21 Jul

The music and life of Michael Jackson

Michael Jacksons impact

Avoiding Michael Jackson’s music is like trying to avoid traffic in Los Angeles Peak hour on the freeway. Many artists have entered a Sydney Recording studio with him as the guiding spirit of performance.

Similarly, avoiding sexual abuse stories of late is almost impossible.

Leaving Neverland is an intense four-hour documentary which examines the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck

A timeline of Jacksons life

  1. Michael was born in Gary, Indiana.
  2. The Jackson Five reléase “I want you back”
  3. Michael begins his association with Quincy Jones. First plastic surgery after breaking his nose in a dance routine. First plastic surgery after breaking his nose.
  4. 1982. He releases the album Thriller
  5. 1984. He burns his hand badly in an accident.
  6. 1986. MJ buys a pet chimp named Bubbles.
  7. 1987. Michael releases the album Bad,
  8. 1988. He constructs the fantasy “Neverland” ranch in California complete with an amusement park.

1993–  Jackson Is accused of molesting Jordan Chandler, a 13-year-old child, at Neverland. The family reportedly settles for $26 million dollars.

  1. 1994. Michael Marries Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley. They marry in a small ceremony in the Dominican Republic. Michael and Lisa Marie divorce two years later.
  2. 1996. Jackson marries Debbie Rowe, the house nurse.
  3. 1997. Prince Michael Jackson is born.

1998- Paris Michael Katherine is born.

  1. 2002. Jackson dangles Prince Michael the 2nd, from a Berlin hotel balcony in front of fans.
  2. 2003. A documentary airs in which Jackson reveals to the interviewer Martin Bashir that he shared a bed with a young boy, saying: “It’s a beautiful thing.”

Nov 2003. The police arrest Michael for molesting 12-year-old Gavin Arvizo. Gavin was a friend of the family.

2005.The charges are acquitted.

  1. Jackson dies in Los Angeles ahead of a planned series of re-emergence concerts in London.

 

A brief history of MJ

 

He made his performance debut in 1964 with his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5. MJ  started his solo career in 1971 with Motown Records, and in the early 1980s, became a huge force in popular music.

 

His videos, including “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, and “Thriller” from his 1982 album Thriller, are acclaimed as breaking racial barriers and changing the médium of music videos into an art form. In fact they are credited with bringing the show MTV to fame. Bad (1987) is the first álbum in history to contain 5 US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles. He continued to innovate throughout the 1990s with videos such In he 1990s he continued strongly and released “Black or White” and “Scream”. The techniques employed on these albums paved the way for many a Sydney Recording studio.

 

He gained reputation as an exciting live artista and toured he world. Jackson also made popular intricate dance techniques such as the robot and the moonwalk. His sound and dance moves have influenced millions.

Sales and breaking records

Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with sales of 66 million copies worldwide. In total his sales were in excess of 350 million. This doesn’t include youtube and streaming services.  His other huge selling albums, include Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995). He won dozens of awards (another record he holds in the history of pop)

 

Michael has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than once. Furthermore he is the only pop vocalist to have been introduced into the Dance Hall of Fame. His accomplishments include Guinness world records (as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time). He won 15 Grammy Awards. Furthermore, Jackson won 26 American Music Awards (much more than any other singer). Similarly he had 13 number-one US singles. Jackson is the 1st performer to gain a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 over 5 different decades. In 2016, his estate gained $825 million dollars, the highest annual number for a superstar recorded by Forbes.

The changes of the 80s

 

As the 1980s progressed, Michael became a person of controversy for his slowly changing look his, relationships, and his lifestyle. In 1993, he was accused of sexually abusing a child of a close family friend. The allegation was settled outside of court with a suspected huge amount of money. Similarly in 2005, he went tried and acquitted of other child abuse charges and several other discrepancies. In 2009, while training for a run of new concerts, Jackson overdosed on sedatives given by his private doctor, Conrad Murray. Jackson’s supporters everywhere were grieving. His public memorial service was televised live. In 2019, the documentary Leaving Neverland  made known the truth about this superstar. The sound track was recorded in a voice over studio similar to Crash Symphony Productions.

Questions for us all to answer.

 

After the documentary aired they both faced constant abuse online. This in iteself  is a sign of the strong sense of denial that consumes people when they don’t want to face the fact that their idol was possibly a monster.

Consequently the documentary left people on the Street debating weather or not to listen to Michael Jacksons music again.

But of course we will. Above all, society will continue to venerate him and remember him as the musical phenomenon, not a pedophile

His musical accomplishments will be more remembered than his abuse. Artists will continue to enter a Sydney Voice over studio with him in mind as the inspiration. His legacy will live on and the radio stations will play his music like they always have. Those who were abused and their families will feel the pain every time people put  on one of his songs.

Injustices persist

There are a number of reasons for this strange imbalance in society.

Above all, it is not the fault of the victims, but rather of those who want to defend the indefensible.

Finally, MJ’s fame will outlive the crimes, like many of histories greatest criminals. Furthermore, Michael was a complicated individual who was traumatized in his own childhood. Similarly fought to get where he got and somehow his difficult childhood and struggle caused a set of inexcusable behaviours to be ignored in order for him to achieve his huge fame. As a result, around him who knew what was happening (and there were many) somehow though it was ok not to report him because of his superstardom.

 

19 Jul

Studying a brass band

What is a brass band?

brass band is a large ensemble made up completely of brass instruments. A brass band often haspercussion. Many brass bands have entered a Sydney recording studio or a Sydney voice over studio in various formats.

