Behind the scenes

The Making of ‘Prince of Peace’

By December 6, 2018February 7th, 2020No Comments

Doing something different

We always wanted to do something different for every recording that we do. This is pretty different from the last recording. So why do this? Well, the songs on Prince of peace were actually written before the songs on With and Above. Emily wrote the songs and we worked on them back and forth through Evernote and then white boarded them as a team.

The significance of the songs

We had a feeling that these songs could mean something to people because they address and comfort people in real life difficulties, in which the only true answer is to turn to God. Emily, who wrote the songs, had imagined a room of women lifting up their voices in praise to God with these songs and we wanted to see that happen and so we made it happen. We really want to see women flourish in their various giftings in our church and this was a fantastic opportunity to see this take place.

Getting it done

There was a lot of work in the process, getting from start to finish. Once the songs were finished being written there were theological adjustments to be made. Because the songs were personal we aimed to make them more congregational. We had to organise an event and coordinate with the women’s team. We had to find musicians and practice together. We had to make sure we had demos so people could learn the songs, not to mention setting up the audio and video recording.

Organising the event

We wanted to work with the women’s ministry to organise the event. It can be difficult to get the word out for things like this and working together helps on that front. We really wanted the night to include female preaching and fellowship. The night itself was really a great success, the fellowship could be sensed in the room. It is our hope that through this recording, women will be encourage to take part in the music team, not just at our church but at others as well.

Preparing for the recording

Much time has to be put into preparing for the recording. Finding musicians firstly, then setting up practice times. There were a lot more practice opportunities than in the last recording (at least once a week for the month leading up to it but often more). We had to put together the chord charts as well as sheet music for the viola. We originally planned not to use a click (metronome) but ended up using it. In a recording environment, the click becomes necessary for a variety of reasons as well as in-ear foldback and we used similar setup to our last recording, utilising the QU-Pack with an extender, sm7bs for vocals, and a mixture of mics and di’s for the congregation, cajun, violin (OH and lapel), the acoustic, and percussion. The Keyboard is a straight up radial DI, a sound we were quite happy with from last time and were keen to use again. The setup took place the night before, there is always a lot of moving things around and trying again. The Cajun, for instance, sounded better on a platform so we had to find a chunk of wood that it could rest on, the wood was wobbly though so we used some 9v batteries on each corner to stabilise it. I had a running clip-board with all the track names and numbers on it so that I could keep track of everything.

Designing the room

Designing this one was tricky. Last time we tried to keep with the theme of what our church stage looks like but this time we wanted it to be different. We wanted to use lighter colours and have fewer things. Originally we didn’t have any decoration to attempt the minimalist look but when we filmed it for a test, it ended up looking really boring. If the building was cooler looking then it might look good, but that just isn’t the case so we needed more. We had this hanging fabric making a circle around where the people would be, we added some choice items like standing tables with things on them and then we worked on hanging things. We set up a camera with the same settings as what we would film on and then used that as our guide so we could frame things in advance. We made the bold choice of using a single camera which would spin round and round and round for the entire thing and that meant we had to do things a little differently. If you have more than one camera person, then normally they will set up a shot that they like and then you cut to them when they have a good shot. In this case, because Nathan was shooting only from the middle, he couldn’t choose his shots, so we set up frames in adance with the decorating that we thought would look good. The lighting was really important, we did hanging soft-box lights and lights that come in a line which went all around. These add a bit of flare and are helpful to hold visual interest.

The full video of the night

The process of doing this kind of recording is funny. For instance, we had to do two of the songs again. People are really forgiving on this in the congregation. I think they see it as their second take. It is a bit awkward to do songs again, but it is just part of it, sometimes big mistakes are made, sometimes it doesn’t feel right. During one of the recordings, a police officer was knocking on the door to find out about a car that was parked illegally (turned out not to be anyone from our event).

Audio mixing

The audio editing and mixing part takes a long time. We originally planned to do a Youtube mix and an iTunes mix although we ended up just sticking with the Youtube mix which included mostly only what was originally recorded on the night. The congregational mixing was the hardest part. Full disclosure, not everyone has tune and this makes it difficult, but we hope that listeners will be gracious about this because this is the reality of capturing the sound of the congregation together.

Graphic design

It comes around every time you do a recording like this. You always have to decide on album art. We decided to try and capture the feel of the night with one of the women in the ministry (Bree), bible in hand, preaching to the group with everyone standing around. We chose a gradient between pink and orange. The font for Prince of Peace is Angeline, which is the same font as the ‘With’ of ‘With and Above’. This made for some visual continuity between the things we do but also differences.

Final thoughts

Doing things like this is hard work but it is really rewarding. We hope that the people in this recording can be an inspiration to others to express themselves with their creativity, particularly to worship God and give all glory to Him as we aim to do in all that we do. Thanks for reading/listening.

 

Ps if you want more, there is a behind-the-scenes video for Prince of Peace here and a behind-the-scenes blog for With and Above here.