Quantcast
2 hour session - leave recorder running, or stop/start? - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
2 hour session - leave recorder running, or stop/start?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
2 hour session - leave recorder running, or stop/start?

I’m doing a 2 hour session with a 33-piece ensemble and vocalist - 3 takes each of something like 20 separate short songs. Using a mixpre6 and 6 mics. Is it better to just leave the recorder running for the entire session, or is it beneficial to stop between takes? I’ll be using cue marks between each take.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
If it were me I would definitely stop the recorder between takes. On most recorders I have worked with stopping the recorder "finalizes" the file and makes it much harder for a power outage or something else untoward from corrupting the whole recording. Just recently we had a hour+ recording where we lost everything that was after the recorder's auto-file split (file size limit) when the live sound guy simply unplugged our MixPre recorder. Fortunately we lost little that was critical to the event.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
I’m doing a 2 hour session with a 33-piece ensemble and vocalist - 3 takes each of something like 20 separate short songs. Using a mixpre6 and 6 mics. Is it better to just leave the recorder running for the entire session, or is it beneficial to stop between takes? I’ll be using cue marks between each take.
I’ll run a non-stop backup always, and then depending on the project (and specifically whether video sync is essential) I’ll either go with long files or stop-start after takes. Pros and cons to both approaches. Split up takes can be clearer if passing off files in terms of what’s what (assuming you’ve got a good file naming scheme set) but can also result in a lot of work if rebuilding a project in a different DAW. Long files are more elegant in terms of file management but more susceptible to project-debilitating errors. Hence my project-by-project evaluation.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I would go half way between. Say every 20 to 30 min, save and start recording again. Past 30 min the risks go up too much that could be avoided in this case since it not all one song.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
As others have already noted, stopping and immediately restarting finalizes the file and writes headers...so if you lose takes due to a power situation it's only going to be 'the last written one' ...not the whole session !
Are you likely to have a request for playbacks during the session by producer or musicians...that will be facilitated by having discrete takes. Although your drop-markers will be good locators also, which you'll be able to access quickly (or, at least as quickly as your documentation allows ! )

I don't know if you'll be writing BWF's or a filetype that has a 3.99GB limit (and then 'silently and seamlessly creates a new file in the background' when that limit is exceeded) ? I doubt I'm ever going to be 100% sure about that latter process...so I tend to stop/re-start 'early and often' !

As always with these things, it's a tradeoff: between speed/convenience and safety of the recording. The way I see it, your time on location (including reputation, plus the venue hire, musician and producer's time, etc) is highly valuable...nothing must jeopardize the creation of safe files.

Your time ' back at the ranch'...in front of your monitors, cutting up a long file into several takes or assembling an edit list, naming mic inputs etc....less so !

In 'your space' ...no-one can hear you scream, if you have a minor file management catastrophe, need to write new headers to replace corrupt ones, etc....whereas doing so in the public gaze on location, nobody wants to live through that tiny death.....

Finally, the power crisis. I'm assuming you're running on AC mains on location, with a battery backup in case the mains fails or sags ?

But....are you really running on mains ? Is it in fact the other way around...that the battery when connected in-circuit, always takes precedence and the mains is in fact continually topping up 'the backup power supply' ? Recorders are configured variously...know your product !

At home, in your trial run....do the brutal power thing. Have dual power sources connected...then yank out both the mains and battery power alternately, while recording. Note what happens...is it worst nightmare material, or does the secondary safety supply kick in reliably to save the day ? It's good to know these things ahead of the session. Maybe a UPS is called for, depending on your findings ?

2 hours is a very short session for 20 songs...I'd be minimizing the stopping/starting in favour of continuously dropping markers...there certainly won't be any time for playbacks during the session ! Have at least a 2 track safety recorder running, slaved off the MixPre...if you have sufficient time to construct a 'credible mix' for it to capture, which might be a stretch in itself ?

A way to construct this safety mix would be to monitor the session from the headphone or speaker feed of the backup 2 track recorder...so the main recorder cue feeds are being tweaked to this end. You should be able to do this within the first take...or else have a laptop/DAW fed from the MixPre in interface mode (if the SD is able to operate this way ?)

But you know all this...I'm just re-stating the obvious, in terms of session procedure !

