Tapeworks at facebook.comTapeworks at twitter.comTapeworks at vimeo.com
Tapeworks - Connecticut Recording Studio
News/ Tapeworks News

What's Goin' On This Week?


The past week has been an exciting one in the studio. Almost every day it has been bustling with clients from all over the place!

Tapeworks fosters such care for their clients, and I definitely saw that reflected in Ernie Sabella's and Brian Dennehy's faces when they came in to record voiceover tracks. In the midst of their sparkling acting careers, both men have been working with Tapeworks for a multitude of projects. They come back for the quality of work, but also because of the friendship.

In addition to these sessions, we've been hard at work on spots for Hartford Health Care and Mascola Group. The projects have ranged from radio spots to national TV spots. For each one, Tapeworks gathered audition tracks from their database of voice actors, chose the finalists alongside the team at Hartford Health Care and Mascola Group, and finally recorded the tracks in a session. It's inspiring to see these teams of people come together to complete projects with swift determination. I got to meet not only the people in charge of advertising at Hartford Health Care, but also the scriptwriter and talent! It certainly takes many more people that I was expecting to create an advertisement, and Tapeworks is an integral part of the process.

A Day With Daym


If you haven't heard of Daymon Patterson, otherwise known as Daym Drops, then you are missing out on a significant piece of entertainment. We got the opportunity this month to work on voiceovers with him for his new show, "Baby Got Snack," on the Cooking Channel.

I'm talking about a big man with a big personality. In the few hours before his arrival at the studio, I learned about his history from managing retail at WalMart and Carmax to making videos reviewing fast food restaurants. The Internet was taken with his review for Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This was when a world of opportunity opened up for Daym. He has come a long way and is now working hard for the Cooking Channel with his enthusiastic, playful and exciting food reviews.

On the day of his session, the studio was buzzing with excitement. Soon enough, Daym and his co-host Chris Clarke, otherwise known as "C-Snacks," entered the building. When Daym enters a room, the atmosphere becomes electrified. He speaks with a booming fervor that puts a smile on your face and a laugh in your belly. There's no question about why Damn is as successful as he is, especially after seeing him work with his producer while Bill recorded their voiceovers. Daym experiments with phrasing and accentuation, all the while maintaining a flow that is unique to him.

What I really took away, though, was the lesson that anything is possible with hard work. Daym and Chris have both travelled down a long road that has brought them to extraordinary places. They are absolutely charming and inspirational.

I hope I've caught your attention, because they are working on a project that is definitely worth your attention and time. If you want to learn about food and laugh along the way, be sure to check out, "Baby Got Snack" on the Cooking Channel!


The new intern steps in through the buzzing doors at Tapeworks Inc for her first day in the studio. 

I'm Therese Masotta, twenty-two years old, fresh out of UConn with an English degree/concentration in creative writing/Psychology minor, and I have been granted with the opportunity of interning with a uniquely talented audio produce: Bill Ahearn.

Join me in a grand adventure to discover what it truly means to work at Tapeworks Inc in this eclectic town of Hartford, CT. From what I can tell already, we'll meet people from all walks of life: stars, musicians, voice over artists, radio announcers - all brimming with determination and enthusiasm for the craft. And the entire way will be lead by the ever talented, never boring, Bill.

I'll be posting throughout the summer of 2016 to keep you updated on all the hard work happening here at Tapeworks. I sure do hope you find joy in following along!

Therese M (TM)

Anatomy of Radio Spot Production, P.1


A little while back, our friends over at the Mascola Group came to us with a cool new idea for their Big E campaign.  They wanted an upbeat, gospel music-driven music track that reflected the fun and excitement that people feel when they go to the Big E every fall, but it needed to be tailor-made for the voiceover (or VO) content of the spot.   

Once we had cast our VO talent, it was time to start on the music.  First, a chord progression was created at a pace that would fit enough instrumental & vocal elements to keep the music interesting, for not only 30-second radio spots but also 15-second TV commercials.  Engineers/"Music Bed Extraordinaires" Bill Ahearn and Chris Lennie played & recorded all of the instruments on a music bed that features drums, bass, piano, tambourine, and a little B-3 organ for good measure... and then the fun really began!

After putting together a music mix, we brought in 4 amazing singers to be our "Gospel Chorus" and bring the spot to life. Our singers - accustomed to performing live and singing within the genre - absolutely nailed it in a couple of takes, and the music (with vocals) was ready to be laid back against the VO audio. 

