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EUCON 2020.11 Now Available—What’s New

EUCON 2020.11 is a massive update for Avid’s control surfaces, and introduces many new workflow enhancing features, including Pro Tools Folder Track Spill, PECDIR metering for Film Post, the new Avid Control Desktop App for Avid S1 and S3, and much more.

 

Pro Tools Folder Track Spill (Avid S1, S3, S4, S6, Control App, Artist Mix)

From the touch screen, surface, or Avid Control App, you can now spill out not only VCA Masters, but also Folder Track members. For the S1, S3, Control App and Mix it works the same way as VCA Spill in every way—the S1 even has the S3’s Multi-master Mode. For the S4 and S6 the same applies, spilling members into zones, left or right and even on Attention. In addition, there’s the option of opening and closing the folders in Pro Tools on Spill and UnSpill.

Avid Control Desktop (Avid S1 and S3)

For the new Avid Control Desktop Application, we took the Meters View from the Avid Control iOS/Android app and expanded it, letting you run it on a Windows or OSX workstation—you can even run it on a separate workstation from your DAW. It’s fully scalable in size and can follow from one to four S1 surfaces (8-32 tracks) or one S3 (16 tracks). It can also be mixed and matched with S1’s using a tablet to monitor metering. For example, if you have three S1’s, one could have a tablet meter and the other two could use the Desktop App.

Avid Control Desktop App running in conjunction with Pro Tools

Avid Control Desktop App can be customized to your workflow and desktop layout. You can size it small with just the track name and meter, but then expand it out vertically to add routing, automation, group data, and a multi-use Function Graph. And then at the maximum height, you can display all three graphs at once (Pan/EQ/DYN), and the settings panel offers you numerous other customizations . The new Avid Control Desktop App is free and included in the EUCON Workstation Installers for Windows and OSX.

 

PECDIR Metering (Avid S4 and S6 with Post Modules)

Utilizing the same Display Module hardware already on S4 and S6, you now have the ability of linking them to your PECDIR Post Modules and displaying the tracks from Post Layouts. PECDIR Metering offers you five different views (1, 2, 3 and 4 high, plus large meters), two different color options, and up to 10 wide surround formats. Both an Input (DIR) and an Output/Playback (PEC) meter can be assigned to these Post Layout Tracks. These can be from any track, from any connected Workstation (Pro Tools and MTRX), and up to three Display Modules can be used with three Post Modules.

Red/Green color option

4 Rows View Metering

Normally the PEC meters would come from the Pro Tools Recorder, and there is now a preference to auto populate these. Pro Tools versions 2020.9.1 and later can keep meters on Disk Playback even when switching to Input when connected to a Post Display Module. The DIR meters can come from the Playback Pro Tools or even MTRX.

 

EQ and DYN Cycling (Avid S1, S3, Control App, Artist Mix)

The S4 and S6 have this feature already and now it’s on EuControl Surfaces. Tap the EQ or DYN button and Pro Tools looks at the “EUCON Surfaces EQ DYN cycling Starting at Insert” setting for which slot to start in and displays either that slot or the next one that an EQ/DYN is in. Tap the button again and it moves to the next slot that an EQ or DYN is in. The Graph and the knobs on the surface follow. Keep going and it goes through them all and then back around to the first one.

 

Track Rename (Avid S4, S6, Control App)

You can now rename Pro Tools tracks from both the Avid Control App and S4/S6 Master Module. On Avid Control, double tap a track name anywhere and you will be presented with a keyboard for renaming. Similarly, on the S4/S6 Master Module, double tap the Home Screen’s Track Name to rename it.

 

Auto Bank to Selected Track (Avid Control App)

Now Avid Control can join the surfaces and follow Track selection. Not only is there now a new preference that can sync all screens together so the same tracks are always visible, but if you want the screens to bank independently, you can still sync a single screen by pressing and holding the Screens Tab name at the top.

 

All Controls Track Automation Feedback (Avid S4 and S6 Display Modules, Control App)

Now, on both the Avid Control App and S4/S6 Display Modules, you get visual feedback whenever ANY control on a track goes into Write or Preview mode.

