James Bond audio star awarded honorary degree
A respected expert in his field, Dennis began his career working in sound for films, before becoming a music engineer and producer for bands including Wham! and Queen.
Currently working as a consultant for film and TV post production for the Pinewood Studios Group, he has worked on more than 50 film productions including Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, The Eagle and 172 Hours.
Speaking about receiving the award, Dennis said: "I've had an association with this School for a long time: I'm very supportive of what they're teaching and how they're teaching. I think both the music and the film departments are really doing some great stuff and to be recognised by them is particularly significant. I am very proud of that.
"I would advise today's graduating students to take chances. There are a lot of people looking to get into the creative industries and you need something that makes yourself stand out. It's better to take a chance and fail than be safe because anybody can be safe. If you take a chance and it works: trying to do something musically that's new; trying to write a script that's looking at something from a different angle; you're going to stand out. Take chances, fall down, get up, take another chance."
Originally from Los Angeles, in his teens Dennis was taken under the wing of a number of local recording engineers who heard and were impressed with his work. In 1970 whilst at university, Dennis juggled his studies with working at Stephen Bosustow Film Productions where he shot, edited and created sound effects for the Oscar winning short film 'Is It Always Right to be Right' with Orson Welles.
In 1983 he set up Videosonics, a Film and TV audio facility in Camden that became one of the most successful in the industry. He left in July 2008 to join Pinewood Studios Group as Managing Director for Film and Television Post Production.
As a regular visiting lecturer to Leeds Metropolitan University, Dennis has brought with him a wealth of professional expertise and industry contacts. At Pinewood Studios he supervised the Harry Potter and James Bond film franchises, giving Leeds Met students the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for placements on the films. He also did this via his own company Videosonics enabling students to gain credits on the Mr Bean films.
Dennis has established a number of industry trade bodies and was one of the original members of the steering group that founded UK Post - now the UK Screen Association - the leading Film and TV Trade body in the UK. He was also instrumental in developing the UK education link with the audio-visual industry - working with JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support) which accredits courses for audio at universities throughout the UK. Leeds Metropolitan was the very first university to receive this accreditation for its music courses.
Dennis won the Outstanding Contribution Award at the 2012 Conch Awards. He led the effort to establish the annual awards celebration which has now been running for seven years, in a bid to celebrate excellence in audio for film, television and commercials in the UK.
Others receiving honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan include comedy writer and performer Barry Cryer OBE; Emmerdale actress Gaynor Faye and Olympic triathlon coach Malcolm Brown MBE.
Leeds Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: "We are delighted to recognise such a wide variety of individuals who have made a significant contribution to their field. This year's awards are particularly varied, with inspiring people from a range of backgrounds including business, arts, law, sport and the entertainment industry. We are very much looking forward to welcoming them to our Headingley Campus to celebrate with us as we recognise the achievements of our staff and graduating students."