Recording and mixing voiceover audio with pre-existing music and vocals can be tricky.  The music needs to have time to "breathe", and the VO needs to sound natural; not choppy (like it was over-edited or altered in post-production just to fit within a music bed).  Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn found a perfect balance between the different elements though, and the end result was a catchy, high-energy, joyful "call & response" dynamic that features some shout outs to some of our favorite aspects of the Big E: the rides, the games, the Llamas, and of course the donut-bacon-cheeseburger. 

Seeing our work show up on TV is always cool, but this one was extra special for us because of our involvement with the campaign's production from several different angles. 

The Big E runs September 13-29.  We can't wait to "Take a ride on the magic slide" and party it up at the Mardi Gras parade... hopefully we'll see you all there!        

Steph's Summer Intern Blog Week 4


Week 4:  Things have been busy here at Tapeworks Recording Studio throughout the month of July! Here are some of the highlights of the past month:

     For the past two weeks or so, we have been working on audio for the Lego Galaxy Squad mini movie, which will make its grand appearance online sometime in the near future! Check back soon to find where and when you can view for yourself this epic bug battle! I was able to do some hands on work with this project, helping with sound design, or adding in sound effects. After watching Bill and Chris do this on other projects, it was fun to finally get a chance to try it for myself! Most of what I worked on was in the "bug battle scene," adding in explosion sounds, laser gunshots, and more, which was not as simple as it may seem. First, I had to identify where a sound was needed, then audition multiple sounds that could fit the scene. After selecting the perfect sound, I positioned and edited it in Pro Tools to synchronize with the video play back. However, not every explosion sounds the same, or lasts for equal amounts of time. So through the use of pitch/time shifting, EQ, and gain, I created multiple different versions of each sound file to develop a unique sound for each occasion, while still maintaining a sense of unity through all. All of us here at Tapeworks spent a great deal of time working on this awesome project! Who knew that Bill could speak bug along with bringing to life a world of creepy crawlies and massive aircrafts, tanks, and machines through sound design?! Meanwhile, Chris spent long hours hard at work composing the orchestral score that highlights the intense bug battle. It was a big undertaking, as it was an involved project with a very limited time frame, but it all was completed on schedule!
     There were several radio commercials that were recorded recently, including one for Lockheed Martin and one for Hartford Hospital. Most people do not realize the amount of time and work that goes into recording a radio commercial. There could be twenty different takes for a thirty second commercial, with the difference between each take amounting to a one word change, or a slightly different emphasis on a phrase. It all pays off when the final, perfect take is captured! (Or cut up and edited in Pro Tools later.)
      The next big upcoming project will be for the Big E. There are two different radio commercials that need to be recorded, along with a few different TV spots. The difficulty with this task is that each commercial involves voice actors, an original musical composition, plus the fact that each spot varies a bit from the last. So we shall see how this unfolds over the next couple weeks. This will be a really fun project, which you just may hear on your favorite radio station soon!

Featured Artist: Jason Roberts


      Famed organist Jason Roberts is a man of few words, preferring to let his extraordinary musical talent do the speaking for him. That being said, I was able to get Mr. Roberts divulge some information to me about his recent performance at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hartford, CT, which was recorded by Tapeworks Inc.
       Mr. Roberts got his start playing piano as a child, which eventually led to organ lessons in high school. He recalled hearing the organ played in church his entire life and falling in love with the sound. The concert was sponsored by the Hartford AGO, an organization of organists which Mr. Roberts is a member of, that organizes conventions and concerts every year. The AGO selected Mr. Roberts to be a featured performer this year and on Tuesday, July 2nd, he gave a spectacular concert to the packed cathedral. When asked how he went about selecting the material he performed, Mr. Roberts informed me that he wanted to perform a "variety of different things," which included a wide range of "dynamics [to] showed off the space." The vastness of the cathedral proved somewhat of a challenge when mixing the recording, when the engineers had to deal with incorporating the natural reverb of the space, while still preserving the clarity of the organ. Mr. Roberts said that the organizers had asked him to improvise which he did as well.
      As for future performances, Mr. Roberts will be a featured recitalist at the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival this November, before recording music for silent films in January and February 2014.

