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Dolby Laboratories

Postings and information from Dolby Laboratories and other authorities on sound and cinema. Writers include Andi Fisher and Thom Brekke part of Dolby's social media team with guest posters from time to time.
Feb 16 '12

The GRAMMYs Rehearsal Mixing Process

Given that there is still post-GRAMMY buzz (or is that the hum of you 5.1 speaker system cooling off from all the hot performances?), I thought I would do one more post about the rehearsals Dolby’s Community Manager Thom and I attended last week.  The actual process that takes place is pretty impressive and may not be widely known so I thought I would share a little bit of what we observed.

The music mixing area is outside the Staples Center in two standalone trucks which are owned and operated by Music Mix Mobile. The two trucks have mixing rooms and equipment (which of course utilizes Dolby technology and hardware and software products!) that are set-up as exact replicas of one another.

With this set-up in place the rehearsals go a little something like this:

Each act gets a one-hour rehearsal block to practice their performance on stage with whatever physical set they will use for the show. For example, here is part of Bruno Mars’ set pictured below – did you see it above his head while he performed “Runaway Baby?”

While the singer, band or act is rehearsing their session is being mixed and recorded by one of two multi-award winning music mixers John Harris or Eric Schilling. During that time the mixer is adjusting various levels and balances as well as utilizing tools such as Dolby’s LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter to make sure that the audio levels are consistent between acts.

Once the one-hour rehearsal slot is over, and the next act is being prepped for their turn on stage, the recorded mix is moved from one Music Mix Mobile truck to its sister truck.  At that time the performer and/or his personal mixer can come to the truck and listen to the recording making adjustments that make them feel more comfortable with their performance.

The mixers save the session settings so that they have a reference baseline for the live performance on Sunday evening.  Sometimes performers will sing with more gusto during the live event or quiet down a bit due to stage fright once they see the crowd and Harris and Schilling make the necessary adjustments real-time to ensure the performance sounds amazing wherever you are watching Music’s Biggest Night from!

-Andi

Andi Fisher just might be slightly addicted to social media.  By day she runs Dolby Laboratories social media program, by night she is a travel and food blogger who also happens to love film. When not in a cinema seeing a new release she is watching a movie every night on either her 5.1 or 7.1 home theater system.

2 notes Tags: Grammys Andi Fisher

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