use private or public sound libraries or to record by yourself sound effects and backgrounds, with different microphone techniques, layering them in order to build the best suited sound for every scene, from a simple stereo up to the Atmos format, making choices coherent to the style chosen by the Director.
AE346 - Music Editing
During the week in Rome you will have the opportunity to visit Digital Records, the main Italian studio dedicated to film music, and you will be able to understand and use its magnificent Neve console.
Being a smart professional in this industry requires deep and long-standing music skills, however in this course you’ll learn the basics and how to take it a step further if you’re interested in becoming a true music editor.
AE347 - Re-recording Mixing for Cinema and TV
During the Summer workshop in Rome we will build from scratch a template for mixing movies with Pro Tools Ultimate and the Avid S6 Console in Cinecittà and/or Sefit CDC Group. Using real-world examples of scenes from the film we will address the problem of equalisation of dialogues, the integration of dubbing and sound effects, the topic of space characterization, the acoustics of venues and the use of modern multichannel reverb effects. Both diegetic elements and commentary music will be addressed and a special technique to come to the best compromise between effectiveness and harmonious integration with the dialogues and other sound elements will be described in depth.
Core courses – Games and VR
CS301 - Advanced Computational Tools for Audio Manipulation
AE398 - Legacy Game Sound Generation Techniques [Elective]
AE390 - Audio for Games, Virtual and Augmented Reality
AE490 - Personal Project
As a MAD student in your final quarter you can explore an area of personal interest by developing a specific project under the guidance under the tuition of a chosen MAD professor. This provides the opportunity to consolidate your learning and develop important skills you’ll need in both further education and life beyond the classroom. It also helps you develop confidence to become principled, lifelong learners and can have an immediate impact at work in your chosen area
Meet The MAD
CESMA organizes events and meetings throughout the year, both online and offline, where you can interact with directors, faculty, alumni, and staff. You can also drop us a line by email or give us a ring by phone!