“I Love This Board So Much!” — Gord Hillier Discusses Mixing ‘Boyka: Undisputed 4’ on Pro Tools | S6

By in Audio Post, Pro Mixing

In the first of a series of specially-shot videos produced in collaboration with Nu Boyana Film Studios in Sofia, and Avid partner Bulcomp, Bulgaria, re-recording mixer Gord Hillier talks to supervising sound editor Kris Casavant, examining his use of Avid-based workflows, and the contribution made by the Avid Pro Tools | S6 control surface to his work on forthcoming martial arts film Boyka: Undisputed 4, which is due for release this September.

“One of the reasons that I am really loving working on the S6 for this project,” says Gord, “is that we are in a one-max mix environment, and yet we are working on a show that has quite a bit of coverage. I have at my fingertips three dubbers as well as Media Composer running elements including dialogue, music, effects, foley and BGs, and I can control all three dubbers by navigating through whichever dubber I am controlling at the moment. Then through the use of layouts we can really dive into each element specifically or view it from a much more macro level, thereby achieving a good handle on the whole show.”

“Not only can I gain access to all the elements very quickly, I have customised the console to work very quickly in a manner that is comfortable to my style of workflow.”

—Gord Hillier, re-recording mixer 

Dubbers, Layouts and Softkeys

The three dubbers being used on Bokya: Undisputed 4 are allocated as dialogue and music on one; sound effects, foley and BGs on the second; and then a third for recording, explains Gord. “But when we need to get to something more specific, like the sound design or the actual hit that is happening, I can quickly bring up that layout and the console immediately jumps to the faders that correspond to that particular breakdown. It’s nice to be able to bring up a fader that is a VCA and spill it out across the console for the purpose of quickly referencing the meters or making a small adjustment.”

Gord created a number of layouts for this particular mix template, which range from the hits and accents to sound design elements, camera whooshes, vehicles and more. “One of the things I really love about this console is that with the tier drop audio you can see the regions in front of you when you are mixing. I no longer spend very much time looking over at the monitor and a lot more time connected with the project I am mixing.”

Once Gord creates the layouts and different elements that he wants to be able to access quickly, the user softkeys enable him to bring the automation and editorial parameters that he uses most frequently, such as Preview and Punch Preview, to his fingertips.

Gord also benefits from a user page that has all of his automation features to let him know what he is currently automating. “I also tend to use the group/non-group functions and suspend automation. Once you have spent a little bit of time creating the layouts and softkeys, and have got the console to work the way you like, you can save that to a file which you can take to any studio using an S6 console and then have instant recall for that particular template.”

Standard Mixing Mode

Another feature that Gord appreciates with regard to customising the desk is that, “once in a while you can actually just exit layouts altogether and work in a traditional inline console. So you can bring up all the faders for the particular dubber you have chosen, and then by nudging or banking you can get to the features you want to access.”

“It’s been wonderful that the console has adapted so well to our particular project and needs.”

Mixing Redefined

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