By: Stephanie Vaughan

Steph's Summer Intern Blog Day 3


Day 3: This morning I got the abridged experience of life as a secretary at a recording studio, an important step in any internship. As I turned on the computer at my new workstation, I was greeted by a somewhat disturbing desktop background of what appeared to be an image of a shark-bear creature jumping out of the ocean, left by the previous intern. Needless to say that was quickly changed. I was set up with my own email, Stephanie@tapeworksinc.com, and was shown how to access the online studio calendar so I would be up to date on all the sessions taking place here at Tapeworks.
            After a couple hours getting acquainted with the computer set up, I went into Studio A and sat in while Chris was recording a radio spot, with client Doug Bennett for Westchester Medical Center. Once the recording was completed, lunch commenced which consisted of chicken salad for the guys, while again I brought my own.
            Following lunch, I went back into Studio A with Chris and Doug while they finished producing the radio spot. The big discussion was what sound effect, if any to add to the spots involving a trip to the mall and golfing. After some deliberation, no sound effect was added to those commercials.
            A little while later, Bill came in and said he had a little project for me. We went into Studio B and he opened up a session he had done with a singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania a short time ago. He gave me the task of mixing the fully recorded and edited song as an exercise in mixing. I love mixing so I was really excited! It was a simple tune, clocking in at just over two minutes, with the instrumentation consisting of piano, acoustic guitar, and voice. I experimented with different reverb, delay, EQ, and compression plug-ins, since they have some different plug-ins here than I never tried before. One helpful tip Bill gave me was to try to use different reverbs and delays on each different instrumentation group, to give each its own color and sound. Bill also showed me the PAZ Analyzer plug-in, which when inserted on the Master track, analyzes the frequency range of the entire song, showing precisely where it would be best to boost and cut certain frequencies.
            I have learning quite a bit about radio commercials in the past couple weeks. While I was driving to Tapeworks this morning, I listened close to each radio commercial and tried to imagine what the recording session for that spot went like. Also, learning those mixing techniques I know will greatly help and improve my mixes in the future!

Steph's Summer Intern Blog Day 2


            Day 2: My second day interning at Tapeworks was equally as eventful as the day before. The first thing I learned that day was how to make the coffee, an important thing for all interns to know. After that I went into Studio B and uploaded the organ concert onto that computer. Once it was uploaded, I mixed the concert on Pro Tools. It took me about an hour and a half to mix the roughly fifty minute concert. The most difficult thing about the mix was that there were extreme dynamics; parts of the concert were very loud, while other segments were almost inaudibly quiet. Through the use of automation and light compression/limiting, I was able to even out the contrast in volume, while maintaining the variation in dynamics to keep with the intended sound of the concert. Classical recordings are supposed to sound as natural as possible, so when mixing a piece such as this, it is better to not do to much to the original recording. I used light large church reverb on a few of the tracks to enhance the natural reverb of the cathedral in which it was recorded. I used a little bit of EQ, mainly to accentuate the highs and lows of the recording. I used a compressor on a couple of the tracks, which were not as loud as the others, to try to make them heard a little better.  Once that was done, I bounced it to the hard drive and went and sat in with Chris on the Lego project of the day.
            After lunch, which after much deliberation was decided on Chinese, I sat in on a radio voiceover for Crested Butte, a bike park out in Colorado. Voiceover actors Teresa LaBarbera and Craig Edelson came into the studio to record their pieces, while Brad Hartz was dialed in and recorded through ISDN up in Boston. The whole segment took about an hour from start to finish, with several changes to the script being made along the way. It was interesting to see first hand what goes into recording a radio commercial. Most people switch the station or just zone out during radio commercials, but ever since I have thought about the commercials in a different way. The time constraints, annunciation, inflections, and back ground music are all given careful thought, and crafted in such a way as to deliver the short message in as clear and enthusiastic way as possible.
 After the initial recording, I sat in with Bill as he worked on and edited the recording, by cutting down empty space, adding minimal effects, and background music. It turns out the members of The Dave Matthews Band ski at Crested Butte and allow the company to use their music in their ads. Once the recordings were all edited and mixed, they were sent off for review and we were done with them for the day.
            Mixing the organ concert was very fun to work on, and seeing the time and work that goes into recording a radio spot was extremely interesting. Two days in and I have already learned a lot! I am excited to see what next week brings!

