This week, on top of finishing up the foley project, I got to do something really exciting. I was invited by Gareth Parton to help him out in the studio recording Melbourne indie pop band Last Leaves and we even got to be part of an upcoming track - but more on that later.
Wrapping up the Batman trailer project was really gratifying. Putting the final touches on the dialogue, adding all the necessary compression, EQ and wet effects and mixing the audio to create a sound track that tells as much of a story as the visuals on screen brought it all together to create a product I am really proud of.
We spent most of the mixing process riding the faders as the video played, similar to how you would mix a track before the days of automation. Sure, we did use a little automation at times to clean things up but most of the mix was done by moving writing in automation with the faders on the D-Command.
We had a few issues with the audio not quite being synced to the video but found it was an encoding problem with Pro Tools as it was fine in the session but came out of sync after exporting. To solve this we decided to export the audio on its own and match it to the video in an editing program like Adobe Premiere.
Once again, I was surprised at how convincing we managed to get some of the sounds in the trailer. Some of the dialogue is a little camp, but none of us are professional voice actors. I think we as a group did a fantastic job at bringing this all together and I'm excited to work with such a dedicated, talented and hardworking team in future intensives.
Last Leaves - lostandlonesome.com.au
As mentioned above, on Sunday Griffin Jennings and I were invited by Gareth to help him record two tracks for Last Leaves. The band was recorded in various rooms, with the benefit of us being the only people in the building. The drums were tracked in the Neve recording space, the bass via direct input in the Neve control room and the guitar amp in the large Audient control room. Marty and Mark played together in the Neve control room while Noah played in the rec space. We monitored them using headphones as Marty's semi-hollow body guitar was mic'ed up.
The whole experience was a great exercise in miking drums, communicating with artists and observing how a professional recording session is run. There was a great relationship between artist and engineer wherein they pretty much had equal standing in contributing what was going to make the tracks the best they can be. I think it's critical for an audio engineer to not only simply press record and sit back as the artists plays away, but also give input into decisions and be an invaluable contributor to the record. Not only will that produce a better overall product, but it will keep clients coming back.
As a thank you for our assistance Gareth and the band allowed Griffin and I to record some vocals on one of the tracks. The chorus features a 'call and response' where Marty sings and then a crowd of people sing back. Whether our voices actually make it on the record remains to be seen.
On the way out we managed to get a key stuck in a pretty critical door that complicated leaving the building. We joked that had only Marty and Mark's former band been The Locksmiths we might have been in luck.
I'm looking forward to hearing Last Leaves new material when it hits iTunes.