 

Lots of smaller features and bug fixes

As always, EUCON 2020.11 features numerous bug fixes and smaller enhancements, including:

  • Big Sur support (Intel only) for EUCON—note that Pro Tools does not yet support Big Sur (click here for details)
  • EuControl bank by whole surface
  • Save Layouts locally
  • 32 Foldowns on the Monitoring page of Avid Control
  • S4/S6 Workstation Softkeys
  • Title name and save confirmations
  • And more

Avid Control Desktop App with Avid S3 control surface

Availability and installation

EUCON 2020.11 is available now available for Avid S4 and S6 with a valid Avid Advantage support contract—just log in to your Avid Account and find the installer link.

For Avid S1, S3, Dock, Control App and other EuControl surfaces, simply log in to your Avid Account to download the new software.

Discover the new Avid S1

Get the unparalleled speed, rich visual feedback, and software integration of Avid’s high-end consoles in a slimline surface that’s an easy fit for any space or budget.




EUCON 20.5 Now Available—What’s New

Avid is pleased to announce that the EUCON 20.5 software update is now available for all EUCON control surfaces. This release offers support for the new Pro Tools Folder Tracks, as well as Layout creation directly from the Avid Control app—plus many bug fixes and performance enhancements.

Folder Tracks

Pro Tools 2020 introduced Folder Tracks, which introduces new ways of working in the software and with control surfaces. Folder Tracks can perform a simple organizational function or be part of your session routing infrastructure, and they greatly simplify and speed up control surface operation.

On both Avid S4/S6 and EuControl control surfaces, you now have the option to show not only Hidden Tracks but also Closed Folder Track Members. These can be selected individually when in Banking, Layouts, or Spill mode, giving greater flexibility for different workflows.

Nine new Softkeys offer full control over opening and closing both Parent, Child, and Sibling Folders for the attentioned track. You can also control multiple folder tracks via the Do to All and Do to Selected commands. In addition, the Tracks Screen now has buttons and icons that enable opening and closing Folder Tracks by touch.

S4 and S6 also gain a new Strip command on the CSM/fader module to open and close folders directly from the surface. You can also filter your view using the Type button on the Master Module to view your folder tracks. Stay tuned for additional EUCON Folder Track workflows in the future.

Layouts Assign from Avid Control

Layout creation for surfaces using EuControl just got a lot easier and more flexible in 20.5, and now works similarly to S6. From the Avid Control app you can build layouts quickly, directly from the Tracks Screen. Pressing the Assign button brings up a new set of buttons and track blocks that match the connected physical surfaces (S1, S3, Mix and Control). From here you can assign tracks, blank strips, attention or Auto Assign. An improvement to the previous method of creating Layouts in EuControl, you can now insert and delete tracks, and others will shuffle to make room or close the gap. Convenient Blank All and Clear All buttons make it easy to start a fresh.

Once you’re done assigning tracks, the new Layout can easily be named and stored right from the Avid Control app screen, from which Layout recall is also possible

Availability and installation

EUCON 20.5 is available now available for Avid S4 and S6 with a valid Avid Advantage support contract—just log in to your Avid Account and find the installer link.

For Avid S1, S3, Dock, Control App and other EuControl surfaces, simply log in to your Avid Account to download the new software.

Discover the new Avid S1

Get the unparalleled speed, rich visual feedback, and software integration of Avid’s high-end consoles in a slimline surface that’s an easy fit for any space or budget.




5 Reasons to Get Pumped about Avid Connect Live at Summer NAMM 2019 in Nashville

If music is in your blood, you’ll either be at the Summer NAMM 2019 conference, or super jealous you can’t be there. So check this out – we opted out of a trade show booth this year because we’ll be too busy soaking up the sun in Nashville, talking to some of our “kind of a big deal” audio friends, and hanging out with you! Although you shouldn’t need them, here are five reasons to get ready for Connect Live @ Summer NAMM 2019:

 

1. We’re announcing our new product releases

Why would you want to miss hearing about the latest innovations before everyone else? Exactly.

The festivities get underway at our Welcome Session & Panel on July 18 at 11 a.m. CDT at Belmont University’s Johnson Center. Be there when we reveal our latest audio products and innovations. Holed up in the studio? Heading out on the road? Getting creative in another country? No worries. You won’t miss a beat when you tune in to our LIVE STREAM, available on Avid.com, Avid social media, and our newest—and most importantly, free — app, Avid Link.

 

2. Panel and breakout sessions featuring top talent

Are you like us and want to know everything about everything? We’ve gathered the people you want to hear from: the industry’s leading musicians and music producers of course. They’re ready to get real with you and share their creative journeys and how they actually USE Avid tools. I mean, what’s more helpful than that?

