“99X Web Site Promo” from Andrew Frame, Andrew Frame Custom Production
by Craig Rogers
The name Andrew Frame may be familiar. You’ve seen his byline on RAP articles, and if you’ve visited the RAP Web site (www.rapmag.com), that’s his work, too. So perhaps it is appropriate that Producer’s VU spotlights a Web site promo Andrew produced for his old station, 99X, WJBX/Ft. Myers, FL. Read here about all the tricks he tucked into this piece, then plug in The Cassette and see how many you can hear.
The idea developed around several drop-ins Andrew culled from Babylon 5 (“You’re on-line, go ahead”) and the cartoon, Pinky and the Brain (“well, that ought to keep the little squirts happy”). The “on-line” reference was a natural Web site tie-in, and the other was a perfect way to emphasize the amount of content on the site.
At WJBX, Andrew worked with SAWplus on a Global Computer Concepts P90. The board was a Radio Systems RS12. Monitoring was through ElectroVoice EV100s. CD player was a consumer grade JVC. He also had at his disposal an H3000B Harmonizer, Urei mic compressor, Tascam 32 2-track, Tascam 34B 4-track, Emerson mono VCR, consumer grade dual cassette deck from Pioneer, and Technics turntable. Voice talent is Michelle Buczynski, former PD for 99X. He used an EV RE-20 with no processing.
Andrew got the read he wanted by reading the line for her as he wanted it to sound. She would then repeat it back for him. These were recorded directly into SAW on track 1. Andrew saves time by recording directly into the multitrack view on SAW, not opening a sound file as the instructions say. He then puts SAW in record pause. He readied all his drop-ins from DAT and recorded them from the Sony DAT deck onto Track 1 as well. This puts all the mono audio into two different regions of the same soundfile. SAW allows him to put mono or stereo material on one track. It doesn’t take two tracks to make a stereo pair. Track assignments are: Tracks 1, 2, 3 and 4 for mono material. Tracks 1 and 2 are panned center. 3 is panned hard left, 4 is hard right. Tracks 5 and 6 are for stereo material. Track 7 is set up for filtered mono material. After all the v/o and drop-ins are in, he begins to arrange these pieces on tracks 1 and 2. The music comes from X-Rules from Chateau Brazil and from Ear Candy from Advantage Productions in Fort Myers. (Andrew contributed the name for the package, so his copy of Ear Candy was complimentary!) In choosing the music, Andrew wanted each cut to have a distinct sound. He says he was happy after a couple of “texture change-ups.” You’ll notice each new thought is accompanied by a change in music.
The static burst that opens the promo is on track 6 and comes from X-Rules. The drop is from Pinky and the Brain. The music under it is part of the show’s soundtrack. The shouted response is a group of salespeople Andrew rounded up from around the office. This shout is on track 2. The static burst that separates the shout from Michelle’s next line is from X-Rules.
The music bed under the Web address is from X-Rules and is on track 6. Next is the “You’re on-line” drop from Babylon 5. The music stops cold as this drop ends. For the stereo effect on Michelle’s next line, Andrew dragged the region to track 3, copied it to track 4, and then nudged the copy forward a few milliseconds. He checks this in mono to make sure the timing offset doesn’t cause phasing dropouts.
Andrew likes using stereo effects, but reminds producers that much of a stereo effect is lost on many listeners. Those listening anywhere other than in their car or on the couch at home are hearing mono or are far enough removed from the stereo “sweet spot” that the stereo effects are lost.
To get the phrase “99X on-line,” Andrew copied the “on-line” portion of the Babylon 5 drop to the end of Michelle’s phrase. Next, you’ll hear a list of Web site items sweeping between the speakers, back and forth. Andrew calls this “walking.” He did this by setting a marker where he wanted the pan to begin. Then he opens the volume control window and sets the pan position (right, left, left center, etc.). Then he sets another point in the audio where he wants the pan to end and sets another position for the pan. Then, under one of the menu selections he can choose “Sweep to next pan change.” This causes the pan to sweep to the next pan instead of snapping. The clearest example of this is on the phrase “concert listings and personal pages.” Under this list Andrew looped a bongo bed from X-Rules. The music ends as the thought changes with the next drop-in from Pinky and the Brain. The music is part of the “Pinky” soundtrack. Again, a change in thought, a change in texture.
After the Pinky drop, Michelle lists a series of prizes. This is followed by a Tommy Chong drop (“Hey, this is great”). After that, he again staggered a copy of Michelle’s v/o on tracks 3 and 4 to create a stereo effect. The music under this is looped to match the length of this segment.
Signaling the end of the promo is a Star Trek drop (“Computer, end program”). The servo sound is a favorite of Andrew’s from X-Rules. As Michelle’s v/o closes the promo with the call letters, he used another sweep pan from center to left. The “on-line” drop from Babylon 5 is used again to finish the phrase. There were other drops in the promo originally, but to hit :30, he had to remove them. He also tightened Michelle’s v/o by editing out the breaths to save a bit more time. On the mixdown, Andrew monitors through the cue speaker in the board. This goes back to listening as most of your listeners listen. They don’t hear it in full stereo, and they don’t listen at high volume. This also allows him to double check mono compatibility of all elements. If you’d like to talk with Andrew, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a SAW user, ask him about the “copy” shortcut he’s discovered using both mouse buttons. Next month, Producer’s VU takes the show on the road with a promo for the Rolling Stones Party Bus from T.R. Fox of Q-102/Cincinnati.