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Comparing notes on documentation
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Wavefront's Avatar
 
Comparing notes on documentation

I have an archive of documentation -- photos, setup sketches, input lists, etc. -- from over the years, as well as a somewhat sprawling spreadsheet where I log key details about jobs: date, location, client, invoice #, etc.

In the coming months I am planning to do some "spring cleaning" to make everything as uniform as possible and hopefully get all this data into an even better organizational structure for future reference. There are also a bunch of pen-and-paper notes I have been meaning to scan for ages, and this feels like a good time to wrap that into the project.

How are you all documenting your location recording work?

Given sufficient hypothetical free time, what might you add to/change about your existing method(s)?

As a subscriber to the philosophy "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it" I think it is interesting to discuss the ways documentation can help one to analyze and refine one's craft over time...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
That's a great question and I can't wait to see the other's answers.

I log two different sorts of data. One is a tack-sheet for each performance while I am recoding the job. Headers for ensemble, venue, mics, preamp settings, height and distance of the stands. Pretty basic for recreating the setup. I scan these nots along with the appropriate program pages and they get stored on the archive drives along with the music.

I also take notes on my phone with photos of the setup (geographic location, mic spacings, spot placement. And, here is the biggie, anything I would like to do differently when I find myself in the same sort of situation. I have these notes in my iPhone and locked so that I don't accidentally erase them (ask me how I know) and they go back, in some cases, nearly 10 years.

On bigger jobs, multi-day, multi-track sorts of jobs, I keep more detailed notes and chart every change the producer asks for over the day(s) so that I can get back to "oh, I liked the old one much better" setup.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
And, here is the biggie, anything I would like to do differently when I find myself in the same sort of situation.
Yes, that is a very good point. When I was first starting out several years ago doing classical/acoustic location work, I was much more focused on the "immediate" details of documenting mic placements etc. but I have been increasingly trying to take just these kinds of notes more thoroughly as well. I realize you may have meant this in terms of things like mic choice, but I am also thinking of logistics ("Switches for rear flourescent fixtures which buzz flip OPPOSITE way and are mislabeled in closet" etc.)

I agree 100% about more thorough notes for larger-scale jobs, but it is particularly for the smaller ones where setup time is often very limited, that I am hoping to improve my approach to documentation to extract as much valuable information as possible out of those as efficiently as possible.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront ➡️
I realize you may have meant this in terms of things like mic choice, but I am also thinking of logistics ("Switches for rear flourescent fixtures which buzz flip OPPOSITE way and are mislabeled in closet" etc.)
Nope, you've got it. All the pertinent stuff related to the date; load-in location, special needs, stage-hand/house audio guy's name, conductor's name, manager's name, special things to bring, etc.

Do I need my folding table, long boom-arm, extra duplex cables, extra sand bags, special mic hanging gear, carpet mats, door-lock codes, all the "stuff".

That information is just as important as mic pair height, placement, mic types, and preamp settings. Especially if you are, like me, a one-man-band with a short schedule. Knowing that sort of information mean an efficient day with a lot less running around, no forgetting important gear and generally provides a less stressed work experience. Add that to the notes that give the editor a head start on his job and keeps me from needing to reinvent the wheel every time I do a job in the same venue.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront ➡️
(...)How are you all documenting your location recording work?
wasn't there just recently another thread dealing with this topic?

anyway, my answer is pretty simple: i don't!

___


[more precisely: i don't keep things systematically and for no longer than a year after completition of a project.

i've been involved in too many projects, for too long, in various positions, on all continents (but antarctica); occasionally, domentation isn't even allowed or i'm too much in a rush.

besides, my approach and gear is too far from mainstream so i doubt anyone could profit from scrolling through my documentations.

finally, there's some kinda philisophical thing: music imo is an ephemeral art...
...but for other folks, i guess excel is their best friend?]
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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Deedee. We've know for a long time that your work is not similar to what many of us on the forum do. When I toured rock and roll for more than 20 years, I never took a note. 9AM load-in, 11PM load-our, concert in between. No need for any notes.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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We do two summer events for children and youth choirs in the same venue, long enough between events that I have just about forgotten what I did the year before. With covid, it's coming on two years since we were in that venue. Trusting that my digital mixer settings for that venue are still saved.

Will have to look back at some photos and notes from past years just to remind myself how we set up but if we're going to have to do the social distancing spacing thing, that means more changes. Children have faint voices as it is. They are all very dependent on being able to hear each other. Spacing them out would create some issues but that seems to be the way choirs may be headed?

