Over the last couple of years we have made a number of trips to Wigan to record Primary School CDs. We have no problem with this at all – it’s a lovely place and we are happy to record anywhere in the UK. Although just occasionally it would be nice to do more recordings near our studios in Wiltshire! Nevertheless, today’s recording took us back up the M5 and M6 (through all the roadworks) to Leigh, just outside of Wigan.
Arriving at the usual appointed hour of 07.30 I was greeted by the reception team, signed in and shown to the room where we would be recording. Unlike a lot of recordings, this was not in the hall but in a small room which looked a bit like a meeting room, but which was used in place of a hall I believe.
Before too long a cup of coffee had arrived and I had everything set up ready to record. The audio / backing tracks were being supplied by a laptop which was connected to a display which would also be showing the lyrics to the children as we recorded.
We come across all sorts of setups when it comes to audio. Initially, noting the laptop was connected by HDMI was a potential issue as this one connector would be supplying the audio and video and so not easy to interface with. Fortunately, however, the laptop also had an audio out socket and was able to split the picture onto the screen and then send the audio out to our system. This gave us a way of playing the audio to the children whilst also taking a direct feed into our recording rig.
The CD Artwork
This year, in order to make the process much more efficient and save us a lot of time after the recording, we have been getting the artwork done and signed off on location. In fact here, because we were recording quite near to the end of term, I actually put the majority of the artwork together in advance of the recording session. All that remained was to get everything signed off and make sure the track list related to the songs we had recorded!
The recording only took a morning and the final song was to be recorded by the staff. The intention was to record the staff first and then all the teaching assistants. This way, the children were not left unattended whilst the staff song was recorded.
So both groups recorded their own version of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and the final CD features a blend of the two takes. It’s not really for me to say, but if I was asked I’d say the teaching assistants were much better!