Music mixer and producer Andy Bradfield mixed the opening sequence for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. His brief was to “make it an amazing mix, and turn a crazy, extremely ambitious production into a coherent and exciting piece of music.”
The mix took place at Bradfield’s studio in west London, on two Pro Tools | HD rigs. It was about 380 tracks in total spread across two machines, and had a lot of very varied and unusual instruments and many sections, “far more than even an ambitious record, kind of like a mini Sgt. Pepper’s with less time to do it!” said Bradfield. “It’s a bit like going back to 48-track in some ways, except the synchronisation is much easier these days!”
The recording was about a week and then Bradfield spent about two days mixing spread across three or four days. “I did a couple of hours of setup then went onto something else as the guy’s were sending me Pro Tools sessions through the week when they were recording, so it was good to build the session gradually,” he said. “By the time I had all of it I was able to get a basic sound, and make some notes of things I needed to tend to next time around. I don’t like to get bogged down so I work in short bursts, especially something this big. And it’s over eight and half minutes long!”
Making a mix coherent and exciting is always what Bradfield strives for. “I don't care if something is not technically correct,” he said. “You end up just constantly having to mix the mix, which is why automation is so important. It just would not be possible to do something like this without it. And Pro Tools is absolutely amazing, it handles any and everything I chuck at it.”
Bradfield has a 24-channel Avid ICON D–Command desk and uses a lot of UAD plug-ins. He had just got the Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb reverb plug-in.
Bradfield is now mixing for two films under NDA, Miguel Bose, Des’ree, Wrenne, and Lo-Fi-Fnk. He recently finished mixing another film called Monsters: Dark Continent.