Puidoux, Switzerland (April 28, 2020)—Merging Technologies customer Daniel Davidsen and the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra recently collaborated to capture more than 100 musicians and singers on video leading hundreds of thousands of Danish citizens in wishing Queen Margarethe a happy eightieth birthday.
Initially, the orchestra created a MIDI file with click tracks and a tuning tone to give an earphone feed to each musician. Each day, new files would come in from the musicians playing at home and these new tracks would be added to the master listening file. Not content with just singing the traditional Danish Happy Birthday song, the ensemble also added three other pieces to the program.
Davidsen takes up the story: “However, it soon emerged that click tracks were unable to replace a conductor, and both rhythmic and dynamic adjustments were used as tools to obtain a more natural orchestral sound. Each musician produced three full takes that I often edited together.”
Davidsen has been a Merging customer since his time at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 2015. In his home studio, he has a Hapi and a RoadRack 3U with a MassCore system and Pyramix 11. The loudspeakers are B&W 803 D3.
The soloist Thomas Buttenschön and some of the singers were recorded with the Hapi and a laptop with Pyramix Native. All other musicians and singers performed alone in their home. The singers were also in their home, together with family members. In Denmark during the Covid-19 pandemic, the population tried to maintain social distancing with a maximum group size of 10.
“It also emerged that listening to a tuning tone was unable to replace the need to listen to each other and it was often necessary to change pitches,” Davidsen continues. “After completing the orchestra part, the singers delivered their files; only a few of the singers were professional. As the editing was completed, I imported the video in Pyramix and balanced the sound to fit what happened in the video. I also worked to produce a stereo image and to simulate the reverb of a concert hall and to try to compensate for the rather variable audio quality from the use of cellphones.”
Overall, the production proved to be complex and very time consuming, with the team working flat out from April 2nd to the morning of April 16th, the actual birthday. The final mix was completed at 7 a.m., the video was completed at 10 a.m. and the production was aired at midday.
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