 

3. Free, really cool on-site training sessions

We’re rolling up our sleeves to bring you two days of training covering the latest, most relevant techniques that you’ve been dying to learn:

From Sketch to Song

Get your musical ideas into Pro Tools to clean up noise, match song tempo and organize your session.

Record your Own Demo

Pick up basic vocal recording techniques, and use the virtual instruments bundled with Pro Tools to create great-sounding tracks and record your own distribution-worthy demo. #MakeYourOwnLuck

Live Recording Tips for Gigs

Configure Pro Tools for live recording and create a session template and click track for the drummer so you can easily capture those perfect moments during your live gigs.

Studio Session Recording Techniques

Make discrete headphone mixes for each band member, rapidly reset between takes and overdub parts, and get the best performance on each track using Pro Tools 2018 and 2019.

Also, make sure to REGISTER RIGHT AWAY for these first-come, first-serve sessions now.

 

4. Opportunity to claim your 15 minutes of fame and win a free Pro Tools subscription

When you see our roving Avid Street Team @ NAMM, grab your chance at a live interview and some sweet giveaways. Tell us what you’re up to in the studio, what you’re having for lunch, who’s on your Spotify list (the world is your stage) and we’ll give you an Avid-branded purple bandana just for finding us. Upload a selfie featuring that bandana and hashtag #AvidConnectLive and you’re automatically entered to win a Pro Tools subscription! Even if you’re not with us live, you can still walk away with a Pro Tools license through our social media giveaway; follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for your chance to win.

5. Live music from the next generation of killer talent

We’ve lined up the next generation of performers to take over the Avid Stage @ Summer NAMM. Join the celebration as up-and-coming student talent from the School of Rock deliver next-level performances on the big stage, located in Music City Center. We’re super pumped, and you should be too.

If these aren’t big enough reasons to join us at Connect Live Nashville—whether you are at Summer NAMM or joining us via live stream—we give up. Just kidding, we never give up.

Visit our Connect Live page to learn more, register for free on-site training, and get ready to live stream our 2019 Audio product reveal from ANYWHERE in the world.

 

GO TO CONNECT LIVE NOW

 




EUCON 2019.5 Now Available — What’s New

We are excited to announce the new EUCON 2019.5 software update for Pro Tools | S6, S3, Dock, Control App and Artist Series controllers. EUCON 2019.5 delivers tighter mixing workflows with Pro Tools, brings advanced monitoring capabilities to the Pro Tools | Control App, and provides S6 users with integrated support for KVM and control systems. The EUCON 2019.5 update also fixes over 50 bugs since the last release.

Tighter Integration with Pro Tools

Let’s take a closer look at some of the new capabilities that EUCON 2019.5 offers to enable much faster mixing workflows when working with Pro Tools—note that these features require the new Pro Tools 2019.5 software update to be installed:

“Scroll to Track” and “Scroll into View”

The much-requested ICON features, “Scroll to Track” and “Scroll into View”, now work on EUCON control surfaces. These features makes it easy to scroll Pro Tools windows and bank your control surface accordingly to get to the tracks you need faster. With “Scroll to Track, you can quickly search for and scroll to a track by typing the first few letters of the track’s name. With Scroll into View, you can quickly scroll a track into view by clicking on the track name.

Scroll Into View: Shift-Ctrl while clicking on track in Pro Tools banks the controller to show you that track on a fader

Scroll to Track: By either using a keyboard shortcut or a EUCON Softkey, you can quickly search for a track in your Pro Tools session and have the controller bank to the corresponding track

Pan and Send Auto-Open/Close

In addition to the current feature to automatically open plugin windows when working on the surface, you now also have the option to open Pan and Send windows. These can be set to open from an Attention, a Function button press, or even a knob touch.

Quickly set what windows in Pro Tools will open when the corresponding knobs are touched

Intelligent Attentioning

We have updated the old “Attention On Select” method with a much more versatile system that provides you with seven options that control what causes the surface to Attention.

This integration between EUCON and Pro Tools gives you much greater control to customize what areas of the Pro Tools environment will attention a track and place it on the control surface.

Once Attentioned, the S6 surface can also focus the clicked-on plugin, pan or send controls and display them on either the Master Module or any of the Attention Expand Modules. For example, if you select “Name” to be actionable, you can click on any track name in your DAW and the controller will automatically attention that same track on its surface. This allows you to choose which S6 modules get populated on Attention with the plugin, send or pan parameters you need displayed.

