Back Up/Video Editing

April 19th, 2017

I took a good 10 minutes this morning to back up all of my recent versions of all of my projects onto my computer and both of my external hard drives.  It’s been a while since I did a full back up and since we’re getting close to the end of the semester I want to make sure I don’t lose anything.

I also spent about 3 hours editing the video for my audio for video project in the Video Departments Open Lab.  Pro Tools doesn’t allow for any real video editing so it made more sense for me to edit the video in Adobe Premiere Pro.  I have a good amount of previous experience working with Adobe Premiere Pro so it was much easier for me to reacquaint  myself with the updated version of this program at the college as opposed to downloading and learning a different program on my own laptop.  I think I will also get a better video quality if I bring the edited audio from Pro Tools into Adobe Premiere Pro and export the video from there as opposed to exporting the video from Pro Tools.

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Adobe Premiere Pro

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Location Recording “Inspire One”

April 18th, 2017

Tuesday I made a new version of the Pro Tools session for “These Walls.”  I imported all of the recently tuned audio files.  I have a lot of cleaning up to do in this session.

I also made three Pro Tools sessions for each of the songs that the band (“Inspire One”) planned to record during our Location Recording in the Cuyahoga Community College Auditorium (Metropolitan Campus. Arts and Music Building).  The songs were “Soundwave,” “Harmonic Groove,” and “Misfit.”  I checked out all my equipment at 3:15pm so that I would make it to the auditorium in time for our reservation at 4:00pm.  Bryant and Javier both took the time to come help me set up.  This helped a lot because while they started setting microphones on stands and moving equipment I was able to set up the daisy chained Saffire System and rearrange my tracks as needed.

We had a rough idea of how the band would be set up but this changed once we arrived.  The Saffire Pro 40 interfaces only allow for phantom power to be activated in banks of four (for ex: channels 1-4 and 5-8).  I forgot to plan for this and I had to rearrange my input path to compensate for this (I had three ribbon microphones and I needed to make sure I didn’t send phantom power to them).

Once we were set up the only issue we encountered was waiting for the band to be ready.  I intended to be ready to record at 5:30pm but I did not realize the bass and saxophone player both were performing in a show at 7:00pm in the College’s Main Stage Theatre.  This meant that they had to go to their microphone check for the show at around 5:30pm.  We didn’t officially start recording until around 6:00pm.  The band was able to record all three songs (2-3 full takes each) by 7:00pm.  I kept having an issue with my right over head microphone clipping (Audio Technica 4050).  I tried moving it back from the kit a bit but the issue continued.  I didn’t have time to figure it out so I let it slide.

I decided it would be best to record the vocals afterwards so that there was no bleed and so that she would be able to hear the band through headphones.  We began recording vocals offstage but we decided that it would be best to do it another day because the vocalist was having problems with her allergies.  We scheduled for her to come into the studio with me on Thursday at 5:15pm.  We finished cleaning up around 8:30pm (which was 30 minutes after we were supposed to be done).  Thankfully Stephen (the ) allowed us to stay that long.  Next time I’ll have to factor in clean up time and communicate with the band more effectively about their availability.

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Daisy chained Focusrite interfaces.  Bryant and Javier helping out.
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Stage Plot and Input List
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Song and Input List (13-16 did not receive phantom power)

*Changes in mics used:

Violin: Octava MK 012
Saxophone/Trombone: Beyerdynamic Ribbon Mics
Piano: 2 Audio Technica 4050

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Audio for Video (Dance Video)

April 13th, 2017

Thursday I booked the SSL Duality so that I could use the live room as a space for my dancer to perform for my audio for video project.  I cleared out a space where the drums are usually placed.  We recorded five takes of her dancing using a Canon D3100.  I originally planned to use two Audio Technica U851A Boundary Microphone’s to pick up the sound of her feet movements.  This didn’t work the way I planned because I had to play the poem out of my phone so that she could reference it while she danced.  I thought about having her perform one last take without the poem so that I could just pick up the sound of her feet but I decided not to because she was getting pretty tired.  One issue that I perceived for the video editing was that the dance was more of a freestyle with particular movements that stayed the same so it will be hard to sync the videos.  I will likely just have to choose the best take.

Location Recording Pre-Pro

April 12th, 2017

I spent this evening comping the vocals that I recorded in the Yamaha DM 2000. for “These Walls.”  I also tuned these vocals in Melodyne.

Now that I have the place confirmed for my location recording (College Auditorium) I completed my equipment check out sheet so that I could have Mr. Hartzell sign it.  I wanted to get it signed well in advance so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it later on.  Below is a list of the instruments being recorded and the microphones I intend to use.

Drums: Kick MB-6K Kick Mic (Audio Technica Drum Mic Pack)
Snare Top Shure SM-57
Overheads 2 Audio Technica 4050’s
Bass: Countryman D.I.
-Bass Amp: Shure SM-57
Piano: 2 MXL 2010’s
Keyboard: 2 Countryman D.I.’s
Guitar: Countryman D.I.
-Guitar Amp: Shure SM-57
Saxophone: Cascade Fathead or Royer 121
Trombone: Cascade Fathead or Royer 121
Violin: Audio Technica 4051
Vocalist: Shure SM-58

I will need at least 16 inputs if I mic the band this way.  I discussed this with Andrew.  He explained to me that I could daisy chain to Focosrite Saffire Pro 40’s together so that I would have 16 inputs.  I hook this up by plugging the double sided Firewire 6-pin connector from one Saffire into the other.  I then designate one to be the “master” and plug this one into the computer using a second Firewire Cable.  Once this is hooked up I turn on the computer.  Once I see the “F/W Active” Led light is on in both interfaces I open up the Saffire Mix Control.  I then check to see if both interfaces are recognized in the “Firewire Driver” section in the lower right hand corner.  Now when I open Pro Tools and import my I/O Settings I should see two sets of eight inputs from each Saffire interface.  Andrew also suggested that I test each of the 16 inputs with a Condensor microphone to ensure that each input and phantom power for each input was working properly.

