Getting it done!

September 6, 2020 — 74 Comments

After creating a homemade vocal booth, it was now time to get to work and make a plan of action. George and I sat down and thought about what repertoire we would like to include. We wanted the songs to be a mix of pieces we performed in the Balcony Concerts as well as a couple of new songs to keep your listening ears entertained and refreshed. We asked neighbours and friends for their favourites and re-visited the videos, which have now become fond memories until we collected a posy of songs.

Under ordinary circumstances, we would visit a recording studio and perform the pieces in the same room and capture the result. However, this time I was surrounded by walls of hot pink, satin throws and connected to George’s piano playing through a pair of headphones. At times our combined sound felt a little contrived as we were unable to see each other. Our thoughts were slightly delayed and we found that we were both trying to follow each other rather than share who is leading the dance of the music. I hadn’t quite considered how integral the peripheral vision that I use on stage and in rehearsal is for telling a story with natural quirks and emotions. So, to connect with George in a spontaneous manner we decided to use Facetime! We were able to do this, as we both use iPads for score reading. I personally use an app called ‘forScore’, as it is really easy to use and has a lot of score editing features. (And as someone who adores an organised bookshelf, it removes the need to have endless photocopies of music filling draws and cupboards in our home – haha). I would dial George’s number and once our call was connected, we would both mute ourselves and do the necessary finger swipes across the glass so that we could see the music and a little video of the other person in the corner. The result was marvelous. We could see each other breathing, gestures of intent to begin phrases or change the pace of the music, facial expressions that captured the emotions of the text, and much more. It was also comforting to see George on the screen, and know that he was there to support me as I took musical risks inspired by my instinctual whimsy.

The advantage of using the Presonus 44VSL when recording (see last week’s post), is that it comes with a virtual mixer. This software allows me to add temporary reverb to my voice that I would hear immediately in my headphones whilst recording.  This means that I can sing with the freedom and the instincts that I would have in a larger space, such as a concert hall. When performing in these circumstances, your singing and how you produce the sound is directly influenced by how much sound you hear back, due to it bouncing from the walls. This gives you an idea of how the sound is perceived in the space around you by your listeners. Without this added reverb during the recording process, the blankets would soak up all my sound and to my ear, the voice would feel like it was lacking resonance and the spinning quality that leads to good projection. As a result, my mind would primarily focus on how to make them sound more resonant rather than being in the moment and able to sing driven by instincts and imagination. Therefore, this virtual mixer was a happy perk provided by the Audio-box, and it improved my experience during the recording process.

Next week I will discuss how we edited and reviewed the tracks that we recorded. I would love to hear how you have used Facetime and Video calling at the moment, whether it is for its intended purpose of staying in touch with your loved ones or for an activity that you would usually do in person.

74 responses to Getting it done!

  1. 

    I love how again, you have highlighted the little personal details that go towards lifting a performance. And, like last week, once you’ve flagged it as an issue it seems so obvious! Your solution was great!!

  2. 

    Oh, you and George are certainly making good use of the time of the virus. And you’ll have such wonderful reminders of the time. Reminders that can be played at your wedding next year.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:26 pm

      We are trying hard Don, but I’ve just had my facebook account hacked and I’ve been locked out so that’s been quite stressful because the person now in control of my account is posting daft videos. If my third time lucky wedding is still during lockdown I think I’ll get married and have a party later.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Good idea. Hackers!!!! Yesterday the credit card co reimbursed us when a hacker used the card to purchase an Iphone plus $500 and sent to Hong Kong. Later in the day the bank stopped a hacker from stealing $10,000 from us.

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 8:54 pm

        Oh my! and I thought having my identity stolen and some one posting stupid videos was bad, that’s very serious when they’re taking your money. I’m glad they were able to stop this at least they were helpful.
        Best wishes Don,
        Charlotte

  3. 

    Wow, superb !!! Very interesting what you share. And very visual! Strongly that we can move freely. You made me want to do a series of Harmonic portraits of You and George working to capture your gestures and expression of “artistic communication”! In my film, I also used reverberation on the sound to have an effect of depth which reinforces the energy of the images. Depth of sound and images are 2 very important tools in video to capture the attention of viewers. On stage also elsewhere. If you have little space behind You, a “trompe l’oeil” with a distant horizon gives you “space” as well as to the public.

    Well done to both of you for your professionalism and creativity! Best thoughts !!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:26 pm

      I’d love to do some Harmonic portraits. You know I’m always fascinated with your work. I should send you a video I’ve done on green screen and let you have a play.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. 

    Great job, dear Charlotte! I have no idea about these Application, but I’m certain that technologies are very helpful for artists, especially in your music field. Good luck! May the result be better than you expect! 🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:26 pm

      I’m having to learn quickly Maria, technology is scary someone has hacked my business facebook account and locked me out of my linked personal page it’s quite surreal, it is so difficult to try to sort it out facebook don’t take calls or e-mails.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Dear Charlotte, I’m very sorry to hear that about Facebook, however, as for me I mistrust any social media. Your own site is the only secure place as well as the Wordpess. Facebook has stolen my business data & has blocked my business account some months ago. They are thieves. So, be careful with these dangerous web-places. Better to have less but honest traffic than to be hacked or blocked any moment.

