March was interesting and diverse; a festival, new clients, a documentary and improvements.
Welcome Aboard, New Clients!
Arts on Alexander
I’m happy to officially announce some new clients. At the very top of the month, last weekend in fact, our first production for Arts on Alexander took place. The music was incredible, drawing top period instrument performers from three continents for a very exciting performance of the Messiah parts two and three. After discussing budget and needs, we settled on a pared down audio recording and a 2 camera taping, and added four GoPros for discreet and unique on-stage angles. Normally in this space, I prefer using ORTF stereo for its clear sonic stage and pinpoint accuracy, but this performance had the stage and audience switched in orientation from any recording we’ve made there, so I wanted to capture using AB stereo as well, a technique that produces an immersive and rich recording. With full orchestra, choir and soloists, this will prove to be an enlightening pursuit, informing future decisions.
I am equally excited and honored to be entrusted with capturing and live-streaming Graham Reynolds’ Golden Hornet World Premiere of MXTX on April 16. MXTX seeks to build musical, cultural, and social bridges through collective art making, community outreach, and live performances — recognizing that borders are artificial creations, that the US and Mexico share deep historical ties, and that we can resist and repel the forces of intolerance through our art. The world needs more of this.
South by Southwest Film Festival
I once again worked the SXSW Film Festival Red Carpet, meaning… interviewing all of the stars! I try not to be starstruck, but it’s hard with legends like Nicolas Cage, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ron Howard. It was a thrill to see so many stars up close and personal including Donald Glover, Sandra Bullock, filmmaker Richard Linklater, Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Benjamin Bratt and Natasha McElhoney.
One actress of note on the red carpet was Austinite Lee Eddy. She plays the mom in Richard Linklater’s most recent creation Apollo 10 1/2. Long ago, she spent many months here at Tonehaus voicing a character for a Houghton Mifflin interactive content project I recorded. Linklater’s re-imagination of growing up in 1960’s era Houston goes live on Netflix April 1.
Finally, the interviewer for the first weekend of the film fest was LA native film reviewer and sci-fi fan Scott Mantz, who you may have seen on Access Hollywood! Click through the pics to see the stars and comments.
The Black Opry
In late March I worked as production sound mixer on a documentary about the Black Opry. This could be called a series, or perhaps it is a movement, as it is something in the zeitgeist for sure. The filmmaking team is fantastic, and all of the performers I met were wonderful. The Black Opry could be described as Black artists & fans of country, blues, folk, and Americana, coming out and showing their love for this genre. I will note that it’s not often that performances command my absolute attention, but the singers in this showcase did! Kam and Aaron, pictured above, and also Roberta Lea, Nikki Morgan and Nicky Diamonds. I would welcome the chance to work more with these fine folks. Learn more about Black Opry.
In Tonehaus internal news, yet another sweeping upgrade process for our Live Production System. We’ve resolved a long nagging audio issue with our live stream production at long last, and implemented a host of incremental upgrades to help get loaded in/out faster and safer, and some protection for our camera lenses. This month we also add a sophisticated audio metering system at the video booth, so we know with confidence exactly what is going out on the live-stream.
Also some attention went toward the GoPro kit: all 5 cams can be unattended for up to 4 continuous hours of recording. Other than being a shoestring way to get some coverage of an event, these little guys do a great job of getting some cool angles on the stage without being in the way. Eventually, I hope to be able to tie some of these into the live production system.
Lastly, one improvement that we have been hoping to implement for many years now is finally coming to pass, and that is that the HAPI, the heart of our multitrack recording system, can now live stage-side, meaning the recording booth can shrink down to just a small table with a laptop & headphones.
Last but not least, for this month’s FLASH SALE, we are offering a professional stereo audio recording with the booking of a 2 camera concert shoot.