Steph's Summer Intern Blog Day 1


            Day 1: The sounds of the grand organ fill the vast cathedral, giving no one in the room any doubt the concert has begun. First day as a summer intern at Tapeworks Inc and I am assisting in the recording of renowned organist Jason Roberts at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hartford, CT. Upon arriving at the church, after battling the early morning Hartford traffic, I assisted Bill, the Chief Engineer at Tapeworks Inc., in setting up for the recording, helping run cables, check levels and the like. Once the concert began we were able to more or less sit back and enjoy, while keeping one eye on the meter levels to ensure nothing was overdriving or clipping. Mr. Roberts performed a beautiful concert for us all, and as confirmed by one very enthusiastic janitor, "The European organists have nothing on this guy!"
            After the performance, I helped pack up our equipment and wrap cables, before leaving the cathedral to travel back to Tapeworks across town. Once we got back to the studio, the all-important topic, as I was soon to find out, was the decision on where to get lunch. I brought my own lunch that day, but for Bill and Chris, the endless possibilities of where to acquire food that day was a difficult choice. However, in the end, Subway won out.
            Following lunch, I sat in with Chris and shadowed him on the latest project for Lego he was working on. This latest endeavor was for the newest Lego Academy training video. The project mainly involved adding sound effects to tutorial videos, which show viewers the possibilities of how to construct objects using the Lego kit. The way this is accomplished, is by searching through a folder stored on the computer for various sound effects that would fit the scene or image. I did not know much at all about sound design before this, and honestly never put much thought into how the sounds, besides the music and voices, got into videos. Watching this process made me more aware in the time and effort that goes into choosing, placing, and manipulating each sound effect in a video. 
            All in all it was a very fun and insightful first day! I cannot wait to see what awaits me tomorrow at Tapeworks Inc!



Please feel free to add yourself to our new "fans" gadget here on the Tapeworks blog, we'd love to see your support for what we do! Thanks.

Not long ago, in a city not-too-far away.....


It's not every day that we get to use the phrase "World's Largest ______" when describing one of our projects, but Tapeworks Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn was on hand recently for the unveiling of the largest LEGO model ever built!!! 

X-Wing touches down in Times Square

According to Wired, the model - a full-scale "X-Wing" from the Star Wars franchise - was brought to Times Square after spending 2 months aboard two boats that carried the model from Czech Republic to NYC.  It weighs in just shy of 46,000lbs. and will eventually make its way to Legoland, in Southern California.

As part of the video presentation, LEGO asked us to sound design an animation featuring a larger-than-life Yoda while he used the force to pull back the curtains on this giant ship.  The video portion of the event was played on a couple of enormous screens in Duffy Square @ Times Square, and of course our engineers were thrilled to take on the challenge: creating sounds and ambiance as big as the centerpiece of the presentation!

Yoda uses the force (and some killer sound design) to lift the curtains from the X-Wing

The day went off without a hitch, and - despite a close encounter with some local Jawas - Bill made it back from the event in one piece!  



Up to Our Ears....



While it looks like we're still a snowstorm and/or some chilly weather away from the arrival of Spring, things have been heating up at Tapeworks over the last couple of months!

We've been thrilled to do some work recently with some of our favorite talents on a couple of new projects recently.  In late-January, Mr. Ernie Sabella popped in to record new voiceovers and a song for a Lion King-themed public service announcement.  Ernie is the voice of Pumbaa from the beloved Disney classic, and his "Hakuna Matata" greeting always gives the studio a boost of positive energy. 
We were also delighted to host Bryan Dennehy to record ADR for his upcoming film, Feynman and the Challenger.  The film, which was mostly shot in South Africa, explores the details behind the space shuttle Challenger's 1986 explosion.  Keep an eye out for it to air on The Science Channel later this year!

Engineer Mike Burke has been busy working on a couple of cool music projects lately - including tracking and mixing sessions with Simply Swing, one of New England's most active performing big bands.  Mike also packed up the Tapeworks mobile recording rig recently to record organist Jason Roberts for a very cool project at St. James Episcopal Church in West Hartford.  Mr. Roberts was performing an accompaniment to the Buster Keaton 1926 classic silent film, The General live in front of a packed house.  The playing was flawless, and the audience was delighted!
While the rest of CT was preparing for Winter Storm Nemo, we prepared for the deluge of snow in the only way that we know how - by inviting our favorite people from LEGO to come and play kazoo for a Valentine's Day-themed video short.  Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn managed to wrangle together a pretty catchy theme out of the madness; keep an eye on the LEGO YouTube Channel; we have a feeling it just might pop up again during the next few months!

