After forming our group back in the early stages of the trimester, Ananda, Jordan and I decided what our roles within the group would be. We concluded that Jordan would be musical director (as he was the only musician in the group), Ananda would be the project director (as her skills spanned more areas of audio production than Jordan’s or mine) and I would be DAW/desk operator (as they were the areas in which my skills were the weakest). This was an effective production method as we all knew our position as soon as we entered the studio each time. We found this worked extremely well after our first couple of studio sessions as we all settled into our roles and I gradually improved at DAW/desk operation. I was able to improve through constant practice as we participated in studio sessions 2 to 3 times a week.
One of the let downs of our project work was our ability to communicate with each other our ideas of how particular instruments or parts of the song should sound. Particularly with Stay The Night. Many times we found ourselves getting frustrated at our inability to convey creative thoughts effectively. This also wasted quite a bit of our booked studio time on a few occasions. I believe we could have avoided this through holding meetings outside of the studio to discuss our ideas in more detail. We would then have been able to get into the studio and know exactly what had to be done. Another let down of our method of allocated roles within the studio was that certain group members didn’t get enough practice in different areas. I, for one, didn’t participate as much on the musical aspects of the production as I was either distracted by the Pro Tools session or desk or was just too far behind with where we were at musically that I didn’t bother to try and catch up (though I did make an effort to in the end).
Our studio sessions were mostly held on Wednesdays or Thursdays, either during after lecture/tute times. I believe we could have been further ahead in the production process i.e. at the mixing stage at least 2 or 3 weeks earlier than we were if we had booked more studio time throughout the week, rather than just on schedule lecture/tute days. This also would have helped in my ability to retain the skills I was learning in the DAW and particularly on the Audient as it would have been fresher in my mind every time. Before getting to the recording stage I think it would also have been beneficial to spend more time in the studio testing different microphones and miking techniques for the sound we wanted. Though at the time, when we settled on our miking technique (for Stay The Night) we were happy with it, I think we could have found a much more desirable sound through the use of different microphones. On one occasion the SE4s (which we’d used for most of our recordings of the acoustic instruments) were already booked out so we were forced to use the E614s instead. They’re a small diaphragm condenser pair, the same as the SE4s but we found the sound they produced so different and so much more suitable for our production that we decided to use them instead from then on. Unfortunately we had already recorded most of the acoustic pieces we would have used them on. A problem we found when recording acoustic guitar with just a single SE4 was that it was so sensitive to room noise. We didn’t want to turn it down too much and no matter where we moved it it would pick up the players breathing. We solved this by asking the player to breath through his mouth (as it’s quieter). This was somewhat inconvenient for him and he forgot to do it a couple of times but it was the best solution with the time we had left to record and mix.