Beth Hart’s artistry has always been a study in emotional contrasts. From exhilarating joyful highs to solemn and soulful lows, the 46-year-old singer-songwriter has made her career on her ability to capture the essence of these moments with memorable, narrative song writing and passionate live performances that have moved listeners and concertgoers for nearly twenty years. One Friday night last May, Sweetwater Studio’s Senior Producer/Engineer Mark Hornsby was called on to record and engineer her new live album Live at the Royal Albert Hall.
Making tracks in London
Hornsby’s impressive track record of capturing 5.1 recordings in both the studio and in live spaces made him and Sweetwater Studios the first choice of film director Nigel Dick, who has directed videos for everyone from Paul McCartney to Gloria Estefan. With years of experience having done surround sound mixes for the likes of George Strait, Allison Kraus, and also with his experience as staff engineer at Nashville’s Seventeen Grand Recording — one of the first 5.1 high definition mix rooms in the country — Hornsby was the right man for the job.
Having already been worked on several other high-profile video concert performances, Hornsby was already aware of the requirements for a 4k video shoot and set up for a 24/96kHz 5.1. surround sound mix that entailed roughly 40 tracks and an array of microphones placed on the stage and at strategic places within the theatre to capture the audience. “I’m creating what Nigel is going to use to edit the entire show,” Hornsby explains. “You have to mix it like it’s a live show, bringing up the faders for solos, while keeping a close ear open for anything that could possibly go wrong.”
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PHOTO CREDIT: Christie Goodwin