The British style brass band

The traditional British brass band consists of 28 players including percussion. Consequently a brass band typically has the following line up:

  • The soprano cornet is in E♭.
  • There are 9 Cornets in B♭. Cornets have separate parts for ‘Solo’, ‘Repiano’, 2nd and 3rd cornets. There are 4 players on the ‘Solo’ part. 1 Repiano, two 2nd, and two 3rd.
  • 1 Flugal horn in B♭ (notated on the same part as the ‘Repiano’ in some older music).
  • 3 Tenor horns in E♭ (called Solo, 1st and 2nd).
  • Baritone Horns are in B♭.
  • 2 Tenor trombones are in Bb.
  • 1 Bass trombone is in concert pitch. The bass trombone is the only brass instrument in the band notated in Concert Pitch (C) on Bass Clef.
  • Euphoniums are in B♭. These instruments usually play the same part with divisi sections.
  • Tubas are in Eb and Bb.
  • Percussion players are in every brass band.  >There are 2 or more timpani, glockenspiel, snare drum, triangle, cymbls, a drum kit and more.

Almost all of the instruments are conical-bore. Above all, this gives the classic British-style brass  bright, yet mellow tone. The two instrument exeptions are Trombone and Baritone. Furthermore, all notation except for Bass Trombone and percussion are written in Treble Clef. Similarly, the alto horn in E♭ is more commonly named the tenor horn in British bands. A good Sydney voice over studio will use the right mics and equipment to capture the mellow tones of a British Brass Band.

Competitions throughout the country

The brass band tradition in Britain has attained a very high standard because it is asscociated with many competitions. These competitions usually revolve around local communities and work groups. In the 1930s brass bands reached a pincale with around 20 000 bands operating in the country. British-style brass bands ar not just restricted to Great Britain. These bands are widespread throughout  Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and many European countries.  They are also found in North America. In all of these countries there are anual competitions, hence keeping the standards quite high. Furthermore, they quite often enter a Sydney recording studio to lay down this traditional style.

Salvation army bands

In Sydney Australia The Salvation Army have various bands throughout the región.  The Salvos have employed brass bands since the 1870,s. Salvos bands continue to be an integral part of that branch of the Church. The most famous Salvation Army brass band is The International Staff Band which is located in London.

Salvation Army bands have different sizes and formats because of the limited and varied availability of members. Some bands only have 5 or 6 members. The bands still have the same basic instrumentation of Cornets, baritones, tenor horns and trombones. Sometimes they have a euphonium.  The style and line up varies depending on the recording studio.

Balkan brass bands

The Balkans have their own distinctive Brand of brass bands that began in the mid 19th century.  Military bands in Turkey would compose and arrange folk music into the brass band format. Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Northern Greece all have these types of brass bands. The music is faster and more frantic than the british style. A percussion instrument called the Kolo accompanies Balkan bands. Goran Bregović and Boban Marković Orkestar are two very popular and highly recorded Balkan brass bands.

Fanfare orchestras

Fanfare orchestras opérate in mainland Europe in France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. They differ from the British bands in that they have saxophones in the instrumentation. Fanfare orchestras have their origin in military music. There are also civilian fanfare orchestras.

New Orleans style brass bands

Brass bands are also a central part of New Orleans culture. They stem back to the military bands of the French blending with the sounds of the African workers.

Tuba, trombones, trumpets, clarinet/saxophone, snare drum, and bass drum make up the band. New Orleans brass bands are portable and flexible. This has allowed them to move from the streets and into Ballrooms, concert halls, and various festivals.

Brief History of New Orleans Brass bands:

There were mixed-race Creoles and sometimes coloured people who had freedom. As a result, Brass bands came together naturally. In the first years after Emancipation in 1865, the first black brass bands began entertaining at events. The events were funerals, baseball games, and other festivals. Consequently, by 1900 bands such as Excelsior and Onward were popular.

Furthermore, the New Orleans brass band was mixed with a new musical form that began around the turn of the century. Jazz music was derived from ragtime, blues, spirituals, and marche. It focussed on improvisation,, rhythmic syncopation and repetition.  The brass band was a formative influence on; Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Similarly, jazz bands, including those of Buddy Bolden and Kid Ory, doubled as brass bands. Jazz bands sometimes substituted the rhythm section of piano, bass, and banjo for tuba and drums. As a result, jazz performance styles influenced the New Orleans brass band.

Above all, the Sydney band Hot Potatoe have made the style popular in Australia. Hot Potatoe have recorded various times in a Sydney Recording studio or Sydney Voice over Studio.

 

 

09 Jul

Salsa music

 Salsa is an inspiring music that causes a response in the body for music lovers all over the world. It is highly rhythmic and energetic and always gets the dance floor packed in seconds. People sitting in their seats have to sway from side to side and groove along. First of all, salsa music is infectious and joyous and the music of fiestas! People go wild for Salsa music.

This music has its origins in Cuba and Africa. The first wave of Salsa was actually know as “Son” music. Son cubano  originated in the highlands of eastern Cuba during the late 19th century.

Instrumentation in Salsa music.

Classic Salsa music instruments are as follows:  The Tambora is a popular percussion instrument. Bato is another highly used instrument in Salsa. Clave, maracas, cowbell and bongo are all used a lot in salsa music.  Congas form the backbone of the music. The instruments and the vocalists very often imitate the call-and-response melodies of African songs. Other salsa instruments are: Guitar, vibraphone, bass, violin, piano, accordion, marimba, flute. Furthermore, a brass section of trombone, trumpet, and saxophone. As of late, in modern salsa, electronics are added to the mix.

The rhythmic basis.

Similarly, Salsa music has a basic “clave” rhythm grouped in the following way |1-2-3| 1-2  |. Likewise in the opposite order: |1-2| 1-2-3 |. Samba is not just limited to one rhythm or group of instruments. The tempo is usually up, and the energy is frantic. In any Sydney Recording Studio this energy is essential.

There are different kinds of salsa. Salsa dura is popular in Colombia. Romantica is huge in Mexico. Merengue is another type of salsa.

Where Salsa Began.

