June and July have been very busy months for us, recording in Schools all over the UK. This comes as no surprise as its a good time for Primary Schools to do something like this and give the children a lasting memento of their time at the school.
Where do we Record?
At this time of year we expect to be travelling all over the country for school recordings and 2017 was no exception. Our most Westerly recording was in St Ives down in Cornwall. We have also been to Brighton in East Sussex and then further East into Essex. Our trips to the North have taken in Wigan, Manchester and Hull. We haven’t been to Scotland or Wales this Summer, but there are already recordings lined up for later in the year across the border.
Which Schools do we record in?
Recording in Schools, particularly at this time of year, is an important part of our business. Most of the schools we record at are Primary Schools although we often record Choirs in Secondary and Independent Schools too. We have also, although not this Summer, recorded University Choirs.
What do we Record?
Primary Schools can vary immensely. Generally speaking we will record a song from each year group and then any other musical groups they might have. This can range from Recorder Groups to Chamber choirs and there will sometimes be a staff song too. We are always keen to include a staff song where possible, although sometimes these can take the longest to record! Our Digital recording rig has been specified to work in almost any situation and we can just as easily record a 4 part unaccompanied Chamber Choir as we can a Rock band with Drum kit and electric guitars. Or as happened at one school a combination of the two.
Flexibility is key
When we turn up at a school we generally have a rough idea of what we will be recording. Nevertheless we must be prepared for the unexpected. Our last school recording in Brighton featured the Head teacher playing electric guitar, with a band made up of 3 electric guitars, 2 acoustic guitars, a drum kit and full percussion section. We then had to mic up a small group of solo singers and an entire school of 600 pupils. Luckily we anticipated this, well maybe not exactly that combination, but our recording rig is designed to cope with such eventuality. With a combination of dynamic microphones, condenser microphones and Direct Feeds we used 18 channels for that particular recording.
As well as ensuring there are sufficient physical inputs to connect all the instruments and microphones into our recording rig, we also need to ensure we have more than enough cables for each and every situation. Given that we often have to connect into the school audio system to capture their backing tracks, and all such systems are slightly different, this means we basically need to bring every type of audio cable known to man! This is in fact quite a big box and then another box full of adaptors so we can change most cables into a slightly different cable. This was on the basis that you never have quite the right cable so the ability to change it, or one end of it, was bound to be useful at some point!
Through careful planning we got through all the recent school recordings without any kind of technical hitch. All the kit worked smoothly and we had the right amount and type of cables to deal with every scenario that came our way.
We are now starting to take bookings for School Christmas CDs which we generally record from October onwards. Of course all schools want to record as late as possible to give them as much time to prepare as we can. So if you want to record in the last week of November then its worth giving us a call because we already have about 10 schools booked in for recordings in October and November.