Sessions in the BTV Studio

On Friday afternoon, we finally managed to pull off what I've been trying to organise for a while - a recording session in the BTV (Bloomsbury TV) Studio (run by UCL Union BTV and Film societies).

The session came about as a mammoth collaborative effort between the Rare FM, BTV, Live Music and Stage Crew societies. The TV studio has been there for a while, and is filled floor to ceiling with equipment, including old BBC studio TV cameras, vision mixers, videotape decks, film splicing devices, and more - however for a couple of years no-one has really know how to use it.

What initially caught my eye was first the studio space, which is a reasonable size and fairly well sound-proofed, and the huge audio mixing desk. It took us an afternoon to figure out how to work the mixing desk, but once we had established that it was still in perfect working order, we were determined to put it to use.

So, on Friday, Rare FM DJ, Drama society performer and singer-songwriter Sean Clothier was invited into the studio to perform an acoustic session. It all went remarkably well. We had to borrow some mics and mic stands, but we managed to patch through vocals and guitar sound to the mixing desk. Three seperate feeds from the desk powered the monitor speakers, a feed to a minidisc recorder, and a feed to a video camera for in-sync sound. We even managed to make use of a stage light and build a quick set. BTV filmed the session and did a short interview with Sean after. The result is a decent minidisc recording of the sound, which will be played out on Rare FM, and a videotape of the performance, which should eventually get played out over the Union TV screens.

Next term, we'd like to do more of these sessions on a regular basis. If possible, we're aiming to also make use of the studio cameras to do live vision mixing, and to broadcast the audio live over Rare FM. We'll also see if we can get small acoustic bands in, and see if we can book some signed artists (we quite often get offers from labels for artists to do promotional radio sessions).

All in all, it's looking good. It's great to be able to make use of the BTV studio, and it's great that the media societies are finally collaborating some more. I hope to be able to encourage this to develop over the coming term and on into the next academic year.