Live Recording Mixing Tips: Mix The Audience Last

I’ve been mixing the web broadcast for a church in Denver called Flatirons. Their video production is the absolute best I’ve seen. I went to Denver to check out what they were doing and ended up mixing for them for a while. It’s been a pleasure and I’m learning a ton. Here’s a tip that I’ve been doing on the Flatirons mixes.

There are 3-5 songs each week plus a teaching segment. All in, it’s
little over an hour of material. I mix each song individually… even though it is a linear file that’s 48 tracks or so.

I import my template (that I’m custom designing for this process) then dial in the first song. I then mix that song (name it 01 SongName-mix)… tweak it, tune it etc. then I move to the next song and name it… you guessed it 02 OtherSongName-mix).

After I’m finished mixing the musical pieces, I send the mixes to the musical director for approval. but then I add a 5th session to it. I call it the “layback”.

Since I print the mix inside each individual song, all of the mixes are right there on a track. I then make all of the tracks “inactive” and hide them from view leaving only the 4 mixes, the audience response mics (house mics) the host mic, and the teaching mic (the pastor). I then do another linear pass adjusting the audience mics accordingly to make you feel like you were there.

I leaned something from a man named Eldridge Fox so many years ago. If you remember the legendary Southern Gospel group the Kingsmen, you will remember it seemed they did as many “live” records than they did studio records.

“I want to hear that little old lady in the back if she laughs or if she cries”

Eldridge Fox

Eldridge told me that the most important part of a live recording was the response of the audience. “I want to hear that little old lady in the back if she laughs or if she cries”. The Kingsmen’s live records were VERY energetic… and not because of the giant personalities on stage, but because Eldridge was so adamant about audience response.

So I do a whole automaton pass JUST to get the audience response up. When the speaker says something funny, I want to hear people laugh.

I believe that live worship recordings is the way of the future. If you are interested in the future, you should learn to master the art of “capturing” a worship service.