MidSide Sessions: Brad McCarthy

For our third participants in MidSide Sessions we were delighted to host the Brad McCarthy Trio.

Now unfortunately Brad doesn’t really have an online presence so I’ll just say that he is a wicked good saxophone player who with the backing of his band can smash out classic jazz standards and then straight up change into his own fresh inspired tracks. I get out of breath just watching this guy play saxophone, I don’t know how he does it.

You can contact Brad via FaceBook but as it is his personal page I will not link it here.


SESSION TIMELINE:

Recording Session, Saturday the 14th of November:
2:00 pm – Enter Neve, begin setting up Pro Tools session according to specifications. Hire all necessary studio equipment
2:30 pm – Band members arrive and set up. Set up mics and stage plot
3:00 pm – Setup cameras/lighting.
4:00 pm – Have session, microphones and cameras ready for recording.
4:15 pm to 7pm – Audio and video recording
6:15 pm – Any other recordings needed to be recorded by this time, begin tearing down session.
6:30 pm – Musicians pack down
7:00 pm – Pack down all gear. Back up Pro Tools session to external hard drive. Transfer all camera footage from SD cards to external hard drives
8:00 pm Exit Neve studio, returning everything to its original state.

PROJECT CONTINGENCIES:
Studio unavailable, postpone or if necessary use alternative studio.
Microphone choice not the best, switch to alternative.
Microphone not available for use, switch to alternative.
Ensure musicians have backup instruments
Desired sound is not achieved, change microphone placement or try different material/approach.
Faulty equipment, inform supervisors and find replacement.

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The feedback we had received was to improve the visual aspect of the videos. The first thing we did was ‘decorate’ the studio to make it feel less like a sterile studio environment. We brought things from home (well Sarah did, I don’t own squat) like rugs and lamps to help liven up the boring room. We even nicked a pot plant from the atrium. This took us much longer than we anticipated but were still on time by the time the band arrived.

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Break time at MidSide Sessions.

This was our first time using an expanded camera set up and I think we stretched ourselves too thin. We had one static camera (which didn’t record audio again, forgot to check through the hubbub of the session) as a general room camera. A second static camera pointing towards the bassist that went out of focus at some point. The final two cameras were operated by us and a lot of the footage was unusable due to the shakiness or being out of focus. I think we dumped too much on our plate for this session and we paid for it with a subpar product. We spent so much time worrying about cameras the audio suffered a little, myself overlooking simple signal flow issues within ProTools that led to some not so perfect recordings.

Overall the final product was less than perfect but I am still impressed with what we managed to put out. Check out the whole session here.

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