Thailand, also known as the land of a thousand smiles, has a special place in my heart. Having worked as a resident DJ at the former Ministry of Sound Bangkok in 2003, I made lots of friends whom some of them now I call family. My love and interest for the electronic music scene and some of the DJs in Bangkok also gave me the reason to frequent the city. Unfortunately, the trip up north hasn’t been regular for the past few years, nonetheless, I always keep a close lookout for whatever is happening in the city, especially matters that involves DJs, electronic music and its relations.
After leaving Bangkok in 2004, I had the opportunity to collaborate with SAE Institute Thailand for their DJ competitions, workshops, and especially promotions for their DJ courses and activities. It was one of the best times working with them as the SAE team was very committed, informed and creative, despite of the language barrier, and sometimes, resources. Unfortunately, the collaboration ceased in 2007 as all of us were involve with different commitments and directions.
Recently, I caught up with the guys at SAE Institute’s Bangkok Campus during my visit to the city. What a pleasant surprise as things have change tremendously and the institute is becoming one of the best institution for the creative media industry in Thailand, if not, the region.
Formerly located at Sukhumvit Soi 3, SAE Institute Thailand now sets base in a hip shopping centre called ZEN World at Central World Plaza in the Pathumwan area. It is situated on level 12M and share the same corridor with VOGUE Thailand.
During my visit, I had the pleasure of hanging out with a long-time Singaporean buddy who is now a resident of Bangkok and also the General Manager of SAE Institute Thailand, Mr. Daniel Choo. He gave me a personal tour of the new campus and even an in-depth look at their plans within the coming months.The new SAE Bangkok Campus is not fully ready as they only started operating late last year. However, it was enough to impress and lure potential students and seasoned industry personnel to take up courses here.
The whole campus is not set-up like a school nor office but, it is somewhat designed as “catalyst to stimulate the flow of creative juices”. Let me put it this way, if you’ve seen the offices of Google, Yahoo and Facebook, you’ll get the drift. The Student’s Lounge of the campus sits in an area walled by floor-to-ceiling glass windows, over-looking the city. There are no tables and chairs but equipped with lazy-cushions, designer coffee tables, docking and connectivity stations for the laptops and other gadgets that the students may use for their work. The lounge also has a mini-cafe that caters to the students and visitors for their food and beverage needs. There was even a headphone station built by SHURE, equipped with all the different range of headphones for the students to use.
One of the highlights of the campus is the recording studio which is designed by world-renowned acoustician, Masami Sam Toyashima. He is famous for his work at The Abbey Road studios and many other well-known recording suites all over the world. It was one of those times where, being in that studio is like sitting in Louvre, being surrounded by all the great masterpieces of art. OK, I’m beginning to sound like a kid visiting Toys ‘R’ Us for the first time. But if you have ever worked in a recording studio, you’d understand why.
*Do lookout for the videos of recording sessions done in SAE Bangkok studios. I am sure you will be impressed.
SAE Institute Thailand is also the only AMS Neve Certified Training Center for the growing Asia music and film industry. You can get yourself certified in any one of the 3 certification awards by AMS Neve and witness the new demand with combining a large format analogue console enhanced with the latest in digital interactivity.
Apart from that, they have a fully equipped ‘green-screen’ studio and a DaVinci Resolve colour-grading studio which is the only such training facility in Thailand. The surround sound studio for post-production wasn’t ready during my visit but it is planned with the latest in surround sound technology in mind. In fact there were few other studios which are not fully operational as the set-up was delayed due to the recent political unrest in Bangkok. The lecture rooms are spacious and well-equipped, and even the lighting is designed to set moods during sessions of different courses.
What’s even more cool is that SAE Thailand is the first to launch Dive Media, an underwater cinematography department. Courses include a 10 months accelerated Diploma and elective course for average film makers who want to try underwater videography. This department is headed by none other than Asia veteran underwater videographer Ajarn Dorn who has worked in commercial films like Big Bang in Bangkok (Nicholas Cage Production), Dangerous Couple (Hong Kong), Kaho Naa Pyarr Hai (India) and many more.
SAE Institute of Thailand is fast becoming the leading institution for the creative media industry in the region as it has already had students and lecturers from all over the world. In fact, Ajarn Dorn, is also the leading man for their Digital Film Making department in SAE Thailand. Not only that, SAE Thailand has partnered with varies industry heavyweights to give their students updated and ready for the current industry requirements. If that is not enough, SAE Thailand has its student and staff actively involved with events and activities related to the industry. This allows industry-relevant knowledge and job placement in and outside of Thailand.