It has been a locally-musical start to the year as well here at Tapeworks, as Engineer Chris Lennie has been working with a couple of local groups to put together new album projects in time for Spring 2013.  We have been splitting weekends between tracking one of UConn's premiere a Cappella groups, Extreme Measures, and recording for an upcoming EP release with the Hartford Advocate's "Best Rock Band - 2011", LittleUgly.  Things have sounded great in tracking and we can't wait to share the results with you!

Looks like we're about caught up for now.  As always, we have some top-secret, exciting projects in the works. So keep checking here for updates!  Spring is just around the corner...


Post-Season's Greetings


Happy New Year to all of our friends and colleagues!  While 2012 was a huge year for us, we're anticipating even bigger things in 2013.

Hopefully everybody out there had a chance to do what must be done over the holidays; eating way too much and getting some much-needed "R&R" with family and friends.  While most of you out there were feasting on holiday turkeys, we still managed to sink our teeth into some great projects during the break.

At the end of December, we were delighted to record an audiobook that will be released sometime in the next couple of months.  We have been sworn to secrecy on this one until it's release, but it is a unique story from a local author that we found to be extremely interesting.

Engineer Mike Burke was also hard-at-work just before the New Year, finishing up his mix for an upcoming planetarium show for the Children's Museum in West Hartford.  The film, titled "From the Blue Planet to the Red Planet" is an exciting, educational look at what it might take for people on Earth to one day travel to Mars with the intent of colonization.  The film looks and sounds great, so keep doing your neck warm-ups with an eye on the planetarium schedule over the coming weeks for info on how to see it!

Lastly, we kicked off the new year by recording actor Vince Nappo in an ADR session for the new ABC TV show "Red Widow".  The show, about a woman trying to put her life back together after her Mob husband gets sent to prison, will premiere on Sunday, March 3 at 10pm EST on ABC.  Vince can be seen playing Sam Philips in the currently-running North American tour of "Million Dollar Quartet".

Stay tuned... plenty more to come in the next few weeks as we spend some time with our heroes and (hopefully) survive a little full-contact, gridiron action!    

That "Sleigh Bells on Every Mix" Time of the Year


Well, we're approaching mid-December and that must mean that things are winding down for the holidays.... someone clearly forgot to tell the folks that have been keeping us up to our ears in projects over the last month (not that we're complaining)!

Tapeworks has seen all types of audio work over the last few weeks: from recording and mixing some very funny Konica Minolta radio spots, to more ADR with our friend Brian Dennehy on the hit CBS show The Good Wife, to a new series of radio promotions for the Orange Bowl in Southern Florida.

Congratulations are definitely in order for our good friend Jason Durrant on the release of his first two full-length studio albums, titled "Embracing the Moment" and "Love Between Us".  Jason recorded and had many of his songs mixed here, and worked with engineer Chris Lennie to master both albums at Tapeworks as well.  We look forward the next project with you Jason! 

As we look ahead, we have some very cool LEGO projects that are "in the works" for the new year.  All of our engineers have been hard at work recording voices, scoring music tracks and sound designing several exciting new projects that we can't share with you just yet....

Cowabunga Dude!


If you were born in the 80s.... or had a kid in the 80s.... you may not need the introduction.

Paige Turco, who played "April O'Neil" in two of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action films, stopped in to record some ADR with us yesterday afternoon.

Mrs. Turco, who stars as a recurring character Zoe Morgan on the hit TV series Person of Interest, was voicing lines here while the post-production director and audio mixer for the show were listening in and producing from California.

We didn't get a chance to bust out the old nunchuks, mostly because our moms said we couldn't. 


Tapeworks gets Hardcore


It's not often that one gets to record a session with a hardcore-punk vocalist/author/comedian/TV actor/producer, but that's just what we did this morning as Mr. Henry Rollins stopped in to record some voiceover audio at Tapeworks.

Henry is performing at the Webster Theater as part of his current spoken-word tour tonight; but he is also the narrator for UFC: Primetime, a television series dedicated to showcasing the key figures for the Ultimate Fighting Championship's largest-profile MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fight-nights.  Today he was here profiling the preparation processes for both Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit, the two central figures in the next large UFC event.

Henry brings every bit of his "trademark" energy and intensity to the microphone when he steps into the studio, and today was no exception.  When Henry Rollins talks MMA, we'd all do best to listen...

"Fall"-ing into great new work!


