SBSF 2020 - Writing/Recording/Videoizing




We want to make a 10-15 song album and a couple of TAP-like shows online. Every song will have an accompanying video, featuring all of the participating instrumentalists as they are recording their actual parts. The “Video Album” will be premiered (YouTube Live etc..) the same nights as the TAP shows would be (we can still refer to the streaming events as TAP shows, for the sake of familiarity).


The audio recorded for the shows (most likely remixed and/or tweaked) will be also used for Steel Bridge Songs Vol.16. To give performances more of a live feel, we'll record audio and video together in top-to-bottom, full take passes. (If you’re going for more of a conceptual representation of your song, please take personal responsibility for editing etc. to spare the engineers.)





Will happen Via Zoom, Sunday May 10th for the trial run; follow-up (main spin) Wednesday May 20th. Each spin group will be assigned a Main engineer (Barrett, Bruce, Teve, Dan-o, Wobbles) that will guide the workflow, helping to determine the order for recording/filming the various parts, oversee the transfer of files, and mix the final session.


All writers should consider yourselves co-producers and assistant engineers in the process, and choose the most technically inclined in your group to coordinate with the Main engineer.


Side-writes (non-bottle-spins) are good too. CZ registered writers only, as usual.





In case you’re wondering: yes, we are writing “bridge songs.” The shows will be billed as “A Celebration of Steel Bridge” which means there’ll be tributes: classic Steel Bridge songs and other blasts from the past. Hopefully not too sentimental or nostalgic – more like “in case you missed this” or some new perspective on the past. The spin groups can celebrate the history and spirit of the event by finding ways to write bridge songs in the context of what’s happening now. Finding bridges, building bridges, discovering new forms of comic release that are not complete departures from the theme. A departure feels like an abandonment or an easy way out, and we’re cleverer than that. :) 


At any point in the process, you can send the song (mp3) or idea to pat (with lyrics please) for input or approval. Please don't record your final audio/video performance take before the song is declared finished (by you-know-who).


For the spin groups, please don't write what can't be performed (think TAP). Exceptions will be accepted if they’re fucking brilliant. Feel free to snag other musicians to fill in as needed, while trying to keep it minimal.




You’ll have plenty of time to record, so please take advantage of it. Set up separate tracks and mics (or inputs) to get the best possible sound and separation. Use your best gear (or your worst, if it sounds better). Sound is an important part of music ;)  


Practice like it matters, then perform the song in one pass if you can.


When the tracks you’ll be performing to are downloaded into your system, record within your comfort zone. Just make sure you send back your tracks with the same starting point as the downloaded tracks. If you've recorded two takes in a row without stopping, edit the “keeper” take to start exactly where the original track starts. Don’t send multiple takes. Comp or commit to the best performance (usually the one with the best feel – not all mistakes are blemishes).


Please don’t go crazy with camera angles – try to pick the best one so we don’t overwork our editors – and go easy with effects and processing. We can always add more (but never less).


Please upload all audio and video as soon as it's finished, before starting on your next song, and NO LATER THAN MAY 31st. 




If you’re going to layer the main vocal, guitar, or whatever, please mix the layers how you want them and send one stereo mix per instrument as a WAV file (24bit/48k if possible). Please don’t mix different instruments together on one track.


Most long-distance recordings will require use of click tracks (at least for intros and breaks). Your Main Engineer will help with setup if you get stuck. Every song should start with a 4-bar click count-off. Some programs can automatically add a 4-count intro that is not recorded (pre-roll), but it can also be turned off. Whichever way works for you is fine, as long as you turn it in with a 4-bar intro.


To sync video, we’ll need each recorded performance to have some kind of stick click or finger snap on the 2nd bar. (If the song is in 4/4 it would be: 1-2-3-4-snap-snap-fart-snap-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-song)




If you layer instruments or vocals, only send video of the lead/main performance of each – don’t send videos of all the layers being recorded.


If you're making a solo recording and are playing all the parts yourself instead of asking another CZ player to collaborate on the performance, then all of the instruments you record should be filmed, top-to-bottom. Multiple camera angles for the same performance will be accepted (if not welcomed) at register 333.


If you are video inclined and have an idea of how your solo performances or camera angles should be edited together, please feel free to include a comp video as a guide for your video editor, in addition to the individual video takes.




If you don't have a Google account, it’s easy to make one. Use the Google Drive app to easily upload your video from your phone. Name exported tracks in the following format:


Audio files:







Abbreviations are fine, especially if song titles are long.


Video files: 

Export video in the highest quality capable, ideally 1080p at 30 frames. Naming is similar:


SONG NAME - YOUR NAME - INSTRUMENT (if multiple angles)



Video file names won't necessarily need to include instruments because there will only be one video per performer per song. Instrument name(s) should be included if you made a solo recording. Add “SUBMIX” to the name of an edited reference video file. 


(Note: Sometimes it's difficult to rename videos on your phone. If it happens to you, please do your best to rename it once you have it uploaded to the correct Drive folder.)


SO.. that covers most of what you’ll need to get started. More technical info is being sent to the Main engineers, who’ll be happy to answer your technical questions (especially if they get the impression you’ve read all of the above). With everyone’s different home/work/life schedules, it’s definitely going to take effort and patience from all of us to navigate this entire process. Technically, it can be done if we play together well.