With the upcoming release of Superior Drummer 3, Jack Hale, Jonah Rich (cinematographer), Harry Peak, Robin Johnson (Kyros drummer) and I took to Sound Gallery Studios to record some drums using the Roland TD50-KV and Superior Drummer 3.
So how did we shoot it? Well, our kit list consisted of:
Roland TD50-KV Kit
Superior Drummer 3
2x Macbook Pro
2x Lights & Softboxes
3x SLR Cameras
That’s it. The rest was down to the drummer and the editor!
With the instrumental tracks recorded in the Time+Space studio – predominantly using TH3 for guitar tones, and some good Rhodes, whirly, and piano samplers for the keyboards, Robin was ready to play along to the click track behind the instruments. Working with a Jonah the cameras were set up to get the best views possible, both of Robin’s playing and to leave space for a picture-in-picture screen capture of what the SD3 interface was doing. Along with a moving camera, we could cut together some nice, dynamic, videos for people to experience SD3 with.
Setting up the kit was dead simple, and was easily put together between Jack and Robin whilst myself and Jonah looked at camera setups and started working out angles that we wanted to capture. The Roland TD50-KV comes with several sets of instructions, both written and drawn, so the kit went up in no time.
The whole session was run from two Macbook Pros, one with Audio/MIDI interface for the Roland TD50 Kit – which ran into SD3. We then had a headphone output for Robin, and a monitor speakers output for the rest of us; we weren’t recording with any microphones so we could listen to the takes in real time! The other Macbook Pro was dedicated to storing and starting to process the video clips.
Superior Drummer 3 comes with several kits, and a variety of extra drums and cymbals – this means that you can perfectly tailor your drum sound to the genre. With tracks like the Blues video, Robin was after a deeper, boomier, snare compared to when doing the Drum & Bass or Funk tracks – in fact, the Funk track features one of the selected piccolo snares available in Superior Drummer 3.
Superior Drummer 3 has a lot of built-in MIDI maps for various e-kits, and it was no exception for the Roland TD50-KV. For a couple of the videos – most notably in one of the Solos, and the entirety of The Lamb, The Badger & The Bee playthrough – we did some custom mapping to make use of the extra rim triggers on the TD50 as Robin makes use of a lot of cymbals and toms on his acoustic kit when he drums with Kyros!
The most notable remaps are the floor tom rim being used as a china cymbal, and the rack tom rim being remapped to the snare rim to allow for easier playing.
The mixing portion of the videos was made a lot easier with Superior Drummer 3’s internal mixer and selection of plugins. The multi-out version of the plugin was also used so that the bass guitar tracks could be side chained specifically to the kick drums’ signal, letting the kick come through the mix in a cleaner fashion. One of the key sections that was made use of during post-production was the ‘Volume Envelope’ tab. This allowed the toms and snare samples to be trimmed so that they would fit the genres, and stop the extended ring of the samples muddying the mixes – this can make the toms punchier through the rock mixes.
I’m certainly a fan of the Superior Drummer 3 features, they’ve made life easy in getting the sound I wanted for each of the videos. You can hear me talk about more of the SD3 features that I’ve loved working within this video: