Musician wants to edit his own performance

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by LE Lapine, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. LE Lapine

    LE Lapine Active Member

    I searched and didn't find any post on this topic, so I hope I'm not duplicating someone else's inquiry.

    I record a couple of local classical chamber music series for radio broadcast. For an upcoming gig, the solo classical pianist has asked me to turn over my files from his rehearsal and performance, so he can edit them himself.

    I've been doing classical field recording for radio off and on since 1978, and I've never had anyone ask for this before. (Maybe I've lived a sheltered life.)

    I'm reluctant to agree, for a couple of reasons. One is that I', always on a tight deadline because one of the stations I work for schedules broadcasts close to the concert dates, and many times I already have to rush my editing. I don't want to have to wait for someone else, whose fee doesn't depend on getting the job done!

    The other reason is that I have no clue what this guy's editing work sounds like. (He's a really fine pianist though.) I wouldn't want my name attached to something that wasn't up to my own standards. But I also don't want to offend him by asking for samples.

    What say y'all about this? Any suggestions or advice?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    This smacks of insecurity on the part of the pianist.

    Assuming the broadcast is supposed to be a recording of a concert with audience, what would he hope to achieve by having the rehearsal files (no audience) and presumably wanting to splice bits from that into the live perfomance recording? The acoustics of a concert hall are very different with and without the audience, and chopping from one to the other would be immediately obvious.

    I would give him the files to cut up but arrange with the radio station to make sure it's your edited version that's broadcast.
     
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Tell him he's welcome to come to your place and tell you what he would like to edit.
    And charge him for it. The fact that he's not happy with his performance is absolutely no reflection on the job that you did, that you were hired to do. You fulfilled your end. It's not your fault that he plaed a performance that he feels he now needs to edit.
    Never let a project leave your hands, until the project has been paid for in full, or unless you were hired to do the recording only on the premise that they would be getting the files to mix themselves.
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    who hired you in the first place? you're obligation is to them, not the musician.
     
  5. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    This is exactly what I do with classical pianists. They come to me, and I edit it. Some may well be very good at it, but they were engaged to play, you were engaged to edit. I actually like their input, but on my terms and my territory, so when you do the fixes, they can make that decision between perfection and practicality. Turning over the files is too much of a risk unless the client wishes it, which then absolves you from blame.
     
  6. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

  7. LE Lapine

    LE Lapine Active Member

    > Assuming the broadcast is supposed to be a recording of a concert with audience, what would he hope to achieve by having the rehearsal files (no audience) and
    > presumably wanting to splice bits from that into the live performance recording? The acoustics of a concert hall are very different with and without the audience,
    > and chopping from one to the other would be immediately obvious.

    Actually, I edit this way often. So do most of my colleagues around here. I can't imagine that we're alone in this.

    Yes the hall sound does change with an audience in it, but when you're usually intercutting something like one or two beats, maybe a measure, not many people will hear it. But they WILL hear a missed entrance or a flubbed note.

    > who hired you in the first place?

    The organization presenting the concert. The person I work with there seems to think that letting the pianist do the editing is a great idea, probably because he'll do it for free and they won't have to pay me for my editing time. So I'm looking for ammo to make a case against it.

    > This is exactly what I do with classical pianists. They come to me, and I edit it.

    That's what I normally do too. I've never had anyone ask to edit his own performance before. But as I said, maybe I lead a sheltered life.

    This might help my argument: I just remembered hearing a CD by a fairly well known fortepiano specialist several years ago. There were some rough edits in one movement, so I contacted him to ask if he knew about the problems. It turned out that the edits were his own work. Oops.
     
  8. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Personally, I'd just advise him / them thats' not how I work and it is not something I am comfortable with doing...especially if your putting your time into doing it and your putting your name to it.

    But then again, with me its either all or nothing. ;)
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  9. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The last time I acceded to an odd request from a headstrong pianist it was a disaster. In my case he had me completely reconfigure a conventional mains/monitors PA setup at the last minute to a mains-behind-performer setup with no wedges. His requests to hear himself through speakers pointed into the pickup pattern of his mic screwed the audience mix and led to feedback. Of course the people who hired me blamed me. If I had insisted on doing my way, the normal way, it would have all worked out a lot better.
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Of course. I don't mind if you do your own editing…. and naturally you won't mind if I add my own piano parts on top of yours, right??

    Yeah, I'm with the other guys… your turf, your terms, but no way I'd just hand over the tracks and give him free rein.
     
    Lophophora and Sean G like this.
  11. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Thats' gold Dave...congratulations you win the internet for today :D
     
  12. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The thing really is team work, start to finish. We often don't trust the other people in the chain to do it right, and they of course don't trust us.

    The guy I work with regularly now almost trusts me to alter things - nibbling out small gaps, or perhaps making an odd fff note more ff, etc. I was really pleased when my colleague started recording his piano as MIDI on Cubase with a piano sampler he liked (Pianoteq). We both have Cubase, we both have Pianoteq, and he simply sends me cubase files, and we BOTH work on them. He's not really into technology, but I can add in or tweak his ralls and other playing features to make them work - I can work with sections, and I now tell him just to play - I'll remove the key catches, and fix the odd wrong note, and he isn't now embarrassed by them. We used to record his Yamaha C3 grand, and he'd have to play entire sections over and over again. Now we don't do it. A proper collaboration, and neither of us feel awkward. I can now, with him in my studio, suggest little things, and stumble them through on my piano and if he likes them, he then plays them properly. I feel confident pointing out potential bum notes, and he doesn't upset when I find them. Our output has increased and income gone up. MIDI has also opened up loads of extra possibilities too - which has got him quite excited. Turning a piano pice into an orchestral version is so much easier. It was a culture shock for him, but now it's really working.
     
  13. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm sure audio people like us are in majority good and concillient individuals. We have to deal with all kind of demands and our nature is to help so we always want to please others. But at some point, we need to set the limits and learn to say no.

    I had a band live who's signer complained a lot of not hearing himself. I did push his wedges to the limit of feedback and he was satisfied at the end of the sound tests.
    Just before the show (2mins) he asked me to add reverb since he had forgotten to ask before. Guess what, I said ''No. I'm sorry we should have done this before. Doing it now is too much of a risk'' The show went very well that night ! :)
     
  14. LE Lapine

    LE Lapine Active Member

    Lots to think about here. Thanks, all.
     

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