Salsa music began in Cuba. Another school of thinking says that salsa is a newer version of older, traditional Afro-Cuban forms. Furthermore, these schools conclude that the origin is in Cuba. This is worthwhile knowing when you walk into a Sydney Voice Over studio.

The reality is that the wave of popularity surrounding Salsa (and the name itself) actually began in New York in the 1960’s. Salsa music developed there over about a decade. It was imported by Cubans and Puerto Rican musicians.

Some old school musicians say that Salsa is not even a style. An expert inside a recording studio will affirm this. Tito Puente was not convinced it was a style. He was asked about his thoughts on the music and simply replied: “I’m a musician, not a cook.”

Development and birth of Salsa.

Between 1930 and 1960  musicians from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and South America journeyed to New York to try their luck in the music scene. They brought their own cultural rhythms. They bought traditional forms and as they listened to each other they mixed and matched styles.

In this way, in the 1950’s the combining of various styles with Cuban “Son” music led to the classic Mambo sound. As a result, mixing of styles lead to the various categories we know today as cha-cha, rumba, conga, and Salsa

Back and forth collaboration.

Above all, this musical collaboration went both ways. The music went back to South America, Puerto Rico, and Cuba and continued to develop there. It progressed differently in each location. Today we have Cuban salsa (timba), Puerto Rican salsa, and Colombian salsa (dura). Each style has the classic, forward moving energy that is the cornerstone of Salsa, but they also have their unique cultural sounds from each country.

Origins of the name

The spicy salsa sauce that is eaten in Latin America is added to give food zing. Similarly disk jockeys, radio announcers, bandleaders, and musicians were yelling “Salsa” as they were introducing a particularly energetic music to a program.

While this is reminiscent  of  Celia Cruz  who would shout, “Azucar,” meaning “sugar,” to inspire the crowd at her own concerts. The word “Salsa was used to spice up the music. Tito Puentos words are quite ironically appropriate!

What’s in the lyrics?

Salsa music lyrics range from basic dance calls and catch phrases, to sentimental romantic songs, to sexy and politically divisive material. Isabelle Leymarie states that salsa musicians and writers incorporate machoistic bravado (guapería) in their words. This is similar to those found in calypso and samba.  Guaperia is a theme she ascribes to the lyricists’ “humble backgrounds”. Leymarie states that the music is “essentially virile, an affirmation of the man’s pride and identity”. Similarly, manly taunts and challenges (desafio) are also a part of salsa.

Above all, Salsa lyrics often incorporate traditional Cuban sones and rumbas. As a result, there are also references to Afro-Cuban religions, such as Santeria, even by artists who are not adherents to these faiths. Many Salsa lyrics also show Puerto Rican origins. Similarly Hector LaVoe used typical Puerto Rican form in his singing. It’s not unusual to hear the Puerto Rican exclamation “le-lo-lai” in some songs.

Political motivation

Furthermore, Politics and Social Activism have long been an important part of salsa lyricism. Consequently Eddie Palmieri wrote many songs in his recording studio in this vein. His “La libertad and lógico” became Latin, and Puerto Rican anthems.  Ruben Blades  is appraised for his socially-conscious salsa lyrics. Ruben wrote about many topics from imperialism to disarmament. He is from Panama. His classic and well composed songs have resonated with audiences throughout Latin America. Ruben is an example of a very sophisticated type of Salsa writer. Hence, his songs are far more than just dance catch phrases. Not only the lyrics, but the music also is very composed and though out in an orchestral way. Similarly, other salsa lyrics contain a nationalist theme, centred around a sense of pride in Latino identity. Finally, Salsa lyrics may be in Spanish, English or Spanglish. Spanglish is a mix of Spanish and English.

Salsa music began in Puerto Rico.

Similarly Cumbia began in Colombia.

Tango began in Argentina.

01 Jul
sydney recording studio

The role of the bass

Understanding the role of the bass.

Bass guitar is one of the most under appreciated instruments in a band. Many audience members have no idea what the role of the bass is. Despite this fact, bass is probably the most critical instrument in a group. It is rare to find a performing band without a bass player. As a budding bassist, you should be happy to know there is always a high demand for bassists—especially good ones.

The Responsibilities of the Bass Player

Normally, the role of the bass is twofold:

  1. It provides the rhythmic foundation.
  2. It provides the harmonic foundation.

The Rhythmic Foundation

The rhythmic foundation is about the consistent pulse of the beat. This is probably the most important factor in the role of the bass. Even the drummer works his beat around a bass line.  A great bass player helps the band by laying down a steady pulse. Most songs that are popular and often played at dance functions consist of a steady rhythm. This is the main job and first priority of the bass player. People would rarely be able to dance to a drum beat alone. Its usually the bass that people respond to deeply and move to. This is very evident in African Cultures where the bass takes high praise and respect.

The Rhythmic Pulse

The drummer also contributes to the rhythmic pulse. It is a team effort often described as a “Marriage”. In fact if a drummer and bass player don’t get along or “lock in” together well there is a serious problem! No matter what the drummer is like, as a bass player you want to have a strong sense of rhythm for yourself. This goes for every individual in the band. They cannot borrow “time feel” from the drummer. Everyone has a part to play in keeping a band rhythmically solid. 

This is arguably the most important part of bass playing. Even if your note choices aren’t perfect, the rhythmic foundation you lay down is what you will be remember for. The feel and groove you give to a band are unique and essential to the bands success. 

The Harmonic Foundation

Apart from providing the basis for rhythmic pulse in a band. The other important part of the role of the bass is providing the foundation for the harmony.

Harmony simply refers to the playing of several different notes at the same time. Sometimes only a guitarist or keyboardist will create this harmony. Other times a large combination of instruments/voices in a sound studio in Sydney, such as in an orchestra, rock band or a choir, create the harmony together.

When we hear more than one note  played at the same time, we all the notes in relation to the lowest sounding note — the bass note.

