Case Study: 144 Music Performance Videos In 4 Days
144 Music Performance Videos At A Nashville Museum In 4 Shooting Days & 1 Tech Prep Day
Recording sound for the George Jones Sessions was a fun but fast paced & complex shoot. Fortunately I had an A2 and a tech prep day to get ready for a whirlwind of 4 shooting days. Recorded in the George Jones Museum in Nashville Tennessee.
Setting Up A Production Factory
Shooting so many videos in such a short period of time was one of the biggest challenges on this production, fortunately we were able to have control over the entire floor of the museum. We effectively set up a factory to shuttle artists in and out one after another since we were shooting while a country music conference was in Nashville.
With the tight turnaround between performances with a variety of instrument arrangements, we had to have mics prepped and standing by for every scenario ready to move onto the set.
Microphone Package & DI Boxes
The microphone package needed to be flexible to best capture a wide range of instruments from vocals to acoustic guitars, bass, violin, mandolin, percussion, & more. In a scenario like this, it’s all about minimizing the bleed between the individual instruments so each source can sound its best, so I opted to use a number multipattern condenser mics in order to be able change the pattern to best minimize the adjacent sources relative to the mic’s position. I had several dynamic mics for backup vocals & percussion, which by nature tend to have less bleed then their condenser counterparts. To give some additional flexibility in post, having DIs from each of the instrument’s pickups yielded a bleed free source that could be blended in to reenforce the close mics. While acoustic pickups sound pretty terrible on their own, in the context of blending in with another mic they can really enhance a live performance like these.
In a video series like this, I believe having a natural room sound from a stereo pair of mics picking up the performers in the acoustic space they are performing in makes for a far more immersive listening experience. While you wouldn’t want that as the only source, it adds a lot of depth to the overall sound and listening experience by blending it into the close mic sounds.
Recorder & Additional Preamps
Capturing all these sources with timecode and mixes to cameras & headsets for the client meant the need for something like a Sound Devices 664 the best choice for a production like this. The issue with sound Sound Devices 664 is being limited to 6 preamps while being a 12 channel mixer. The solution here was to take an API Lunchbox loaded with six more channels of 500 series preamps with a custom cabling lume to get the DB25 on the API unit to 6 TA3 line inputs on the 664.
If I Were Doing This Gig Today…
While the workflow on this production worked at the time several years ago, how I would approach this production now would be drastically different. Workflow possibilities have changed significantly as has the equipment available for projects like this with products like the Sound Devices Scorpio available now, as well as having more options in my inventory for mics, monitoring, and much more.