Following my return from the New York Audio Show, I was immersed in the preparation of a DVD project for Jesus Adrian Romero called “Epicentro Live”. Jesus is probably the biggest name in Spanish Christian music. He tours widely throughout Mexico, Latin America, and South America playing for packed stadiums filled with adoring fans. His bass player, Pedro Marin, is also responsible for producing all of the media that he releases…from the numerous CDs, DVDs, videos, and web content. Pedro called me a couple of weeks ago and let me know that he had another project for me.
The original schedule included sending me the artwork and other elements ahead of time but as happens more often than not…things got pushed right up against the deadline. There were teams working on graphics, other finalizing the audio, and Pedro and his associates in Monterey, Mexico doing the detailed color correction on the 12 video streams that they produced of the live event. All of these media components had to be checked, encoded, and authored into a DVD-Video package in just a couple of days.
Pedro told me that they pre-record the band playing all of the parts in their studio against a click track. Those tracks are then used instead of the live tracks from the concert because they can control every aspect of the sound. The musicians are all playing live during the concert but their parts are swapped for the pre-recorded tracks during post production. They run the concert several times and have the cameras follow a different subset of the whole band in order to maximize the number of video angles they have to work with while assembling the video edit. Using a click track is the only way to “lock” a production of this sort into a repeatable piece.
When you buy a live concert video, chances are that the use tracks from several performances and augment them with studio recordings.
They had to make a hard choice regarding whether to place multiple mixes on the DVD. A stereo mix is always required but it is not uncommon to have a surround mix as well. I inquired about the inclusion of a 5.1 surround mix but due to the very tight timeline and additional expense, the project lacks a surround presentation. Everyone that came to my studio would have liked to include the second mix and they hope that a possible Blu-ray version of the concert will have one.
The stereo music track was mastered at Doug Sax’s mastering lab in Ojai, California. He moved his operation out of Hollywood a few years ago. If you want you project mastered by Doug or his associated you have to drive the 100 miles up the coast to get it done. The mix is very good and the overall sound quite reasonable. But when I fired up my JVC projector and BDP-105 Oppo player and demonstrated some of the tracks from my 2013 HD-Audio sampler, Pedro and Alex were very impressed. They insisted that it’s impossible to get that sound “live” with everyone performing in the room at the same time.
The JAR project will be very successful among his fans. The video and audio are absolutely first rate but in spite of some inspired performances and state-of-the-art technology, it’s just another well produced concert video…a product category that varies a lot in terms of music quality. Usually, I’m unwilling to listen and watch a concert video multiple times like I do a great music recording.