Election Fever sets in at Tapeworks

It's election season, and that means campaign commercials.... lots and lots of  campaign commercials.  
Tapeworks recently made our contribution to this biennial flurry of advertising when we recorded a new radio spot for Elizabeth Esty last month.  Mrs. Esty is the Democrat nominee running for Congress in Connecticut's 5th congressional district, formerly represented by Senatorial nominee Chris Murphy.  
While we try our best to stay impartial over matters of political preference, Mrs. Esty was extremely professional, pleasant and easy to work with.  So whenever she decides to retire, there's always that voiceover career waiting in the wings!

CBS calling; and we learn a little history 

Today we had the pleasure of working with one of our favorite pros; internationally-acclaimed film and theater actor (and our good friend) Brian Dennehy came in to record lines for his role in the award-winning hit CBS show "The Good Wife".  Episode #406, titled "The Art of War" will feature the audio our Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn recorded with Brian, and it will air on Sunday, November 4th at 9pm (Eastern).     

Another highlight over the last week was having the chance to record a Tony-Award-winning talent for an upcoming multimedia exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  Jefferson Mays dropped by the studio in between performances at the Hartford Stage (where he is currently performing in a month-long run of the musical "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" - playing eight different roles).  He was delivering a biographical account of Theodore Roosevelt for this new exhibit at the AMNH, and as could be expected, his conduct and performance were the very definition of professional.  
After speaking with an engineer from the Museum, we discovered that our respective mixing environments are slightly different: we have our main control room where the wall are acoustically treated and built from the ground-up for ideal listening... and they have a giant, marble exhibition hall.  They'll have their work cut out for them, as our contribution is to be one of four separate installations running simultaneously in the same hall.
Mr. Mays' run at the Hartford Stage ends November 11th.

Getting "Ugly" Again

This weekend, Engineer Chris Lennie mastered the latest single for local band Little Ugly as they prepare for their upcoming music video premiere party at Arch Street Tavern in Hartford on Friday, November 2nd.  The entire track was recorded here a couple of months ago, and the video was shot recently by director/cinematographer Daniel Salazar III and art director Nina Salazar.  Congratulations to a local band that continues to work as hard as anyone out there while making cool original music.

We've got TONS more coming up in the next few weeks, including some major sound design and music scoring projects -- stay tuned!


Whoops... Spaced Out for a Second


Last week, we took a short break from our regular schedule to focus our attention on the future... actually, 11 years in the future.

We recently threw our hat in the ring to help out with the OSIRIS-REx project, an amazing space-exploration project developed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.  
The OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer... whew!) is a $1 billion project that will aim to do what has never been done before: to send a spacecraft into outer space so it can land on an asteroid and collect soil ("Regolith") samples to be studied.  The spacecraft will launch in September 2016, travel for two years to meet up with Asteroid 1999RQ36, spend 505 days mapping the asteroid and gathering samples, before returning to Earth in September 2023.  

Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn was charged with Sound-Designing some new multimedia and video elements that will be launched in conjunction with the OSIRIS-REx initiative. 
We're excited to be involved, and to see the results of this historic event!!

Rubber Band Fever Hits Tapeworks


Q: What happens when you give two recording engineers a couple of free hours, 3 microphones, a giant ball of assorted rubber bands, and complete creative freedom?

A: The single funkiest rubber band-based composition of our time* and Tapeworks' entry into Samplephonics' "Sound Design II" contest.

Engineers Mike Burke and Chris Lennie spent a morning snapping, twanging and bouncing rubber bands recently to put together a two-minute piece of music for the contest, which dictates that entries must use one object to create all of the sounds included in the work submitted. 

After pitch-shifting, EQ-ing, Modulating and generally futzing around in every way possible with our "found sounds," we've submitted our entry, titled "Rubber Soul" which can be heard here.

The prize?  The satisfaction of a job well done.  Also, roughly $1,561.44** worth of software and plugins that would make a beautiful addition to the studio! 

Let us know what you think of the track by either posting on our Facebook page or sending us a Tweet.  And if you're putting one of these together, shoot us a link so we can hear what cool sounds you've come up with!

* "Of our time" = this morning... probably.
** Actually, exactly.  Calculated & converted from £1000. 

Riding the Heat Wave


It's been a couple of weeks since our last blog, mostly because we've been frequenting the Tapeworks company inflatable kiddie-pool* to stay cool!  That being said, things have been busy as ever with a few new projects from some of our favorite clients.