        Best wishes,
        Maria 🙂

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 8:52 pm

        Facebook just keep sending me back to their help centre but I can’t go back to their help centre because my page is locked out by them. These sites are supposed to be password protected and safe and someone can just throw you out and take over your identify and facebook wont help. I don’t have a business account on it fortunately it just sends people to my shop. It is very concerning.
        Best wishes
        Charlotte

  5. 

    That is a fantastic photo of you. The virtual studio provides so many options. That is really great you have been able to make successful recording spaces in your flat.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you, Timothy, George took it. We’re trying to keep busy.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        George did a great job on that photo.

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 9:11 pm

        He’s practicing with his iPhone portrait setting, I didn’t help wearing a shapeless cardigan 😂.

      • 

        But your expression is so good. I tried to use the portrait setting on my cats. My iPhone doesn’t recognize my cats as people, so I can’t blur or change the background. I get a message that says “No person detected.” How annoying is that?

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 9:43 pm

        Very!

  6. 

    We use FaceTime to stay up to date with Daughter’s happenings and the antics of the new grand dog.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 6, 2020 at 8:40 pm

      Saw your new book Eternal Road trailer John what a great idea doing a trailer like that, I love the book cover and the typography you chose. Do you have in your mind a target reader? Hitchhiking terrifies me anyway. I’m reading your Contract I love it but I’ve just not had time to finish it, that’s why I like audio books so I can listen on transport (reading whilst moving makes me feel sick for some reason).
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Yes the audios are the best. It does take a lot of money to produce. My target reader for Eternal Road is anyone who wants to enter a make believe world and somehow hope it is real. You know the good over evil stuff that makes us all feel good. This story is for those who like romance, adventure, fantasy, time travel, a little eros, some tears, laughter, and to be inspired.

  7. 

    I wish I could be even half as productive as you two!! Take a bow!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you I appreciate your applause I miss performing.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        I know you must. It has been what you’ve worked for all these years. BTW, how is your family? I hope they are remaining safe. I hear parts of England are back in lock-down.

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 9:06 pm

        My brothers both work from home now fortunately, and my parents haven’t missed a day in the office though out lockdown they provide a key service. I am very lucky that I don’t know anyone that has suffered with the virus personally, however, my grandparents have been very reclusive and I worry about them all especially my grandpa in Kent. I live a walk away from my elder brother so thats good we can meet still as a social bubble and he feeds us once per week lol. I had two operas to prepare for winter and they’ve just both had to be cancelled sadly.
        My business facebook page has been hacked, I’ve been kicked out and someone has stolen my identity and is sharing stupid click bait videos all day long today. I can’t share my videos and facebook aren’t helping at all this week plus a bed I ordered a while ago and was told would be delivered today is suddenly out of stock and can’t be delivered until 9th November – the problem is we got rid of our old bed already to make room for the new one!
        I’m trying to keep a stiff upper lip but to be honest it’s not easy.
        Anyway enough of my rubbish day, you keep well and safe.
        All my best wishes
        Charlotte

      • 

        I enjoyed hearing all your “rubbish”, stop by any time if you need to talk (you can’t count on FB). Remember, I watched you grow up,

  8. 

    Sounds very complicated to me, I can’t wait for the end result.
    Good luck. Love the photo too Charlottexx

    • 

      George took the photo we were practicing poses and sunlight in the park yesterday glad you liked it. With hindsight I should have taken the cardi off so it wasn’t so boxy looking.
      All my best wishes to you both xx
      Charlotte

  9. 

    Technology is wonderful thing. I don’t use any Apple products at all I’m a pc and android man e ever since Windows 95!.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      I like Apple I started with a Mac at school so I guess it’s what you get used to George prefers a pc. It’s hard to keep up with all the changes though.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Mow look at this in terms of another step forward. And actually it is important to see that other person when you sing. Amazing.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      Normally when I sing in the curve of a grand piano I don’t look at my pianist all the time but I’m aware of them and their breathing and movement out of the corner of my eye. George can take their cues from my body language. You sometimes feel the vibration from the piano strings and through the floor.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        I know. It’s a very difficult one. Let’s face it, no matter how often you rehearse and have a thing perfect, things creep in when you perform, and you really need to see the other person –for the entire emotional impetus too–so well done.

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather September 12, 2020 at 10:52 am

        Sometimes I feel a little slip can add a different dimension to a live performance it makes it individual for that audience on that day uniquely. The search for 100% perfection in everything puts performers under so much mental anguish I know people that have given up because they couldn’t achieve it, when ‘it’ is impossible.
        Enjoy your weekend Shehanne x.
        All my best wishes
        Charlotte

      • 

        You too. I’ve done a bit of theatre and I think a little slip can add to an audience’s enjoyment. They are watching to see how you pull off getting out of it. SO you HAVE to be able to see things.

