photo1Will Ponturo is a 9th semester Composition student at Berklee. He is currently a Multimedia Audio Assistant work-study for the Digital Learning Department.

I’ve been a work-study with the Digital Learning Department (DLD) since late spring, and in that time I’ve learned more and grown closer to the Berklee community than I ever could have expected.

When I first received the email about an opening for the Multimedia Audio Assistant position, I knew I would be a great fit. The description was very detailed and outlined a lengthy list of abilities that would be required of me. This included proficiency with audio and video editing software, camera operation, recording and sound equipment, and something called “communication skills,” but I wasn’t sure what that was. Although it is technically an audio job, I was asked to be knowledgeable of all types of media. The description sounded like a dream job for me, as I have always had a passion for video. When I chose to attend Berklee, I feared that in a way I was choosing music over film. I knew the rigorous academic demands of Berklee had the potential to push my desire for filmmaking to the periphery. I never thought I would be able to utilize my knowledge for filming and editing in the Berklee atmosphere, but this position came to the rescue.

My duties as Multimedia Audio Assistant are incredibly diverse. The main aspect of my job is working on blended and online course media for Inside Berklee Courses. This consists of editing audio and video, as well as recording audio on our many on-location shoots. I typically work with Adobe Premiere for video and Pro Tools or Logic for audio. Also, the DLD has a high quality selection of recording gear that I use for the video shoots. I began with a strong proficiency for the gear and software, but this job has helped me become so much more efficient with these tools, developing skills I can carry beyond this work-study position.

This summer, the Digital Learning Department constructed an online Music Therapy Masters Degree program, during which I performed several tasks regarding the media in the different courses. The most exciting of these responsibilities was being a part of the video shoots. The location of each shoot was always different – as close and familiar as the Berklee Loft, and as distant as a private home in Worcester, MA. I recorded sound on these video shoots, using a variety of microphones and recording techniques. I attached a lav mic to each person being interviewed, determining the exact placement and technique according to what the subject was wearing. In addition to the lav, I set up a boom microphone to capture the room sound and to help even out the different cuts during the editing process. All the mics plug into a handheld Zoom H6n recorder, which is insanely portable. I’ve pushed the portability to the max, sometimes curling up in the corner of a hospital room or laying it all on my lap while sitting on a couch, always adapting to the needs of the location.

I work for a talented team of people to help make these interviews look great and provide the content we need to enhance the courses. These shoots are especially enriching because of the new people I constantly meet. During the course of the music therapy shoots I have met the most inspiring people, many of whom had been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. They talk about life with such immense gratitude for each new day, it makes me put my own life in perspective and rethink the troubles I think I have. These video shoots also introduced me to professors who are very knowledgeable in their respective fields, and I can’t help but digest the information they present on camera.

The aspect of this job that impresses me the most is the trust and respect everyone in the office shows me. It doesnt feel like I’m treated any different from the rest of the employees in the office. Instead, I am given important responsibilities and often asked for my opinion about certain projects. I truly feel like a part of the team, not a student outsider. It is because of this mutual respect that I can truly enjoy coming to work, and put effort into the content I help create. The coffee and tea selection doesn’t hurt either.

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From L-R: Will Ponturo (Multimedia Student Assistant), Audrey Harrer (Associate Creative Director), Jeannie Greeley (Senior Multimedia Producer). Taken at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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From L-R: Karen Wacks (Music Therapist), Will Ponturo (Multimedia Student Assistant), Audrey Harrer (Associate Creative Director), Jeannie Greeley (Senior Multimedia Producer), Rachel Santiago (Speech-Language Pathologist). Taken at Boston Children’s Hospital.

You can read more posts from the Digital Learning Department here:
http://www.berklee-blogs.com/category/digital-learning/