Where to start when learning

So what about learning the bass. Do you want to dive in and join a band as one of the most important members and the backbone of the music? Do you want to walk into a Sydney Recording Studio and lay down a solid line? Its a great and noble cause. Just bear in mind the following:

You need to know the songs better than the other members! Yes thats right, often a drummer or guitarist or singer will look to the bass player to be sure of where they are in the order of the song. You knowing the song inside out is essential to a rehearsing band feeling comfortable. 

You need to have a great sense of timing. In one very real sense, you need to have the mentality of a drummer. In most auditions for bass players, what gets them over the line and into the band is the “feel” that they bring to the music.

Great examples of bass playing

You want to be an expert in multiple styles if you want to make an impact in a Music Studio in Sydney. Consider learning the baselines for the following various styled songs:

  1. Is this love – Bob Marley – A great way to begin to understand reggae feel on the bass.
  2. Fine China by Chris Brown – A classic RnB bass line that requires both great groove and also virtuosity. It will really challenge you.
  3. Sweet Chilld of Mine by Gun’s n Roses – One of the most beautiful melodic rock baselines in history. Duff McKagen was the backbone of this great 80’/90’s rock band.
  4. Suck my Kiss by Red Hot Chilli Peppers – You really can’t go past the great “Flea” for funky and punchy baselines. This one is a solid, syncopated groove.
  5. What’s going on by Marvin Gaye – The father of Motown bass playing – James Jamerson, lays down a wonderful melodic adventure for you to learn. This will teach you about harmony and using chord tones, scales and arpegios to construct a great bass line.

Other essential styles

Apart from these great starters which will challenge you melodically and technically, you will want to thoroughly cover the basic styles of music:

Country (Check out Keith Urban and Dixie Chicks)

80’s/90’s pop (Check out Madonna and Prince)

Motown – Anything by the Four Tops or Temptations will get you started.

Jazz – Try some easy Ray Brown lines from the early Oscar Peterson Records. Or Sam Jones from Bobby Timmons trio.

Blues – BB King, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters or anyone else from that era.

Now you are armed with a great arsenal of styes and influences. Get out there and audition and keep the band in time! Walk into a Sydney voiceover studio or a Sydney Recording studio today and dazzle them.

music, instrument, electric, bass guitar

17 Jun

Sydney Recording Studio Drum Tracking. Introduction to Drum Recording

Introduction to Drum Recording

These days there’s many ways to get the drum tracks for a musical project. There’s using sample drums or programming them via software like BFD or another drum emulation software package. However, there’s nothing like recording real drums for a song! In particular, the cymbals still sound so much better with a real drum recording. The art of recording drums is slowly becoming forgotten as people use emulated drums more often.
In this article we are going to talk about the kinds of microphones that we choose to use on drums in our Sydney Recording studio. Crash Symphony Productions has been recording drums for a long while. We’ve settled on what specific microphones can achieve a certain sound for the recordings. We’ll go over each part of the drum kit and why we choose to do what we do.

The Kick Drum

The kick drum is one of the most important parts of the kit for the listen. It holds down so much of the rhythm of the music. One challenge that we have faced with the kick drum has been reducing the amount of ‘bleed’ from the other parts of the kit. It’s ideal to listen to the kit and not have it diluted by loud cymbals and the snare. In order to achieve this we built a drum tunnel. This is a small aircraft hangar-looking contraption that goes over the microphones that are positioned on the outside of the kick. It isolates these microphones from the rest of the kit so when the engineer listens to the kick drum there won’t be intrusive noises from the snare, toms, and cymbals.
We use four microphones on the kick. Firstly, we choose a large diaphragm condenser like a Neumann U47 Fet. This has a certain fullness to the sound. We couple this closely with a Shure SM57 dynamic microphone. This picks up the midrange punch. We use an AKG D112 in the drum hole. This has a very specific sound and it is common on kick recordings. Lastly, we use a homemade Sub-microphone. It has been constructed out of an old high tom with a speaker built in.
These four microphones give us the pallet we need to mix and match and get the drum tone that’s right for the song. Sometimes we’ll completely discard certain microphones. Having these mics makes certain we’re covering our bases correctly.

The Snare Drum

On the snare we also gravitate towards four microphones in order to cover all possibilities. Firstly, we use a Neumann U87 placed in close proximity. Next to this microphone we have a small diaphragm condenser like an AKG 451 that has sufficient padding. When these two microphones are coupled closely together the phase can be adjusted to reduce certain unwanted frequencies in the snare drum. We always use the traditional Shure SM57 on the snare drum. Underneath the snare we use the Sennheiser 441 dynamic microphone. This is very common under a snare.
These microphones are historically very common in these positions. They give us the tonal breadth that we need to make sure we achieve the best tone available for the snare drum.

Hi-Hats

The hi-hats are close miked by two small diaphragm condenser microphones. We use a few different options both above and beneath the hi-hats. Firstly, the Neumann KM184s are an excellent choice. However, because those microphones don’t have padding they can be too loud for the preamp. The Sennheiser MK416 shotgun microphone is another great choice for hi-hats. They are very focussed microphones and the side rejection works well on the kit in order to keep the hi-hats focussed. Lastly, a good choice is the AKG 451 small diaphragm condenser microphone. These have great padding and are good for keeping the signal under control.

The Toms

There are many microphones that can be used for Toms. We have been using simple Sennheiser e604s on the high and mid toms. These clip on to the side of the tom and sound surprisingly good for what they are as microphones. Large diaphragm microphones like AKG 414s are great on toms, too. Switching them to the fig-8 position and padding them sufficiently will help to side-reject the other drums during the recording.
On the floor tom we use the traditional Sennheiser 421. This is a staple microphone for this position and always sounds great.