Last edited by studer58; 2 weeks ago at 02:52 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Let it roll, but roll 2 machines!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
“ I don't know if you'll be writing BWF's or a filetype that has a 3.99GB limit (and then 'silently and seamlessly creates a new file in the background' when that limit is exceeded) ? I doubt I'm ever going to be 100% sure about that latter process...so I tend to stop/re-start 'early and often' !”
I have 3 SD 788’s and I’ve never had a problem with the seamless autosplit when it reaches the file size limit.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie ➡️
“ I don't know if you'll be writing BWF's or a filetype that has a 3.99GB limit (and then 'silently and seamlessly creates a new file in the background' when that limit is exceeded) ? I doubt I'm ever going to be 100% sure about that latter process...so I tend to stop/re-start 'early and often' !”
I have 3 SD 788’s and I’ve never had a problem with the seamless autosplit when it reaches the file size limit.
Yes, that's been my experience too...maybe somebody with under-the hood tech background can enlighten as to how the data actually gets laid down and 'described' by the recording process ? My video camera does the same, at the 4GB file limit.

I've naively thought it was all being written to a big buffer reserve, and if anything interrupted the transfer process from buffer to storage file...there goes your file ! Clearly it's more sequential than that...since when I've had to re-write a corrupt file header it's rare that I've lost more than a second or two of audio data.

So it's more likely going directly onto the SD card/SSD/CF/HDD as it's being converted A>D...while the header writing happens when you press stop (or auto-saving, in the case of a DAW) ?

The more likely failure mode is the SD card or storage medium...if it's being asked to transcribe data at too fast a rate, or if it's become fragmented or re-formatted too often ? This is why recorder mfrs specify their preferred/approved storage cards/drives...and why you don't want to have unwittingly purchased a fake one !
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
I’m doing a 2 hour session with a 33-piece ensemble and vocalist - 3 takes each of something like 20 separate short songs. Using a mixpre6 and 6 mics. Is it better to just leave the recorder running for the entire session, or is it beneficial to stop between takes? I’ll be using cue marks between each take.
Is it possible to use your Mixpre6 as an interface into your computer DAW where you'd capture separate takes, but also capture a complete backup recording on your Mixpre6 at the same time?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks ➡️
Is it possible to use your Mixpre6 as an interface into your computer DAW where you'd capture separate takes, but also capture a complete backup recording on your Mixpre6 at the same time?
Perhaps given that recording to computer via DAW has the possibility of glitches, dropouts etc due to DPC latency (which one would likely be unaware of until after the recording session is over, if monitoring is done before the A>D)...if the MixPre does allow for simultaneous recording to DAW and onboard SD cards, it would be prudent to consider the MixPre the source recording and the DAW as the backup.

Not sure if you have the 6 or 6II, but copying of files to USB thumbdrive in the latter is also possible, but I'm guessing not synchronous with the session recording....although the specs sheet says: 'Thumbdrive (USB-A): Manual or auto-copy to drive'

https://www.sounddevices.com/product/mixpre-6-ii/

Being able to write to 2 SD cards simultaneously would allow a confidence/redundant recording...though they're still in the one machine, so not strictly a backup.

The Zoom F8 has 2 SD card slots, to facilitate this: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...rvsUokzB6mBUWk
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I never stop the recording during a session, except for the breaks of course.
I have, on commercial CDs, short editing of music that was not supposed to be "officially" recorded between two takes... 2 hour session for 20 short pieces is almost a "live recording". Don't miss any musical material!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern ➡️
I never stop the recording during a session, except for the breaks of course.
I have, on commercial CDs, short editing of music that was not supposed to be "officially" recorded between two takes... 2 hour session for 20 short pieces is almost a "live recording". Don't miss any musical material!
Great suggestion...any additional playing is potentially 'repairs material' ...no matter how brief ! Maybe capture some silent 'room tone' also...if they decide later they want it produced as if it were a continuous session, without fades to digital black in between songs...
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper ➡️
Let it roll, but roll 2 machines!
Or, three like we have been doing as of late.

Two hard disk recorders and a DAW.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
hm...

while i often run a secondary (hd-recorder) and occasionally even a third system (flavour du jour) for redundancy (my primary system has been a daw for decades), i haven't 'lost' a single recording since the days of the mdm's:

have i been very lucky or do we have become overly anxious?

anyway, let it roll! (at least on one system) split into sections where applicable.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 04:19 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I always stop during a live concert, I like finalised tracks and it saves time in post.
When DAT came along in the late 80s they would not instantly start like the Nagra
This caused confusion when filming unpredictable events where the camera could start in a few frames but the dat was still lacing.
Thats when continuous record came in, I hated it, control had been lost.
However Post seemed un perturbed, hey-ho.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 
fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
But all professionals record at least on two systems, right? Only amateurs can take the risk of not being able to record because of a recorder failure.
What professional can imagine pressing the talk back button and telling an orchestra that they can't record because the computer don't start?

