Friday, April 12, 2013

There was a day when we would have called this a vanity mix...

photo by Rebecca Wilson
Back in the days when I worked in the music industry, there was a type of session we called a vanity mix.  It was something that you did for a client with more money than talent.  Often, a "musician" (who thought they were much better than they actually were) would come into the studio to work on a song.  After a few attempts it would become clear that you were never going to get a clean performance all the way through the song.  At that point, it was the engineer/producer's job to suck enough pieces and parts out of the client that you could piece together a reasonable performance.  A skilled engineer could often edit together a recording that sounded reasonable, but was completely unrepresentative of what the musician was actually capable of producing live.  On one level, these sessions were often painful, difficult and time consuming.  On the other hand, it put more of the artistry into the hands of the engineer, which was often somewhat exciting.  Who doesn't love a good challenge?

Now days, the tools available to the engineer for constructing a performance are incredible.  Very often a recording ends up being a collaboration between the performing artist and the post production engineer.  The videos below celebrate this by creating compelling performances out of mashed up video snippets.  There is no attempt to make it look like a real performance, instead the choppy edits feature the fact that the editing is the performance.  It highlights the artistry of audio/video engineering... oh, and some cute kids too.

I hope you enjoy these two videos of constructed performances: Drums and Oona Rocks.  In many ways this is much like the Human Piano we posted about earlier.