The Overhead microphones

For the overhead microphones we have a few different options. Firstly, a pair of vintage u47 tube microphones sounds beautiful. For a more crisp and clear sound the Neumann M149 pair is certainly very lovely. If a darker and more vintage sound is sort after then we would use the Coles 4038s ribbon microphones as overheads. These are very common ribbon microphones for overheads. They require some boosting with an equaliser but sound marvellous as overhead microphones.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article gives you a brief overview of what we use on our drum recordings and what options are available. You can learn more about our studio here https://www.crashsymphony.com.au/recording-studio/
If you have further questions about how we record in our Sydney Recording Studio please feel welcome to give us a call on 0408 300 402 or our email [email protected]

03 Jun

How to record voice over for a powerpoint presentation

How to record voice over for a powerpoint presentation

You don’t have to be present at a conference or class to produce a PowerPoint presentation. Just pre-record a voice over for a powerpoint presentation and you can send it where ever you want. You will find it possible to deliver a PowerPoint presentation at a company meeting or in a school classroom without being present.

The best way is to find a Sydney voice over studio and record it professionally. Here are some step by step instructions about how to record voice in the powerpoint program on your own:

Starting with the right equipment.

  • If you don’t have access to a Sydney Recording Studio, first of all you will need a microphone. The inbuilt microphone in your computer will suffice for basic voice over for a powerpoint presentation. Having said that, for better quality you will want to have an audio interface with options for an external microphone. Many are available and most have fairly consistent quality. There is no need to break the budget. Simply attach the interface (usually via a USB cable) and download the software. Consequently will be a mixing/control panel accessible when the software is installed. Make sure the levels are full and loud but not distorting.
  • The next step is to write your script. Make sure it flows nicely. Furthermore, you want it to transition between each subject matter appearing in the presentation. For this reason you want to segue and connect sections of the presentation with clever joining phrases. Similarly you can use music to unify the themes and slides.

Practicing and preparing

  • Practice the script and make sure you are comfortable with all the tricky words and phrases. There is no point recording many times over when you can practice it to prepare yourself.
  • You can have a complete script and record the voice over in one hit or you can break it up. Sometimes its preferable to record one slide at a time. This would depend on the style of presentation. Use your intuition and make sure it flows from slide to slide.

When recording voice over for a powerpoint presentation your audio can be embedded in powerpoint. As a result, the whole file can be moved anywhere and played on any device. Audio files are not stored separately.

Using another application

The other option is to record the voice over presentation in another audio application. Sometimes this can produce better quality. A decent Sydney Voice over studio will use logic or pro-tools. You can record the audio file in a program like Audacity or Logic and export it. The best formats to export with are Mp3 or wave files. Then you apply the process of creating a link. Be sure to store the linked files in the same folder on your computer. One risk of using linked audio is that you will mix up the tracks and lose them in the hard drive. For this reason, organisation is a must. Audio links will ensure that your file size is smaller over all.

Specifics on recording directly into powerpoint.

To begin with, choose the slide to which you want to add the voice over, then find: Insert –  Audio – Record Audio.

  1. Type a title for the voiceover section.
  2. Press Record ( the red button).
  3. Record your script using the microphone
  4. Press stop when you are finished
  5. Select play to hear it back and check for mistakes.
  6. Choose ok to add the audio clip to the file.

As well as recording an audio voiceover, you can record a video.

Recording an entire audio track for a single presentation.

  1. Choose View – Normal
  2. Select the 1st slide in the presentation where you want to record audio.
  3. Choose Slide Show – Record Slide Show – Record from Current Slide. 

A Record Slide Show box will ask you to choose other options. 

Getting the timing right:

  1. PowerPoint will automatically track the timing of slide changes while you record.Similarly, PowerPoint will automatically track narrations, inking, or laser points.
  2. Check both of these options for ease of operation.
  3. Select start recording.
  4. You can select pause if you need a break at any point.
  5. Choose “clear recordings on current slide” if you make a mistake or two.
  6. When you’ve finished recording a slide, choose  “Advance to the next slide” or press the spacebar.
  7. Press stop when finished.
  8. Shut the record window to return to the main presentation.

Extra controls at the bottom left hand side of the screen:

The first couple will advance forward or backward through your slideshow. Control number 3 opens up some useful tools like the Highlighter, Laser Pointer, Pen and Eraser.

As you progress through the presentation, you can highlight parts of your slides while you speak. PowerPoint will record these marks (if you made sure the boxes were checked). Similarly, using the laser pointer allows you to point out various things on your slides as you record the presentation.

How to Listen to the Recorded Voiceover

Furthermore, once you’ve recorded your narration, you can go back to the slides and listen to your voice over.

Here’s how to playback a recording:

  1. Choose View > Normal.
  2. Choose the slide containing the presentation/recording you want to hear.
  3. Search for the sound icon on the slide. 
  4. Hover over sound icon and press Play to hear the audio.
  5. Hit Pause when you’re finished playing it back.

How to Turn a recording off

The final thing you need to know about how to record voice over for a PowerPoint presentation is how to turn it off! If you don’t want to hear your voice when playing back a presentation simply select Slide Show and select the “Play Narrations” check box to clear it

28 May

How much does a voice over artist make?

 

Know your facts and figures.

Budding voice over artists often ask the question:  “how much to voice over actors get paid”. There is a simple answer to this question. The industry standard is quite a good protection mechanism for those working hard in a Sydney Voice over studio. The answer to that question is found in the industry recognised rate card. https://www.meaa.org/download/commercial-voiceover-rates/. This was developed over the years by the communications council of Australia in conjunction with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. Annually is really up to the individual. Obviously it is not a salary or wages job and you are paid per performance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, though, radio and television announcers made around  $35,360 in 2017 and voice over actors made roughly $17.50 per hour.

This rate card outlines the minimum rate for Voice over Artists in Australia and covers all uses of studio voice over work including: Television, internet and even phone holding services.

