The Recording Diarys – Izzy

In this ‘The Recording Diarys’ blog I’ll be talking about an audio and video promo recording I did for local talented young artist Izzy. This was recorded and video’d on location @ The Big Studio in Eastbourne, East Sussex, one of two recording sessions we have done in this great creative space!

For this first session Izzy wanted to record and film a live video of a John Mayer cover ‘Clarity’. Her brother Josh would be playing guitar on this track with Izzy doing the sole vocal. Previous to the session Izzy sent over a couple of examples of the style of video she wanted to shoot. This is always great for me as it helps me to get into the artist’s mind and plan a shoot that will suit the artist’s vision

big-studioThe Big Studio is a creative space in the heart of Eastbourne designed for photography shoots so its nice and bright and airy with a lot of natural light. Knowing this I could plan in my head the type of lighting I would need in order to achieve the desired look. The one obstacle I would have was to get rid of a yellow sign that was across the windows. It would be in the background of my shot which I didn’t want but I knew I could wash it out in post production so it wasn’t too much of a problem for me but still a consideration

I wanted to get the audio sorted before concentrating on the video. I could have just set up three cameras and recorded the audio and video in one go but this would have limited me to the angles I could use and would have meant two of the cameras were static. I wanted more movement so decided to record the audio first and then to play the audio back into the room for Izzy and Josh to mime to. This way I could do numerous takes and get the shots I wanted. It also meant that once the audio was recorded the artist would be more relaxed in the shoot as they didn’t need to worry about the already recorded audio

Recording the audio this way also meant we could do a few takes and decide on one we were happy with. I set up two condenser mics, one for the vocal and one for the guitar and took a direct feed from the guitar so for the mix down I would have options. I put a rough mix together to play into the room which already sounded pretty good, nice acoustics here so that was a bonus

I positioned Izzy and Josh where I wanted them and set up a small LED light just off centre to light img_2610up their faces although it was so light in the room it probably wasn’t necessary in all honesty but its better to err on the side of caution with video. I played the audio into the room and run video for 3 or 4 passes. I tried to get shots from numerous different angles using different techniques to make the video interesting. I used a slider to get nice smooth shots from side to side. The reference video was a fairly simple idea, nice wide shots to show off the space. I used this method but also combined a few closer shots for a bit of variety

So I had all my audio and all my shots so it was time to end the shoot, pack up and go home for the editing stage. With the shoot still fresh in my mind I got to work on the video edits before the audio. I selected which shots I wanted and where in the video I wanted them, synced them up and colour corrected the footage. As I had to wash out the windows in the background to get rid of the yellow sign this helped to dictate the style of the video. It became quite stylised and sepia looking and I was really happy how it turned out

img_2614Once I had edited together all the video and was happy with it I got to work on the audio edits. I wanted them to sound live but also with a good level of production. I imported them into Pro Tools and worked on getting a nice guitar sound. The feed from the guitar had a really nice tone anyway and Josh has a really nice playing style so that made it fairly easy to get the guitar sounding as I wanted to. Izzy has a really nice sounding vocal with plenty of dynamics so my job was again made a bit easier for this edit. I put some light compression on and some subtle EQ and a few other of my go to plug-ins and got the vocal sounding really nice

Once I had the elements of the audio in place I got to work mixing down and mastering the track as a whole. It was fairly straightforward as it was just vocal and guitar, nothing too experimental as i wanted to maintain the live feel. Once I was happy with the audio I exported it and Synced it with the video. Then I added some titles and exported the finished video which you can view below:

I showed it to the Izzy and here’s what she had to say about the recording experience:

“My brother and I had a great time working with Neil. We don’t have a lot of experience in front of the camera so we were a little unsure of ourselves but Neil was so friendly and put as right at ease and we really had a great time doing the shoot. So good I re-booked him for another. I had a great response to it on my Facebook page too. Probably the most likes I ever got on a post. Thanks so much Neil.”

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, if you would like a similar recording done please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my via the website, thanks for reading

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