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Mixing Dialog

Master the Art of Post Mixing

In Episode 2 of Master the Art of Post Mixing, we dive into the basics of mixing dialog including production, ADR and FUTZing. We also look at the concepts of best dealing with muting tracks and advanced automation features like Preview mode. Let’s take a look.

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Session Management

Master the Art of Post Mixing

In Episode 1 of Master the Art of Post Mixing, we introduce you to the project and demonstrate how to organize your tracks, arrange them, and recall them to the control surface in the most efficient way possible. This is critical in the path to successful mixing. Let’s take a look.

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

Harbor Films New York Delivers the Soundtrack for the Netflix Original Series 'Marco Polo' with Pro Tools | S6

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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Exploring the Sounds of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ with Re-Recording Mixer Will Files

I recently sat down with Will Files as a follow up to our short interview at NAB last April, where we discussed his use of Pro Tools | HDX, the new Pro Tools | S6 console and his approach on the summer theatrical release of Dawn of the Planet of The Apes (one of the top 10 grossing films of 2014 at $ 708M worldwide). Will is a very talented sound supervisor and re-recording mixer who is working on the biggest Hollywood films (including the new up coming and highly anticipated Star Wars episode) and he leverages modern mixing technologies to the max.

In this interview—we dive a bit deeper into his approach on the movie and dig into some of the technical aspects of pre-dubbing in Pro Tools, his use of plug-ins and how he approached mixing for Dolby Atmos.

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Pro Tools | S6 Software Version 1.4 Update Now Available

Pro Tools | S6 version 1.4 is now available and has several key workflow enhancements requested by owners and beta testers including:

  • Expand Mode Improvements of EQ and DYN Knob Sets –all EQ and Dynamics plug-ins are now unified and map more efficiently to the S6 Knob (32 knobs) or Process Modules (8 knobs) in Expand mode. All EQ and DYN plug-ins map to the same knobs when EQ or DYN functions are expanded.
  • An overall simplification of Input and Output assignments (including multiple assignments from the channel strip and or the Master Module.
  • New Automation Trim Metering/indication on the right LED meter next to the fader. While editing an existing Trim pass, the Right meter lights LEDs above or below 0 to indicate the underlying Trim value.
  • New Automation Write indication on the right LED meter next to the fader for any other mode than Trim (like Latch or Touch) to indicate the underlying automation value, making it easier to find the match out point.

  • A new Auto-Bank preference that allows the user to define banking for a selected track (selecting the track on the Master Module Track Matrix, or selecting in Pro Tools/EUCON DAW, or pressing a channel select switch on the surface). The options are no banking following a selection, bank only if not visible on the surface or always bank.
  • For Fader Modules and the Attention Track on the Automation Module new Strips preferences include the ability to link/unlink strip Select and Attention states, show or hide track numbers from the DAW, and manage how control values are displayed on strips when adjusting parameters.
  • The Send/Insert Knobs Reversed setting introduced in S6 software v1.3 has been enhanced to also control how Input and Bus knobs appear on Knob modules. (The Sends/Insert/Input/Bus Knobs Reversed preference lets you configure Knob Modules to display slots in either of two ways, “a–j” or“j–a” making them top-bottom or bottom-top).

  • A preference for 5 –Knob strips to reverse the Function Pages. This new setting lets you configure Knob Module function views to display parameters in their default order, or “reversed” from their factory mapping. For example, enable Reverse Function Pages for 5-Knob Strips to have EQ plug-in parameters start with low frequency parameters instead of high.
  • Home Screen settings allowing the user to configure your first and second default function views (like Pan, EQ, etc.) and knob layout focus as well as how long the function graphs are displayed on the Touchscreen. This allows the user to map their favorite controls to default to the left and right knob-sets. If that EQ is not available on that channel then a Backup Function/Knob Page Settings option is available to be mapped like panning.
  • Auto Show the Function Graph on knob touch (like EQ or Pan) setting customization between 0 and 5 seconds.
  • You can now use switches on the Master Module to page functions and focus the touchscreen knobs on different parameters. When the Master Module ‘Shift’ switch is held down, the four switches at the bottom left and right of the touchscreen enter Page mode as indicated by their LEDs lighting purple.