From delivering ICON-favorite workflows to introducing entirely new ways of accessing and managing your mixing environment, this new level of integration between Pro Tools and Avid control surfaces delivers a faster and tighter experience than ever before.

On S6, you can even set your preferences as to how the corresponding Pro Tools parameters are mapped to the control surface

Full S6-Style Monitoring for the Pro Tools | Control App

You are now able to control Pro Tools | MTRX and XMON hardware via EUCON, as well as the monitoring sections in Pro Tools, Nuendo, Cubase, and Pyramix. This brings the operational efficiency of S6 to Avid’s other EUCON controllers with Source and Speaker select, Folddown, Cue and Talkback control (including footswitch).

New Pro Tools | Control Monitor View

Additional Enhancements

EUCON 2019.5 also introduces S6-style momentary faders values that allow you to determine what information gets displayed on the fader OLEDs, and a new preference to turn off the fader motors if needed. The release adds Ethernet control support for Thinklogical KVM matrix switches to S6, along with dual monitor switching, and source and destination naming for Thinklogical and IHSE KVM solutions. S6 users now also have GPIO Fader Start and Softkey Control, enabling them to trigger Softkeys from GPIs and activate GPOs from Softkeys, as well as assign one or more faders to GPIs for external fader control.

New S6 Workflows Video Series

Check out the new Avid Pro Tools | S6 Workflows for in-depth explorations of how to use Layouts, Spill Zones, Expand Zones, and much more.

Availability and installation

EUCON 2019.5 is available now for download. To install the EUCON 2019.5 software update on S6, your console needs to be on a current Avid Support Plan. Your console came with 1 year of Avid Advantage ExpertPlus support with Hardware Coverage so please check your support plan expiration date. There are several options for renewing coverage (even if your plan has recently expired). If you are a registered owner, you will receive an email with details, or you can contact Avid directly to hear about your options at: +1-650-218-4058

For Pro Tools | S3, Dock, and Control App customers, simply log in to your Avid Account to download the new software.

For Artist Series controllers, log in to your My Artist Series Account  to download the new software.

Please note that the new Pro Tools-specific features (including “Scroll to Track” and “Scroll into View”, Intelligent Attentioning, Pan and Send Auto-Open/Close) require that you also install the new Pro Tools 2019.5 software update.

Pro Tools | S6

Choose a pre-configured S6 system or build your own. Speak with our experts to determine the best fit for your workflow and business.




Avid Live Sound and Studio Solutions at Prolight + Sound 2019

The upcoming Prolight + Sound 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany (April 2-5) promises to be an exciting show for Avid live sound and studio systems, with several VIP engineers on hand and a range of solutions being demonstrated, including the VENUE | S6L family of consoles, as well as a wide range of Pro Tools software, control surfaces, and more.

Come visit us in Hall 8 on Stand F86, to get hands-on with Avid’s latest live sound and studio solutions and get your questions answered.

The new S6L-48D, S6L-16C, and S6L-24C control surfaces

Avid VENUE | S6L

We’ll have numerous S6L systems at the show, including the newly shipping S6L-16C and S6L-24C control surfaces, as well as the eagerly awaited S6L-48D, as well as a range of engines and I/O rack, including the new Stage 32 and Local 16. VENUE | S6L is the industry’s only live sound platform that offers 100% software, hardware and show file compatibility, enabling engineers to scale systems up or down to meet their changing requirements for control, processing, and I/O. Because the VENUE | S6L platform features the same VENUE software and workflows across every model, engineers are presented with an identical user experience regardless of system configuration, and Prolight + Sound is a unique opportunity for you to get hands-on with all of the various systems.

Innenhof Studios in Vienna

Avid Pro Mixing Solutions

Experience the most intuitive, immersive mixing workflows in the industry with Avid pro mixing solutions. From the modular Pro Tools | S6 control surface to the ultra-compact Pro Tools | S3 and Dock, Avid systems provide superior ergonomics, visual feedback, and the tightest integration between control surface and DAW ever offered. We’ll have an integrated S3 + Dock system on the booth demonstrating the latest EUCON software, as well as the best-in-class Pro Tools | MTRX interface.

