South-western coast of Florida recording services?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by JoeH, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Anyone know of companies in Naples/Ft Myers area that do what we do? (Classical/Jazz/Acoustic recordings). I'm considering renting locally vs. hauling my own stuff down there, still trying to figure out the logicistics for an upcoming project in the Naples, FL area.

    So far, all I can find on Google is the standard A/V company rentals, rock shows, etc. I need something a little more esoteric in terms of pre's, stands and cables. Other than my laptop and mic's, I prefer not to ship or even fly some of this stuff, if I can find what I need there locally. Otherwise, I may just pack up the van and drive it all there myself.
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Suggest contacting Bob Katz at Digido. He is in Florida and he use to be one heck of an acoustic recording engineer for Chesky Records he would probably know people in that area, web site is (Dead Link Removed)
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Good avice, Tom; looks like he's closer to Orlando, though about 2-3 hrs from Naples at the closest....I'm hoping maybe he knows someone nearer to Naples with that kind of gear, but it's a stretch.

    There's no easy way around this; any kind of affordable flight(s) involves two connections - a whole day of air travel in and out. By the time I rent or ship things down there, I might as well just drive. (Which I don't mind doing, anyway....lots of caffeine, CDs, i-tunes and the cell phone, and I'm really just in a mobile office for 20-some hrs! )

    I'm also hearing horror stories from anyone who's flown with gear in the post 9/11 tragedies. Everything has to be opened & available for inspection, so wrapping mic cases & preamps in extra stuff is out; plus the thought of having baggage handlers tossing my rack of pre's around gives me shudders. Plus, I hear it's $100 per extra item to put it on a plane. Fedex and UPS ground are ok, but I'd have to ship VERY early to get the lowest rates. God knows what kind of condition it would arrive in.

    Driving down and back is looking better all the time...sigh....
  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    After checking all my options, it looks like Im driving down; it's 18 hrs from here, so I can do it easily in a day and a half.

    I found a couple of places (in Orlando, 3-4 hrs away), but nothing worth the time & hassle to rent, ship, deliver, etc. Just had my car serviced and tuned up, so along with some itunes, books on CD and the cell phone, my "Rolling office" will be the way to get there and back.

    Details to follow. :cool:
  5. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    The only alternative I could think of would be to take I-95 down, rent equipment on the east coast from somewhere in the Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area then haul it over to Naples.

    I've never rented anything down here so I couldn't really recommend anyone but I'm sure there would be more options on this coast then on the other.
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Thanks, but if I'm going to drive down, I'm going to take my own stuff. I mean, why bother at that point? (Plenty of room in the van, and I'll take the mics & pre's into the motel with me when I sleep the first night...with one eye open, of course! ;-)
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Have you thought about taking the Amtrack Auto Train? It may be a bit of a hassle, but you won't have to drive, you can have your own car and your own gear on the ground and you can sit back, relax and enjoy the overpriced and under-quality rail food for a day or so.

    On a different note - I don't have any horror stories yet from flying with my gear. Granted, the mics go in a locked pelican case (with a TSA approved lock), the cables also in a pelican (I dare the baggage monkeys to throw this 90lb case!) and then my rack-mount stuff goes in a traditional SKB rack case with "Fragile" all over it (and some shock watch sensors available from Uline - Once they see this, they know someone is watching for mishandling and generally pay more attention.)

    Typically, I don't pay too much more to board with the gear - most stuff can be condensed down into 2 or 3 cases beyond my computer (carry-on), dolly and mic-stands (or stand cases). I've actually shipped my mic stands to myself before versus paying the excess baggage fee since they're over the size limit for the smaller extra luggage fee.

    Shipping in an appropriately sized box will set you back about $50 - cheaper than flying with them or renting them.

    I've only ever done this with Southwest Airlines and their fees are $50 for extra baggage under a certain size (which all of mine has fit under that size so far). Also, IIRC, I could check 2 bags - 1 being my luggage, the other being one of my pieces of gear and then I may have to pay for 1 or 2 more pieces - certainly pretty affordable in the grand scheme of things.

    Let us know how this works out for you.
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Jeremy, all good tips, but they too haven't panned out.

