Sunday, December 16, 2012

Photo-of-the-Week #85 - Studio on the Road, Ontario, Oregon, June 2010

This week there are two photos. As an independent audio producer, I accept all kinds of different assignments. The list is very long of the places I've recorded from all over the U.S. and Canada to China. The variety of projects is equally as long ranging from a single spoken voice to a solo instrument to symphony orchestra's and sound effects of all kinds of sounds. Many people in the recording business do the vast majority or even all of their recording in a fixed studio environment. Everything is controlled. The surroundings are familiar. The equipment compliment is virtually the same for every recording session and while it may be a voice-over studio where different voice actors may be the main variable element or the kind of music and the musical talent will vary, my experience is exponentially more variable. Actually, I may be the only non-variable.

These two photos represent a recording project of two audio books I did in the small town of Ontario, Oregon, just moments away from the Snake River, in June of 2010. I decided to drive cross-country and carry everything with me for this project. The talent for the recording was the author of the two books. Upon arriving in Ontario a day or so early for the project, I scoped the town and found there were a minimal number of hotel/motel accommodations that would be able to potentially meet my needs for setting up a temporary recording studio. After checking out the likely prospects I selected a relatively modern Super 8 property. It had one suite that was over the front office and lobby. It was tucked about as far from the heavily trafficked roads and backed up to the side of a large shopping center with little or no traffic in that area.

What you see in the photos is how I transformed the bedroom of the suite into a live recording environment. The large black area in the center of the photo is actually a window looking out over the front parking lot of the Super 8. The black area is actually two pieced of 4" thick acoustical foam. You can see other foam to the right (brown) and strategically located around the room there are other pieces that I used to tune the room and make it an aesthetically pleasing sounding room. No! The acoustical foam does not sound proof the room or the window. That was one of the reasons I selected this specific property. Yes! We did have some noise interruptions, but very few during the four days of recording.  The music stand is where the author/narrator placed his script and the studio microphone is on the microphone stand and boom with specially designed "pop" filters to eliminate the popping "P" sounds that can occur.

The second photo was the sitting room outside the bedroom. There just happened to be a conveniently situated desk next to the door separating the bedroom/studio from the sitting room/control room. You can see the set up was very simple. A pair of speakers to monitor the recording, a digital, hard drive, recorder (the gray unit) and my netbook computer that I would back up the recorded digital tracks on to be sure nothing would be lost. The other important tool was my pencil that I used to make editing marks and notations on the scripts as the author was narrating so I could easily find the places that had to be cleaned up after a mispronunciation, a stutter, a stumble or some other noise, including a noise from outside the window. Optimum? No! But, more than adequate and comfortable for both the author and me, the engineer/producer. The day after the project was recorded I removed all the foam, packed up the gear and left the suite at the Super 8 in Ontario, Oregon just as I found it. Both my living and working accommodations for the project were very comfortable. Just another day at the "Office." Both audio books are now in distribution by Tremendous Life Books.

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