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Bach to the future
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  • That's wonderful. I'd have loved to see more of the pipework (esp at the beginning) but a lovely sound - just right! I like the split screen, which seems right for music with so many layers.

  • Thanks guys--@Mark, I will include some of the pipework next time round, good suggestion. I avoided it because ppl use it to cover up mistakes (they edit the audio while showing the scenery). But I could show the keyboard and the pipes in a split screen.

  • Very nice indeed. Agree with seeing more pipework but in IMHO, and it's all subjective of course, less split screen is better than more…used sparingly for emphasis. Don't edit the audio at all but just add more variety to the visuals. I don't know pipe organs and was curious to see the top keyboard playing as he played the bottom or the foot pedals…and why's that? More shots of the church? You've got ten minutes. Great stuff

  • @davhar the organ keyboards are coupled not only to sets of pipes but to each other. So you can have reeds on the top keyboard, and flutes on the middle, and when you want both you don't need to pull out all the stops, just couple the keyboards, and when you play one, you get all the sounds attached to the other. On this organ, it is all mechanical--no electronic gizmos. When you see the keys move by themselves, they are coupled to the keyboard at the bottom which is operated with the feet. It requires an extraordinary level of ability to do this. Split screen: I used synced cams to build up a 4K image.

  • @DrDave There was a series done a while ago (can't remember the organist) but with lots of weird camera angles - almost comic-book style. While it was often very strange there were some great shots of the internal workings (trackers etc). You might not want to go that far! But the architecture of the organ could give rise to some great visual parallels to the different layers going on in the fugue, in particular, which I know you've done to some extent, but with more camera angles. It's something I've been meaning to try myself in a music video. Anything with counterpoint (like this) lends itself very well to this idea - visually parallelling the structure in the music as it develops. The split screen could be nice with a bit of black in between the different images - again, almost like a negative version of what you get in comic books, where they have white space between the images.

    Listened again - lovely sound (I know I said that before!) but it's rare in organ recordings to get a perspective which has a nice balance of direct and reverb so you hear the detail but can enjoy the glorious way the instrument interacts with the building.

  • Ooh - plus - I know it's a cheat, but it would be nice to have the shots from behind without the mic stand there - it would be quick to do afterwards and wouldn't need to be particularly in sync. As a sound guy it took me a long time to accept that mic stands draw your attention to the technical process. I know I'm sounding picky - I love that you have done this, and thank you for posting it.

    Incidentally seeing as the stands are there - is that a crossed pair and two spaced omnis?

  • Well, we actually shot some footage without the stands but then we wanted the one clip where he pulls the stops out, you can actually see that from the back. Most people who play this piece have an extra person to do this so it sort of adds to the virtuosic element. The mics are in a surround sound pattern that I designed. There are two cardioids in a modified NOS and and a subbcardioid (MKH 80) in the middle of the NOS, and two omnis on the sides, so you have one mic for each of the five channels. All the mics go below 20Hz so we were able to get the bass pipes--but also the traffic rumble. I was listening to it yesterday with the Denon subwoofer and it is cool to feel the bass solo coming through the floor. Trying to figure a way to stream the surround mix. So rather than mixing the surround, each mic is attached to a speaker. A little math and some trial and error gets a spot that works for both stereo and surround. You can also use a bass split, where the omnis are responsible for the bass, just like a speaker crossover, but the bass was focused enough so I didn't go that way. If it is balanced, it is a really clean sound to have one mic per speaker. Then the listener can adjust the volume to the room any way they want without a remix. I rarely use XY for classical, the ORTF, AB and NOS just seem to blend better with spot mics, and it isn't always practical to use surrounds in an AB, unless you want to use a branching Decca tree or a Faulkner array.

  • Fab - yes that all makes sense. The sense of spaciousness works well for the organ. I've experimented with Decca trees and the spaced techniques sound wonderful in the right environment. The use of spaced mics is interesting for me because I came from the BBC in the days when mono compatibility was a big issue, and because spaced arrays can do weird things in mono, they tended not to be used so much. So at that time they did a lot of coincident pairs (with fig8s, which is the correct "purist" way of doing coincident pairs because the indirect reverb arrives partly in the out-of-phase region of the pickup pattern) and being coincident they don't give you unpleasant phase cancellations in mono. In stereo you do get an amazing sense of accurate placement of sound but despite this there's often something really clinical and unsatisfying about the sound of xy pairs - whereas spaced mics work so well for organs and other "big" sound sources and give a much better sense of the room acoustic.

    Your technique of routing mics to speakers is an interesting one! Must play with that idea when I get time. Thanks!

    Mic technique is endlessly fascinating...

  • PS This is interesting (but obviously just about Pairs, not spaced arrays) as a visualisation of stereo imagery: