Q & A with Drew Parsons, Audio Applications Specialist at Avid

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Recently we were lucky enough to be invited to the Avid Space Melbourne and visit our friend, Drew Parsons.

Drew set up this audio showcase space to host training sessions and showcase Avid’s equipment and what a showroom it is. The Avid Space Melbourne currently has an Avid S6, set up in 7.1.2 monitoring configuration, an Avid S6L and two workstations showing off their smaller controllers such as the Artist Mix and the Avid S3. The S3 is currently set up to showcase its use with VR audio.

This new recording technology is fast becoming a prerequisite for all new Netflix film and TV shows - giving a full surround-sound experience for viewers. Which is great news for audiophiles and the team at Avid.

When was the first time that you realised that sound could have such a profound effect?
Probably in my teenage years listening to bands like Pink Floyd, Queen, The Beatles and The Beach Boys. They were really experimental with their music and that added so much emotion to their music.

Tell us how you started with Avid and how it evolved into the studio it is today?
I started at Avid in 2012 as a product specialist primarily focused on music production. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to become a member of a much broader audio community within the company and my role now affords me the chance to demonstrate workflows for post, these days often in Atmos and VR.

Who’s part of your team at Avid?
In Australia we have a small team of around a dozen people that includes sales, marketing, application specialists and customer support. We are fortunate that we can also leverage many talented people from our greater worldwide team to bolster local activities and bring the latest in both product knowledge and thought leadership to the market.

You’re literally surrounded by sound in your day-to-day work. When you get a moment to yourself outside work, do you have any side music or film projects of your own?
When what you do for a living is also your passion, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain a balance and there are definitely occasions when the last thing I want to do when I get home is listen to music. Generally, though, I do find the time to enjoy music in my private time. I have played piano my whole life and to this day I continue with lessons to keep on improving. I also play guitar in a heavy rock band that tours around the country and when I’m available – and the opportunity presents itself – I like to assist Doug Brady at Furstock Studios with his work on music and TV projects, which is something new and interesting.

What’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had for a project?
The most unusual request was once when a person who had recorded themselves sleeping wanted me to loop their snoring as a constant tone over 8 hours. When I asked, “Why?” their response was, “To play on repeat at home.” That was a weird one.

Working in performance and film, you must meet a huge array of clients with your work - who’s left the biggest impression on you and have you met any of your heroes?
Hard to say. I don’t think of people as heroes, as such, but I have had the pleasure to meet and chat with so many well respected individuals in the audio industry. A few stand outs would be Dennis Sands (Back to the Future, The Avengers, Forrest Gump) Joe Trapanese (The Greatest Showman, TRON, Straight Outta Compton), and Will Files (Star Wars, Venom, Planet of the Apes).

The most unusual request was once when a person who had recorded themselves sleeping wanted me to loop their snoring as a constant tone over 8 hours. When I asked, “Why?” their response was, “To play on repeat at home.” That was a weird one.

Avid has won an absolute ton of awards - two Oscars®, a Grammy® and 16 Emmys®. Have you worked on any of these projects personally?
Ha! I wish. These awards were technical awards for the products we make that help all the story tellers tell stories. Although I’m close to the development team, I certainly cannot take credit for the amazing work they do!.

With technology advancing at the rate it is, sound production as we know it must be changing at an amazing rate. What new technology excites you most?
Immersive audio! It’s amazing. So many great films and TV series are being mixed in Atmos and a number of recording artists are remixing their albums to be immersive. I love listening to audio and feeling like I am in the same space as the objects I’m hearing.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into this line of media and entertainment?
One word: GRIT. The media industry is very competitive and full of some very talented people, It takes grit to stand out and not get beaten down by the ups and downs this industry can bring.

What’s your favourite thing about Younghusband and where is your top tip for lunch or a drink in the area?
For coffee, I would recommend The Premises. For a drink try the newly renovated Hardiman’s Hotel.

Victoria McGinness