  • New Auto Talkback options are available for the user. First – when “Auto Talkback” is enabled and the transport is not playing or recording, the talkback is automatically engaged. Second – “Enable Surface Talkback Latching” preference allows the Talkback switch to operate in a Latching mode if held down for less than half a second. Thirdly – when using remote talkback “Enable GPI Talkback Latching” allows the remote user the ability to latch talkback if held down for less than half a second.
  • Previously for S6 users in Asian countries, they could have Pro Tools sessions with Asian Language characters (in Pro Tools) but the S6 surface would only display English characters. Now there is a preference to display all names in Asian Characters on the surface.
  • New Progress Indicators for Session Load and Workstation Connect- Progress indicators appear on the touchscreen when loading sessions and connecting to workstations.
  • New System Status graph style indicators to see system performance.

 

Version 1.4 is available starting February 10th and installs EUCON 3.5.3 and requires Pro Tools HD 11.3.1 (For Pro Tools users to get all of the new enhancements). It is available at no charge to all users.




Pro Mixing: In the Studio with Ken Andrews and Pro Tools | S3

Pro Mixing: In the Studio with Ken Andrews and Pro Tools | S3

For me, it’s always a treat to see talented musicians create music together, and recently I had the chance to do so – and so can you in this video! Ken Andrews is one of my favorite modern rock musicians, songwriters, singers, guitar players and producers. I’ve known Ken for many years and his 2007 record “Secret’s of the Lost Satellite” is one of my favorites and always at the top of my iTunes Playlist. He mixes ‘in-the-box’ with Pro Tools | HDX and usually uses a trackball to do so on a very ergonomic Anthrocart that has a cool sit/stand electric lift option. When we announced the affordable, ergonomic, compact and powerful Pro Tools | S3 mixing surface, Ken was one of the first people that came to mind to get it in his hands.

So I approached him with the idea of having him do an alternate version of one of the songs from that 2007 record and taking around the S3 out to several of his friends studios to record some new parts with the built-in AVB Interface, then mix the song and really put the console through the paces. He was very willing to do so and allow us to tag along to shoot the process, share the mix and then give his impressions of the integrated solution for Pro Tools. Take a look.

And here is the finished mix of the song.

 

https://soundcloud.com/avid/what-its-like-2014

 

You can also view the full In the Studio with Pro Tools | S3  webinar where Ken answers questions about his experience, as well as a full 30-minute overview of how the surface functions from the product designer Kyle Splittgerber.




Pro Mixing: How Technicolor Toronto Collaborates in the Real World with Avid Everywhere

Pro Mixing: How Technicolor Toronto Collaborates in the Real World with Avid Everywhere

This is part two of our end-of-summer article about Technicolor Toronto and Re-recording Mixer Frank Morrone’s experience mixing The Strain with a Pro Tools | S6 control surface. Part one of the article was the full transcript of an interview I did with Frank, with his perspective as a mixer. This part will be centered on the video interview with Frank and other key folks at Technicolor Toronto and why they chose the Avid Everywhere integrated solutions and workflows for Post Mixing.

What really makes the story interesting and special, in my opinion, is that it is told through the lens of three different individuals at the facility, with three different jobs, requirements and challenges. All need to work as a team to keep the business prosperous, and at the end of the day, need to find the best-integrated solution to meet that goal. James Porteus is the Manager of Sound Services for Technicolor Toronto and is responsible for managing the business, the rooms, the mixers and ultimately keeping the clients coming back through the door. Ron Lynch is the Audio Engineering Manager and is the lead technical engineer for designing, implementing and supporting the rooms that the editorial and mix staff work in. The third person – is of course Frank Morrone, who represents a lead re-recording mixer on one of those stages, with a ton of cutting edge post mixing experience. Let’s take a look.