  11. 

    I used Facebook chat video during lock-down for family quiz nights and zoom for lots of Wildlife Trusts webinars. For me Covid has been quite a positive experience. If I hadn’t a partner who had a full-time job and income then the quarantine would have been a very different experience for me. I look forward to listening to your recordings xx

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      That sounds interesting I love that people can continue their hobbies online. I’m happy you had a bit of security Christine during lockdown.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. 

    Thank you for sharing your experience with readers, Charlotte and George! This is wonderful, and I look forward to hearing the finished product!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 10:15 pm

      We can’t wait to share it with everyone. I will let you know once it is all finished.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. 

    Pretty clever use of Facetime. So much of music is communication, so it makes a lot of sense. This might seem odd, but since I do most of my recording with just me, a keyboard (or two or three) and a computer, I watch the waveform of previously recorded tracks to help guide my performance instead of relying on my ear….

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      No that doesn’t seem odd at all. I’m a very visual learner. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  14. 

    I’m happy that you found a way to record successfully. As for Facetime, I’ve seen my family use it quite often.

  15. 

    I can completely understand that you would wish to see each other while you are performing and recording and that the sound of your voice in your headphones must sound as it does when you sing in a concert hall. How clever all these bits of technology are to be able to reproduce just the right sound and atmosphere! And how innovative you and George are too!
    I use Zoom etc as infrequently as possible because I really dislike them! I can see their uses and when my daughter gets desperate to see us I go along with it, but so unwillingly! We have also used Zoom for church meetings and friends have tried to get me to use Whatsapp or Facetime. I always thought using a phone was bad enough but video chatting is so much worse for me!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 7, 2020 at 8:34 am

      My Mum and Nana can’t stand Zoom either Clare, we used to get the whole family together on Friday evening but the faces keep zooming in and out when someone wanted to add to the conversation and the whole delay and impersonal feel to it they just didn’t like it, now we chat singularly on Facetime and Mum won’t use WhatsApp either don’t know why I must ask her.
      We just feel we can’t sit around just waiting for the World to get back to normal some people are saying this could take a couple of years to resolve I hope they aren’t right.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. 

    One of the wonderful things about your balcony concerts was the connection between you and George and I can imagine that this is crucial to making a good recording, so well done for re-establishing this.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm

      Quite often I was singing brand new songs on the balcony which can be a bit nerve-wracking but having George reassuringly smiling up at me was quite nice, we don’t normally perform so closely together.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. 

    Super idea, the Facetime and the app for scores! I unloaded a boxes of music when I downsized 8 years ago. Gee whiz… you have the blessings of technology at hand and how inspiring that you share. Many of us thank you. Looking forward to the finished product.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm

      Being able to download music is so good now, I have two ikea bookcases just full of Georges and my scores we buy second-hand ones when we can.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  18. 

    How wonderfully clever! George’s shot in the park is great, too. I “attend” three writers’ workshops via Zoom (don’t like it, much, but better than no workshop). And I have a couple of quasi-religious groups, also via Zoom. Still working on my non-fiction book on brain structure, and sending out beta copies of the latest novel. I hope we get back to normal, but I have my doubts. Be well.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm

      I like Zoom workshops too I attended several, I especially enjoyed my German group and it improved my listening skills. Good luck with your new book. How long do you think it will take before things start getting back to normal, some people are thinking Spring 2021 others are saying another full year.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        It’s difficult to say. It depends on what new troubles get thrown at us. But with luck and providential assistance, we’ll be “out of the trenches by Christmas.”

  19. 

    Wonderful post to show how powerful it is to work as a team ~ and you are an inspiration with how to keep creating something beautiful in the heart of 2020 🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      I miss teamwork and ensemble operas the most of all, I miss seeing and hugging my friends, I miss my grandparents I visited them at distance with a mask on to protect them a few weeks ago its so counter-intuitive. Anyway glad to see you back blogging Randall please continue I love your posts.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Agree with you, Charlotte, the simple joys of being active with a team, or with family & friends is such an important piece of life, and not having these moments leaves an emptiness. Maybe a good exercise for us in the short term, but hopefully we can get back to a somewhat normal situation. So nice to see you doing so well ~ take care!

  20. 

    I’m completely fascinated by you two and your talent and innovations that allow you to continue to share these lovely gifts with the world! You’re amazing. Be well and safe. ❤️😊

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      I just wish I had your gift with words Holly. Writing structure has always been a difficulty for me with my dyslexia and I mainly started the blog to improve my writing, what a joy it must be to be able to express yourself as you do so well. You inspire me and I learn a lot from reading you.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  21. 

    Great use of technology to cope with COVID.

  22. 

    A wonderful idea for being able to see each other while recording!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather September 11, 2020 at 10:13 pm

      Thank you Lavinia, I have only just seen your comments as they were passed through to spam. But all good now 🙂 Yes it was such a huge help to be able to see each other while recording.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  23. 

    Technology made our life so easier. That is a good share of you💙.

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