Klaus Scharff mixing Die Fantastischen Vier at the Barclay-Card-Arena in Hamburg

Guest Live Sound Engineers

We are honored to have two exceptional engineers joining us this year to demonstrate how they mix on S6L and share their insights and tips:

 

Chris Madden mixing Anastacia

Chris Madden – FOH: Anastacia, Pink, Jesse J, Sade

Chris has been using VENUE systems since 2005 to mix a host of world tours with multi-platinum artists, including Pink, Jessie J, Joe Cocker and Sade.

 

Marko Vujovic mixing Korn

Marko Vujovic – FOH: Korn, Bushido, Nina Hagen

Marko is an in-demand live sound engineer who has been a longtime VENUE fan and using S6L to mix Korn and his other acts.

 

As you can see, this year’s Prolight + Sound is not to be missed. Be sure to visit us in Hall 8, Stand F86, to experience Avid’s latest audio solutions and get your questions answered by Avid’s team and our special guest engineers. We hope to see you there!

Discover VENUE | S6L

The next stage in live sound is here—with the award-winning VENUE | S6L system, you can take on the world’s most demanding productions with ease.




EUCON 2018.3 Now Available—What’s New

Avid is pleased to announce the release of EUCON 2018.3 software update (formerly called “EUCON 3.8”)—a release that not only brings a number of major features to the Pro Tools | S6 control surface, but also includes new functionality and stability fixes across all EUCON-enabled control surfaces, including a new Unified Workstation software installer architecture.

The EUCON 2018.3 software update includes:

  • The ability to connect the Pro Tools | Control App to S6
  • Multi Workstation Softkey Macros for S6 that enable instantaneous control over multiple DAW’s
  • New Unified Workstation Installer increasing reliability and efficiency
  • Ability to save and load user Softkey Appsets from EuControl
  • Performance enhancements to S6, particularly Layout Recall speed
  • Flexible Auto Insert EQ and Dyn and Cycling preferences in Pro Tools
  • Pro Tools | Dock Knob acceleration and automation record feedback
  • Meters on S6 Expand Faders
  • Numerous bug fixes

Unified Workstation Installer

Continuing the merge of the different EUCON teams and Products that has already shown great improvements in efficiency, reliability and feature commonality during 2017. EUCON 2018.3 (also referenced as “v18.3”) introduces a single streamlined Unified Workstation Installer that prevents incompatible versions, stale preference files and several other issues. This release now follows the new Avid versioning of year and month (in the case of this release, “2018” for year and “.3” for the month of release). This new versioning scheme matches the versioning for Pro Tools and other Avid software.

iPad Pro Tools | Control App on S6

S6 customers can now connect and use the iPad Control App with S6. Using the Pro Tools | Control app has many uses when used in conjunction with S6, from providing an extra set of Softkeys, to offering Transport Control and remote recording and monitor cue mixing. The new unified installer make setup a breeze.

Multiple DAW Softkey Macros for S6

If you work with multiple DAW’s connected to your S6, then you will find the new Multi DAW Softkey Macros a major workflow enhancement. Any combinations of commands and feedback can be sent to all your connected DAW’s simultaneously. Matching out of Automation across multiple DAWs is now possible. For example, you could match out on DAW’s 1 to 3, punch out of record on DAW 4, and save on all four DAW’s with a single Softkey press.

Availability and installation

EUCON 2018.3 is available now for download. To install the EUCON 2018.3 software update on S6, your console needs to be on a current Avid Support Plan. Your console came with 1 year of Avid Advantage ExpertPlus support with Hardware Coverage so please check your support plan expiration date. There are several options for renewing coverage (even if your plan has recently expired). If you are a registered owner, you will receive an email with details or you can contact Avid directly to hear about your options at: +1-650-218-4058

For S3, Dock, and Pro Tools | Control customers, simply log in to your Avid Account to download the new software. For Artist Series controllers, log in to the My Artist portal to download the new software.

 

Pro Tools | S6

Choose a pre-configured S6 system or build your own. Speak with our experts to determine the best fit for your workflow and business.




Trade ICON for Pro Tools | S6 and Save up to 20%

Trade ICON for Pro Tools | S6 and Save up to 20%

Got an ICON D-Control or D-Command? Take advantage of special hardware exchange pricing—and a massive leap forward in pro mixing workflows, efficiency, ergonomics, visual feedback, customization, flexibility and integration with Pro Tools | S6.