Over the past year they have implemented large scale upgrades to their rooms partnering with local Toronto reseller Saved By Technology and Avid including Pro Tools HDX systems across many rooms, 2 Dual Operator Pro Tools | S6 rooms and a large System 5 Hybrid DSP console for mixing IMAX theatrical releases.

How Technicolor Toronto Collaborates in the Real World with Avid Everywhere

“Every time Avid has released the product, they’ve listened to us… and have responded to that.”

— Frank Morrone, Re-Recording Mixer

How Technicolor Toronto Collaborates in the Real World with Avid Everywhere

Manager of Sound Services, James Porteus (above at a System 5 console), describes the relationship as a partnership. “The improvements in technology that Avid has brought to the table have been instrumental in the decision-making process based on its ability to be able to handle a much more robust workflow. And Avid is listening and responding, I would say, beyond what is humanly possible to a lot of the concerns that we have. Which is great because that’s the type of partnership we need in order to be successful, for all of us to be successful, quite frankly.”

“Going forward, we were very confident that we are in good hands with the Avid support. The type of support that they do give us is second to none, and we would not hesitate to purchase the next version when our needs come around again from Avid.”

— Ron Lynch, Audio Engineering Manager

How Technicolor Toronto Collaborates in the Real World with Avid Everywhere

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Technicolor Toronto

Frank Morrone, Technicolor Toronto

What really makes this Behind the Scenes story interesting and special, in my opinion, is that it is told through the lens of three different individuals at a facility, with three different jobs, requirements and challenges. All need to work as a team to keep the business prosperous, and at the end of the day, need to find the best-integrated solution to meet that goal.

James Porteus is the Manager of Sound Services for Technicolor Toronto and is responsible for managing the business, the rooms, the mixers and ultimately keeping the clients coming back through the door. Ron Lynch is the Audio Engineering Manager and is the lead technical engineer for designing, implementing and supporting the rooms that the editorial and mix staff work in. The third person – is of course Frank Morrone, who represents a lead re-recording mixer on one of those stages, with a ton of cutting edge post mixing experience. Let’s take a look.

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Pro Mixing: Inside the Making of ‘Hypnotic Eye’ with Ryan Ulyate

Pro Mixing: Inside the Making of 'Hypnotic Eye' with Ryan Ulyate

I recently sat down with Ryan Ulyate to discuss Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers chart topping Hypnotic Eye album, which he recorded, mixed and co-produced. He walked me through the entire process of crafting the #1 rock album—from jamming and tracking the songs at Petty’s rehearsal space ‘The Clubhouse’, to the collaborative workflow used during overdubs and mixing, to mastering and delivering the finished songs for various formats.

Throughout the project, Ulyate used Pro Tools and VENUE live systems to maximize the artist’s creative freedom—not only to capture the most and organic performances possible—but also to retain the  maximum flexibility and control during the entire process.

“I can start being a lot more creative from the very beginning—the very second they start playing—which frees me up too. It’s moving at the speed of creativity.”

TG: What was unique about recording and mixing Hypnotic Eye—can you take us through that?

RU: Well, what’s unique about it is that when we do the tracking it’s completely tied into the VENUE system that we have at the Clubhouse [Petty’s rehearsal/recording facility]. What’s great is that we’ve got great room for doing a monitor mix for the guys when they’re playing live. They’re listening to it on wedges—they’re not listening on headphones. They’re playing like a live band and I’m off in another room recording it, because all the signals get passed through the VENUE to the Pro Tools rig in the control room. They work out the arrangements of the songs on their own, and what I get to do is record the songs on my own. I’m not worrying about trying to get people monitor mixes or deal with that part of tracking—they’re talking to [monitor and recording engineer] Greg [Looper] about that. We’ve got it to the point where we don’t turn the monitors up that loud so I don’t have too much of a problem with bleed. There are certain things we do to lessen that problem, but it just gives them the space to work like a band on their own, and it gives me the space to work like a mixer on my own.

Then at some point after they’ve worked on it a little bit, they come and listen to what it sounds like as if it was a record and go out there and readjust. It gives them the space to really hear each other and just play in a more organic way, and it changes the way the music feels. The music just feels better when you do it that way. So we’re starting off with tracks that have a better, more live kind of feel. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to overdub stuff, but it just gives us creatively a really good jumping off point. And it’s leveraging my ability as a producer and as a mixer to sit there and mess with this stuff while they don’t even know what I’m doing.  So it gives me the space to actually start looking at what they’re doing from a perspective of a record, as opposed to the perspective as a tracking engineer, which is basically usually just get all this stuff down and don’t screw it up. So I can start being a lot more creative from the very beginning—the very second they start playing—which frees me up too. It’s moving at the speed of creativity.

“It also really frees [Tom Petty] a lot creatively because he knows at any point, at any point in the process of making this record, we can get into any song and address any issue.”

TG: That’s great So what happens next in the workflow?

RU: The next thing that happens after we get done tracking, I end up with the drives that we’ve cut at the Clubhouse. I come back to my studio in Topanga and now I sit there and I’ve got the time to make really detailed, decent rough mixes of everything. I get the mixes sounding as good as they can in my studio, on my time. I then take the drives over to Tom’s home studio in Malibu. He’s got the same rig, so I just move the drives in my car. I have the exact same Pro Tools system as Tom has, the same plug-ins, same everything, same version of software. It’s a mirror. There is not one thing different between the two systems. Tom and I listen to the rough mixes that I’ve done at home and we think about what we’re going to do. Tom, Mike, and I will just do it and say, “Okay. Well, we need to do the vocals on this, and we might need to do an overdub here or overdub there.” And so basically, since it’s all ‘in the box’, we can hear a song in as long as it takes to open up a session,(which is maybe a minute?), and we’re working on it.

“…I will never work outside of the box, because what it does is it allows me a creative freedom and a certain artistic creative speed to work with the people I work with that we’re not going to go back and change. We’re not going to go backwards to where we’re setting up a bunch of outboard gear and slowing things down.”

TG: So you’re easily able to move around—from the recording space, to your space, to his space—and all of the mixes translate including everything that you’ve done with automation and plug-ins. It all just flows seamlessly and it takes just minutes to go between songs?

RU: Exactly. That gives us a certain kind of a freedom which is good for two reasons. First off, it means the session moves really quickly and we’re not spending any time on tech stuff. All we’re talking about is creative stuff.  It works flawlessly. We’re moving at a certain speed of creativity that an artist like Tom is now used to because of this technology. We can get into any song and address any issue in a matter of minutes. So once again, Tom does something and now I can take it back to my place. He’s not sitting around and watching the paint dry. I go back to my place and I fine-tune the overdubs that we’ve got and we come back again and we keep on working on it that way.

It also really frees him a lot creatively because he knows at any point in the process of making this record, we can get into any song and address any issue. On more than one occasion on Hypnotic Eye he said, “You know, I’ve got a better line for the third verse of this song or the first line, I came up with a better one.” Well, he knows that that’s not a big deal. I’ll just show up,  put up the mike,  open up the session and he drops in the line and in 15 minutes we are moving on. That kind of workflow is the only way to do it and that’s why I will never work outside of the box, because what it does allows me a creative freedom and a certain artistic creative speed to work with the people I work with. We’re not going to go backwards to where we’re setting up a bunch of outboard gear and slowing things down. And it gets even better for mastering.

We wanted to make an album that wasn’t too long, that you could sit down and listen to, that had everything flowing into each other, that was the full experience of an album. We really wanted to push that over the idea of singles and individual songs, which basically the internet and digital downloads kind of tore the concept of an album apart back in the early 2000’s.

So how did we do that? Once we have all the songs in there and done, the one thing I’m doing as I’m mixing is always putting up the songs against each other. So when I’m mixing song A, I’m listening to the song I mixed before and I’m getting those songs to live in the same world, because a lot of what mastering is is just getting the levels to be right between things. So I’m already getting these things in some kind of shape, but the thing is when you start putting them together you realize, “Wow! The snare was really bright and pleasant in that song, but the next song it sounds a little dull and it just sounds a little, you know, it just needs to be more crunchy.”

It’s like, “Well, if I was mastering it I’d EQ it, right?” But since I’m listening to all of the songs right next to each other I’ll open up that session, do a little bit of EQ on the snare and all of the sudden, song A now fits better with song B. So Tom, Mike, and I spent a good week or so just getting the songs to sit next to each other and then adjusting the songs so they all flowed together perfectly. The bottom lined up, the top lined up, the middle lined up, the vocals lined up, the levels between the songs lined up. We did all of those tweaks in a kind of  ‘post-mixing’ way.

By the time I got to mastering we really had something that we’d already figured out all of the transitions between the songs. We’d figured out the gaps between the songs. We had a complete album put together before I even showed up to work with Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering.

TG: It’s almost like you’re pre-mastering and making the art of mastering so much easier.

RU: Right. An artist like Tom had issues with the usual mastering process because he made something and all of the sudden it came back and it sounded completely different. So our idea is to try and make it sound as much like we want it to sound before we even get there. Just the idea that you can always go back and move any part along and you can look at the whole thing in a holistic way and it is just the speed which you can do that. So then when we get to mastering, instead of printing files or printing stems, I actually take my computer and my rig with the cards and everything. We go through their signal chain using their D to A converters feeding their analog board and then into their A to D converters, set for 16 bit 44.1K. We monitor it at CD resolution.

The advantage is that I’ve got the complete Pro Tools sessions for every song. I’m not looking at stems. I’m not looking at sub-mixes. I’m looking at every element in the mix! At that point we take it one level further. Now I’m sitting there listening to it with Chris, who I really trust, and we’re making little, minuscule decisions about how much sub-bass on this one song and little things. Does the vocal need to come up three tenths? Little stuff like that, but once again, we’re not doing it with EQ, because I don’t want to change the EQ, because we just signed off on the whole thing, so now we’re just doing these little things to address the fact that we’ve changed the bit depth, that we’re going through some converters. We’re making it 16-bit for a CD and for downloads.

We’re adjusting the mix to make it work for that.   So we tweak the mix listening to the signal chain for every song. We put that together. Then we go back and now we’ve got to cut vinyl.  Now we go back and we go through this vinyl signal chain, which is full resolution, and we go back and we look at everything we’ve done and we tweak it again, because you’ve taken it out of the 16-bit land and you’ve taken it out of a bit of peak limiting, which you need to make it loud enough to be in the same world as everything else, and once again, Pro Tools gives us the ability to fine tune those mixes for whatever particular delivery format we’ve got.

And it still gets better, because at the very end I do a high res master that’s going to go out for FLAC downloads and blu-ray audio at our native resolution, which is 24 bit 48K. I can also take those sessions back to my studio and do a 5.1 mix, which I did on Blu-Ray. So I take the sessions and it took me about a week and I went through all the songs, about two songs a day, and I was able to make a 5.1 mix of all these things, because everything is already dealt with so well in terms of mixing that it was just a matter of placement. Once again, it just gives you the opportunity to deliver in multiple formats and I will never go back.

“…what’s also really important to understand is that we’re dealing now with so many different delivery formats…you’ve got to change things a little bit in order to translate to every one of those different formats, and the ability to just open the thing up and make those adjustments is crucial.”

TG: Creatively there are great reasons for doing it this way, but also from efficiency and workflow standpoints it’s hard to beat and it seems there are hardly any compromises, right?

RU: Right. There are no compromises and I think what’s also really important to understand is that we’re dealing now with so many different delivery formats. We mastered it for CD. We mastered it for iTunes, which is a completely different delivery format. We did high res digital mastering. We did mastering for the source for the vinyl, which is different. And with every one of those things you’ve got to change things a little bit in order to translate to every one of those different formats, and the ability to just open the thing up and make those adjustments is crucial.

 

TG: As you mentioned, nowadays the challenges are delivering a lot of different formats with a lot of different requirements, and leveraging the material to its fullest is critical for artists, right?

RU: Yeah. Absolutely. So I mean a really simple example is that [Tom] has a song, “American Dream Plan B”. It has a line that goes, “I’m half lit. I can’t dance for shit, but I see what I want, I go after it.” Well, we wanted to put it on the radio and all of the sudden I got this frantic call from the record company saying, “We just were about to deliver to radio and we realized it says ‘shit.’” So in 20 minutes I gave them “I can’t dance for SSHH”. Which is a lot better than I can’t dance for BEEP across the whole mix. Simple, but critical. We did a whole thing with FOX Sports where they used a lot of the tracks and they needed to have minus vocal mixes. I was able to deliver that in a couple of hours.

TG: Your challenges are being able to record, edit, mix and ultimately deliver anything, anywhere, almost at any time, as you said, in these different formats and leveraging the most of your products.

Avid Everywhere, which enables collaborators, people like yourself, Tom, and your other clients, to leverage technology to work better, smarter, and to ultimately be more creative. That’s the over-arching vision of Avid Everywhere that our company is driving towards. It’s also allowing people to manage these evolving workflows and business models and leverage them as best as they possibly can.

Then the next level down from that is the physical manifestation of it in the sort of first sets of go-rounds is called the Avid Media Central Platform. In the Artist Suite it’s Pro-Tools, it’s VENUE,  it’s EUCON, it’s the pro mixing control surfaces, like ICON, like System 5, like Pro Tools | S6. It’s the architecture that connects all that stuff together. There’s also the Media Management Suite, where metadata tagging will be coming,  so you know who played on what, etc…

RU: The integration that I’ve seen between VENUE [live systems] and Pro Tools has dramatically made my workflow better. If that is going to continue across all of the platforms, I think that that’s great. If that extends and you’re able to pull that off into other areas, then I’m for it.

A  little sidebar about this, which is connected to what you guys are doing with the Avid Everywhere, is that we recently did a Jimmy Kimmel Live Show. It was at Sony Studios and Jimmy Kimmel bussed his audience down to the sound stage that we were on for the full (tour) production rehearsals. They set up some bleachers and the band did three tracks from Hypnotic Eye.

The great thing about the the connectivity between VENUE and Pro Tools is that [FOH engineer] Robert Scovill and [monitor engineer] Greg Looper are always recording multitrack of every show and rehearsal on their systems. So whenever I need to do mixes of live material I’ve got a bunch of takes to listen to and their all available in multitrack format. That means that any live thing we put out is way better, because we’re recording every night. As opposed to the truck showing up one night and it better be a good show. We get to choose the absolute best takes and put them out.

We needed to mix live versions of two of the songs from Hypnotic Eye, “American Dream Plan B”, and “You Get Me High”. I took the multitracks that Looper had recorded during one of the rehearsals back to my studio. I mixed them for this radio program that was going to be put out on Terrestrial Radio on 300 stations where they interviewed Tom about the album. They played some album cuts, and they played some rehearsal cuts. So I had mixed these two songs.

The Kimmel thing came and they had originally contracted to get an analog truck to do the sound mix, which I would have been in and I said, “Wait a minute! We need to find a truck that’s Pro Tools”, and we found the right truck. It was Music Mix Mobile. I walked into that truck and I gave engineer Joel Singer my session template that already had the EQ and the limiters and the whole business from when I had mixed the same songs from a previous rehearsal. The assignments didn’t change, because Scovill and Looper already had that locked in, so I walked in with a template of the songs and was able to do a mix for TV that sounded just the way I wanted it to, since I had already got that sound on my original mix for radio. To be honest with you, it’s one of the best things I’ve heard on TV. Everybody loves it. We had that jump on it—once again, it was the tight integration of all your stuff that allowed us to do it.

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

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

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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