What is a producer?

Many people are not even aware of this role, but if you check any of your favorite recordings, chances are that a producer was involved. And they played an important part in the success of the venture.

 

The producer:

  • is the person who thinks of all the little things that can make or break a recording

  • is always listening  to the artists’ ideas; the music; and the technical concerns of the engineers

  • relies on their experience of the recording process, knows a ton of music & collaborates with everyone in the room

  • is the only person who accompanies all stages of work – from idea to album – on a recording

Project planning

In this phase, the artists and the producer meet, video conference and/or email to discuss the project timeline, budget, and specific needs. If key members of the process (musicians, editors, recording, mixing or mastering engineers) are not yet in place, a team is formed for the project.

Before the recording

Now, the producer studies the score (if one exists); recordings by the artists; and any reference recordings that help everyone get an image of the work they are striving for. The producer will make an editing map & a recording schedule, considering how best to use the precious and limited studio time to the greatest advantage.

During the recording

This is the critical (and likely best known) phase for the producer. Here, in the role of session producer, I must be the ears of the group. I am constantly listening and considering musical and technical aspects of the performance to ensure that we have complete and excellent material that will be able to be assembled in post-production.

After the recording 1: editing

Even if this work is undertaken by an engineer or editor, the producer will have taken careful notes during the session and marked the essential tracks that will be used to create the best version of each final track on the album. The producer may be on call through this process, to answer questions or consult with the editing engineer about any issues that may arise.

After the recording 2: mixing

This work is often the domain of the mixing engineer: the overall sound of each instrument, the track as a whole, the ambience of the recording, as well as basic technical criteria will be met, so that the artist can hear complete versions of the recorded tracks. The producer is often the first line of audition for mixes, helping an engineer, who may not have communicated directly with the artists, to stay on target with the sound.

Last but not least: mastering

After the final mix is prepared and the artists have signed off on the project, the complete recording must be brought into conformity with technical standards so that it can be reproduced (as an LP or CD); radio-ready or set up for optimal streaming. Again the producer is invaluable here, as the bridge between the artist's idea and the technical wizardry of the mastering engineer.

 

Pricing

Every project is different, and each has unique time & budgetary constraints. Obviously, this process yields the best results when the same person is in the producer role across all these phases. But sometimes, bringing in an experienced set of ears for a session or a second-opinion during mixing or mastering can make all the difference.

 

For this reason I don’t offer preset packages. Sometimes I am contracted for a session with orchestra; other times I accompany the whole process. Talk to me – let’s set up a short phone call or video conference. Once I understand exactly what you need, and how much time I will need to commit to making a great recording with you, I will give you a quote.  

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© 2012–2020 by FREDRICK GIFFORD