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Behind the Scenes: Marvel’s The Avengers

Marvel's The Avengers

With Avengers: Infinity War smashing box office records, it seems nobody missed the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Three editors who brought form to that universe back in 2012—editor Jeff Ford, assistant editors Robin Buday and Matt Schmidt—were the subject of this Behind the Scenes episode. Meet the team that helped to create one of the most successful films of all time using Media Composer, Pro Tools, and Avid shared storage. Let’s take a look back at the post production behind Marvel’s The Avengers.

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Deluxe Media Paris —Pro Tools | S6 at the Core of Multilingual Voice-Overs

Deluxe Media Paris —an affiliate of the American service provider for the movie and TV industry— opened its doors last year to meet the need for the adaptation and dubbing of foreign series and films into French and other languages.

Deluxe Paris dedicates half of its resources to the dubbing of feature films for the movie industry, and the other half to TV dramas and high-end documentaries. Deluxe’s clients include American and French distributors like Fox, Gaumont, Mars Film, BAC film, Paramount, Pathé, etc. , as well as TV channels TF1, Netflix, CBS, Warner etc.

With a surface of 1,700 m² spread over 3 floors, located near the Saint-Cloud quays and overlooking the Seine River, Deluxe offers two 7.1 mixing theaters, four audio post studios and a few digital labs, for the dubbing and mixing of cinema and multi-screen television projects. All studios are equipped with Avid Pro Tools HDX or Pro Tools HD Native, and the latest control surface —32-fader Avid S6 M40— is located at the heart of the large movie theater, known as “Theatre #6″.

Avid recently met Fred Taieb, Director of the Audio department at Deluxe Media Paris, a leading figure in the dubbing world, credited with over 500 movies, including Star Wars, Transformers and Fight Club.

Team work

“I’m not a CEO — I’m a team leader,” Fred likes to say. He spent over 10 years in the USA, and is well aware how vital it is that the team gets on in order for a movie to succeed. At Deluxe Paris, Fred relies on his Technical Director, Samuel Domingues, “a highly valued person”, and on five permanent members of staff. In addition, a large number of talented composers and artistic directors, as well as around 20 editors and sound engineers, regularly take part to Deluxe Media Paris’s dubbing projects.

Six comfy studios for all

With 25 years’ experience in various roles including supervisor/mixer, audio designer and CEO, Fred puts a particular emphasis on the acoustics, working comfort and technical environment.

“Our aim at Deluxe Media Paris is simply to offer the best possible service while making the technical aspect transparent, so that people can devote all their time to creation,” says Fred. “The well-being of comedians, artistic directors and sound engineers —who sometimes spend 10 hours a day in a theater— is also high among our top priorities.”

“Opting for the S6 with Pro Tools HDX was probably the best choice we made for our work and our clients.”

—Fred Taieb

Avid S6 control surface and Pro Tools—a perfect match

The first American feature film dubbed into French in Saint-Cloud was Spongebob, for Paramount. The French version was mixed in Theater #6 with the Avid S6 control surface driving the Avid Pro Tools HDX DAW.

“Opting for the S6 with Pro Tools HDX was probably the best choice we made for our work and our clients,” Fred explains. “Used alongside Pro Tools HDX, the S6 provides a whole lot of technology for a very reasonable price. It combines the practical aspects of a next-generation physical and tactile control surface with the proven features of Pro Tools HD software.”

He goes on to mention the ability to visualize tracks as waveforms to mix directly on the control surface, with the advantage of bypassing the Pro Tools screen in order to focus on the sound. He also highlights the surface’s improved touch and feel compared to the previous generation, with its clear color codes and central touch commands.

“We had suggested some improvements to make to the previous generation of Avid technologies, and their team has fully met our needs with this new version,” he says.

Automation and time-saving

With the Avid S6 control surface, the possibility to read and write the mixing data at any time on the Pro Tools session considerably improves the workflow. It also gives great consistency to the dubbing work, from one language to another. These session files include the full array of a movie’s soundtrack settings, from editing to automation, but also all the processing and effects plug-ins picked by the Deluxe studios to fully optimize the workflow. The sessions can therefore be exchanged and opened in a few seconds by Deluxe affiliates around the world.

Having supervised the mixing of countless movies in multiple versions all over the world, he’s an expert in the field. “With the S6 control surface, the time-saving factor is obvious for films and TV series dubbing,” Fred explains. “Since reverbs and pans already exist in the original version, the work consists of going back to the original and focusing on the tone of voice and specifics of each language. For instance, we may need between six and seven hours for the French mix of a 50-minute American TV series episode. By going back to that session and its automation data, we cut the time in half for the adaptation into another language. It changes everything! On top of that, when you go from one session to another, the soundscape stays the same and the consistency with the original work is maintained.”

Building up on the previous versions, and improved by new client-oriented features, the Avid S6 control surface offers a very modern approach to mixing, with a greater focus on the creative and instinctive sides of the work rather than on the technical side. Avid S6 + Pro Tools? “Probably the best possible match for mixing,” Fred states.

The Deluxe studios were set up by the company 44.1.

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Inside Eleven Sound’s Brand New Audio Post Mixing Suites Featuring S6 and HDX

We recently visited Jeff Payne, founder of Eleven Sound in Santa Monica California, a boutique audio post production facility. Reflecting Jeff’s humor, Eleven was named as an homage to Spinal Tap (something we can relate to). He has mixed dozens of Super Bowl and prime time TV spots as well as Emmy award-winning work including Chrysler’s “Born of Fire” for Wieden+Kennedy Portland and P&G’s “Best Job”. Jeff and his team have recently completed a major expansion with the addition of two brand-new state-of-the-art audio post production mixing suites.

TG: What is your main focus?

Jeff Payne: We’ve been around since 1999 and I started with Pro Tools and Pro Control. 97% of what we do is sound for Television spots. I really love working on commercials because I get to wear a lot of hats! I do everything from music editing, sound design, dialogue work, ADR, VO and of course mixing…

 

TG: What are the big challenges you face nowadays?

JP: We are the last stop in the chain and for the last few years picture is still being changed while we are mixing. Sometimes we mix and go on the air the same evening. It’s so much easier for our client’s client to make changes and things can move so quickly—that’s the norm now.

 

TG: What rigs are you currently running in your main room?

JP: We are running Pro Tools | HDX on the latest Mac Pro. I’m really happy with it— it’s really fast! We have some sessions that are as big as 30 gigs and it’s smooth. I have the Pro Tools | S6 M10 16 fader surface as well…

“Panning on the touch screen is something that I really love. It’s fast and intuitive.”

—Jeff Payne

TG: What brought you to Pro Tools | S6 and your setup?

JP: I’m very comfortable mixing in the box and for me, faders are really important for mixing music and dialog – you have to use your hands. I really like having the control surface angled to the side right next to my keyboard and mouse… With the faders and specifically the attention fader on my right hand, it’s super fast and very easy to tweak one fader at a time by just clicking on it in Pro Tools and it pops onto the attention fader. I never have to move my head or move my hand far at all. My left hand never leaves the keyboard (for transport) and my right is free to grab the track I need. It’s kind of an unorthodox setup but it works for me…

I love the Master Module touchscreen for navigating and the matching color-coding of tracks… And, 80% of what we do is in 5.1 surround sound so panning on the touch screen is something that I really love. It’s fast and intuitive. The fader feel on the S6 is really great too. The color-coded knobs have intrigued me more to start integrating that into my workflow and move away from the mouse a bit more for plug-in control.

 

TG: You also have an Artist Series VO/Sound Design studio upstairs as well?

JP: Yeah, it was the concept and layout of my assistant AJ. He uses Pro Tools and the Artist controllers very similarly to how I use S6 where you can simply click on a track and it brings it to the lower 12 faders. The upper 8 faders we lock down for static tracks like Mic input, ISDN return, ISDN send, phone patch, etc… with Layouts. It’s pretty cool and the price point was just right for that room.

You can watch and listen to some of the big spots Jeff has mixed here. Below is one of my personal favorites…

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Anastacia

Behind the Scenes: Anastacia

Anastacia’s 2015 Resurrection Tour is “all about the music,” as she makes clear at the very beginning of the gig. Backed by a tight band, Anastacia delivers an energizing mix of soul, pop, and rock styles packed with all of her old and new hits, effortlessly moving between uptempo electronic and rock numbers as well as intimate ballads throughout the performance.

Responsible for bringing Anastacia’s sound to her fans is FOH engineer and long-time VENUE user Gerard Albo, who has worked with artists including Amy Winehouse, Patty Smith, Corinne Bailey-Rae and many others.

“The main challenge of mixing Anastacia is to conserve the dynamics of the band and to contain her powerful voice”, explains Albo. “And the S3L-X does a great job on that—the dynamic range and the sound are superb.”

In this Behind the Scenes video, Gerard Albo talks about the production of the current Anastacia Resurrection Tour and shares his insights and techniques for mixing such a dynamic artist with VENUE | S3L-X.

 

Get inside the Mix of Anastacia

Sign in to part 2 and follow Gerard as he runs through all the signals and microphones on stage, and mixes one of Anastacia’s biggest hits, ‘Sick and Tired’.

WATCH PART 2




Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2

Avengers: Age of Ultron opens tomorrow. To get ready, we dove into the Avid video vault for a refresher on how one of Earth’s mightiest heroes—Iron Man—made it to the big screen in his second solo film. Go behind the scenes of Iron Man 2 with editors Dan Lebental and Richard Pearson. Hear how they collaborated on one of the most successful films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the help of Media Composer and Avid shared storage.

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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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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Veteran editor Alan Edward Bell, ACE is known for his innovative work on films like The Green Mile, The Amazing Spiderman, and Water for Elephants. His collaboration with director Francis Lawrence on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire resulted in a blockbuster film that has grossed over $800 million at the box office.

In this behind the scenes interview with Matt Feury, recorded at Avid headquarters, Bell shares the details behind his unique Media Composer-based workflow, and offers valuable tips for a career in filmmaking.

In the video you’ll learn why close collaboration with a director is so important and understand how self-training can give you an advantage. Watch now to gain useful tips and techniques from one of Hollywood’s top editing professionals.

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Massive Attack

Behind the Scenes: Massive Attack

Front of House Engineer Robb Allan made the jump from analog to digital in 2005 and hasn’t looked back. Now touring with Massive Attack, Robb is delivery amazing sound each night with a VENUE | S3L-X system. Let’s go behind the scenes to learn how Robb solves the challenges of mixing FOH for this widely popular band.

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