Sony gets on board Lennon bus

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a nonprofit mobile audio and HD video recording and production facility, has been upgraded with new HD cameras from Sony. The state-of-the-art, A/V studio-on-wheels has provided free hands-on programs to hundreds of high schools, colleges, music festivals, concerts, conventions and community organizations since 1998.

Funded by Yoko Ono (the ex-Beatle’s wife) and sponsorships like those from Apple, Maxell and NAMM, the bus features donated equipment from Apple, Digidesign, Mackie, Roland and Sony. It encourages students to play music, write songs, engineer recording sessions and produce video projects using the latest audio, video and live sound equipment. As part of its 10-month tour across the country, the bus was recently parked outside Sony’s Park Ridge, N.J. headquarters, where Sony executives got to live their dream of recording rock-and-roll for a day.

The interior is divided into three separate studio environments that can be opened to create one large studio. The front studio is an audio and video production area. The rear studio offers pro-level recording and mixing, as well as an isolation booth for acoustic recordings, and a chromate (green screen) booth. Using Apple iMac computers with Protools for recording, the studios can feature all types of musical instruments. Also onboard is a Mackie P.A. system for live performances outside the bus.

The new Sony gear includes several PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX (solid-state) and HVR-V1U and HVR-Z1U HDV (tape-based) camcorders; LUMA LCD displays and LCD projectors; an Anycast Station for switching live productions; two BRC-H700 pan-tilt-zoom cameras (which can be positioned on top of the bus); and a full complement of wireless microphones and portable field recorders. The equipment is being used by students to produce music videos and other types of live music recordings (such as a recent middle school’s chorus concert).

The Lennon Bus will be at the 2008 Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI, June 26 to July 6, giving visitors the chance to try out new gear from sponsors Godin Guitars, Roland, Crate, Ampeg, Boss, Abelton, Sibelius, Propellerhead, Mackie and Audio Technica.