When I read the description for the seventh blog I have to admit that my reaction was that of discombobulation. Not because it was confusing, but because for the drums recording session I took the role of Pro Tools operator. 'How am I going to write a blog about being the Pro Tools operator?' I asked myself. 'Why, I just sat down on a chair, looked at the screen, clicked some buttons and voilà!'
Jokes aside, it was both a fun and challenging experience. Let me begin with the challenging part. Before the team and I presented the project alongside the powerpoint presentation, I prepared a Pro Tools session for the drums recording day. That was the first time I used Pro Tools in a hiatus of 2 months; I was learning Ableton as well as Reaper and many other audio editing tools at work, and when I had to use Pro Tools I felt as if my cognitive and motor skills needed a reboot. I had forgotten most of Pro Tools features! It took me a few minutes to get used to the keyboard shortcuts and workflow all over again. Eventually, however, I managed to tempo-map it and organise the tracks and its playlists.
On the recording day, Pro Tools surprised me with an unprecedented bug: it wouldn't allow me to switch playlists automatically, even though all of the tracks were grouped. Actually, I didn't know it was a bug until Clarky helped us sort it out. At the time it felt like a big problem since we were recording the drummer and we needed to be productive and fast. Maybe I should've prepared myself a little more intensively to account for any inconveniences such as this one, but everything worked out well in the end.
One mistake I've made, however, was that of not assisting Bonny with the notes. I remember that in the last trimester whoever was responsible for note-taking was assigned to work closely with the Pro Tools operator. Honestly, I didn't even think of doing that until later that day. Fortunately, despite that small hiccup, my teammates were actively assisting Bonny throughout the process.
On the technical side, there wasn't anything new to learn. In spite of being quite rusty with Pro Tools, I feel very comfortable with DAW operation. On the artistic side of things, I did learn a lot. For example, although not directly related to operating Pro Tools, I had never thought of bypassing the console by patching the signal into an outboard preamp and compressor and routing it directly into the Pro Tools. I know it seems obvious, but it really didn't occur to me at the time.
I did some research on examples of DAW operation during a recording session, but didn't find anything relevant... except for a work ethic guideline for recording vocals.
Relating to the blog's guidelines, below are a couple of pictures of the recording session, as well as a SoundCloud link to the recording and a convenient Youtube link to the original drum stem. What you'll hear is a dry mix, exactly as it was recorded.