A technician came over to me and showed me out and into the auditorium where the musicians and Johnny Pearson were in the final stages of preparation for recording.
I hadn’t realized until I walked in, just how big the recording studio was; it was cavernous, as big a cinema, in fact it was a cinema with a huge projection screen up front. It was full of musicians, hundreds so it seemed, all illuminated by the light from their music desks. It looked as though all the symphony orchestras of London had been brought together to play for my little cartoon.
Someone had let Johnny know I’d arrived. He asked me to come out to the podium to meet the orchestra.
Last time I heard the title track it was by Johnny on his piano and it had sounded great then, as I walked over the dark floor I wondered what would it be like when all this lot got going .
The maestro stood on his podium. There was an illuminated desk in front of him covered in sheets of music on which was written ‘321 Title.’
“Hello John.” He said.
I stepped up to join him. He switched on the mike and introduced me to the orchestra, suddenly I felt like Prince Charles. Then he asked if I had my updated storyboard with me, which had now been now adjusted to fit with his guide track. I got it out, thank God Dusty stayed quiet as I slid it out of my folio, and placed it on the music stand. Then following the pictures he asked where I thought the emphasis in the music should come, and as I told him, he made little notes on the score. Funny, in a flash I thought that maybe all those years singing in the choir and learning to sight read music hadn’t been wasted after all, because I could follow what he was doing and read the score- well bits of it, there were lots of lines.
Then he said,
“Let’s give it a go shall we.” He signaled he was ready for a run-through to the orchestra and the people in the control room behind the glass.
Standing there with the men and women of the orchestra, the maestro and a huge screen in front and above, I felt like I’d come home.
Johnny talked for a little while to the musicians explaining where he wanted the stresses in the score. Then he called them to attention for a run through without the animation on the screen. I thought at that point I should go back to the studio out of the way and started to but he stopped me, so I stayed.
I could feel the strings and brass and God knows what other instrumentation come to attention as he counted them down, raised his baton and launched into the first bars of the theme. It was like being hit by an orgasmic audio tsunami; a great wave of sound. Standing there next to this incredibly talented man in command of his mighty band of musicians, as this incredible music came alive, felt like being raised to heaven.
After a few more run-throughs and adjustments he was ready to put my film up there on the screen. This is done so that the conductor and orchestra can play to the image and to the time clock that clicks away at seconds and fractions of seconds. To that moment I’d never seen something of mine blown up to feature film screen size, it’s a humbling experience.
The titles countdown clock appeared and the image played as the music rang out like bells! The marriage of the sound and the picture was astonishing as the whole thing married together.
I felt my eyes welling up, but thought bursting into tears would be somewhat inappropriate!
After a few more run throughs, they went for a ‘take’ and got it.
And that was it, ready for broadcast.
At the recording studio with the musical director, Johnny Pearson as the title music for my animated title sequence for the quiz show 3*2*1 was recorded.