If you have set your heart on becoming a voice over artist and long to enter a Sydney Voice Over studio, these are the rates that you should aim for. Many people have tried to undercut the industry. and there has been some heated debate over the years about how much one should charge. Ultimately it is ethical to stick to the rates outlined in the rate card and better for your bottom dollar! Voice over actors work hard like any other industry professionals. 

Below are some examples of jobs you might have as a voice over artist.

Television / Internet advertisement 

Lets take a keen young voice over enthusiast named Eric for example.

Eric has studied all his favourite voice over actors and has practiced tirelessly.

Furthermore, he advertises his services on Gum Tree and social media. Eric emails various studios around Sydney. He calls certain contacts in the industry and pitches his services to them.

John gives Eric a call to read a 45 second long script for a television advertisement. The advertisement will be aired on Facebook and other social media outlets for 3 weeks. John tells Eric that Fee for this voice over job is around $700. Further more, television pays slightly higher, especially when there are multimedia outlets and different mediums. If it was just a TV voiceover gig it would pay closer to $550. TV differs from Radio in that the rate is based per script rather than per total job. You should bear this in mind when charging and invoicing.

Sydney voice over studios search often for new talent to post on their websites.

One of the most prominent Sydney Voice over studios is Crash Symphony Productions. They regularly record advertisements for television, youtube, facebook and countless other mediums. They are a top Sydney Recording Studio and record everything from Bands to orchestras, dialogue sections for movies, novels and jingles.

Radio advertisement

A local radio station gives Eric a call and asks for 4 x 35 second snippets promoting different ranges of products for a large department store.   Eric gets booked for a voice over at a commercial radio station. The ads will run for 1 month on radio in Sydney and rural NSW. The advertisement is for pesticides and chemicals. Eric has researched the product and is familiar with it. 

The number of scripts can vary for different types of calls and jobs. You might have to read up to 5 scripts or as little as 1. The rate for 1 to 5 scripts for one company is the same. Be aware that the rate can vary slightly depending on what state the advertisements are played in. The rate for a job like this based in Sydney and rural NSW is around $450. Crash Symphony productio

Holding message for a phone loop

You might be called into a voice over studio to record a simple “please hold the line, your call is valuable to us” message. Phone messages pay slightly less than TV and radio but are a simple and short job. You might only require 20 or 30 minutes in the studio if you know what you’re doing! The voice over rate is around $200 for this sort of call out. Be prepared to hear your voice on some random phone cycle many, many times! It may not be very glamorous, but as a voice over artist this is the sort of work you might be asked to do. Crash Symphony productions offer a variety of jobs. 

I’m super keen to follow through so where do I start?

You need to set realistic goals as a voice over artist. In other words a Voice over artist will always progress with persistence and practice. The voice over industry is very competitive. With the right training and listening you can develop your skill and get a good reputation for yourself. Model yourself on other voice over actors.  You create a career for yourself in any major city with hard work. Local radio stations always search for up an coming voice over artists. Some voice over artists get started on local radio for free and get a feel for reading out advertisements and announcements. Similarly this could even lead to you being a full time radio jockey. Crash symphony productions is a great studio. First of all, a voice over artist is a flexible person. 

Above all, you want to be doing a job you love. Don’t expect to be pulling in $50 000 dollars in your first year. Income like that takes years to build up. With patience and practice you can begin to expand your opportunities and get a reputation in various voice over studios. Crash Symphony Productions has a website that is viewed by hundreds of companies and clients who want particular sounding voices. You should record a demo. Clients are searching for new voice over artists constantly. When you have the demo of various styles ready to go, you can approach a Sydney Sound Studio and ask to be put up on their website.

20 May

Voice Over Work and How to do it well

How to do good voice over work is a common question in a world that demands new content! Voice over work is very common because it is a powerful way to communicate a message. There are some fundamental things that need to be in place in order to capture it well. In this article we will guide you through how to do good voice over work. We will look at this unique work in a step-by-step way that will make it clear to a new comer. The elements within include creating a good script, knowing the basics of speaking with clarity, using good recording equipment, and having access to voice software. Read on to learn how to best capture your next voice over!

Voice Over

Have the Voice Over Script Finalised

The foundation to all good voice over work is a good script. This is most often called ‘the copy’. Writing the copy is a profession in of itself but there’s no reason why you can’t write a captivating copy for your project. Often writing concisely is a good starting point. Too many words can put your audience to sleep so try keeping it things to the point and well structured.

Only use long and complicated words if they are unavoidable. Many reads are educational or commercial in nature. Long and complex words that few people know will isolate the listener and diminish the impact of the message. Make sure the script is easy to read, is grammatically correct, and has a good solid structure.

When the script is complete make sure you read it from an iPad or another kind of tablet. This will eliminate any page turning that might get recorded by accident. Page turning is a nuisance because it needs to edited out later in post.

Speak Clearly

Delivering effective voice over is a career but there’s no reason why you can do it on your own project. The first error many new comers make is that they read the script too fast. This is most common when people are self-conscious and nervous about recording their voices. Some reads require pace but in most cases speaking slowly and clearly is the best option.

The clarity of speech comes with pronouncing words properly. Make sure you complete the ‘s’ sounds and don’t mumble through sentences. Speaking with a smile is good way to increase clarity.

Good Recording Equipment

Good recording equipment isn’t cheap but there’s no way around it. In order to capture a voice well you will need a good microphone and preamp. Most studios will use condenser microphones because they pick up all the details of the human voice with the most transparency. Unfortunately many natural sounds will be recorded, too. Mouth clicks, clothes rustling, pops, and sibilance are all unwanted side-effects of using great microphones. The gains outweigh the losses so make sure you have access to a great condenser microphone.

