Harbor Picture Company Delivers the Soundtrack for the Netflix Original Series ‘Marco Polo’ with Pro Tools | S6

By in Audio Post, Pro Mixing, Video Editing

I recently sat down with mixers Roberto Fernandez and David Paterson from Harbor Sound in New York City. They are part of Harbor Picture Company in New York which handles full film and TV post. They currently have two mix stages that are dual operator Avid System 5 consoles with Pro Tools and a new mix stage that is a dual operator Pro Tools | S6, dual 16 Faders 5 knobs, and displays with Pro Tools | HDXDavid Paterson is a re-recording mixer and supervising sound editor (SFX, BG’s & foley mix side) and Rob Fernandez is re-recording mixer (dialog, music mixer). In December, they mixed their first epic series on the new S6 console—10 episodes of Marco Polo for Netflix.

“With the S6 it’s a lot easier to forget about the computer monitor because you have everything right in front of you on the surface and you can stay focused on the mixing and the image on the big screen.”

— David Paterson, Re-Recording Mixer

Roberto Fernandez: “The S6 was the best solution we could find for our recent big project with a tight deadline: Marco Polo for Netflix with a December 2014 release. We had a limited time to get the room setup and 1 week to complete each episode. We had to find a solution that would let us hit the ground running. In my mind – this was the only way to go.

There really wasn’t a learning curve. It’s so intuitive and very well implemented. I found it to be the biggest strength of this machine. We never really stopped to say: “how do we do this?” there was very little of that.”

David Paterson: “When you work ‘In The Box’ on the ICON, people tend to spend quite a bit of time in front of and focused on the computer monitor to see the tracks and the waveforms. With the S6 it’s a lot easier to forget about the computer monitor because you have everything right in front of you on the surface and you can stay focused on the mixing and the image on the big screen. You can work a lot faster.

We had a lot of tracks to deal with. I found that the color-coding on the surface enabled me to look up at a glance, find tracks quickly and help me stay organized and really stay away from the computer monitor.”

“The S6 is really a great combo of both the best of the ICON and the System 5. It goes beyond what they both can do – it’s really flexible and I can mix faster.”

— Roberto Fernandez, Re-Recording Mixer

Roberto Fernandez: “The scrolling waveforms on the meter/displays is just a killer feature on this console. It allows me to be really precise. Especially when I’m mixing dialog, I’m able to go straight to a line and work on it. It’s really useful and efficient. I had always said that the ICON D-Control had the best workflow of any console I had worked on, but it had very little visual information back to me. The System 5 has a ton of great visual feedback and metering but doesn’t have the same integration with Plug-ins and the software. And now the S6 is really a great combination of both the best of the ICON and the System 5. It goes beyond what they both can do – it’s really flexible and I can mix faster.”

David Paterson: “We both use each side of console in radically different ways – Rob mixing Dialog and Music and I’m mixing FX, BG’s and Foley. Having two separate (affordable) S6’s setup as two engines allows us to work completely separately in totally different ways, but still working together – each customizing it in our own way. I had a tremendous amount of tracks, but wanted to keep them all available to me and using VCA’s to spill and get to all my tracks in a small footprint of 16 faders and still be able to quickly dive down into the individual tracks when I needed to. I don’t think we could have completed the job in the timeframe without the ability to each customize and work the way we needed to.”

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Marketing manager for Avid Post Audio and Pro Mixing, I am also a veteran engineer/recordist/editor. I've worked on music scores for dozens of feature films, including Ice Age, Collateral, and The Spirit.