The technique should be redundant enough to be forgotten, in a session only the artistic content is important. So let it run and concentrate yourself on the musical content, especially if you don't have time to really produce... save those few minutes between two takes to improve the final result.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
It seems to me that once a recorder of any type is "in record" it's likely to stay that way until you either stop it or it runs out of media (or battery). I've missed surprise moments due to recorder stops between numbers or acts etc, so I err on the side of "roll it all". What might be a "long" intermission" for them is a "short" intermission for me. At the top of the show, once there is a significant audience in the hall, even if they aren't seated (if they are going to sit down) and are still moving around, we roll, everything. We roll on after the lights come up, for quite a bit, re; surprise encores or "curtain speeches" etc. Media is cheap, and the moment will never come again.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
I let it run and just pop a locate button to have quick access later. You never know when something magical will happen.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I probably don't record quite as long as Philip does but I always want some pre-show wallah (radio talks over that in some cases) and I am never quick to shut down the machines after the concert is over, although lights up and audience up is a pretty good indicator that the show is over (not always, right Phillip?).

I have never had a breakdown that caused me to stop a session save one. I tried, for a short time to use Pro Tools with Artist Mix units as controllers. I had Pro Tools crash hard twice (I know, shame on me), the second time after a hard clean out of the computer so that just PT was on the machine. Backup recorder worked great but with no control, I had to go get the back-up mixer out of the truck which sat everyone down for 20 minutes or so. It didn't feel good, and probably lost me the client.

After that, I vowed to NEVER use Pro Tools on location EVER again, sold the stupid Artist Mix units and tightened my act up. Redundancy is great, but each of us decides how far to take that. Rare to find anyone setting up two entire separate rigs to mirror a recording. But we probably all carry backups of some sort and as said above, if you are not recording to two machines, you WILL get bitten some day.

D.

Last edited by tourtelot; 2 weeks ago at 04:44 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I didn't lose any files due to sheer luck, but I once dropped an SD card on a ceramic tile floor getting it out of a single card recorder. The card broke into pieces. Not the card's fault, but unexpected things can happen.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 
RobAnderson's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
My primary will have file breaks for every slated take.

Sometimes I will let the backup roll continuous, but usually it has the same file breaks too. That makes it easier and quicker to replace a single take that may have suffered from a glitch on the primary.

It is so much better in terms of file management and speed of editing/finding takes; not to mention hedging against file corruption &c. with loss of power or on writing.

Obviously, for concerts I roll continuously, unless there is a super long break in the action, like during stage resets or at intermission.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
Gear Nut
 
MBBCFP's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern ➡️
But all professionals record at least on two systems, right? Only amateurs can take the risk of not being able to record because of a recorder failure.
What professional can imagine pressing the talk back button and telling an orchestra that they can't record because the computer don't start?

The technique should be redundant enough to be forgotten, in a session only the artistic content is important. So let it run and concentrate yourself on the musical content, especially if you don't have time to really produce... save those few minutes between two takes to improve the final result.
Backup?
A couple of years ago, I was doing some contract work for a well-know GS engineer. It was an opera by a local University-based community company - quite good.
The folks responsible for letting me into the theater at 4 pm showed up at 6 pm for an 8 pm show. Sort of enough frantic time usually. This time, when the stage director showed up, she lambasted me for having visible microphones - I used 5 boundary mics for the stage and stand mics for the orchestra. The orchestra was a few feet below the lip of the stage but the audience could indeed, see the mics. The director ranted that I must lower all stands until they disappeared. Of course, that did not happen, but I did lower all of the orchestra stands.
Meanwhile, the (back)stage manager requested very nicely that I move all of my gear to a spot further away and behind some more of the incredible amount of "stuff" being stored backstage. That took quite a bit more time.
Typically, I start the backup BEFORE I start the main recorder/DAW. Because it was SO LATE, I armed the main system - about 14 mics in all, and pressed record at about 7:59; much later than normal. After assuring myself that all channels were working (I can balance later . . .), I then armed and started the totally redundant back-up system at about 8:03.
You know what's coming . . . The DAW glitched at 8:01 and I missed part of the Overture - Backup was not yet running.
Yep, lost that gig forever.
All of this is to reinforce the fact that you - yourself - must talk with anyone who has the authority to tell you ANYTHING about the access, set up, location, or visuals, or anything else long before the day of the gig. I was not afforded that curtesy or luxury.
BTW, I typically record non-stop until a pre-ordained intermission.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks ➡️
I didn't lose any files due to sheer luck, but I once dropped an SD card on a ceramic tile floor getting it out of a single card recorder. The card broke into pieces. Not the card's fault, but unexpected things can happen.
With smaller machines recording to cards, the most ticklish moment of the day is when I take the SD card out of the machine. Really need to focus at that point--I've had a few panic moments when someone tried to talk to me or told me I had to move a lot of stuff right away while I had the thing in my hand. My fave move, on both my little SD rigs as well as the larger JoeCo racks is to just leave the damn media in the machine until I get it all back to the shop, and then can calmly upload it to all the interested parties having checked it all first.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Hmm. I always pull the cards and slip them into my watch pocket. Haven't washed one yet.