The Recording Space

A good recording space, or isolation booth, will improve the quality of a voice recording tenfold. This space would ideally be isolated from the outside and acoustically deadened in the interior. When a space is isolated no unwanted noise like cars and bird can diminish the recording. A space that is acoustically inactive will heighten the apparent focus of the recorded voice.

Powerful Post-Production Software

Once the voice is recorded you will need to enhance it so it is ready for presentation. There are many options for voice over post-production plugins. These include programs to control harsh sibilant frequencies, reduce plosives, equalise, and compress the voice. Even noise gates will help to remove noise between spoken lines.

Most Digital Audio Workstations will include many useful pieces of software to help you enhance the recording.

Conclusion

You can see that there are some clear factors that, if employed correctly, will greatly enhance the quality of your voice over recording. A clear message is delivered when a good script is read with conviction and eloquence.

To Learn more about our Sydney Recording Studio and how we record contact us here or call 0408 300 402. Crash Symphony Productions has years of experience in voice over recording. We have the best recording equipment available in order to capture your message effectively.

Happy communicating!

 

16 May

Big Band Music

What is a Big Band?

Big Band Music is a essentially a jazz derived large ensemble form that has 10 or more members and is divided into four sections: Trumpets, trombones, saxophones and a rhythm section. Rhythm sections are comprised of Bass (usually upright), piano, drums and sometimes guitar.

Early Big Band music appeared soon after 1910 and rose to prominence in the 30’s and 40’s when dance swing bands were akin to popular music. For this reason, the name “Big Band” is often associated with this era. A problem that arises from this definition of course is that Big Bands since that time right up until today play a huge variety of music. Some of it is Avant-Gard and experimental. Other forms are very be-bop and hard bop based with complex harmonies and melody lines.

A main difference between Big Band music and a small jazz ensemble is that they are more focussed and unified around the arrangement. In other words, the individual soloist takes less priority. The leader is usually a conductor and in this way it is similar to classical music. Unification of the band makes it like a large football team and they must all work together to get the job done.

The instrumentation:

Trumpets – 1st lead  – specialises in brilliant high notes and is the most audible voice of the entire band).  2nd Trumpet – usually the primary soloist, 3rd trumpet – plays harmonies. 4th trumpet – often doubles lead trombone or trumpet one octave lower.

Some super bands have been known to have 5 or even 6 trumpets like the Duke Ellington band of various eras.

Saxophones: lead tenor, 2nd tenor, lead alto, 2nd alto and a baritone saxophone. Most of the saxophonists double on clarinet. Earlier Big Band Styles used clarinet quite often.

Trombones: 1st, 2nd, 3rd trombone and bass trombone.

Seating

Seating is usually arranged with 4 trumpets at the back, the trombones in the 2nd row and the saxophones in the front row. Often this will be on a tiered stage with the trumpets highest. The Rhythm section usually sits to the left of the band (stage right). With the conductor of course at the front often moving to the side when a soloist is featured.

Big Band music rhythm sections actually evolved into its current most common line up. In the 20’s and before, it was more common to have a banjo player than a guitarist. It was also more common to have a tuba player instead of a double bass player. The electrification of bass and guitar allowed for the more even balance. In fact, earlier big bands often had less wind instruments just because of the balance issues. Obviously in a Sydney Recording studio the format may vary to accomodate space issues and microphone technique.

An unusual lineup

The Fletcher Henderson orchestra of the 1920’s is an example of the variety of line ups that were in circulation prior to the popular standard line up. 

  • Alto Saxophone 
  • 2nd Alto Saxophone, Clarinet 
  • 3rd Alto Saxophone, Violin 
  • Bass 
  • Clarinet 
  • Drums 
  • Guitar 
  • Piano
  • 1st Tenor Saxophone 
  • 2nd Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
  • Trombone 
  • Trumpet 
  • Tuba

History[edit]

Dance music

Until 1914, recreational dance in the USA was usually exemplified by European forms like, waltz, polka and square dancing. As jazz moved from the south up to Chicago and eventually New York City, different styles of dance moved with it. The evolution of dance can be followed in tandem with the evolution of the big band styles. Paul Whitman was a typical example of a band leader from a classical background that combined European elements of music an dance with evolving American styles.

Great soloists of jazz often found a home in a Big Band. This was a welcome relief from the lonely hours of practice and touring with small bands. Players like Coleman Hawkins and Louis Armstrong were epically famous as soloists and yet played in 14 piece orchestras quite often. The Count Basie band produced and nurtured such soloists as: Buck Clayton and Lester Young. Fletcher Henderson used Coleman Hawkins. Later on in the 50’s and 60’s, Stan Kenton had an orchestra with much more modern arrangements and soloists. Some of the great names that were associated with Kentons band were: Carl Fontanna, Frank Rosilino and Bill Watrous, Stan Getz, Maynard Fergeson. 

Competition and contraversey

The major bands considered mostly black of the 1930s included,Ellington’, Hines and Calloway, Chick Webb and Count Basie. “White” bands were Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey. Due to obvious racial and population bias, the latter became more famous for a long period of time and were very lucrative financially. “Black” bands however stood the test of time and to this day are known as the innovators and trail blazers of new styles. Benny Goodman’s early band was mixed and created quite a stir. He made a strong stance agains racial segregation and was a unifying force in big band music

Privileged white teenagers and young adults were the main listeners of the Big Bands in the 30s and 40s. They grooved to recordings on the radio and patronised live concert tours in the many “dance halls” that littered the countryside in almost every town. Often these bands would pause on tour and enter a Recording Studio. Many Big Band in Australia find themselves in a Sydney Recording Studio laying down the magic.

