4400: Pre-Production

This entry in my series of blogs about my first production assignment at SAE is about the pre-production and planning stage.

The goal of this stage of the process was to:

1- Find an artist to record.

2- Determine the techniques that would be most suitable for the style of whatever I was recording.

3- Create a session plan and timeline of when everything should be completed.


The first item on this list was fairly easy for me to figure out since I happen to have a dad that plays in a band and was eager to be recorded. This also meant that I was fairly familiar with the style and sound of the music since I’ve heard them play a lot.

This worked well for me since I didn’t have to go through the whole process of finding a band and getting in contact with them, which I feel allowed me to focus more on getting to grips with the technical and engineering side of things. While I know that looking for bands and meeting people is an inevitable requisite of this course and career path, it was good to have one less thing to worry about while I’m still completely new to the process.

As for recording techniques I knew that the band mostly done acoustic covers of classic rock songs (in true dad-band fashion), so I knew roughly the sound I was going for and had to merely research how to achieve that sound.

I mostly used the internet to do this research, with the starting point being the materials provided to me courtesy of the SAE. I researched drum miking, acoustic guitar miking and vocal miking techniques, as well as different ways to record bass that should work well with this type of song. The techniques that I chose to use will be talked about in more detail in my next post about the recording process.

Next was planning the sessions. First of all created the DAW sessions using the track list from my session plan. I done this before the actual dates of recording to save time in the studio. My plan was to break up the recording in to two four hour sessions held on two successive Saturdays, to align with both my and the bands’ availability. The drums along with a guide guitar would be recorded in the first session, the second session would be guitars, bass and vocals. These sessions took place on the 25th of March and the 1st of April, respectively, leaving me about a two weeks to edit and mix before the deadline. On reflection I would say that I should have done the actual recording a bit earlier as a precaution. The reason I say this is that if there had been any problems that meant I would have to arrange another session, I would have been pressed for time and may have struggled to schedule a session that both the artists and I were available for on short notice.

And that is that for the pre-production stage. Overall I would say I planned fairly successfully. I didn’t go in blind or try to wing it, and as a result I was all set up to finally get in to the studio and start recording!



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