The Unsung Heroes of the Recording Studio

May 28th 2015 at 3:25 AM

As with a lot of technicians, the talent of recording studios engineers tends to be something of an unnoticed affair. We focus on the lead singer, the vocalist, or the main movie characters. We may remember the producer, director, or record label. But it takes a whole team of skilled people to produce the songs or films that we will enjoy. Those folks are unseen and unheard, yet very important.

For example, who among the general public could name the studio who won the latest TEC (Technical Excellence & Creative Awards) for Best Studio Design? It is a prodigious accomplishment and as such a sought out honour among recording studios. Can anyone on the street tell you who won several ARIA (Australia Recording Industry Association) music awards for technical achievement? Most of us who do not work in the industry don't even know that such competitions exist. We would be at a loss to guess who had the distinction of being nominated and winning on a given year.

The nomination procedures are actually quite stringent. Let's look at some of the requirements:

1) First, you must be eligible for nominations. Some organizations require a certain nationality, others require that the end product be a commercial release, and released during a certain period of time.

2) Nominations must be for outstanding work of superior quality and excellence in the nominee's field.

3) Naturally, your work then has to be voted as the best, as you are competing with many other accomplished and creative people. Most are judged by peers, others by a panel, while a few others are given by the association's Board of Directors. Others still depend on statistics such as sales or success charts.

There are quite a few trophies to be had for the best of the recording studios studio staff. Some are presented to the individual sound editors; others are endowed to the recording studios themselves. Some are international; others are specifically for nationals of a particular country. There are different categories such as: best music for advertisement, documentary, full feature movies and short films, children's television programs, TV series, and soundtrack album.

While all the above are given annually, you can also merit long term distinctions. Some professional societies recognize superior contributions proffered over several (and in some cases many years. In these cases, medals of gold, silver, and bronze can be won. In other cases, a gilded gramophone or other appropriate symbol is given in recognition of excellence. Without doubt, the most coveted awards for veterans in the field are a lifetime achievement type of distinction saluting decades of professional merit.

It is certainly quite heart-warming to know that those behind the scene people do obtain recognition for their hard work. Their job is the sort that tends to be overlooked, unless something goes wrong. Indeed, a great sound editor makes the job look easy to the rest of us.

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