The Pro Tools | S6 control surface leverages and improves on the best of the industry-leading ICON and System 5 product families in a revolutionary scalable modular design. S6 also offers superior ergonomics and intelligent studio control, providing an intuitive, immersive experience for the modern sound engineer. It delivers the performance you need to complete projects faster and create the best sounding mixes possible, and there’s never been a better time to exchange your ICON then now.

Save up to 20% when you trade in your ICON towards your choice of S6 M40 system with expandable options.

 

Why exchange up to S6?

  • Get better visual feedback with extensive metering options, scrolling waveforms, high-res OLED displays and full color coding on tracks and encoders
  • Navigate big sessions with ease with unique Tracks View on a central touchscreen
  • Experience more scalability and customization options with full channel and center section modularity
  • Comfortably reach and get access to everything with superior ergonomics and layouts
  • Control more workstations and other DAW’s with the EUCON networked technology and build customized layouts of multiple DAWs on the surface
  • Get software updates and expert help whenever, wherever, and however you need it with one year of Avid Support included

“Avid has really maximized the space that you have on the desk and you get a lot of functionality in a much smaller space. The S6 is a tremendous improvement – it really has been well thought out and laid out ergonomically for us to have everything we need at our fingertips and I find that I work much faster.”

— Frank Morrone

What are mixers saying about why S6 is the next level in mixing?

In Post Production:

Frank Morrone
Technicolor Re-Recording Mixer
Lost, The Strain, The Kennedys

“With the S6, I have the TFT (Meter) displays and all the information is streamlined right in front of me. I can get at it with a lot less clutter. And I really love the scrolling waveforms because when I’m doing my dialogue premixes I can see when a piece of dialogue is coming in on a track and if I need to raise my Fader because of the (relative) size of the incoming waveform.  To be able to also see my metering, my compression and my EQ curves right next to the scrolling waveform are just great features and they really get you into a rhythm when you’re working. It’s a rhythm and efficiency that you could never get before.

Another big difference for me between the ICON and the S6 is the use of real estate. Avid has really maximized the space that you have on the desk and you get a lot of functionality in a much smaller space. The S6 is a tremendous improvement – it really has been well thought out and laid out ergonomically for us to have everything we need at our fingertips and I find that I work much faster. It’s been a real treat and a joy to work on the new S6.

Moving from the ICON to the S6 was virtually seamless, just a few hours really.  Once you’re familiar with working and mixing within Pro Tools HD and it’s automation, the ICON and the S6 are just an extension of that and it was a very easy move.”

 

David Patterson
Harbor Picture Company Re-Recording Mixer
Marco Polo, The Adjustment Bureau, Drive

“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.”

 

Roberto Fernandez
Harbor Picture Company Re-Recording Mixer
Marco Polo, Drive, Crouching Tiger, The Village

“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.”

 

Joe Barnett
Independent Re-Recording Mixer
Hands of Stone, Dumb and Dumber To, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“I love the S6; I think it’s a very professional product. It’s definitely the next step in the evolution. The ICON is functional and cool but the S6 takes it to the next level. My favorite feature is the Displays with scrolling waveforms and gain reduction meters on every channel. It’s pretty great.”

 

Chris Reynolds and Doug Higgins
Directors of Audio Services at Deluxe Hollywood

“For specific features the S6 is more appealing than the ICON. For example the ergonomics; the encoder depth and fader width and being able to reach everything. The fader quality too – mixers are always commenting on how great they feel (compared to ICON). The modularity has allowed us to change the order of the knobs to the second position versus the process module – and we’re not locked into it. It’s easy to troubleshoot, pop out and swap a module if there is an issue. “

 “Having an easy module swap means that our internal engineering department can quickly solve 99% of any issues. And the new Vegas mode takes it to a new level!”

“Given my great experience with the ICON as well as my desire for the latest and greatest in technology, it was an easy decision to become an early adopter of the S6. With unprecedented visual feedback, modularity, and touchscreen interface that the S6 offers, the surface further elevates my workflow in every way…

– Craig Bauer

In Music:

Craig Bauer

GRAMMY® Winning Mixer

“After 20+ years in Chicago, I decided to move HINGE to Los Angeles in the fall of 2013. Avid had just announced the S6, their latest offering in the evolution of the control surface. Given the move to LA, my great experience with the ICON as well as my desire for the latest and greatest in technology, it was an easy decision to become an early adopter of the S6. With unprecedented visual feedback, modularity, and touchscreen interface that the S6 offers, the surface further elevates my workflow in every way. With the S6, I do still mix with a hybrid set-up and continue to push the envelope of what’s possible in mixing with this highly advanced control surface and DAW: Pro Tools | S6.”