For the folks living the Hartford area: you may have seen a new campaign for the Hospital of Central Connecticut airing on TV recently.  While we've had a long-standing relationship with the HoCC in producing audio for their radio and TV spots, this project involved one of our absolute favorite musicians and world-renowned guitarist, Mr. Jeff Pevar. Jeff came up with a new arrangement and played all of the instruments on what is now a cool & upbeat acoustic guitar-driven adaptation of the old HoCC theme.  The spot sounds and looks great - keep an ear and an eye out for it!

A couple of weeks ago, young singer-songwriter (and good friend of the studio) Emily Yanek returned to Tapeworks to record vocals for her upcoming 2nd album.  While it's always exciting when Emily stops by the studio, this experience was made particularly special by the in-studio vocal production  by Leah Kunkel.  Ms. Kunkel, who forged her own singing career in the late-70s and 80s with a couple of successful solo albums as well as significant appearances on albums by James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Art Garfunkel (among many others), is the sister of the late, great "Mama" Cass Elliott.  It can be incredibly educational to work with someone with as much studio knowledge and experience as Leah, and our engineers (along with Emily) are thrilled to have had that opportunity.

Lastly, Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn recently "commandeered the dance floor" in creating a 2-minute, radio-ready techno song for an upcoming Lego project.  While we can't divulge full details at this moment, let's just say that there was ample booty-shaking throughout the studio during the creation of this ode to auto-tuning.  And none of it was pretty.  We'll post the link once it's up!

That brings us up to speed, with several ongoing projects that we'll be discussing in the next couple of weeks.  If you're looking for us, we'll likely be out back on the Tapeworks company slip 'n slide.

Spring Blog, Part IV - Attack of the Games


Over the last couple of months, Tapeworks has been involved in recording and editing audio for two major video game companies.  
The size and scale of these projects shows just just how far the video gaming industry has come from its relatively modest beginnings. With all due respect to the great pioneers in game score composing for classic systems like SEGA and Nintendo; these definitely aren't your 8- or 16-bit audio projects of the 80s and early 90s!

In late March, engineer Chris Lennie worked with an audio director from EA Sports and ESPN personality Trey Wingo to record and edit Trey's voiceover audio for one of EA's main franchise games: the latest installment in the Madden football series.  In Madden '13, coming out in late August, they have introduced a series of backstories for the players selected in the NFL draft portion of the game. Trey lent the game his voice for this part, which consists of 900 4-to-6 sentence segments that we captured over the course of 5 days.  Between the meticulous attention to details, extensive scripts, and sheer sales of the game in recent years (Madden '12 has sold well over 5 million copies to date), its clear that these things have really become large-scale projects on par with what one might see from a Hollywood blockbuster film.  

Not long after the final whistle blew on our involvement with EA Sports, we received a call from another well-known game audio company to record and edit voiceover with Sportscenter and Wipeout host John Anderson.  John brought some of his trademark wit and insight to the studio for a three-day series of sessions with Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn.  

With the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) occurring right now in Los Angeles, we're definitely keeping our ears to the ground for any new and exciting innovations in the video game community.  The production in gaming just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and we're always looking forward to seeing what comes next!!  

Is It Summer Yet? (CUwS III)


About a month ago, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to record authors Jeffrey Fox and Robert Reiss reading voiceovers for the audiobook version of their newly published book, The Transformative CEO.  This session marks the 5th time we've recorded Jeffrey reading one of his books; and as usual, we're all feeling a bit smarter and a lot more industrious for the experience. 

We are also very excited to announce that we are working in collaboration with the folks at the Children's Museum in West Hartford, on a brand-new feature for their planetarium that will debut later in 2012.  Although we have been sworn to secrecy regarding the content and theme of the project, I can tell you that it will provide some very cool, exciting and educational insight into the future of our planet (and possibly another one, too).

We recently had the pleasure of working with a few of Hartford's really promising up-and-coming musicians, as the band Little Ugly stepped into the studio to record their newest single "And We Said..." for an upcoming music video!  Little Ugly were winners of the Hartford Advocate's Grand Band Slam "Best Rock Band" for 2011, as well as Hartford Magazine's "Best Musician/Band" in 2012.  Keep an eye (and an ear!) out for this local acoustic rock/folk quartet that can be found playing their ever-expanding repertoire of original music (and some killer covers) nearly every weekend, throughout the Northeast.  

