WMN Studio's owner and manager Steve Clark has invested much of his life — in sweat, time and cash (around $150,000 to date), into building the Function Junction arts venue.
He has built a recording booth and combined video and audio recording space, with access to a green screen.
WMN's latest project, Craft Singles, is a web series recording Whistler musicians in situ, performing in the 185-sq.-m. studio. WMN launched in January 2014.
The idea has been to use technology to keep costs effective and content quick to produce.
Clark pulled in 15 acts; including rappers Animal Nation, singer-songwriter Jon Shrier and 2015 Whistler Music Search finalists Emily Molloy and Braden Dupuis.
To get the concept off the ground and raise awareness, he says 10 have been selected for the pilot season; five will be saved for an eventual second season.
"It spells out what we want to do, which is develop content," says Clark.
It will be released online in the coming weeks.
"Everyone loved doing it, and it was good because the results are a great audio-video mix made live on the spot," he says
His collaborator at WMN, musician Monty Biggins, brought the idea forward.
"The whole point of Craft Singles was to groom a bunch of musicians together in a common series, where they get to market their music together as a team. It's to push it together," Clark says."Monty and I always talk about things like this. The amount of ideas that flow through the place on a daily basis is fun. We get some really good ideas and just have to decide which ones we are going to act on."
Clark adds that they knew they wanted to sponsor a series for musicians, they just needed to figure out the approach.
The studio has initially sponsored the series, but Clark is looking for outside financial input as well.
"To get the concept of the series going, we've made it like a TV series and produced a whole season all at once — with the aim of releasing one show a week. Now we are ready to release and we've been out pitching to a few sponsors to help sponsor the artists," he says.
"It's a case of trying to develop a quick, well-made product on our end, and work with as many different people as possible. We want to improve visibility of the show through sponsorship.
"Nobody's onboard yet, but a few music venues around Whistler are interested."
Performers could make use of four cameras connected to the video switchboard, with access to the experts — an audio engineer and a switchboard operator — to create the professional sound.
"When an artist comes in, we allot an hour to their episode. In that, they can take 30 minutes for set-up and they have three or four takes. We use the best one," Clark says.
"The video is edited on the fly, through the switchboard. The artists get to sit in the booth after they are done. The audio quality is great and the video is good."
He reels off a list of the technologies that gets the music down.
"There's the audio running with Pro Tools digital audio workstation, which is done multi-track through, a couple of nice microphones, there's the guitars plugged in through the walls," he says.
Construction of the large green screen and white screen areas was recently completed; a live video stage is ready.
"We are able to start working with bands more efficiently on ongoing concepts. It won't cost $2,000 to produce a music video. They can come from for a two-hour booking and leave with something nice," he says.
"And we can save all their settings and with the push of a button, we can pick up where we left off, with all their mixes set — their effect, their vocals the way they like it. It's a really cool stage. Plug and play."
Some would say Clark is ambitious.
"I'm stubborn is what my mom says," he laughs.
"When I get something in my head, I can't get it out. I've been on this studio idea for almost 10 years now. I work every day (Clark is an architectural designer) to get the next part of WMN done.
"I'm excited about what we offer."
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