 

Mick Guzauski
14 time GRAMMY Winning Mixer
Daft Punk, Pharrell, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys

“I never was really crazy about the layout of ICON because it had a huge center section and the faders were very far away. I never really liked the way the faders felt on it. The S6 really addressed all the issues I’ve had with the ICON and then seeing what’s coming with future software releases pretty much address any issues I’ve had dealing with control surfaces.”

 

Comparing ICON to Pro Tools | S6 M40

 

ICON D-Command
24 Fader

ICON D-Control
32 Fader

S6 M40 32 Fader
5 Knob with Displays

Processing Power

2 x 80mips Processors

3 x 80mips Processors

Master i5 Processor/CPU
plus 17 x 500mips processors

Metering / Visual feedback

1. Low resolution Dual 30 segment LED meters in Meter Bridge (mono/stereo or mono with gain reduction)

2. Send and gain reduction metering on encoders – 15 segment

1. Low resolution Dual 30 segment LED meters in Meter Bridge (mono/stereo or mono with gain reduction)

2. Send and gain reduction metering on encoders – 15 segment

1. Hi-Res TFT Meter Displays with fully customizable Ballistics, Modes, up to 7.1. EQ, Dynamics and scrolling waveforms / automation

2. Fader modules– Dual 30 Segment LED plus Gain Reduction meter.

3. Master Touch Module full color scrollable metering

4. Underlying automation on Fader LED meter

Faders

ALPS

P&G 3000

TKD

Bucket Size / Scalability

1. Minimum 8 Faders + Master

2. 16 Fader Expander Buckets

3. Fixed channel strip config

1. Minimum 16 Faders + Master

2. 16 Fader Expander Buckets

3. Fixed channel strip config

1. Minimum 8 Faders + Master

2. 8 Fader Expansion

3. Flexible modular channel strip configuration

Knobs Per Channel

2

6

Your choice of 1, 5 or 9 knobs per channel per 8 fader bucket

Knob visual feedback

1. 6 Character LCD + 15 Bi-Color LED’s around knobs

2. Parameter name or value plus coarse position

1. 6 Character LCD + 15 Bi-Color LED meters per channel

2. Parameter name or value plus coarse position

1. 11 Character Hi-Res OLED displays

2. Parameter name plus value and position

3. Full Color LED color code knob top for modes

Workstation Control

Switchable between 2 Pro Tools HD DAWs

Switchable between 4 Pro Tools HD DAWs

Simultaneous control of 8 EUCON DAW’s including Pro Tools, Logic, Nuendo, Pyramix, etc.

Master Section

1. 18” Wide

2. Reduced size EQ/Dyn panels and other buttons

3. 1 monochrome Soft Key section 6 buttons

4. X-Mon monitor control only

1. 37” Wide

2. Dedicated EQ/Dyn panel and other buttons

3. 1 monochrome Soft Key section 6 buttons

4. X-Mon monitor control only

1. Minimum 12” wide

2. 12.1” scrolling multi-touch Touch TFT Heads-Up Display

3. 4 assignable full color Soft Key Displays with 60 total buttons

4. Your choice of monitor sections

5. 8 to 72 Knobs for EQ/Dyn

Ergonomics - Console Width

8 Fader: 32.5”
24 Fader: 53”

16 Fader: 65.5”
32 Fader: 88.5”

16 Fader: 34.5”
32 Fader: 58.5”

Ergonomics -Reach to Top Knob

22”

35”

24” for 5 Knob
30” for 9 Knob

 

ICON D-Command
24 Fader

ICON D-Control
32 Fader

S6 M40 32 Fader
5 Knob with Displays

Game Changer #1

N/A

N/A

Build custom layouts of multiple DAWs on the surface at the same time

Game Changer #2

N/A

N/A

Visual Feedback from track colors and Scrolling Waveforms in channel strip with overlaid automation

Game Changer #3

N/A

N/A

Customizable and Programmable Soft Keys

Game Changer #4

Small Dedicated EQ/Dyn (requires paging)

Full Dedicated EQ/Dyn in large center section

Local expand mode and 2 Customizable Expand Knob Zones to Focus the EQ, Dyn, Pan, Sends or any Plug-In

Game Changer #5

N/A

N/A

Clip Editing/Fades from surface

Game Changer #6

Custom Faders -1 Zone

Custom Faders - 2 Zones

2 Customizable Spill Zones

Game Changer #7

Single silver knob /
green color LEDs

Single silver knob /
green color LEDs

Multicolor lighted knob top based on modes: EQ, Dyn, Send, Insert, etc.