D.

And kinda OT and I sure that you remember this Philip. "Nobody talks to me while I am changing out rolls on the Nagra!" I used to pre-label my rolls before starting the day and if I didn't see a label up on the supply side, it was damned sure I'd turned the recorded roll over and was getting ready to make a huge mistake. I will also say, I never, in many many years, recorded over already recorded tracks.

I do know a very famous Hollywood PSM who did it. Twice!

Last edited by tourtelot; 2 weeks ago at 04:43 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Tommy-boy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i use 2 SD 788t recorders. Mics are split passively so that each recorder gets all of the mics. Each recorder saves to CF card and internal HD. So I've got 4 sets of files being saved.

I let it run. No stops. I slice it up in my DAW in post. I've done this so much I'm wicked fast at it.

I often have 2 stereo main pairs - 4 mic recording (2 stereo pairs like ortf and ab). There are likely spot mics too. I have one recorder provide phantom for the inner pair and the other recorder provide phantom for the outer pair.

I also run 100% on batteries with these recorders. The NP batteries can power these for a long time. And I always have the L batteries hooked in just in case. And I always have extra batteries.

Tom
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The most important element of a 32 piece ensemble is the obvious amount of pre-record organization that generally occurs. Given the stated plan of generating 3 takes of each selection then IMO your best protocol should be to stop and start with each grouping of three takes. The additional benefit will be all of the takes of that selection will be in that envelope and will make comping, if necessary, much easier.
These days most of my audio/video recording deploys both a direct house two mix and a Multi-track capture. With concerts I generally choose to run the gear with out pause for apx. 45 Min. ( The average length of time for a Bluegrass music set )
Conversely studio captures are much less predictable and will require a much more flexible protocol.
Hugh
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
For sessions, every take is in its own file set. Every file matches the slated number of the take which matches the notes taken during the session. It's a pretty careful way of working, but it saves hours in post production.

--Ben
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Surprising things can happen during a live set. You don't want to miss those things. After I pop the locate button on a continuous recording I hit them in post and assign a track number afterwards. Easy peasy, fast and I never miss anything. Or, fumble with starts and stops and miss a magical moment.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle ➡️
For sessions, every take is in its own file set. Every file matches the slated number of the take which matches the notes taken during the session. It's a pretty careful way of working, but it saves hours in post production.

--Ben
The way I have worked for the past 26 years. As Ben said, a little more work up front in note taking, a huge productivity boost in post.

Just because new files are being created, doesn't mean the tape stops and you miss "those magic moment". I always record everything, rehearsals, practice, they just get their own take numbers and files.

I note from a recent Gramophone article on Tristan regarding one of my favourite recordings, the DG Kleiber ...

Quote:
Three decades later, Carlos Kleiber’s DG recording allowed us to hear Margaret Price as the fiery Irish princess, a role she never came anywhere near performing on stage, though we’ll only ever have an imperfect idea of what Kleiber was aiming for in this recording of the sole Wagner opera he ever conducted. Disagreements during the sessions led to him walking out, leaving the project unfinished. DG’s producer, however, had kept the microphones on during rehearsals, and managed to put together a complete performance, released two years after the conductor had abandoned the recording.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
The way I have worked for the past 26 years. As Ben said, a little more work up front in note taking, a huge productivity boost in post.

Just because new files are being created, doesn't mean the tape stops and you miss "those magic moment". I always record everything, rehearsals, practice, they just get their own take numbers and files.

I note from a recent Gramophone article on Tristan regarding one of my favourite recordings, the DG Kleiber ...
I recorded a very tiny version of this for a string orchestra right on the eve of the pandemic: I got the rig up fast and hit the button while the players were still settling in for a quick rehearsal before the doors opened. Then they played the show. The guest french horn player who had a beautiful sound in the warm ups clammed nearly every one of his moments in the concert. There were enough bits of his pieces gotten in the warmups and run throughs to allow successful edits of the music so they ended up with a usable recording of the show.
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 622 views: 84131
Avatar for ardis
ardis 24th March 2021
replies: 65 views: 9565
Avatar for J_Rogers
J_Rogers 8th April 2019
replies: 3306 views: 63409
Avatar for Synth Guru
Synth Guru 21st August 2021
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump