The LMS team was recently asked to handle to production, sound design, recording and filming of a huge public concert in Southern England, the Big Interactive Gig or ‘B.I.G.’ 2012. It’s been one of our biggest undertakings, but also one close to our hearts (I was a performer and the musical director of the show as well!). The B.I.G. took place on Thursday 29th March, and very successful it was indeed. We thought we’d share a little bit about the studio’s involvement with the process.
The first few months was spent gathering talented musicians together, choosing songs to play based on personal preferences, recognisability, feasibility (or in some cases, impossibility!), and the branding of the show. Once christened as the Big Interactive Gig, our aim was to make every aspect of the show as massive, epic and “sing-along” as possible.
The set list came to feature the best of modern pop, rock and soul (Adele, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J, Bruno Mars…), staples in the jazz and funk repertoire (James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Horace Silver…), ambitious rock and pop classics (The Beatles’ Hey Jude, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody), and novel reworkings of well-known hits (A ukulele ensemble for Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours and an a cappella Beach Boys medley).
With musicians, singers and songs in place, the rehearsals began in late January, and this is where LMS came in. Sound is of huge importance in any music concert, and the headache-inducing task of getting twenty-something microphones and instruments to all be audible and balanced during a fast-paced show where people are moving around, swapping places, etc, was something that required a lot of practise and perfectionism. In rehearsals, we went through four different combinations of mixing desks and monitors in order to find the least complicated yet best quality set-up. I kept a detailed log that I’ll publish here soon for the benefit of any budding sound engineers.
When it was decided that the B.I.G. 2012 was to be recorded and filmed as well, this really stretched Lightmaster Studios to the outer-limits. We wanted a multi-track audio recording so that the individual levels of different singers and instruments could be perfected in post-production, again, requiring weeks of planning, a 24-track mixing desk, an 8-track USB recorder and one very powerful computer. It was essential to record some rehearsals to check for issues and ensure the set-up was indeed ‘set up’.
Six cameras were fixed into place around the venue during the days leading up to the gig, unfortunately with memory cards that needed to be replaced halfway through the show. A live video feed was also set up and projected onto a large screen behind the performers. In total, 2 x 7 hours of footage was recorded, and Mark is currently undergoing the meticulous process of sifting through it all, making cuts, zooms, pans and clean-ups in order to create a DVD of the show.
The night was a success, musically and technologically! Having mastered the songs in high quality stereo, I’m producing a two-disc CD of the B.I.G. The sound will be synced with Mark’s video footage to make the DVD. The whole process was an intense challenge for us, with millions of issues cropping up that you never think about in the planning stages. But after a lot of hard work, the Big Interactive Gig now has a beautiful legacy in all the media that Lightmaster Studios produced, in the shadow of which future gigs will take place!
We’re putting together a series of technical articles on the ins and outs of undertaking a project of this scale and quality, which we hope will be helpful and inspiring to many of you. As usual, send us your thoughts,