When Timing Audio For Video Becomes Impossible
The Impossible Will Take A Little Longer
Dr. Michael Matesky - Opus 4 Studios
Grant Crawford - Costco
The Pacific Northwest Section of the AES
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018, 7:30pm
Opus 4 Studios, Bothell, WA
Directions to Opus 4 Studios.
Once a year, Costco holds a Manager's Conference in Seattle, WA. A segment of the conference program is a memorial to Costco employees who have passed away during the previous year.
The memorial takes the form of video images of those who have passed, along with an audio track that underscores the video. The only stipulation was that the music had to be performed by Costco employees.
Simple enough, eh?
This year, there were two songs to be used, Song #1, Going Home, a spiritual, and Song #2, Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen. Both songs would play against a video track that was being created at
Costco HQ in Issaquah.
Going Home was to be recorded in English, French, Spanish, and Korean. The vocal would be added as an overdub, in the home country of the language; i.e. here, France, Spain, and Korea.
Grant recorded a basic piano track at Opus 4 Studios without knowing the final tempo or key, and that's what was
sent around to each country. Everyone got instructions about microphone choice, processing, etc. Each country would sing the entire song through, and the production team here would pick and
choose what parts to use where. Simple enough, eh? What could go wrong?
Hallelujah was to be sung by yet another singer, with a small studio band. After some searching, they found their singer here in the PNW, BUT she had NEVER been in a recording studio. The "band" was
guitar, bass, synth/keyboard, and backgrond vocals. With the exception of Grant (synth/keys), everyone was an amateur, albeit a Costco employee. What could go wrong?
Finally, as mentioned before, the songs underscore a video, which was being produced elsewhere at Costco, without the video team really hearing the music AND the audio team not seeing the video.
A third party was calling the shots to both, to the extent that the production was evolving somewhat independently in two different but mostly parallel universes.
The upshot of this was the audio team getting requests from Corporate that at such and such time, something had to happen, and the audio track would have to morph somehow to accommodate the request.
This might be as simple as a fader move, but more commonly, it resulted in arrangement changes on the fly. Ohhh, of course the deadline is tighter than a <pick your own simile>.
What could possibly go wrong?
Come to our April meeting and find out how Dr. Mike and Grant made the impossible into a reality. Dr. Mike has still not seen the finished film (or even any of the rough cuts).
Dr. Michael Matesky
is the owner of Opus 4 Studios. He has a DMA in conducting and is an MM in Cello. Dr. Mike will add more as suits his fancy.
is the Marketing Manager for Costco Travel, a twenty-year Costco employee. He is adept at both acoustic and electric pianos. He's owned a Moog synthesizer since he was 14-years old, and he
still has it... in working condition, today!