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What session documentation do you keep?
Old 15th June 2006
  #1
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Tibbon's Avatar
What session documentation do you keep?

Perhaps it's just me, but studios years ago seemed to keep much better documentation in general. Without such documentation, we would be totally lost on what great gear was used on these amazing albums (and have nothing to lust over accordingly). It seems that in many sessions today it's just about speed only, and you're lucky if someone puts in the 'note' area on a Protools track what mic was being used, let alone what preamp, eq, compressor and setting. 2" at least needed some track sheet to be kept, and prior to everything being automated a polaroid seemed to be your best friend.

So what do you keep on every session? Do you store it for long, or just until the master is printed?
Old 15th June 2006
  #2
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XSergeantD's Avatar
 

Still the same docs as always, mix notes, recall sheets, patch layouts,...
Old 16th June 2006
  #3
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allaccess's Avatar
in a tracking session, a great assitant will be taking studious notes about every single track recorded and every setting thereon and put these notes in an organized folder or notebook. This includes the date and time, part (i.e. BV harm 3rd), track name and/or number, mic, pre, compressor, eq, fader level, comments from the the artist or producer, guitar type, amp settings, alternate tunings, pedals, etc, etc. What else are assistants supposd to be there for, and how else are they going to learn about how an artist and engineer gets his/her sounds? It's a drag for the asst when things move fast, but that's part of being prepared!

During a mix, the assistant should document everything being used any time a mix is recorded to tape/disk, and do it discreetly so that the notetaking does not interfere with mixing. A great assistant will know what the engineer is doing with a piece of gear, and be smart enough to know if something is being used or not, or at least able to ask the engineer if things are being used on a particular mix, so time is not wasted writing down settings on unused gear. This experienced asst will also know when to start documenting the mix, even when the engineer is still working...

If you don't have an assistant, try to take the time to do as much of this as possible between parts. I've made an artist take a 5 minute break to document a sound, and he thanked me later when he wanted to to get the same sound to do fixes a week later!

Ryan Hewitt
Old 16th June 2006
  #4
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warhead's Avatar
 

I mainly only take notes during tracking, noting preamp settings and mics used, and any special positioning of mics / eq settings / compression used etc. The ITB stuff is completely recallable so...

War
Old 16th June 2006
  #5
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

I still use track sheets and I use manila pocket folders that I keep everything pertinent to the project in. By the time the project is into the mix I have tracking notes written on the outside of the pocket folder, track sheets, song lyrics/lead sheets. mix notes and possibly some ref cd's all stuuffed in the envelope. I have an old 4 drawer file cabinet where all the pocket folders end up at. It really helps to keep all the notes when the project spans a lot of time or when you start another project with the client and want to refer back to what was done before.
Old 16th June 2006
  #6
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rainsinvelvet's Avatar
when tracking I use a tracking sheet I made thats similar to the one Mwagner uses (ie: the skid row posts). It shows how things were patched, what mic, pre, eq,comp, ect,ect. Then on another paper I have templates of all of my outboard gear that I can mark up quickly with setting and notes about the song/ session , ect.

When I'ts mix time I take notes on what outboard is on what insert and log that info onto a 3rd sheet. These sheets get stapled to the clients contract sheet and they go in the file cabinet.

I admit I used to not be very good at note taking, but I find it kind of like therapy during a long session. Somehting about writing with a pencil I found soothing or something. Wierd huh?

ERic
Old 16th June 2006
  #7
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RoundBadge's Avatar
My favorite session document is the one that reads: "Invoice paid in full"
no really, a good assistant is the thingthumbsup
Old 16th June 2006
  #8
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

Someone mentioned to me the idea of using a cheap digital camera to take snap closeup shots of the outboard gear(etc, etc as well as notes) and save them to a separate folder on the sesson cd/dvd.

I might try it one dayheh
Old 16th June 2006
  #9
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RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic
Someone mentioned to me the idea of using a cheap digital camera to take snap closeup shots of the outboard gear(etc, etc as well as notes) and save them to a separate folder on the sesson cd/dvd.

I might try it one dayheh
yep ..works pretty wellthumbsup
Old 16th June 2006
  #10
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic
Someone mentioned to me the idea of using a cheap digital camera to take snap closeup shots of the outboard gear(etc, etc as well as notes) and save them to a separate folder on the sesson cd/dvd.

I might try it one dayheh
Of course - haven't you noticed the term "snapshot" all over the recording world... People would literally take snapshots of their setup. I do it still (in a sense) by taking a screenshot of the ProTools session windows (shift-apple-3), which gets saved in the session folder with everything else.
Old 16th June 2006
  #11
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doorknocker's Avatar
I plan to buy a digital camera soon to take pics of the settings in my outboard rack. Surely beats the printed recall sheets I use now.
Old 16th June 2006
  #12
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picksail's Avatar
 

In addition to the typical recalls sheets, digital photos and so forth, I keep a project journal of sorts.

It begins as a daily hand written journal, which I work diligently to maintain and keep current.

It later gets entered into my iCal then saved, printed and filed.
Old 16th June 2006
  #13
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octatonic's Avatar
I use a digital camera to take photos of outboard and the rest is in word/excel docs.
Totally paperless and it is wonderful.

This is all on my powerbook, which I also use for email/web/chat/movies etc and sits beside me while I work.

JR
Old 16th June 2006
  #14
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drmmrboy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic
Someone mentioned to me the idea of using a cheap digital camera to take snap closeup shots of the outboard gear(etc, etc as well as notes) and save them to a separate folder on the sesson cd/dvd.

I might try it one dayheh
My digital camera was stolen recently.
So tonight I had out the pen & paper.

There was a tracking sheet PDF floating around a while back. I'll see if I can find it...
Old 16th June 2006
  #15
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drmmrboy's Avatar
 

Found it. Dig the pull down selection thingys.
It's pretty cool, but I don't think I've ever used it.

You'll need Acrobat pro to be able to save changes...

Damn, files to big to attach..
Here's a link - tracking sheet thumbsup
Old 16th June 2006
  #16
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espasonico's Avatar
 

I have to admit it but during tracking I only take notes for special fx or weird things. I only make a recall sheet if there is a session behind mine and when doing vocals because I like to record vocals since the first day ( more or less ) to make the singer get confidence, feel more confortable in the studio enviroment and those kind of things.

Everything else is on my head ( except the SSL setup ).

I have to say that I work without an assistant and I like to work fast ( also the producer ) so it´s quite hard to make everybody wait for me to write down things during a session.
Old 16th June 2006
  #17
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Tibbon's Avatar
Wow. This is awesome that everyone keeps such great notes! So it seems that there is still a place in the world for Assistant Engineers!

I have had too many clients in the past that were SOOO pushy about speed and time (not that I wasn't fast), that I couldn't even think about being able to document things. Hell, I have had Hip-Hop guys that didn't want me to take two seconds to name tracks or regions in Protools.

Thanks for sharing!
Old 16th June 2006
  #18
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon
Hell, I have had Hip-Hop guys that didn't want me to take two seconds to name tracks or regions in Protools.

Thanks for sharing!
I would walk out at that point. A song might need to get re-mixed by another individual, and the blame of the mess would be on you. Money is not worth the sacraficed reputation that would come with that.


I take digital pictures of Amp setups, Drum setups and Mix pics.
www.bluethumbproductions.com
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