written by: Alex Fraser; article published: year 2007, month 11Two main reasons recording budgets always run short - poor time management, and personal conflicts between band members, engineers, producers, A&R. If you take both of those factors out, every record should always turn out as planned. The reality is that we can’t quite predict other people’s actions and avoid confrontation. With a little experience we can definitely foresee the amount of time needed for a particular task in the studio. What most producers usually don’t accommodate for in their scheduling is the time it takes to resolve the personal conflicts. We all tend to ignore the human factor in everything we do, but it is a very real condition that’s unavoidable. For better or worse we are all humans. Because of that human factor, a lot of times our ambitions are higher than what we are capable of doing. In general that’s a good thing, but when it comes to studio time, the opposite has proven to be more efficient. Don’t go in the studio with a huge plan for the day. Be well organized, but don’t try to schedule every second of the session. A well-rehearsed band can probably do six basic tracks in about six ours of recording time. The same band with the same songs on a different day might do only three songs in the same given time. That’s the reality of it when taken the human factor in consideration. So don’t plan on getting six tracks in six ours. At the same time studio time and tasks performed never have a linier relationship. If you can record six tracks in six hours that doesn’t mean you can record three tracks in three hours, nor does it mean you can do twelve tracks in twelve hours. Time management in the studio always comes down to preparation. Think of your session time as a robot that needs to run on autopilot. If you didn’t program it well at home it will crash and burn and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s usually a fine line between preparation and setup time vs. session time. If you need to print scores or learn lyrics obviously that would be a part of your personal preparation you can do at home ahead of time. When it comes to the actual physical setup in the studio a lot of times that’s done right before the downbeat of the session or sometimes as a part of the session time. All those factors should be taken in consideration to achieve effective time management in the studio. The producer of the session should be the one responsible and act as the time manager, but a lot of times no one takes control and sessions run into a grinding halt, mainly because of a poor time management.
See also "Top 5 Recording studio tips" by Joe Shambro