Sponsored by

Session Documentation: Choose Your Weapon

Helpful hints from the Technologist on keeping things straight after the session.

By Kyle P. Snyder September 6, 2011

Thumbnail by tjshirey

You’ve just finished a killer tracking session, one that you really want the ability to recreate, so now what?

I’m generally confident in my memory for microphone placements and studio setup, except that plans change and what may have been easy to remember tomorrow suddenly needs to be compartmentalized until everyone is available again next month.

Plus, there’s no remembering compressor or EQ settings, let alone values for gear that has less than descriptive front panels.

So, what’s an engineer to do? Well, the obvious answer is documentation of some form. I’ve engineers over the years who wouldn’t take the time to write down a setting unless contractually bound.

However, I’ve been convinced by many that documentation is not only necessary for when a client comes back next year for an emergency remix, but also that documentation is of intrinsic cultural and historic value after the fact.

After all, you never know what may become of that last-minute project you did last week, and it’s always valuable to be able to look back. All this having been said, what form of documentation you use depends completely on your work-flow and needs. So, let’s take a look at some of the options.

There’s nothing quite so simple as good old pen and paper. When I’m running around a studio or venue just trying to get work done minute to minute, this is more than likely how I’m going to keep track of data.


I’ve created my own take sheets, track sheets, and session logs which I print off and use when I’m in a hurry. However, If I’m working and just trying to keep track of information, there’s no separating me from my Moleskine.

Of course, paper being paper, it is susceptible to damage. The next time I’m working an outdoor venue I really want to try Rite in the Rain All-Weather Paper.

Sometimes, there’s just no time to write. Really, I’ve been there, and it’s a pain. However, if you’re packing a camera while you’re working, you can settle on an equally useful compromise; pictures.

Cameras: via Nikon and Sony

Even though you might not have a detailed diagram of the setup or precise details of settings, snapping a few pictures before you hurriedly move on in a busy setting is often all you need to piece it all back together at a later date.

This is just as useful for capturing the front panels of gear as notating exactly where that tom mic was. Whether you’re rocking a compact point-and-shoot or a trusty Digital SLR, a camera is a fantastic way to keep track of details in the heat of the moment.

Read the rest of this post



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Audio says

If you’re looking for a free FTP client to point your client towards, a good open source option which works across all platforms is FileZille which I highly recommend. It’s worth noting that most hosts offer both FTP and SFTP (secure FTP) as options so you can ensure the security of your clients. Also, while relying on web host provided FTP is one option, some studios may feel far more common hosting their own serve in house or through many of the fine collocation services <a > Music Mastering Services </a> | <a > Audio Mastering Services </a>

Silver says

No matter the size of your operation, whether a single mix room with the occasional client or a full-time commercial operation with countless rooms and clients, it’s an absolutely certainty that at some point you’ll be exchanging files with clients<a > Silver Bullion </a>

Penny Auctions says

If you’ve been working in audio a while then one of the most recognizable names in asset delivery would have to be DigiDelivery. Now owned and serviced by Aspera, DigiDelivery has officially reached an end of life stage as a product and will no longer be supported Penny Auctions | Penny Auction Site

rolex daytona says

Mitch Winehouse and Amy’s mother Janis said they had been comforted by the reaction of fans. “In the most tragic of times it was the most wonderful experience that I think I have ever had in my life,” Mitch Winehouse told Cooper.“When we stepped out of the house at one time, people came up to me and they thanked me for having Amy. That’s when I knew, this is something else. To be thanked for giving birth to my child. That’s wonderful,” Janis Winehouse said.
replica rolex
rolex submariner

sampak101 says

I really like your way of expressing the opinions and sharing the information. It is good to move as chance bring new things in life, paves the way for advancement, etc.

JN0-660 HP2-Z16
70-685 642-642
642-457 HP2-E38
000-106 70-648

johns says

well, this is really a nice post.I really like the way you start and conclude your thoughts. Thank you so much for this information. keep posting such good stuff.70-448 papers  70-450 exam questions  70-513 pdf  70-515 prep  70-516 questions  70-536 pdf  70-573 exam questions  70-640 questions

compareforexmarket says

Webnomics Technologies is a Web Development and outsourcing company providing affordable design and development services.(Forex Trading ) Webnomics technologies has their expertise in Forex Market and travel industry which provide most latest Forex Trading, Forex Broker and updates. Webnomics Technologies also have etravel services for the one Click Trips booking. Webnomics technologies has a software development department to provide Modern Software.Top Forex Deal, Comparison Forex Market

Brad says

Documentation is crucial.  I didn’t realize this fully until I lost a hard drive with a complete album of pristine, complete tracks.
Presonus Audiobox Review

mario Binay says

I truly agree with this “So, what’s an engineer to do? Well, the obvious answer is documentation of some form. I’ve engineers over the years who wouldn’t take the time to write down a setting unless contractually bound.” more development will be coming….

Tenant Background Check

true religion jeans outlet says

As the plane lifted off the runway at the Ontario9 Airport in LA,  I peered over at the small capsule-like window. Blue. All I could see was blue. It had been so long since I flew. I forgot how it felt to be truly “light” in the air. The ground was far away and the sky was the limit.

brad000143 says

Information system degree programs focus on applying computers to business problems. The curriculum includes course work in business, accounting, computer programming, communications, JN0-660 |    1z0-051 |    70-659 |    352-001 |    1Y0-A21 |    646-223 |    70-643 |    70-270 |

wapexp itcollege says

Ford GT Alternator
Funny maternity clothes need not necessarily be expensive, as you may get funny maternity t-shirts for less than $30! There are t-shirts that have inscriptions such as “not in a good mood”, “baby on board”, “I’m pregnant, what’s your excuse?”, ” I’m making a human, what did you do today?”, “Already smarter than Bush”, “I just wanted a back rub” etc. There are funny clothes available for the father of the child too, with funny inscriptions such as “See how my boys swim,” “Man behind the belly”; “My pregnant wife scares me” etc.

Nocturna says

I wonder if people really read in depth of a post like I did. university diploma - university certificate - online foundation degree

Nocturna says

This post just seems unique unlike any other informative one I have read so far. online Master degree - online Bachelor degree

gsdfh says
Sam Raine says

Thanks for the article on ‘Session Documentation: Choose Your Weapon.’ In the article there are information about Analog where the person created his own take sheets, track sheets, and session logs. It seems that the person takes notice of the details. I like the photo of the camera. It looks nice. There are also web links in the article about other stuff which are interesting. I like that there are useful tips from the Technologist. Dvr is one of the best to be used.
Sam - DVR

Amir says

I found it really informational and useful.Thanks a lot foe sharing such an interesting and meaningful article.  ccna security exam dumpsfree ccnp dumpsccsa latest dumpsfree ccvp dumpsdumps certified ethical hackercheckpoint latest dumpscisco brain dumpscissp latest dumps /

jackluunar says

The article is very good, I like it very much.Here I learned a lot, then I will pay more attention to you.
Testking 70-685//Testking F50-531//Testking CA0-001//Testking 1Y0-A05//Testking 642-427//Testking 70-450//Testking 650-367//Testking 000-118//

Tagged with:

Subscribe to Live Sound International

Subscribe to Live Sound International magazine. Stay up-to-date, get the latest pro audio news, products and resources each month with Live Sound.

Latest in Studio