This last week at North Avenue Studios has been very hands on! Since David had been out of town for a while there was a large chunk of studio time open to work on some mixes with him for the Off The Avenue Series. This weekend (health pending) we’ll be working on an Off The Avenue with one of David’s favorite bands Tycho and I’m hoping to get in a few new mixes before the end of the semester to add to my portfolio! Speaking of Off The Avenue some of our newer stuff is up so I’ll finally be able to post some of the bands I’ve worked with! It’s crazy that the semester is coming to a close and also the amount I’ve learned at North Ave! The following three I set up, recorded, and assisted mixing:
This past week David has been at the PAX east video game convention with the game “Grabbles” we’ve been working on, so I wasn’t able to go into North Ave this week at all. That being said I’ve been working in the Stetson Studio on two tracks for our Production 2 class after getting feedback from David on them. Having limited experience with recording and producing percussion, he had a lot of advice on how mine should sit in the mix, panning techniques, and how to keep layered percussion tracks from getting messy. The in progress version of this track can be listened to at the link below!
This week over at North Avenue Studios was a relatively calm week session wise, David was too busy getting ready for the PAX conference. As it turns out this was an awesome chance to really sit down and go through a mix with him as we worked on the opening track for the Grabbles demo. Starting from the stems up we went through the many many settings of his board and how all the busses and mixes flow into and out of the board (Which seriously helped my understanding of how everything runs through the patch bay). Working through the theme track also gave me a low pressure environment (aka with a client watching me fumble) to explore the different sounds that each rack had, and ask a lot of questions about the settings he’s chosen with a very intensive focus on compressors. After that we listened to my two tracks from ARP2. David gave me a lot of great feedback, and gave me a lot of great feedback on how to make my mixes cleaner. My homework for the week is to implement those changes and bring them back for further review, ready to see where we can take my tracks!
What a week! This past week we (besides the usual studio upkeep) we managed to squeeze in an amazing off the avenue session. For the first time since the beginning of my internship there David was completely hands off during a session! From greeting the band until the filming started it was all in my hands. I would have preferred that it had gone smoother but for such a big jump in my level of involvement I can’t really complain! The biggest hurdle was the patch bay by far. Getting to pick what amp, compressor and EQ racks I got took some time, but them figuring out how to get the signal through everything and then back to protools really threw me for a loop. I also learned a very big lesson: don’t try to patch the bay before you set the band up. I figured I would save some time before they got there and patch the setup that we usually use, but it wasn’t made to be. The bands set up was way different than one I’d previously worked with. It’s amazing how a few extra D.I. boxes and three extra vocalists can completely mess up your signal flow. After resolving all of those issues though things went fairly smooth! Even had the awesome chance to work with a spinning Leslie for the first time! The hope is that all of these sessions will be online soon and I can start dropping links here as they get released.
Crunch time is upon us over at North Avenue Studios! Grabbles (the video game that David brought me in to work on) got accepted to PAX east bringing our deadline from “work on these sounds at your leisure” to about twenty days from now! Over the last few days David has been helping me learn Unity, which is the programming software the game developers are using. Within Unity theres a whole special protocol for audio called Master Audio, which I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to wrap my head around. Master Audio gives you some basic control of the sounds you load into the software, but is mostly geared toward defining what in game events trigger each sound. Learning Unity has been pretty time consuming, but will hopefully speed up the creative process as we near our deadline.
Today we spent most of the day setting up for an Off The Avenue Session. Once we had finished david gave me a few pointers on my Beatbox track for the ARP2 album. We spoke a lot about different production styles and how there really isn’t a “correct” way to work.
In other news, for the first time ever at an off the avenue session, I mic-ed and routed everything correctly the first time!
This last week and a half has been a pretty great week at North Avenue Studios! Last monday I ran my first full session, from mic-ing everything, to patching all the racks, setting up the session and recording! The biggest obstacle was overcoming the differences between David’s studio template and my usual mic setup, I think I had to re-mic three or four times at least but no pain no gain right?
After that session I learned an important life lesson: studios are not meant to move. David and Joe Flanagan were going to Georgia and running a bunch of Off the Ave sessions with the majority of a music festival. Needles to say David wanted to take a lot of his own equipment and it also goes without saying that as the intern I got to find it all. Lesson learned, if I build a studio it stays put.
The final part of this entry actually didn’t happen at North Avenue but at the South Eastern Theater Conference. Over weekend a few theater majors and myself went to the South Eastern Theater Conference to go through a massive amount of job and internship interviews. As people went through my resume and portfolio they always seemed impressed that I’m interning at a professional studio. I didn’t realize how much attention people pay to where you’ve interned and gone to college!
What a week! My experience at North avenue is very quickly pushing my creativity and experience in a million different directions! Things were slow at the studio session-wise this week so David let me mix some old sessions he had lying around to become more acquainted with the effects racks and protools.Even after these few short weeks I feel a million times faster at getting my mixes together and identifying what I need for a good solid mix.
After I’d finished those sessions he let me work on my mix for a video score that ended up winning best soundtrack in the Campus Movie Festival! Here’s the link to my Soundcloud if you want to check out the track!
On wednesday we went to visit a friend of David’s who is programming a video game and we’re going to do the sound design for his game! It’ll be interesting to see where this project takes me over the next semester (and most likely beyond) David knows that I plan to go into sound design and is always drawing parallels between it and what we’re doing in North Ave.
This weekend we’ve been filming non stop off the avenue sessions, which to be honest have been way out of my area of experience ( which isn’t a bad thing). Since the sessions audio is done in one live recording, i’ve been doing camera recordings in the booth. Before saturday I couldn’t have told you the slightest thing about cameras, but I got a pretty big crash course and have a basics understanding of the parts of a camera, focus, aperture and how to choose the appropriate shutter speed.
This week has been a whirlwind of experiences and i’m just getting started!