    Amtrack doesn't have openings for the dates I need, and the one-way trip they DO have is $247, for ONE-way, 17 hr trip, that includes the train ticket and the car. (You can't have one without the other, btw.) I'd have to drive to the station in VA, wait to load, sit in a coach seat for the 17 hr trip (which means arriving smelling like an old bus depot, sleeping in my shoes...) Then I'd have to wait for the unload process, get my car, etc. and I'd still be in mid-Florida, several hours from Naples.

    It's 18 hrs by car from here, straight shot, and for the same money and less time spent travelling, I'd get a nice bed & shower for the overnight.

    These days, extra cases on most airlines are $100 per case. Southwest is cheap alright, for good reason, starting with no reserved seats; it's a cattle call, and I need more reliable connections with what's riding on this. Due to the posiitioning and location of the choir in the chapel where we'll be, I'm going to need some unique stuff; including my taller three stands, which would cost a ton of cash to ship or even rent down there.....sigh....

    Of course, if we had lots more time to plan it, I could indeed book cheap airfare and ship the gear down there way in advance, etc., but it's not meant to be this time around.

    Don't mean to be prejudicial, but I can't find a better deal than to just suck it up and drive to/from.
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I hear you.

    I just drove down to FL myself last summer. It wound up being the cheapest, most efficient way to get there.

    My general rule of thumb -
    East of the Mississippi, I drive.
    West of the Mississippi, I fly.

    I don't mind the cattle-call seating for Southwest - as long as you check in on your computer early in the morning, you get "A" priority seating every time.

    I guess I take the Auto train for granted since the station is about 30 minutes from my home. The sleeping conditions do suck (unless you book a sleeper car) and the food is horrible. (Bring a cooler...)
  10. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'll remember to wave when I pass your exit in I-95, then, Jeremy. :cool:
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Heck yeah.

    Exit 130!

    If you have a few extra minutes, give me a shout - we'll catch a quick drink.
  12. Probably mentioned, but try renting gear in Miami. Hit Factory, South Beach Studios, Audio One, lots of rental options down there. Fly to FLL/MIA then drive the 2 hours to Naples.

    I can't imagine what gas would cost you driving down from PA in a van!

    Mike Chafee is a high end/pro rep in Sarasota that might know of other options:

  13. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Thanks Leonard (and everyone) for the tips. The gig has come and gone, and all went extremely well.

    I left Delaware at 11 a.m. drove a marathon 14 hrs the first day (all the way into Deltona - not to be confused with Daytona), and then finished the last leg the morning of the second day. Got to my hotel in Naples at mid afternoon, changed and drove to the venue (Ave Maria University, Naples, FL).

    Loadin/Setup was at 4:30, (the church had an ELEVATOR to get up to the choir loft; how nice is that?!?!?), orchestra warmups at 6, choir arrived at 6:30, and we were up and doing takes by 7 p.m. The first day ended at 10:30 p.m. (we even had a dinner break; how civilized!)

    Second day was even nicer (after a half day's rest and some solid sleep). Crew & orch. call was at 5, rolling/recording again by 6. We finished just a shade after 10:30 again, and had it all wrapped up. The conductor was fantastic (it was his baby all the way). He did everything in sections, with several run-throughs to fix problem spots and get the musicians acclimated, and then a few takes oF each work till we had what we needed.

    It was great having everything with me; I brought more gear than I needed (of course) but that's how it goes in this biz. I was fortunate with this gig in that I priced it all out ahead of time (including gas/travel expenses), so there were no surprises. The put me up in a local hotel as well. I brought a lot of my own food, slept in my car on the overnight home, saving a night's hotel fees, so most of my travel expenses were for gas and some food. Gas was about $3.75 per gallon at the time (gee, a bargain by today's standards now!) so each fillup was about $50 or so for my Toyota van.

    The conductor was up here in town last week, and we sat down together and edited the final takes, so the finished CD is almost complete. it's going to be promotional for the school's admissions program as well as a local commercial release (concert sales, fundraising, etc.)

    All in all, a wonderful gig, albiet a bit too hectic and crispy, travel wise. Had I had a few more days, I would have stayed the weekend and enjoyed the area and the gulf. 8)

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