Yi-Chen Chiang Lends a Talented Ear to Famous Works in Hollywood
While success in the world of entertainment may seem serendipitous, this is absolutely not the case. Years of honing skill and talent are the required assets which allow one to succeed once opportunity presents itself. For Yi-Chen Chiang, her achievement of working on projects for some of the biggest music artists in the world was the product of years of study and work…plus being in Los Angeles at the precise time someone recognized her expertise. As a music editor for Craigman Digital Inc. (a subcontracted media production company), she works with Warner Music Group on a daily basis. The excitement of finding herself in the capitol of America’s music and film industry is not lost on Ms. Chiang who states, “At first it was a little surreal. It’s a really exciting feeling when you have to pull down an album to work on as part of your day job and it’s from one of your favorite artists. You really feel a deeper connection with the names you’ve known and appreciated for such a long time. I’d have to step back for a second every now and then just to say to myself, ‘Did I really just get to work on a Linkin Park video?’ Over time it starts to become more of the norm, maybe a little less exciting, but you develop a greater respect for the work and artistry that goes into all of it. To some extent it’s also a little empowering, especially as someone who gets to see these projects before they ever hit the market, and in many cases before all the kinks are worked out. Knowing that even the biggest names can make mistakes — and that those mistakes can be fixed and turned into something wonderful — is really inspiring.”
One of the projects Yi-Chen refers to is her work on the recent twentieth anniversary rerelease of Linkin Park’s most successful album Meteora. Recognized as the eighth best-selling album of the twentieth century, Meteora was a global success for Linkin Park. The rerelease of the album includes the highly anticipated previously unreleased “Lost.” Yi-Chen informs, “There are many different facets to what our work involves at Craigman Digital. For the Meteora remakes, it involved receiving original film reels from music video shoots that were used to completely recreate music videos at HD and 4k resolutions. Quality control is the umbrella that a lot of our work at Craigman Digital falls under but it goes far beyond that. We’re not just trying to identify issues within various audio and video assets, we’re also trying to use our experience and knowledge to narrow down the exact cause of any given issue and what all the possible solutions could be. This might be as simple as an unwanted artifact or brief distortion that needs to be removed from a song but it can also become as complex as reconstructing a video’s accompanying audio by isolating unique elements from the video and remixing those with various audio masters from the Warner Music database.”
Two major assets that led to her work with Craigman and Warner were Ms. Chiang’s composition skills and command of multiple languages. In addition to being an award-winning composer, Yi-Chen is the only person at Craigman Digital with a clear and native understanding of East Asian cultures. This is immensely important as it relates to music videos. Yi-Chen explains, “After a recent internal policy change toward lyric and visualizer videos (as opposed to standard music videos), several East Asian artists’ work came very close to incorrectly shifting policy in a way that would have significantly hampered the quality control process and allowed for major errors to potentially make it to final release. This is because East Asian artists utilize lyric graphics in a wholly different way from American and other western artists. Because of the overwhelming presence of different dialects and slight lingual and tonal variations throughout East Asia, videos are typically produced with several sets of lyric graphics to allow neighboring dialects to accurately understand the music, almost like micro-translations. I explained this in detail to the rest of my team and ensured that they would continue treating our East Asian artists with the same level of respect and quality assurance as every other artist we work with.”
The world continues to become a smaller place in which the talent of those from other cultures comes into our awareness. Whether it’s the musical styles of artists or the skilled professionals like Yi-Chen Chiang who empower their works to be presented at the highest level, the industry and the public benefits from this. As someone who holds a perspective of music from the creation and the perfection side, Yi-Chen is simply happy to find herself in a setting where music surrounds her every day.
Photos courtesy of Ian Clarke
Writer: Mike Winston