Here's what we've come up with for a working draft policy: we require that every project should be backed up to at least 2 places, and that the client has the responsibility to see that this happens. We are happy to provide space on our drives for free for 3 months, but the client must back up their audio at regular intervals to their own drives. If you need to store data longer than three months, you need to communicate with Eric or other Wellspring staff. We will store your audio for free for 60 days after your project is completed and backed up for the last time. After that, we can't guarantee we'll still have it.
Clients who want to supply their own drives and DVD's are welcome to, BUT (and it's a big but folks) we will not guarantee these drives. In other words, if your drive crashes and you lose your data... we know places to send it where odds are good for recovery, but this is a nightmare scenario we all want to avoid. That's why we stand by the drives we use; they've never crashed, we've never lost anything, and (so far) no client has ever insisted we use their bargain basement closeout deal 9 gig SCSI drive to do their project on. If we transfer audio from a Wellspring drive to your hard drive we will wait 30 days to allow you to fully review and backup the audio before deleting it from our drives. After 30 days, we'll delete it without calling you when we need drive space, so don't forget to review your files when you get home !
With this policy, you can expect to spend roughly $100-200 (including DVD's ) for material costs on an album- length project, so the cost of doing a RADAR-based project is just slightly higher than a comparable ADAT project. And when you hear the difference, and see what the new system can do, we think you'll make the jump.
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Since we run on a tight margin and want to avoid any misunderstandings, all
sessions at Wellspring observe the following guidelines:
1. Payment for tape and time is due at the end of each session, unless a different arrangement is agreed to by Eric. Checks are made out to Wellspring Sound, and we take paypal with a 3% surcharge( that's what they charge us)
2. Payment for the session begins when the session was booked to start, not when you arrive, unless the engineer is late. Usually engineers are at the studio 10 minutes before starting time if you want to set up. Set-up time, ie. the choice and positioning of mics, setting levels, etc, is an essential bit of work that Wellspring is paid for at our regular hourly rate. At the end of the session, the engineer spends time putting away equipment for 15 minutes without cost to you. After that you should expect to pay for the engineer's time ( usually at $20 per hour), but not for Wellspring time.
3. You're responsible for 75% of the time you booked. Thus, if you book a ten hour session, you need to work at least 7 1/2 hours or pay us the difference.
4. Studio time is not booked without a minimum 1/3 deposit, based on the estimated total hours of session time involved. Large blocks of time( more than two consecutive days) require longer advance notice if you have to cancel. We need a week's notice of cancellation for each day booked, so if you book 3 consecutive days, we need three weeks notice if you have to change your plans. If you can't stick to this, you'll lose 1/2 your deposit; less than 4 days in advance, and you'll lose the whole deposit, unless we can find someone to take the time. Allowances are made for acts of God and medical emergencies, and we're not unreasonable, but we need you to take studio time commitments very seriously. We aren't like a doctor's office or an airline that can plug in new clients at a moment's notice; when we book your session we never double book another client for the same time.
5. No master tapes in any form (digital, cassette, or reel) will be released unless payment is received, and no future sessions will be booked without advance approval from Eric.
6. Our Yamaha C-7's are great sounding pianos, especially when they've just been tuned. If you book a session where the piano is needed, we may recommend that it be tuned just prior to the your start time. The pianos holds their tunings fairly well, but Wellspring is not responsible for out-of-tune piano notes if you've chosen not to pay for tuning ($85) before your session. Incidentally we have an excellent tuner, Fred Mudge, who will tweak the piano action to your specifications, so come in before your session to check the action if you like.
6. Our instruments are maintained regularly, but if you want to make sure that a particular guitar is going to sound its best, bring along your favorite set of strings. ( We have some strings on hand that we sell at wholesale rates.) When stringing up some of our older acoustics, please check with Eric before stringing them with medium gauge or heavier strings- they may not be able to handle it. If you want to bring in your own drum skins for our drums that's fine, but you'll need to either leave the heads on the drums when the session's over or else restore the original skins to the drums and set them up properly for the next person.
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1.We're a drug-free studio. You can smoke cigarettes outside, and the local
White Hen has 24-hour caffeine, nicotine, sugar and grease (the four food groups
of recording) in many forms. That's it.
