Alumni Spotlight: Tiffani Liebel

Tiffani Liebel is a current student of IPR’s Digital Video and Media Production (DVMP)

Tiffani Liebel providing on-location sound services for a student project at IPR.
Tiffani Liebel providing on-location sound services for a student project at IPR.

program. In addition to her current degree, she is a graduate of the Audio Production and Engineering (APE), Live Sound and Show Production  (LSSP) and Sound Design for Visual Media (SDVM) programs. In this interview, we chat with Tiffani to find out why she chose IPR, as well as her plan for using her degrees.

Why did you choose IPR?

I picked IPR because I knew I wanted to get a degree in both audio engineering and video production. With the other school I was looking at, it would have taken me five years just to get a degree in audio production, where with IPR I could get both in under four years. Plus, the facilities were something that was more expansive than other schools, and the 24/7 access was something I couldn’t pass up.

Why have you chosen to do all the programs?

Again, I came to the school to do APE and DVMP. Once I was in APE, I discovered LSSP simply by hanging out in live lab a lot, so I started taking the sound reinforcement classes as my specialization electives for APE and fell in love. I actually found I like live mixing more then studio work, and proceeded on with that degree. SDVM was definitely something that I unexpectedly fell into. When I started taking some DVMP classes and started being on set, being that I had a background in audio, I was constantly put in the sound positions. It was a path I never thought of, but is the one I’m doing the most work in currently. Once I started doing more and more audio for film, and also the post work for it, I figured that getting the SDVM degree would be worth it. That way I could get a more solid background in film-related audio.

What has been the hardest program so far?

The hardest programs for me so far would have to be APE, because I went into it with no background. My only background was being a classically trained cellist. During the first quarter the instructors introduced us to Pro Tools. I was lost, and it was frustrating to see a lot of my classmates already know the software. I spent a lot of time outside of class going over tutorials and exploring, which was a huge hurdle . Then on top of that, we had to learn signal flow and microphone placement. It is a technical side to music I never knew existed. In the end, I overcame the hurdles and ended up getting Pro Tools Operator certified.

What has been the most rewarding so far?

The most rewarding would have to be LSSP, but I also think those gigs are some of the most rewarding. To study under someone like Peter Greenlund is rewarding in itself. There’s nothing like the stress and reward of a live gig. First off, there’s the hustle of being on the clock and having to set up for an act to play at a certain time. The payoff of mixing and knowing that the energy of the room is because of you, and seeing the audience’s reactions is priceless. The feeling after putting on a show is like nothing else.

What do you plan to do with all your degrees from IPR?

I plan on continuing to freelance, because with that the job changes every day. One day I can be working on a feature, the next a commercial and the next a load in for a concert. Waking up and knowing I’ll be doing something new every day allows me to learn new skills and keeps me motivated.

 What advice would you give to students just starting at IPR?

When you’re just starting, there are two things that will make you stand out. The first thing is to show up, and show up on time. When teachers see this, they do take notice, and might pull you aside to work on projects with them. If people see that you’re dependable, they’ll be more likely to pick you.

The second thing is to network. IPR is a family at its core, and the people you go to class with will be the people you work with in the future. The more connections you make during your time here, the more you set yourself up for success. Everyone is there with a similar goal in mind, and everyone is also there to help each other out. Don’t be afraid to reach out!