In this Pro Tools Expert Podcast Extra Interview James Ivey talks with recording and mixing engineer Al Schmitt and his assistant of 14 years Steve Genewick.
James chats with Al and Steve via a Skype call into Capitol Studio in LA. They talk about their new film The Art Of Recording A Big Band, the initial idea of the project and how it was transformed into a feature length fly on the wall documentary / tutorial video in which Al and Steve show their working practices when it comes to micing brass and rhythm section instruments and their approach to tracking and mixing.
Steve and Al then answer some of your questions on subjects ranging from microphone technique and selection, mastering and mixing for surround.
- 00:00 Intro
- 00:45 How did you come up with the idea of making the film Art Of Recording The Big Band?
- 06:50 Do you have a score for the material that is being recorded?
- 08:40 Are you committing your mic levels to "tape"?
- 09:25 Are you committing any EQ or Compression to "tape"?
- 10:07 Al, do you remember the first time you set foot in a studio and decided that was what you wanted you life to be?
- 11:30 Day 1 of The Art Of Recording A Big Band. Tell us about the session and the band?
- 12:40 When you do a punch in are you punching in to the actual take or just creating a new playlist in Pro Tools?
- 13:32 Which came first the band or the project?
- 15:40 Is there a time when you reach for a tape measure to make sure drums are in phase?
- 19:01 Are you always printing a mix back to Pro Tools?
Community Questions For Al & Steve
- 19:33 Vivian Thompson - I understand that all genre's and projects can require different tools and methods, however I would be interested in your thoughts on attaining dynamic mixes in relation to the way you treat your dynamic processing on your busses?
- 22:05 Jared Kirk - How do you experiment with different miking techniques without wasting an orchestra's or a big band's time? Do you have someone come who plays on or more of the instruments and take your time in finding what different miking techniques sound like or do you have an idea in your head and try it out when everyone in the band is there or perhaps something completely different?
- 30.56 Djani Pervan - I've bought the "The Art Of Recording a Big Band" DVD soon it went out and it helped me broaden my understand of the recording process for not only big bands but for many other applications as well. I want to ask Al engineer about mixing of such a recording:
- Is there any sort of a method to start the mix in order to establish the stereo picture and balances like for example - listening the room microphones first and then blending in the individual microphones in to create more detailed picture? Also about his panning techniques, does he pan the record according to musicians position in the room or on stage?
- 36:09 Paul Hinton- Hi Al, thank you for sharing your expertise with us. You are the best at blending reverbs and chambers to create life-like performances for the listener sitting at home or in his or her car. Are there any tips you can give us on how you place your reverbs in the stereo field to create that Al Schmitt type of stereo canvas or virtual stage?
- 40:03 Ahmet Gokhan Coskun My question to Al is, what are your main expectations from a mastering engineer in terms of tonal balance and dynamics?
- 46:01 Mike Collen - Al, in your opinion is the 5.1 mix dead as an audio only format?
- 47:20 Mateo Barragan - Al, what can I do in order to attend one of your sessions at Capitol Studios?
- 49:05 Thank you and goodbye