Percussion Work

April 11th, 2017

Today I turned in my remix project.  I feel like the ideas still need some fleshing out but I got it to a decent place.  David Kennedy sent in a request for me to use the Auditorium in the Tri-C Arts and Music building as the location for my location recording.  It was approved for April 18th, 2017.  This will be a lot easier on my musicians travel-wise.

That evening I spent time in the Yamaha DM 2000 tuning vocals for my song “Diary.”  I also recorded my own vocals for “These Walls” because I do not have much time to try to coordinate with another female vocalist.  I recorded my vocals using an AT 4050 so that the vocals would cut through a little better.

I also recorded percussion parts on both studio songs.  I used one AT 4051 small condenser microphone.  I figured I could record different types of percussion and pan them each to its own place in the mix.  I recorded tambourine, Cowbell, Shaker, Rosewood Claves and a Wooden Vibraslap.  I plan to see what sounds best when editing.  I want to try to use the Vibraslap as an interesting effect on These Walls.

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AT 4051, AT 4050 and Percussion Instruments

These Walls (Female Vocalist)

Everything can’t go as planned so I just have to move with the changes.  I have had to find a replacement female vocalist for “These Walls” as my original singer has been sick and doesn’t feel confident in her ability to sing the song.  A woman I worked with in a play who happens to be a great singer has agreed to record the vocals.  Right now we are looking to solidify a date.

Violin Tuning

April 07th, 2017

Friday I spent time in open lab tuning the violins I recorded for “These Walls.”  The violins weren’t far out of tune but I figured it could only help the sound.  There were a total of 25 violin tracks (each layering at different parts).  So to make them easier to edit I selected all 25 tracks in the edit window and went up to “File” scrolled down to “Export” and chose “Selected Tracks As New Session.”  This created a new Pro Tools session with only the 25 violin tracks.

I inserted the plug-in Melodyne onto each violin track.  I then created 25 new mono audio tracks so that I could print my tuned violins to the new tracks.  I went through each track and adjusted the violins until they were in tune.  When I was done I adjusted my levels and printed all 25 tracks to one audio track.  This way I can re-import the violins into an updated session of “These Walls” as one track so that it doesn’t overwhelm Pro Tools.

I will be using the same technique when I tune my vocal tracks.

ReMix Editing

April 6th, 2017

I dedicated a good portion of my time to my remix project to make sure I would be able to complete it by Tuesday.  I have chosen to use Pro Tools to edit my remix.  I was going to try working in Reason but I’m not as familiar with the program so using Pro Tools made more sense.

I imported the provided audio tracks I thought I might use into a Pro Tools session (some guitars, the kick, the snare, the bass and the vocal pads).

I cycled through the tracks searching for loops I thought I’d be able to work with.  I chose a guitar loop to be the base of my song and set the tempo in Pro Tools.  I built a beat using a sampled kick and snare from the song.  I made a variation for the chorus.  I added a separate guitar loop as the intro to my song but I’m not sure yet if I’ll keep that piece.  Some effects I used on the guitars were Reversal, Time Shift (to slow the clips) and Vari-Fi (to create a slow down and speed up effect).

I imported three vocal pads and printed them onto one track to make them easier to work with.  I printed several different versions to give myself more options (some with 2 harmonies, some with 3 harmonies and then those same combinations but with a “React-Fi” plug-in set to “Alternate”).

I used shorter versions of the vocal pads to create an ambience in the song.  Some effects I used on the vocal pads were Sci-Fi, Air Kill EQ (cutting the Highs), Air Dynamic Delay and Air Spring Reverb.   I also chopped up the same vocal pads on another track and scrambled them to make a stutter effect and I varied this with longer clips in the chorus.

General Project Update

April 3rd, 2017

Diary (Studio Song):  The recording for this song is complete.  I just need to tune vocals, clean up the tracks and create a mix.

These Walls (Studio Song 2): I still need to record female vocals and add in saxophone MIDI. I also have to tune my vocals and the violins before I begin mixing this song.

Audio For Video (A4V): I have one audio for video project completed but I’m not happy with it.  I recently performed in the choreo-poem “For Colored Girls.”  One section of the performance consisted of a dancer performing during a poem.  I thought it would be interesting to record the audio of the poem and the video of the dancer for my A4V.

During the performance of the play last week the sound engineer (Josh) let me record the main outs of the Soundcraft K2 board into a Zoom H4N Recorder using a XLR to 1/4″ cable.  The performer used a Shure Beta 58 Dynamic microphone.

Location Recording: I also have a location recording that I’m not completely satisfied with. I have been speaking with an 8 piece groove fusion band named “Inspire One” to coordinate a time and place for us to record.

Mix: It’s been a while since I’ve revisited my mix project.  I have to work on dynamics and signal processing.

Remix: I have worked on a couple of ideas for my ReMix but I’m going to spend the majority of my time working on it this week so that it is ready to turn in on Tuesday April 11th.

These Walls (Rap Vocals)

March 31st, 2017

My rap vocalist, The Daze, came in to record her vocals today.  Our session went very smooth.  I am very happy with the way the audio came out and especially with the lyrical content.  Although I am doing a cover of this song I wanted the rap verses to be original.  The original song is written and performed through a mans perspective.  I thought it would be nice if the song was written from a woman’s point of view.  The Daze met my vision in this regard.

I originally wanted to try the Aston Spirit on her voice but it was already checked out so we used the AT 4050 through the Toft console and were able to record very clear vocals.