I appreciate the OP starting this thread. I need to be more organized.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
Deedee. We've know for a long time that your work is not similar to what many of us on the forum do. When I toured rock and roll for more than 20 years, I never took a note. 9AM load-in, 11PM load-our, concert in between. No need for any notes.

D.
well, i'm still at it (r'n'r and live mixing, although on a smaller scale and to a lesser degree) but it has never been the only field of my work: in fact, i started out assisting a well-known engineer who was mostly into classical music and its been ca. 20 years now that i'm mostly into classical, modern music and jazz...

...so i think i do have a few things to contribute, even though some people may not like hearing it much (and be it the sad reality of ridiculously long working hours which you also experienced in live sound) or then seem to think that this forum should become a safe space for hobby recordists, operating on a minimalist approach, with techniques used half a century ago and applied exclusively to one specific genre?!

___


one of the reasons i don't get to document some of my activities is that i'm still working in areas of conflicts and war zones in which a focus on all but the most important aspects of the task at hand can get you in a precarious situation: even using a 'smart' phone to take a pic could be viewed as a serious breach of negotiated modalities!

maybe this sets me a bit apart, perhaps just as much as my interest in this thread is less in the question of how to document something but more in why...

...so maye you wanna comment on this rather than to criticise my experiences unfairly/on the basis of your ignorance of them?!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Oh, man. I wasn't criticizing you in ANY way. You obviously have tons and tons of experience in a lot of different audio studies. God bless. Your posts are thoughtful and certainly have lessons to be learned on a lot of subjects.

I was only mentioning your (seemingly) mostly work as a live sound engineer and relating that my experience in that work also left no time (or need) for note-taking.

If I came across as condescending or judgemental, I am truly sorry.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
maybe this sets me a bit apart, perhaps just as much as my interest in this thread is less in the question of how to document something but more in why...

...so maye you wanna comment on this rather than to criticise my experiences unfairly/on the basis of your ignorance of them?!
If I may refer you to this line from my original post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront ➡️
How are you all documenting your location recording work?
The choice of "how" and not "why" was deliberate on my part, based on the assumption that, for some people, a self-evident value may exist in having information vs. not having information, when considering myriad aspects of the location recording process, before, during, and after the fact.

I agree with you that the more philosophical question of "why" document something may also be interesting, but I would humbly request that you start another thread to delve more deeply into that IMHO fundamentally different and much more expansive question, because I am really hoping for some concrete and interesting discussion about the original question when others have a chance to offer their thoughts. Thank you to all who have commented.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
Oh, man. I wasn't criticizing you in ANY way. You obviously have tons and tons of experience in a lot of different audio studies. God bless. Your posts are thoughtful and certainly have lessons to be learned on a lot of subjects.

I was only mentioning your (seemingly) mostly work as a live sound engineer and relating that my experience in that work also left no time (or need) for note-taking.

If I came across as condescending or judgemental, I am truly sorry.

D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront ➡️
If I may refer you to this line from my original post:



The choice of "how" and not "why" was deliberate on my part, based on the assumption that, for some people, a self-evident value may exist in having information vs. not having information, when considering myriad aspects of the location recording process, before, during, and after the fact.

I agree with you that the more philosophical question of "why" document something may also be interesting, but I would humbly request that you start another thread to delve more deeply into that IMHO fundamentally different and much more expansive question, because I am really hoping for some concrete and interesting discussion about the original question when others have a chance to offer their thoughts. Thank you to all who have commented.
apologies if i got you guys wrong (and/or put my focus on another aspect which i think is closely related to the original topic though)!

regarding the 'how', maybe you want to adress the moderator of this forum:

steve on many occasions provided detailed information on specific situations long gone; when i asked him not too long ago how on earth he could meticulously recall all these details, he mentioned that he's been documenting things for a long time (maybe even since the beginning of his career)!

i'm pretty sure he's been using a systematic approach - unless he built his latest truck only 'cause he filled up his old trucks with tons of documentations and he needed more space?! :-)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 2 weeks ago at 04:10 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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🎧 10 years
Both the Richard King and recently-published Decca reference books linked below have helpful diagrammatic and written descriptions of mic arrays and miking plots for various ensembles....which you could easily 'backwards engineer' into a style of logging and documenting which suits your needs.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews...orchestra-book

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews...ecca-tradition
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