Bryan Von Reuter is a forensic media examiner who works as a court-appointed expert on both state and federal cases, often focusing on technical analysis of audio files to establish the identity of a speaker, source of a sound, and so forth.
We spend so much time on this podcast focusing on people who work with audio for music that we sometimes forget that there’s a wide world of non-music related audio careers. Even if you don’t fit the producer mold, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a future in audio. We’re excited to have Bryan on to discover more about forensic audio analysis and how it’s used: what tools and techniques he relies on, how he works with criminal defense attorneys, what is an isn’t acceptable in a court of law, and of course, how these techniques could cross over into music work.
If you love the technical episodes then you won’t want to miss out on this one because it goes deep!
“There’s, to some extent, this vow of poverty that happens when you want to truly follow the path to make a creative life that involves self-prescribing and making art and music for yourself. Sometimes that’s incredibly culturally salient, and then sometimes it totally diminishes the joy when you start involving other people with it or sharing it with the world.” – Bryan Von Reuter
ON THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
3:04 – How Bryan’s work in audio is radically different from most other guests on the podcast
5:10 – What led Bryan to working with criminal defense attorneys and how he turned it into a career
8:02 – What a typical day looks like for Bryan and what his clients ask from him
17:40 – How audio files can be used for malignant purposes
21:27 – How accurate is the forensic audio in movies and TV shows?
27:30 – How Bryan processes the fact that someone’s freedom may hinge on his work
38:14 – What the general public doesn’t understand about court cases (and why it’s important to protect 4th amendment rights)
44:43 – Why Bryan chose not to become a professional musicians (and how he realized his music was more for himself than others)
1:00:45 – The specific moment that audio forensics come into Bryan’s life
1:06:06 – The mental shift that helped Bryan turn his early “dead end job” into opportunity
1:16:34 – How to find what truly fulfills you, what your value us, and how to connect those things
1:22:08 – The unique characteristics of the 60 cycle hum
1:32:02 – Why you should invest time in learning the spectrogram
1:40:52 – How Bryan identifies crucial sounds like footsteps in poor recordings
1:49:20 – The process Bryan uses to turn unintelligible recordings into something useful
1:55:25 – How to confirm who is yelling on a recording (even if you can’t see them)
1:57:20 – Is there a real life process like the ones on TV where they enhance background audio to get a location?
1:59:20 – What to study in order to get into forensic analysis, and what makes for an especially difficult cleanup project
2:06:27 – The processing that could make an audio clip inadmissible in court
2:08:12 – How possible is it to forge an audio recording?
2:12:20 – How does someone build a sustainable career in forensic analysis
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