Modern big bands

Although big bands are associated with the 1930s and 40s swing era, they existed long after that period of time. Woody Herman in the 1940’s was already pushing the style envelope and moving the music away from dance to art. In the 50s, Kenton referred to his band as “progressive jazz”. He used his band as a mode for his modern compositions. He moved the boundaries of big bands by implying arrangers whose ideas about music clashed. Modern bands in Sydney include: The Sonic Mayhem Orchestra, the ABC swing era big band and the John Morrison band. All of these from time to time enter a Sydney Recording studio. The most popular forms of Big Band Still have a great voice artist to accompany them. Frank Sinatra is the father of this style. For a classic 1930’s Sydney Voice over studio experience contact Crash Symphony Productions. 

Other leaders utilised  Latin, Afro Cuban music with big band instrumentation, varying to include a lot of percussion. Gil Evans was famous for his use of Big Bands in movie music and used experimental line ups.  Europe adopted the big band line up and created many new sounds in later decades. Examples like the Vienna Art Orchestra started in 1977, and the Italian Instabile which operated in the 90s.

07 May

Country Music

Origins

Country and western is the traditional way to refer to country music. It is a style that began in the south of the United States in the 1900’s . Borrowing from genres such as blues, western, bluegrass, Appalachian folk music, hillbilly music and more recently rock and roll and pop. It is helpful for to understand the roots of country for any country artists hoping to enter a Sydney Recording Studio.

Country music usually consists of a fairly simple form with a focus on lyrical content and story telling. From ballads to up tempo hoe-down style dance music, it uses a range of topics. Some of the most famous Australian Country songs were written about the harsh landscape and life as a farmer. This was the same in Texas and many other southern states. Life as a rancher or as a cowboy was often sung about and dramatised over several verses. Like all other forms of pop music there are always love ballads and romantic songs. Stringed instruments are the most popular instruments in country. This includes electric guitars, banjos, acoustic guitars, pedal steels and lap steels and also fiddles.

The term country came to notoriety in the 1940’s and replaced the terms hillbilly or Western. It has become phenomenally popular in the United States. Country music stations are the most listened to nation wide during the evening commute in rush hour. It’s about sentimentality and the stories and ideas that give people hope and something to dream about even when stuck in a big city.

The Australian Scene

The Australian country music continues to dazzle with very strong song writers and bands. It is Australias most successful original music scene and has its own charts. Adam Brand and people like him have put Australia on the map by performing in the USA and excelling at the very music that came from there. Modern Australian artists such as Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kerhaghan, Troy Kemp,  Keith Urban (who is actually from NZ but spent much of his career in Aus),  and Casey Chambers have done extraordinarily well in Australia and have huge followings both in the cities and in regional areas. Adam Brand encapsulates classic Australian sounds and mix them with powerful hard hitting American rock genres. 

Country artists are particularly active and encouraging during times of severe hard-ship such as drought, bushfire or flood. Often they fly out to remote locations and perform to people who otherwise may not have access to music or arts.

Icons of Australian Music

Slim Dusty is one of the best know country artists in the world. Slim rocketed to success after releasing his famous song “A Pub with No Beer”.  The song is a hit internationally and he was the first Australian to have an international hit record. It was considered typical “Occar” Australian and recounts the different characters of the outback and their desperate need for a beer in the lonely Australian desert

It’s lonesome away, from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night, where the wild dingoes call
But there’s nothing so lonesome, so morbid or drear
Than to stand in a bar, of a pub with no beer Now the publicans anxious, for the quota to come.
There’s a faraway look, on the face of the bum.
The maids gone all cranky , and the cooks acting queer.
What a terrible place, is a pub with no beer.

The Stockman rides up with his dusty dry throat.
He breasts up to the bar, pulls a wad from his coat.
But the smile on has face, quickly turns to a sneer.
When the barman said sadly, the pubs got no beer.

Bush poetry

Slim is famous for encapsulating country Australia and has been compared to the great bush poets such as Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. Some of his works are actually poems and have been recounted in many a Sydney Voice Over studio. Bush poetry requires skilled voice over artists who can enter a voice over studio with a knowledge of the genre. Slim himself also has written many songs about the Trucking industry and life on the road. Him & his wife were patrons for the National Truck Drivers’ Memorial in Tarcutta, New South Wales.  A quote from one of his lesser know songs “Along the road of song” encapsulates some of his conection with the road.

“‘Neath the gumtrees by the roadway,
As the sun goes down outback
I lay at rest in peaceful reverie,
Then I thought of all the songs I’d sung
About the outback track,
And that is how this vision came to me.”

This Australian icon has won an unrivalled 37 Golden Guitar Awards and is in the Aria Hall of Fame. He was a prolific song writer and when he died at age 76, he was recoding his 106th Album.

Slim Dusty is remembered by his arts centre has been founded in Kempsey New South Wales which was his home town. It was opened in 2015 and designed to keep the legacy and music of Slim Dusty alive.]

His daughter Anne Kirkpatrick is also a renowned country singer and songwriter. Anne carries on the legacy proudly and has won Golden Guitar Awards at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 1979, 1991, and twice in 1992. Anne also won an ARIA Award for Best Australian Country Record in 1992.

John Williamson

One of the greatest Country Icons of the 80’s was John Williamson . John plays awareness songs and is very vocal and active in supporting the Red Cross and various wildlife funds including Wildlife Warriors world wide. His famous hit “True Blue” was adopted by the Australian Cricket team and encapsulated concepts and lyrics that helped people understand what it was to be truly Australian. It was recorded and produced in a Sydney Recording Studio and still is played on country radio to this day. 

Modern movements and changes

Modern artists write and perform quite differently to the simplicity of land and travel ballads. Slim Dusty provides an example of simple folk song telling. Recent artists produce modern pop sounds and harder rock edge. The songs have quite dazzling high budget video clips and are usually sung with American accents. Often young Australian Artists will not use a Sydney Recording Studio and send their song stems to Nashville to try and get the same sounds as the American artists. However there are quite accomplished Sydney Recording Studios such as Crash Symphony Productions that successfully emulate the Nashville sound and can mix Country music in an authentic way.