I'm curious who is doing a lot of recording collaboration with players or producers in other cities, states, countries? I know we have lots of talent here and people from all over the world come here for it. I'm not just talking about sending music tracks out but also bringing music tracks in.
For instance, I have a friend in India who offered to have his studio players do overdubs (authentic Indians on authentic instruments) on a song we were recording here. Pretty cool.
So, show of hands? Any tips for finding talent or work outside of Nashville? Any pointers on what to do vs. what not to do, just as far as practical technical matters?
Did you attend the AES meeting when eSession presented? I was very impressed with what they have put together. They have a daily online demo that you can sign up for. It's a great tool to find musicians, vocal talent and such around the world. I didn't think the pricing was all that bad either. Go to eSession
With the internet and ftp I have started believe you can work with anyone anywhere. If a potential client has the technical proficiency to up load and down load files, then they don't have come here and you don't have to go there. The top studios have been able to do that for years, now it is much more broadly possible. I'm thinking with Nashvilles stature in the world as a top media producer and content provider, muscicans and studios here who include internet file transferring in there businesss plan could find themselves working on projects from anywhere. Now that electronic funds transferr is available it can all work out.
Lynn, most of my work is unattended sessions for people around the country and out of the country. A couple weeks ago I was mixing for a producer in London while mastering an EP for a band in Singapore. It is now unusual for a producer to actually come to the studio. Most mixes are approved from posted hi-rez mp3 refs and when done, shot digitally to the mastering house.
I rarely run into technical problems.
All together now... "Its a small world after all..Its a small world after alll..."
Does Belle Meade to Brentwood or Brentwood to LaVernge or say Brentwood to Dallas count? I am always involved in transferring files and getting mixes critiqued this way. I think the same issues apply whether you are transferring across town or across the world. One of the main caveats I see is the myriad of file transfer services and methods out there. There doesn't seem to be a foolproof way to provide an easy - error free transfer mechanism that anyone and everyone can understand.
Well, I wasn't thinking of approval mixes when I mentioned collaboration. I don't typically have any trouble with file transfers. The typical problem I encounter is "I can hear it when I click on the link , but I can't put it on my iPod. How come?" Some clients don't understand the difference between listening and downloading. "Right click or Control-Click."
I typically do highest quality VBR encoded MP3s and rarely have any complaints. Boy, the days of running out the door to FedEx to get media in the mail are long gone, aren't they? Anyone remember approval mixes on CD?
I'm in a project right now where tracks were cut in Dallas, we re-cut or added musicians here, sent guide rough mixes back to Dallas for them to record vocals and are now going to mix here. It's not exactly real-time collaboration but it is still long distance collaborating on a project and provides a way for the talent to save on travel and lodging expenses. Plus, I don't have to go out of town. I would like to get to the point where actual long distance recording were able to take place - reliably. I know the av/chat ability is there but to transfer high quality audio, you have to have more Internet hardware and bandwidth (up and down) than the typical Comcast or AT&T customer can get at their home studio.
But yes, FedEx bills are WAY down these days. But I would venture to say approval mixes on CD, DAT or even cassette probably sounded better than MP3s.
Don't you know that every thread (at some point) leads to whether or not MP3s sound good :) You brought it up! But back to the thread at hand -
Everyone should check out USTREAM.TV to get an idea of how people are starting to collaborate on the net. It's not totally there yet but there are lots of possibilities as bandwidth increases.
My friend, Lauren Scheff, in LA uses UStream to let folks watch him work in his home studio. He has it all hooked up via his computer and ProTools 003. I could just as easily be producing his bass parts from my den and he could transfer the files back to me. Here's a link to see a pre-recorded session: Lauren on UStream
My main beef with using MP3 type transfers for guide mixes and so forth (obviously you don't want final tracks back as MP3) is the fact that there is always a 20-25ms delay in the start time. I'm pretty sure this is introduced on encoding but I am not sure why.
I've used a similar thing called Nicestream...it's essentially internet radio, but you can choose the bandwith/audio quality you want to send. I once used it to produce a tracking session. I was in Dallas, the players were here in Franklin. Worked pretty well...the only bummer is that there is anywhere from a 5 to 10 second delay. So anytime the players had a question or suggestion, they had to wait 10 seconds for me to reply, then I had to wait 10 seconds to hear them say, "Okay." Other than that, it was cool to use that particular day.
I still ultimately prefer being together with the group I'm playing with. I'm the type that gets inspired by being around great musicians, and sometimes it's hard to get that same feeling in my home office...the thoughts of foreign/ethnic instruments that Dennis was referring to intrigues me the most.
for the last two years, i've been focusing on building more business in the eu. i currently work with a production team based in berlin, and on a recent trip to buenos aires met with musicians, directors, ad agencies and studios. at the end of the day, it's all about the strength of the network. last year we won a national gold addy for sound design for a spot we did for saatchi/saatchi, frankfurt. our new international business is coming mainly from the uk, germany and argentina.
we communicate globally via apple's ichat. our composers and producers trade files and video conference. using source connect,, we can handle remote production without needing to add the expense of isdn. and i can usually talk a studio who's not using source connect in to at least demoing it when we're working with them. everything this has happened, they end up purchasing the software. and we can bridge isdn when we don't have a studio partner using the software.
the other advantage with e-source connect is that we can also stream mixes realtime via quicktime. and while i don't like the thought of our mixes getting judged through computer speakers, that's how most of our work is listened to anyway: television speakers, laptops, headphones.
the value of the dollar to the euro/pound has put us in a great place to be competitive with our rates. not to mention that i personally like the creative i see coming from the eu over most of what's happening here in the us. so i'm definitely on the global band wagon.
it's amazing the changes in the last five years. my favorite story is one where i was on my way to visit a nephew who was studying in jerusalem, when i got a client call during my layover in chicago. they needed a change on the track, and i had 48 hours to turn it around. as i boarded the plane, i organized the session in the studio for the next morning. when i landed in tel aviv, i hit the first wireless coffee shop i could find. i connected via ichat av to the studio, where i could watch the production and talk directly to the guitarist through his cue box. we did the session, they sent a mix in a few minutes via ichat, which i approved and sent to the client in atlanta. ahead of schedule. they had no idea that their session had just taken place around the world. and other then a few interesting glances from the israelis who wondered why this nutty american was asking his laptop to "play a higher inversion of that chord," it was just another day for us.
I did overdubs on the last two indie Paul Brandt releases... he was in Calgary, Steve Rosen (producer) was in Minneapolis, and I was here in Nashville, engineering it all in real time via Digital Musician Link. Worked like a charm! :-) Steve and I work regularly like this (several albums each year), and will be doing some Lisa Cochran overdubs in a few weeks. It's as though we're literally in the same room together. And it's VERY cost effective!! Fun times to be working in this way!!! Other than that, for me, it's files via FTP and iDisk with clients all over the country and world. As long as you're on top of formats and such, it's a no-brainer, and since Nashville is a town where studio players "self-produce" more often than not, more producers are loosening their reigns all the time... myself included. I also do eSession.