Mike Russell Explores the New Media Landscape
Hailing from the southeast of England, Mike Russell has built his career as a digital audio expert, voiceover artist, and popular instructor. More than a decade ago he started Music Radio Creative, which produces high-quality audio content for DJs, radio stations, and podcasters. Together with his wife Izabela Russell, he recently launched New Media Europe, a conference founded on helping professionals navigate the world of new media and the tools that enable their success.
In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Mike is also an enthusiastic proponent of Adobe Audition CC, which he uses for all his audio work, along with many other Adobe Creative Cloud applications.
Adobe: How did you get into the audio business?
Mike: I always wanted to become a radio host, but I soon discovered that producing audio would be a valuable extra skill and I enjoyed doing it! I gleaned tricks and techniques from my mentors, practiced them, and then I’d try replicating sounds I’d heard to see how close I could get. In my early radio days I would work an on-air shift and then stay at the radio station producing jingles and promos.
In late 2004, I got the idea to voiceover and produce for a living online. It started with just me voicing, producing, and managing customer service for orders and now it’s a full-time business for me and my wife. We also work with an excellent customer service team and use hundreds of voiceovers, singers, musicians, and producers on all kinds of audio projects for individuals and businesses around the world.
Adobe: Tell us about New Media Europe.
Mike: New Media Europe is a conference for entrepreneurs, freelancers, content creators and startups. I am a co-founder along with my wonderful wife and business partner, Izabela. It all started with our passion for podcasting back in 2014. We hosted our very first event, a UK-based podcasting conference. New Media Europe has grown from those roots to embrace the wider new media landscape of blogging, vlogging, social media, and of course, podcasting. Our aim is to give business owners the tools and techniques that will change their business for the better in the 21st century.
Adobe: You describe your Adobe Audition workflow in four steps, with four initials E.N.C.N.—equalize, normalize, compress, normalize. Can you explain that for people who are new to audio?
Mike: It’s a method I use to get voiceovers sounding great for radio imaging and promos. There are four simple steps to make your audio sound great.
- Equalizing, also called EQ’ing audio, means adding extra frequencies or taking some out to make the voice sound crisp and clear.
- Normalizing is a simple process that will find the peak (or maximum) amplitude of your waveform and add a consistent amount of gain to bring your waveform to full capacity.
- Compression is a way to flatten out the waveform making the overall volume more consistent by making the quieter parts a little louder and the louder sections a little quieter and make it much easier to mix with FX and music.
- At the end I normalize again, as compression has a habit of reducing (or sometimes increasing) volume. A final normalize will fix your audio up.
Adobe: What are people most delighted by when they start using Adobe Audition CC?
Mike: I always love to hear how easy it is to get started with Adobe Audition CC. Those making a switch mention how much faster and efficient it makes things. If you can hit record, play, and you’ve copied, pasted, and deleted before in a word processor you already have the basics. There are also great hidden gems like the ability to create your own tones, noises, and now speech.
Adobe: What other Creative Cloud tools to you use?
Mike: I have Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, and Dreamweaver CC installed. I use Photoshop to edit graphics and online banners for our e-commerce store. I use Premiere Pro to produce YouTube videos. I love the possibilities of After Effects and use it to produce motion logos for many of my videos. I still like to poke around with the code on my websites; Dreamweaver makes it simple to keep everything in sync and visually edit code. I’ve even edited a Kindle book using Adobe InDesign about podcast audio branding for my wife Izabela.
Adobe: What is the importance of audio in video workflows?
Mike: Audio is highly important in a video workflow. I would go as far as to say that is far more important to get great quality sounding audio than the best video quality. The reason for this is that, in general, video viewers are far more likely to tolerate average visuals with high-quality, well-leveled and processed audio than great quality video with poor sounding audio. Dynamic Link creates a connection between Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Audition CC so there is no reason not to use the world-class audio editing features in Audition to get your audio sounding top notch!
Adobe: What are some of your favorite new features in Audition?
Mike: There are so many of them. Where do I start?! As an audio producer I love Match Loudness for lining up all my voiceovers at the same level. The Loudness features are also good for keeping my podcasts consistent. I use the Essential Sound panel all the time now, as it has all the features I need within easy access and I can create my own presets. Text to Speech is a nice new feature and so is the link with Adobe Media Encoder. If I had to pick one feature that hands down wins my love it is Remix. Now I can cut a two minute music bed down to 30 seconds with a few clicks (and no editing knowledge). Adobe Audition CC uses advanced algorithms to find exactly where to cut the music for me—magical!
Adobe: What is the best thing about your job?
Mike: I love the freedom and flexibility of what I do. If I like, I can choose to spend all morning marketing our business and then spend the afternoon walking along one of the beautiful beaches where I live on the Isle of Wight. Working online has also given me the opportunity to connect with many talented audio enthusiasts from around the world. I love not knowing who we’ll be working with tomorrow and where in the world they will be based!
Download free trials of the same Adobe Creative Cloud tools Mike uses and more.
Mike Russell will be presenting in the Adobe stand at IBC on Friday, September 9th and Saturday, September 10th