Pro Mixing: London’s Top Post Facilities Embrace Pro Tools | S6

By in Audio Post, Pro Mixing

I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of London’s top post houses (that offer audio services) and was struck by the incredible modern designs that they have and the incredible breadth of work that they perform. The facilities that we are profiling below are award winners and the top post houses for commercial spots, primetime TV, Drama and Features. For them, choosing the Pro Tools | S6 modular mixing surface offers the possibility for complete customization and packs powerful control and deep visual feedback in a compact format, giving the mixers who work on the biggest content in the world the tools they need to deliver great mixes. Here’s what these recent adopters have to say…

Smoke & Mirrors, TAG

The S6’s entry into the market came at a perfect time for Smoke & Mirrors and TAG based in the heart of Soho, a haven for top post facilities. They were establishing their audio department, building three new suites in a brand new state-of-the-art facility, and were looking for the next generation of consoles: something that would fit both short form advertising and broadcast work, and that would take them well into the future.

“It’s clear that Avid considered the audio post market with this console as there are so many intuitive features geared towards this workflow,” says Scott Little, Head of Audio at Smoke & Mirrors. “Assignable soft keys, the enhanced transport section and jog wheel, and of course the main feature, the multi point touch screen which allows you to navigate the entire project and console at your finger tips and also gives instant access to channels, sends, plug ins, and just about anything. All this helps to work with greater efficiency and precision, which is key when turning around a high volume of work under time constraints.”

Another key feature that attracted Smoke & Mirrors to the S6 was its EUCON workstation support. “As we compose in Logic we have the ability to run our compositions simultaneously with Pro Tools, making it more efficient to deal with last minute picture tweaks,” explains Scott. “Having the ability to work with Logic so easily on the S6 is brilliant.”

ENVY

ENVY post production installed an S6 in its second building in Rathbone Place, Soho, where it is used for the quick turnaround of film trailers, VOD (video on demand), high-production online content and more. Envy chose an 8-fader S6 M10 with Producers Desk with Pro Tools HDX and version 11 software.

“I’m very impressed with the intuitive tactile control and comprehensive features that S6 provides in a compact format,” says Rich Martin, one of ENVY’s team of Dubbing Mixers. “The S6 is an extremely powerful console with a very smooth workflow. We first saw the S6 at Scrub’s Soho preview event and immediately knew that it would be perfect for our new audio suites. The ability to select the individual modules to match our needs was a major selling point. Our reseller Scrub was very helpful throughout the installation process and helped us configure it onsite in an arrangement that matches the workflow of our engineers.”

LipSync Post

Also in Soho, the S6 provides LipSync Post’s BAFTA Craft winning audio engineers with deep control of Pro Tools sessions via the central touchscreen Master Touch Module. This in combination with powerful Automation, Fader, Knob and Process modules delivers the fastest and most integrated control of their sessions. The console layout was tailored to fit the workflow of LipSync’s engineers who rely on the enhanced flexibility of layouts, VCA group spill and the Softkey Editor, as well as functions that enable clip editing directly from the Channel Strip.

Rob Hughes, LipSync’s Senior Re-Recording Mixer and Music Composer, comments, “When we came to update our desk in Studio 6, we wanted ultimate flexibility and integration with our Pro Tools HDX system. It’s a busy room that needs to serve as a mix studio for drama, short form and documentaries, as well as feeding work into our larger theatres and handling re-versioning and deliverables. The Avid S6 was our first choice.”

Goldcrest Post

Goldcrest Post Production London offers an array of theatrical film sound post production and recently installed an S6 in their dubbing theaters in conjunction with their existing large format digital consoles to better and more rapidly meet their clients’ diverse demands. “Every mix has specific requirements, and the S6 enables us to cater to each client’s unique needs,” says Robert Weatherall, studio manager at Goldcrest Post. “Due to its unique modular design, we were able to build a custom frame to allow the S6 to sit ergonomically inside our in-line console, something we could never have done with previous controllers. We can quickly and easily reconfigure the theatre to be whatever the job demands.”

Silverglade

One of the longest-established post-production facilities in London, and a longtime Avid customer, Silverglade installed an S6 in its ‘sound recordist’s acoustic paradise’ for long and short form TV post.

“The S6 is a joy to work with,” says Andrew Swallow, Silverglade’s Dubbing Mixer. “The compact design allows you to have everything you need all within arm’s reach, allowing you to stay in a central monitoring position. The controls are intelligently designed, and the touch screen allows you to access and manipulate multiple aspects of your mix quickly and easily. I can also see detailed visual feedback about the mix, with variable-speed scrolling waveforms and professional metering that is helpful for loudness compliance and other measurements.”

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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.