Thursday, February 05, 2009

Just cos you're raising the bed and call the shots now

Quite a long blog coming up. You may want to go and make a cup of coffee or something.

Still terribly busy here at the moment, and still not sure if I'm allowed to mention what I'm working on here so I shall err on the side of caution for now.

There's been a dearth of stuff that's not been just day-to-day chores or work lately. I did finally get around to buying then reading Watchmen (I find it best to do it that way around) which I shan't rave about here, but it deserves all the praise it's had. I'm hoping the film will be good.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Lanark for a haircut and had some time to kill afterwards so I bought a copy of Death Ray magazine and had a cup of coffee in a cafe. I'd not seen the magazine before despite recommendations from a couple of people and it is very good. I was slightly confused by the publisher though - although apparently from an independent publisher, I'm fairly sure that the premises are in the same street in Bath as Future Publishing (who publish lots and lots of magazines and have a big advert saying so at the railway station in Bath). Anyway, the magazine was great and I may well buy the next issue when it is published.

In other news we recorded the dialogue of "The King and I" the other week as a learning aid for the cast, and they all should now have CDs to work from. Funnily enough, without the songs or dancing the whole thing takes about seventy minutes.

Further progress has been made on the technical front there too. I'm keeping well clear of the band on this one because that way has led to trouble in the past (I tend to mix the band low enough to hear the singing - I feel that the lyrics are important in a musical), but the larger venue on this occasion means that the stage needs some sound reinforcement generally.

My first thought was to do what most theatre audio professionals seem to do and have all the principals on wireless microphones: the mics can be hidden in clothing or wigs (or even in props if need be) and the receivers at the side of the stage would minimise the dead zones and interference that we've had in the past having the receivers at the mixing desk. However, the director (who is a singer-songwriters and knows a bit about PA) wanted to use shotgun microphones which I thought at first was insane. My experience of shotgun microphones has been limited to recording stuff outdoors where they have reasonable rejection of wind-noise and are directional to the point that if you are recording two people talking then you have to keep turning the mic back and forth to pick them up well.

I've been partly convinced to give it a shot, although I'm hoping that the eye-line of the audience would be too disrupted by the fact that we'll need to have microphones at about head height, downstage left and right. Now I need to arrange hiring the gear, and associated stands with shockmounts so that we don't pick up the sound of people walking about the stage. I'm thinking that it could take a good hour or so to just get the microphones in the correct places and then I'm going to have to spend the whole show riding the faders.

There is a week coming up in March that I'm not looking forward to - it begins on a Saturday with a setting up our equipment then having a technical rehearsal, on the Sunday there will be two dress rehearsals (one with each cast), Monday is off, then there is a show every night from Tuesday until Saturday and the following Sunday will likely be when we remove the equipment.

Away from all that I've been giving various thoughts to the future, in no particular order:

my current computer will be officially obsolete in March - that is to say that Apple will no longer supply spares or fix it if it breaks. I've been meaning to upgrade for some time but I need a week to clear up my room and move things around to make space (I'd be going for a non-laptop this time);

I still intend to move out of the parental home, and I'm still waiting for a gap in jobs to make with the serious flat-hunting. Obviously if I had a new place with a room just for working in, then the whole issue of no space for a larger computer stops being an issue. The whole recession/depression is causing some problems there though;

I need to get to an opticians, I haven't been to one for ages and suspect that I am now probably short-sighted enough to need glasses;

I still need to try that whole proper-driving-licence thing again. I don't aspire to running my own car, but it'd be a handy thing to be able to do.

Long term solid plans: I will be going to the London Music Show in July, and to see Eddie Izzard play Glasgow in November. What fun.

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