Catching Up With Spring - II


The last month at Tapeworks has seen our work featured on a couple of major projects for our friends at LEGO, that you can now see online and in theaters around the country.

Engineers Bill Ahearn and Chris Lennie were hard at work on the score and sound design for a series of videos for the new LEGO Monster Fighters campaign.  The Monster Fighters series features a group of tough, battle-tested heroes working together to defeat the diabolical plans set into motion by a group of insidious villains and monsters such as Frankenstein, Werewolves, Vampires, Mummies and Zombies. 
We had a ghoulishly good time working on a score that integrates current dubstep elements with more classic "B-movie" horror textures and sounds.

"I got a fever.  And the prescription... is more theramin!!"
- Overheard outside our control "Room A" during composition of Monster Fighters theme, April 2012.

After we gathered our courage together, we embarked on the next project: a 2-3 minute Lego Avengers video, in time for the release of the Marvel Avengers film a couple of weeks ago.  Working with the Marvel-sanctioned sound effects library and a host of music cuts from the Avengers movie, Chief Engineer Bill Ahearn put together a stellar soundscape for the video, which features a LEGO-based synopsis of the Hollywood blockbuster itself.

The best part?  You can literally drop in on your favorite local theater to watch it for yourself - our Avengers Lego video is showing as part of the previews for the actual movie in theaters right now!  So even though you've likely seen the movie 3-8 times already (or if you are among the 12 people on earth who haven't seen it yet), there's plenty of time to catch it again if you missed us before. 

Whew!  Time to take a break for the holiday weekend.  Everybody enjoy the (fingers crossed) beautiful weather and extra day of relaxation.  More to catch you up on when we return from the break....

Catching up with Spring I


With summer rapidly approaching, we've been afforded a moment to take a breath, collect ourselves at the keyboard and fill you in on our last few weeks as we prepare for a busy June.

A couple of posts back, you heard about former Survivor contestant, Terry Dietz, touching down in the studio for a series of voiceover narrations that were going to be featured on the TV show Great Planes.  The show has finally arrived, and the episodes look (and sound!) great. 

Airing Wednesdays at 10pm (Eastern) on the Military Channel, tune in to hear Terry share his extensive aviation knowledge - in perfect clarity - through our beautiful new-ish BAE modular mic pres!

The Big Voice Returns

As the sun shines longer and the days get hotter, anticipation is building for one of Connecticut's biggest annual summer events: The Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, June 18-24

The championship has already left its mark on us here; as we recently recorded legendary ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman doing all of his radio voice work for this year's edition of the tournament.  Mr. Berman, a long-time friend of the studio and the Travelers Championship, filled our halls with his instantly-recognizable voice for an afternoon last week. 

You can really feel the studio energy pick up a little when you hear that booming delivery - we're looking forward to hearing his voice on the radio for all-things-Travelers over the next month! 

The tip of the iceberg!

Keep an eye out for our twitter feed and facebook page as we continue to update and inform with renewed vigor. There's lots more to come in the next week!  Our work is showing up all over the place lately: including a worldwide theatrical release, a planetarium show in-the-making, a couple of HUGE video game releases, and much more!  Stay tuned...

The Doctor is (or, was) in!


If you flip through this month's issue of Rolling Stone magazine, you will likely stumble across a glowing review of Dr. John's new album, Locked Down.  

The new album (photo courtesy of the Rolling Stone website), produced by Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys), scored a 4-star review from the critics at RS.  It also got us thinking about our experience with Dr. John many years back, when the iconic singer/keyboardist stopped by the studio to record a jingle for Vision Corner called "Where Did You Get Those Eyes".

Winner of Ad Week's "Best of Broadcasting" award in New England for 1995, the spot featured a who's-who of our favorite writers (Dik Haddad), composers (Joe Grieco and Tapeworks owner/President Doug Kupper), and musicians: Jeff Pevar (Guitar), Dave Santoro (Bass), Craig Eastman (Fiddle) and of course, the good Doctor providing piano and vocals. 

While he's currently getting some much-deserved recognition from mainstream critical rview, Dr. John has long been a staple of the New Orleans Blues/Jazz/R&B scene.

This is the picture that has hung in the front of Tapeworks ever since - Dr. John at the mic, flanked by studio owner Doug Kupper and creative director Dik Haddad.  Once in awhile, you get a chance to work with the very best; we've learned to keep a camera handy to capture those moments!