Hours a day: what's your limit?

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Taking breaks or risk breaking down?

Post by supafuzz » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:06 am

This is a perfect topic for today.
Yesterday I worked 9 and a half hours. I wanted to stop at 9 hours but had to burn a cd for the client and back up the work to their drive.
The Cd burning software was locking up and I was exhaused and I melted down and was tossing cd's like frisbees into the room when they wouldn't burn.
I was cursing and just being very pissed of exhausted and frustrated.

Didn't take enough breaks, worked really late doing live sound the night before,
have a new fitness routine that's been kicking my ass. So all of these things came together at hour 9- to 9 and a half.

I'm embarrassed and the client didn't need to experience this.
I need to monitor my self [pun optional] and make sure if I'm tired I cap things at 8 hours. I really felt ok in hour 9 but then when I hit the wall...that was all she wrote.

that was all I wrote
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Post by Leopold » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:21 am

Anything greater than 10 hours and it is tough. All of a sudden you start forgetting, where to disengage mutes, a fader move...there have been a few marathon sessions but not many.

Last edited by Leopold on Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Leopold » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:22 am

TapeOpLarry wrote:
One thing I tell people is "I need time to deal with Tape Op".
I'm going to start using that one too :wink:

Thanks Larry!
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Post by Leopold » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:38 am

You know I remember reading on here someone mentioning for some bands, being in the studio is like a vacation for them, away from work or a daily routine, so they want to go hours and hours, stay up all night etc....they forget that for some people this is their job. So at times you have to remind them of that.
I teach during the day and then spend 2-8 hours at the studio, most of the bands I'm working with know this and also have day jobs so it's rare that we go really long. What I find that tends to be kind of lost, is that, let's say everyone agrees to end the session at 10 pm. End of the session comes and people want to listen back to stuff, just before you store the tape and shut down the gear someone asks, "Can we get a ruff mix of that?"

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Post by sessionsatstudiom » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:58 pm

I try and only go 8-10 hours. But we get some serious deadlines from time to time and all bets are off then. It can go crazy. I am not as young as I used to be. I could handle the 12-16 hour days for weeks on end. Now I really struggle.

When the day has been a long one sometimes just getting up and walking outside even for 5 minutes gives me a slight jolt again.

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Post by crow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:58 pm

I stick to 8, but go a little longer if things are cooking or if there's a delay that's my fault. Before the kid came along, it was 10 to 12 usually. I had been considering raising the rate, but just shortened the day instead. No one seemed to mind.

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Post by norsehorse » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:12 am

As a remote recording engineer, it isn't necessarily possible to rearrange, reschedule, or truncate a given session.

Yesterday was 7am - 2am (two gigs), plus a 7am start today.

For unusual scheduling, I ask myself "is this possible/safe?". If the answer is no, I hire someone else to help.

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Post by doc » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:26 am

I get that an 8-10 hour day is where everyone seems to be able to give their best (musicians, producers, engineers, etc.) but I've never found it to be realistic.

I'm not recording so much these days as I had some major burnout to deal with leading to a career change, but from years of recording a variety of clients as a producer, engineer, or assistant in some really big studios as well smaller ones I averaged 12-14 hour days.

I know the title says, "what's your limit" but I don't recall ever having much control over how many hours I put in when it came to doing what the producer dictated or what the band needed for the session.


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Post by Beat Poet » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:48 am

What sucks for me is that I can do an eight hour day, and I do, but no matter how long I sit at the kit, on some songs I just have to give up, sleep on it and come back the next day. Learning multiple songs and recording them in the same day is tough, there's only so much that the brain can take on and relay back to you while you're recording.

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Post by Brian » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:29 am

If they're cool, infinite hours for tracking if they can pull it off and we're all feeling great. I've done 48 hours before..

Mixing, if I'm alone, 8 hours with at least 3 breaks.
With band, 4 hours and notes taken, Then a couple more alone.

In my early youth, I've done 48 hour mix sessions for 48 track analog sessions, and I couldn't say why the mix was tinny and full of reverb. Heheheheh. GLAD I was only assisting on that one. The mix engineer was already brain dead at 24 hours, couldn't even talk at 36, I couldn't get him to hear any of that stuff happening. Heap of rubble, and people were jealous I got that session. mm mm mm. It was bad the next day.
I think we could have redone it the next day with just me and the mix engineer in about 1/8th the time alone. The hardest part was getting the two Studers to sync and lock, way before any decent tool for that existed, 1983. Ooh, and dialing the Linn Drum. No not the Akai Linn MPC, the original Linn which used triggers of the original drums. (which sounded better than the Linn to me).
So, I make no exceptions these days for Mix or tracking hours unless there's damn good reason, such as, a TON of money thrown at me, or they're just that damn good, two conditions which are so rare now that I haven't seen them in decades.

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