Thursday, 10 September 2009

Studio Log: Day Two – Making The Video...

It might seem a bit of an odd thing to do: making a video of a track before the actual recording sessions for the album itself have actually started. But my rationale was two fold:

1) Why not?
2) Never underestimate the power of You Tube

So off to the studio this morning in order to sit on a stool in front of a hi-def video camera to shoot some footage for a new composition of mine called 'Unseen Sunlight'.

Now, for the technically-minded, the video was shot 'live'; that is to say that I was actually playing and not miming to a backing track as is the norm in a lot of promotional videos you see online. It's a case of 'what you see is what you get' with this video. So this means that we didn't record the audio via the camera, rather it was picked up by two mics and the direct signal from my Headway FEQ pick-up inside the Fylde Falstff guitar and sent off to a hard disk via some unfathomable electronics. Video and audio will be synced by some more studio magic in the mixing suite later on.

The two mics serve an obvious purpose – stereo audio; but we also include some of the direct feed from the piezo in the mix so that the bass 'speaks' faster. Bass frequencies are notoriously lazy and tend not to do too much until you're about six feet away from the guitar. You can get around this by a little ambient miking – that is having another pair of stereo mics further away in the studio, but if you're shooting a video and space is limited then it's better not to invite the added possibility of outside noise creeping in to the mix. The piezo signal is immediate as it comes straight from the strings' passage across the bridge and so, when it's mixed back to the mic signal, voila! Instant good, solid bass.

I'm sometimes asked how to cope with 'red light fever' – the condition where something you can play in your sleep suddenly becomes like climbing Everest on stilts when someone shouts "We're rolling!". If I knew a sure-fire way of overcoming it, I'd speak up, but I find that you just have to try to focus on the music and 'blank out' the fact that you're in the somewhat artificial environs of a recording studio.

In any case, after a couple of takes to 'settle in and find my muse' (ahem) we had a video. And when it's mixed, cut and edited (and they've put all the special effects in that I asked for) it'll be up on You Tube as a trailer for things to come.

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