One of the major projects I and my peers endeavoured to create was a live set of a band using the recording studios available at SAE. Thankfully Sarah was in contact with a band that was keen as mustard to get in the studio and record. By using connections from our other project we were able to get the expertise of Julian McHutchinson to come and film the set for us. The session plan is available below.
We had the band arrive a few hours after we had the studio booked to allow us time to have everything prepared for when they would actually get there. When the band arrived we positioned them in regards to the blumlein pair microphone array so there was an even spread of the elements. More time could have been spent here but overall the sound was pretty great
Due to this being a “live” set we endeavoured to have the sound going into the computer be as mixed as possible and using the outboard gear where appropriate so we would have to do as little as possible after the fact, to keep true to the ‘live’ feel. This however didn’t end up working quite as planned. We had some issues with the reverb unit, we didn’t send enough signal or have the right I/O settings or something, so essentially it applied no reverb to the signal, instead just recorded straight through the unit with no effect. Another issue we had was with the headphone sends for the artists. It was going fine until about halfway through the set there was an issue with the sound lacking a lot of lows and having a harsh high end. We found that some strange EQ was being applied to the headphones, changing this to a pre fader send solved our issues. The final issue I had with the recording is that we ran a little cool into Pro Tools. It was simple enough to boost the signal during the mixing phase but was still an oversight in my mind and I would try and get more into the box from the recording phase.
Due to the fact that we “mixed” the band going into the computer there was very little that had to be done during the mixing stage. The biggest issue was reverb as the outboard unit failed on us. I applied reverb sparingly to the overall mix and more specifically the keyboard, as it was DI’d into the desk there was no processing at all. A little bit of panning, EQ and dynamics processing to glue it all together and we were cooking. The most mixing that had to be done was with the talking in between songs, to get those to a decent level for the video. Next time I would have a dedicated talkback mic for the performers.
This was a great experience for me and finally I felt like I knew what I was doing and belonged in the studio recording a band. Getting to use the Neve console like this was amazing. I would definitely be interested in doing this again. Maybe start a series.
The final edit of the video is being rendered as I type, I will hopefully be able to add to this post later tonight. In the meantime here is a silly behind the scenes video to hold you over.
And here is a track that was recorded after the film student left.
Here is the final video of the session!