In this interview shot at the Jigsaw24 event in July 2015 in London Mike Thornton talks to Donal Hodgson about his live recording work with Sting.
At the event, Donal showed us a project he worked on with Sting as recording and mixing engineer which was a special concert at the legendary Red Rocks amphitheatre near Denver in the US. It was for an edition of 'Private Sessions' for A&E Television Network. Sting and his band was joined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Donal took us though the equipment he used to record this event which included 48 channels of Millenia mic preamps and Apogee convertors but he didn't have enough rack space in his allocation for the tour to have the 80 channels he needed so added 32 channels of DAV mic preamps which had 8 preamps in a IU box. Donal used DPA 4099 instrument clips mics for the strings but what he didn't tell us last night is that he won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for his work on this Private Sessions with Sting.
It was a real insight into how Donal sets up his workflow and all the planning that goes into working on a project like this and templates and colour coding play a key part in his workflow. When it came to mixing a major part was muting or deleting audio when musicians weren't playing which not unsurprising cleaned up the sound. Then it was a matter of balancing everything.
Several other investing facts Donal shared with us, is that he uses a Neve mixer to sum his mixes through. He configures his Pro Tools session templates to send out 8 stereo stems into his Neve and then brings the stereo out from the Neve back into Pro Tools and records that as well as the stems he sends to his Neve. Donal is also an avid mouse and keyboard user and is always looking for new shortcuts so he can work faster and more creatively.