Meeting Topic: Orchestral Recording and Arranging for Film and Surround Sound
Moderator Name: Ian Trace
Speaker Name: Kevin Doyle
Meeting Location: OIART, London, ON, Canada
The London Student Section was afforded the great honour of hosting engineer/producer Kevin Doyle at the Ontario Institute for Audio Recording Technology. After graduating from Fanshawe College in 1980 Kevin began his career recording local punk bands. Not long after, Kevin started working at Sounds Interchange in Toronto. It was here that he made connections that have defined his career, including Glenn Gould and Bob Ezrin (Producer, Kiss)
On topic for the evening was orchestral recording and arranging for film and surround sound. Kevin detailed many of the conventions regarding surround miking including the use of decca trees, spot mics on sections and soloists as well as ambient mics that are cut off from any direct signal so as to capture a realistic reverb from the room itself.
Even more eye opening than his miking techniques was Kevin's understanding of the judicious use of compression and EQ in classical music. While it may seem sacrilege, Kevin insists that EQ and compression are tools that can be used to serve the focus of a song. For example, if there was a fast staccato passage one could use the attack and release parameters of a compressor in order to maintain the transients and therefore definition of a passage. Similarly, that statement can be reversed and compression can be used to smooth out a signal and emphasize the tonal and melodic qualities of a passage or group of instruments. EQ has a similar effect since the rhythmic aspect of a signal is derived from the higher frequencies, whereas melodic information is generally transmitted through the mid and low mid range of frequencies.
Finally, Kevin discussed the organizational and procedural side of mixing music for film and surround such as keeping music out of the centre channel and having an awareness of what role the music has to play throughout a sequence.
For more information on Kevin Doyle's surround and signal processing techniques visit his website www.kevindoylemusic.com
Written By: Samuel Robinson