Audio Master: Nathan De La Cruz
As the Director of Audio Engineers Nate keeps us organized by setting deadlines, keeps us going by fixing sound issues, ordering gear, creating recording schedules, and juggling many moving parts, all fueled by sushi and dried mango. We sat down with Nate and picked his brain so you could get to know him and get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to record the entire Bible four times (once for each of our voices, and more to come)!
1. Take us behind the scenes of your process of organizing/recording/mastering.
We do all of our recording in Logic Pro X. We have a recording booth in one of our offices that is totally soundproof, and we have 2 recording techs/producers that are doing all the recording. Their primary job is to make sure that the voices are delivering the best performance possible, as well as making sure everything is read correctly.
Once a book is recorded, it goes to the editing phase. We want to eliminate any distractions that get in the way of people receiving The Word, so we try and edit out any mouth clicks, smacking lips, big breaths, and any other noises that would start to wear on the listener after a while. We are also checking for mistakes-making sure the text and the reading match word for word. If there are any mistakes, the parts are re-recorded, and then the tracks are mastered.
During the mastering phase, we are checking one more time for mistakes, and making sure that the volume/tone of the recording is consistent from voice to voice and book to book. Once this is done, we export everything and upload it to the app so that verse markers can be placed.
2. Has this process changed over time?
Our workflow looks a lot different now than it did when we first started. Every time we reached a new step, our process adapted to be more efficient. We have had to redo work a few times, but I feel like our end product has benefited from it, and if we had to do it all again (and when we record new translation or add a new voice), we will be able to hit the ground running and move through it really quickly since we have learned so much from trial and error this first time around.
3. What’s the biggest challenge of tackling such a big project from an audio standpoint?
The biggest challenge for me is keeping everything organized and leaving clear notes so that we know exactly where we are in each book. Between our editing and mastering engineers and our recording techs, the audio changes hands a few times before the book is finished, so clear communication is key. Setting goals in the project is also really helpful! Since this is such a massive project, I like to set milestones that are easy to accomplish (for example, the current project is to finish The Gospel of Mark and 1 & 2 Corinthians). This helps us see the finish line, keeps everyone motivated, and helps push us on to the next goal.
4. What did you do before joining the Dwell team?
Before I started at Dwell, I worked at a private Christian school as the department head of worship and media arts, and I taught guitar and piano lessons on the side.
5. How does it feel to work within a team to make this project come to life?
It’s been great! I’m really blessed to work with an awesome audio team of really knowledgeable people. The voices make things really easy as well, and are great to work with. There is no way one person could get something like this done, and I’m just grateful everyone works incredibly hard to meet the goals that we have set so that we can get the app out as soon as possible.
Snack: Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
Band: John Mayer
Book of the Bible: I just finished up the book of Acts, I love the stories in that one.
Marvel movie: Doctor Strange
Hobby: Playing and Writing Music
6. How has working on this project changed your outlook of the Bible?
I tell people this a lot, but it’s always really interesting the things that you learn if you sit down to listen. I grew up in a Christian family and so was exposed to the Bible early and often, and I had read all of the Bible stories plenty of times, but it is crazy how different it is to experience them in an audible way. During editing, I’ve gotten a chance to listen to the Bible every day for the last 9 months, and I’m excited for people to get the same experience that I have had as the stories and the teachings really start to come alive.
7. What excites you most about the app?
I really love how accessible Dwell makes the Bible. So many of us live on the move, and it is difficult for people to have extended time to sit down and read the Bible. Dwell will make listening to the Bible as easy as turning on the radio or opening Spotify, and that really excites me.