Monday, January 11, 2021

Vol State Faculty Member Works on Netflix Movie “The Prom”

A Hollywood movie musical is all about making the stars sound great. A big part of that is done with an orchestra. Vol State Director of Entertainment Media Production, Steve Bishir, was part of the team that recorded the orchestra for the Netflix hit “The Prom.” The movie stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and James Corden. Bishir traveled to London, England last March for the project. It was recorded at the famous Air Studios, a converted church turned into a high-end studio that has been used by artists such as Paul McCartney and Coldplay.

We had 56 strings on Monday and Tuesday, French horns, saxophones, trumpets, and trombones on Wednesday and Thursday. Woodwinds on Friday and Saturday,” Steve said. “We did this so that in the mix they could have full separation sonically among the parts. All told, I think we had 72 musicians on the dates over the course of the week. This was my 43rd trip to do orchestra in London starting way back in 1993. There was a period of about 10 years or so where I was travelling to London 3 times a year for orchestra.”

The producers- Adam Anders and Peer Astrom- had programmed all the individual parts beforehand and had recorded all the final vocals. This gave me a great map to understand how the orchestra should fit sonically into the overall picture.”

And the professional project also provided teaching opportunities for Steve as he worked to capture things that he could bring back to the classroom.

“I have the scores we used on the sessions and I made a video of one of the songs with me turning the pages of the score along with it so they can see what was happening. I also have pictures and videos I took to show the mics I used and the placement. Then we did some mock up set ups to show kind of what I was doing on the gig.”

“I've had long talks with many students about where the bar is to be hired for this type of gig. It was inspirational to some and I had one tell me it gave him new energy to pursue his own path.”

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