2.Please don't litter outside or inside; we're sloppy enough as it is! And dudes, do your dishes!
3.You can bring you own food, but it needs to stay away from microphones and gear. You're welcome to use our small refrigerator and microwave oven.
4.Guests are welcome, but we encourage you to invite only those people who might really be useful to your project or your personal sanity. Too many people in the control room is distracting to us and to you.
5. We're happy to store your tapes during and after your project (for up to 3 months). However, recorded tapes are the client's (i.e., your) responsibility. We're not able to absolutely guarantee, and are not responsible for the storage and safety of recorded tapes, CD's, hard drives, etc. Nothing bad has ever happened , but this is the age of lawyers...
6. January 2010- In our first 24 years of operation, we have never had any problems with studio gear being taken by our clients. However, in the last 6 months we've had over $1000 of instruments and microphones stolen, which we attribute in large part to the bad economy. This is extremely troubling to us, because we've always kept instruments out where our clients can use them. It also forces us to keep an eye on things in ways that distract us from our main purpose of recording great music. We have now instituted stricter instrument inventory controls, and want to remind our clients that honorable treatment of Wellspring gear is in their own best interest, and keeps the stuff around for future clients to use.
In the past, when clients paid $165 for 16-32 minutes of recording time on a
reel of 2” tape, there was never any doubt about the cost of recording media.
Nowadays, with digital, the costs are far cheaper, but the potential for sloppy
( and potentially disastrous) archiving practices is far greater. There’s also a
general vague impression out there that digital audio storage is somehow “free”,
since modern multi-gig hard drives are so cheap. Well folks, digital is really
CHEAP compared to analog, but it’s really EXPENSIVE when you lose your only copy
of something you forgot to back up. Don’t let this happen to you!
Here’s the rules at Wellspring :
1. Digital audio that is not in at least 2 ( TWO) places does not really exist. Let me repeat this: DIGITAL AUDIO THAT IS NOT IN TWO PLACES DOES NOT REALLY EXIST !! Until you have backed up the session to another hard drive, CD, DVD, ADAT or other storage medium, the session is not saved, and the audio is therefore subject to damage and loss. The Artist ( that’s you!) needs to own, or pay for, a means to back up their projects at Wellspring. This means you need to buy/bring a hard drive to the studio with you, or else expect us to to make hard copy CD’s or DVD’s of your audio at the conclusion of each session.
Wellspring now has 3 new 120 Gig Quantegy Firewire drives dedicated to quick backups of projects. Transfer stuff during breaks, playbacks or whenever, but make sure it gets done!
2. Backups take time and cost money. If you bring your own Firewire drive to the session, we will gladly take the time at the end of your session to transfer the audio to your drive.
3. Any failures, data/audio loss or other problems resulting from ignoring these guidelines are not Wellspring’s responsibility.
4. Wellspring frequently records projects onto RADAR and RADAR drives initially, and then backs them up to ProTools or as .wave, aka "broadcast wave" files. Sometimes clients will then choose to take the audio files home to work with them on their own. If we do this for you, it is with the understanding that once the audio leaves Wellspring, it's "your audio", not "our audio". We will allow 30 days without charge for you to review the transfers we did for you, and to give you time to check for any problems, do your own hard copy backups, mixdown, etc. If you need more than 30 days, you should specify this at the time of the backup, and make a specific arrangement in writing that is agreed to( email is fine) by Eric. After 30 days, if we haven't heard from you, we will erase, or record over your files as we need drive space.
If your intent in taking files home is to return to Wellspring to finish the project, we are more open to saving your original files on our drives. We used to be more laid back about older projects, but we have had clients wait months or even years with projects on our drives without any clear communication about what they're doing, all the while expecting Wellspring to archive their sessions with no hard-copy backups. It's a lose-lose situation for us, and it's something we want to minimize in the future.
We strongly urge clients who are leaving with audio files to mix down their project on a real analog or professional digital mixing desk, and not " in the box". Even if you don't mix with us ( and we think you should!), we want your project to sound as great as it can, and if you mix inside your computer, to state it plainly, it won't. We've had clients tell us that the rough mixes we did for them at the tracking session sounded better than what they were able to do " in the box" on their home PC.
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