Some too many years ago, I was at school and about this point in August found myself thinking about the start of the Michaelmas term. There was always that point where there was still over a week of the holidays left, which seemed like a long time, but also the realisation that more holiday had occurred than was about to occur.
Then, there are all the ‘back to school’ signs which appear in shops. I particularly remember the ones in WH Smith in Guildford, near where I lived at the time, which seemed to appear almost at the beginning of the summer holiday. Whilst it is not rational looking back on it, at the time this always seemed to shorten the ‘long’ summer holiday.
I’m sure this is probably an issue faced by all children of school age, and quite likely most of the teachers too! Let’s face it, everyone likes a break or a holiday. I have to confess I absolutely love my job and all the different aspects of recording, choirs and performing that I get involved in. So much so that I work on Christmas Day (playing the organ in church) and usually have some musical event to conduct or perform at on New Years Eve. Probably the quietest month of the year is August. Schools are on holiday and most choirs tend to take a break.
As a result therefore it is a chance for everyone here at Recordings 4 Schools to take a little bit of time out. We do go on holiday too, but August is also a good time to take stock of where we are. We like to analyse the recording work we have done so far this year and then plan ahead for the recordings we will be doing in the run up to Christmas, which is traditionally our busiest time of year. This allows us to consider everything which went well, and in all honesty the things which could have been better. Our aim is always to do our best for every customer. Nevertheless as our industry is very technology lead, one of the areas we are constantly looking at and evolving is with the IT systems we use both on location and in the studio.
Our customers generally only see the location end of things. That is the laptops, microphones, stands, cables and other boxes of flashing lights we bring to your school to do the recording. Once we are back in the studio, all the location gear remains in its boxes and we have a completely different set up in our production suite for editing, mastering and producing the audio from your recording. There are various reasons why we keep the two sets of kit separate even though there are some common areas. Obviously we don’t need the microphones in the studio but we do have a different set of Apple Macs. On site we use a couple of laptops – well hopefully we only use one laptop, but should that fail we have a backup one ready to implement at any moment. By only using these machines for recording we aim to extend their useful life. Yes they get carried around a lot, but they don’t get to see the internet and only get updated as necessary.
Similarly, our studio machines are static and only get involved with mastering audio – we have different systems for sorting out emails and indeed writing this blog post. This separation of IT systems makes us more efficient and certainly speeds up the process of going from recording session to CD delivery.
Having only recently updated all of our IT systems, and enlarged our range of microphones we concluded this year there was little more to be invested in at the current time. However, we have noticed an exciting new microphone which is about to be launched by Rode. This new mic is similar to our Soundfield Microphone which we have used for many years but has been updated and refined and, if we are to believe the pre release reports, is quite a lot cheaper. We will certainly be testing this mic when it comes out in September to see if it is worth adding to our existing armoury of microphones.
For the moment, we feel the business is well prepared for the onset of Christmas recordings which we will be embarking on from September onwards. However, we always welcome feedback from our clients and indeed anyone else. If there is something you feel we could improve or just do differently then do please drop us a line and let us know.