AUD4400

MUSIC PRODUCTION LOGBOOK

15/02/2019

My Pre-Production first step started with setting a goal to achieve, in this case focusing on a precise genre and type of song approach, inspired by a couple of artists I've listened to in the last years, and finding an artist that could have been suitable to perform something related to it. The style mainly featured an acoustic guitar and a female singer with eventual and additional elements such atmosphere foley and acoustic instruments (piano, strings).

After having found the perfect artist with the required characteristics, using Instagram and its hastags as tool to focus on a precise category of artists, I've contacted her introducing her to my idea, the project and how I was thinking to work.

Once met for a rehearsal session to determine the song (one of her composition), how to record and organize the work, I've proposed her to set the recording session at the SAE Campus two weeks later.

With clear and determined ideas of what I wanted to achieve I've developed a Session plan describing  required microphones, techniques, schedule per each step and control+live room setting; attached below the PDF of the Session plan (updated after the session and different from the one provided for the first Formative Assessment) :

PRE-PRODUCTION PLANNING

The plan to record additional acoustic instruments was an extra so I've postponed the seek of the required artist as I wanted to first track down all the main acoustic guitar and vocals and see the vibe of the song at that stage and the status of the project, also because the composition didn't have any score for these instruments so it was necessary to proceed in different sessions.

Until this point I think I've proceeded positively in every aspect of the process considering that communication, organization and schedule of the rehearsal and recording session were perfect. The artist remained happy and has received anything she needed to move forward the next step, the recordings.

 

AUD4400

MUSIC PRODUCTION LOGBOOK

06/03/2019

The recordings took place March 5th at SAE campus in Glasgow and lasted for a total of 4 hour.

After the setting up of the Pro Tools session, desk and microphones positions inside the Live Room, following as planned in the session plans concerning types and techniques, I've welcomed the artist in the Control Room to double check the click track and the meter of the session with a quick rehearsal of the song.

As described in the Pre-Production plan, I've set up couple of AKG C1000 in XY to get a close-ish recording, a Neumann TLM 107 at the same distance and in the center with a cardioid polar pattern, a couple of Audio Technica AD2020 in AB a bit more distant with a larger range and two microphones in the farthest corner as room mics, a RV15 and a AKG P420. 

Once ready, we started the recording process of the acoustic guitar tracking down multiple takes and trying different configurations of few mics (switch from cardioid to omni of the Neumann, height of the AB couple).

With satisfying results, after a few minutes break and a re-configuration of the Live Room, the artist got back in to track down the vocals over a quick edited version of the acoustic guitar recordings.

As planned, we used the Neumann TLM 107, a microphone I own and I wished to use as I knew it would have gave me the warmth I was looking for.

Attached below few pics of the setup and the recording process : 

RECORDING AND EDITING PROCESS

I took several takes of the whole performance in order to be able to edit and comp a satisfying overall vocals track, taking notes during the recording and involving the singer, after the completion, in the choosing of what sounded best; attached below the PDF of the notes : 

Considering that the main choices of the good takes and sections have been made at the end of the recording process, I had an easier work while I started the proper editing step. I've proceeded into cleaning the clips with the required fades, clip-gain automations and comping of clips through the playlists, well titled and organized to make this step smooth and free of confusion.

 

AUD4400

MUSIC PRODUCTION LOGBOOK

25/03/2019

After having polished all the tracks I've proceeded into adding two new elements, one track of generated noise that basically emulates vinyls and vinyls player features created with iZotope Vinyl, and one track of foley, a recording of wind, to give a sense of ambience and "movement" to the song, as I wanted to recreate a sort of outdoor environment surrounding the artist. 

The plan of adding an eventual additional instrument unfortunately went negative as the artist I've contacted after finishing the editing, a cello player, interrupted the communication with any given reasons and disappeared.

I imagine the non-professionalism of the individual has been shown, but this taught me that it might be safer to count on people who I can trust and I may know a bit before the project - in this case I've been out of luck with my bet on unknown musicians.

If during the mixing process I'll be able to find someone else, I'll try to schedule a meeting to get in touch and see if a potential collaboration can be made; it won't be an issue to add eventual elements in the mix considering the main roles of the acoustic guitar and the vocals.

ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION ELEMENTS AND PRE-MIXING CONSIDERATIONS

AUD4400

MUSIC PRODUCTION LOGBOOK

06/03/2019

The recordings took place March 5th at SAE campus in Glasgow and lasted for a total of 4 hour.

After the setting up of the Pro Tools session, desk and microphones positions inside the Live Room, following as planned in the session plans concerning types and techniques, I've welcomed the artist in the Control Room to double check the click track and the meter of the session with a quick rehearsal of the song.

As described in the Pre-Production plan, I've set up couple of AKG C1000 in XY to get a close-ish recording, a Neumann TLM 107 at the same distance and in the center with a cardioid polar pattern, a couple of Audio Technica AD2020 in AB a bit more distant with a larger range and two microphones in the farthest corner as room mics, a RV15 and a AKG P420. 

Once ready, we started the recording process of the acoustic guitar tracking down multiple takes and trying different configurations of few mics (switch from cardioid to omni of the Neumann, height of the AB couple).

With satisfying results, after a few minutes break and a re-configuration of the Live Room, the artist got back in to track down the vocals over a quick edited version of the acoustic guitar recordings.

As planned, we used the Neumann TLM 107, a microphone I own and I wished to use as I knew it would have gave me the warmth I was looking for.

Attached below a gallery of photos and a video of the recording process : 

RECORDING AND EDITING PROCESS

I took several takes of the whole performance in order to be able to edit and comp a satisfying overall vocals track, taking notes during the recording and involving the singer, after the completion, in the choosing of what sounded best; attached below the PDF of the notes : 

Considering that the main choices of the good takes and sections have been made at the end of the recording process, I had an easier work while I started the proper editing step. I've proceeded into cleaning the clips with the required fades, clip-gain automations and comping of clips through the playlists, well titled and organized to make this step smooth and free of confusion.

 

AUD4400

MUSIC PRODUCTION LOGBOOK

04/04/2019

MIXING PROCESS

Having a concrete vision of the goal, proceeding with the mixing wasn't hard; with clear guidelines concerning "the colors" to achieve, I've set the main levels and roles of each element. I wanted to have a nice ambience background with the acoustic guitar and the foley, creating a frequency space for the vocals to be on top, adding warmth and presence. The idea to represent a natural playing outdoor helped me making choices.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a new player to provide the ideal strings on the recordings, so I tried to make the spectrum richer with self creativity, adding more foley to the background.

Concerning the technical aspects of the mix, I didn't go crazy on processing as I did want to keep things still natural and simple. A kind use of compressors to have consistent levels, EQ to clean and create space and reverb to add ambience allowed me to achieve the desired result. As for the recordings of the guitar, although I recorded from different points of view, I decided to just keep the XY, the Neumann and the room, as they were enough to work with.

Even if it wasn't required, I've performed a mastering of the song, taking it to -14 LUFS as nowadays streaming platforms suggest (Spotify). The "loudness war" and related issues is a topic that I always been interested in since the beginning, and seeing that the industry is gradually adjusting the matter to these new standard, it gives hope to listen to more dynamic and quality music in future, goal I always want to achieve, especially with this kind of acoustic genre.