Professional mixing has always been about improving workflows as soundtracks and albums push the limits of what is possible. Avid has lead the way in the industry for the last 20 years of the mixing evolution and been interested in designing and delivering the most comprehensive, powerful and flexible solution that mixers demand to be creative and deliver on time and on budget. Pro Tools S6 is mixing redefined; the next generation of mixing surface delivering an intuitive, immersive experience for the modern sound engineer.

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A Look Back at PALM Expo India 2016

What a show PALM Expo India 2016 was! The leading stage light and sound, AV install and music production expo ran from May 26 -28 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai, with plenty of exciting technology for the thousands of visitors to see, hear and play with.

We exhibited with our longstanding regional partner Ansata Computer Systems, showing a wide range of our professional audio solutions that were enthusiastically received throughout the show.

Visitors were particularly impressed with the Avid VENUE | S6L 24D live mixing system, with a steady stream of people across all three days enjoying demos every hour. The reception of the console was fantastic, and Ansata already has received several orders following the show.

We also had a great reaction to the Avid Pro Tools | S3 control surface with the Avid Pro Tools | DOCK that enables users to integrate the free iPad app, Avid Pro Tools | Control. Pro Tools DOCK can be paired with the Pro Tools | S3 to provide enhanced functionality.

Many of the musicians that visited the stand loved the combination of the Pro Tools | S3 and the Dock, including the acclaimed percussionist Sivamani, who commented, “Pro Tools | Dock shortens the distance between my mind and my hand. Awesome!” Vijay Dayal, sound engineer at YRF Studios in Mumbai, thought that the new Pro Tools | Dock “is absolutely brilliant and super innovative. A huge time saver!” Meanwhile, Pramod Chandorkar, sound engineer and founder of SIA (Soundideaz Academy), said, “It will help me focus on the creative process — absolutely brilliant!”

We also gave live demonstrations of Avid Pro Tools | HD Native Thunderbolt OMNI system, which is widely regarded as the most powerful native DAW in the market, and Avid Cloud Collaboration for Pro Tools, which enables audio professionals to compose, record, edit and mix from anywhere in the world. This really caused some excitement, with standing-room-only demonstrations throughout the show.

All in all, PALM Expo India 2016 was a huge success and a very enjoyable show. We’re already looking forward to next year!

Mixing Redefined

Choose a pre-configured S6 system or build your own. Speak with our experts to determine the best fit for your workflow and business.

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VENUE | S6L Now Available

The next stage in live sound is here—with the award-winning VENUE | S6L system, you can take on the world’s most demanding productions with ease.

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Pro Tools | Control — Creating Custom Post Macros

After the release of Eucontrol 3.4 and the free Pro Tools | Control app for iPad, I fell in love with its Channel view and Soft Keys view. When paired with the new Pro Tools | Dock, the combination becomes an amazing piece of hardware that is compact yet extremely flexible. In that respect, I decided to go ahead and make some macros for the common tasks I do for sound editing and Mixing in Dolby Atmos, along with some cool stuff for Cargo Cult’s incredible plug-in, Spanner.

You can Download my user set here, and once downloaded, unzip it and place the file into:

/Library/Application Support/Euphonix/UserSets/MC2User/MC_USER_SET_Root

This is where your custom XML goes. Please note that currently, this is Mac only as that is what I work on along with SoundMiner. The reason I made this is pretty simple. As a mixer, I am a guy who is very much against doing repetitive work with no creative output. Which is why I have come up with these! I will explain in the following videos what each macro does. Once you have the xml, you can access this page from the User Pages Button on the main page of the Soft Keys tab. This takes you to another page with the Tracklay, Dolby Atmos and Spanner Buttons. But before that, lets look at the process of creating a macro.

Pro Tools | Control Soft Keys Tab

Creating your first Eucon Macro

A Macro is just a sequence of key strokes or shortcuts that help you to execute multiple key strokes in one button press. For example, let’s say you frequently take a copy of an audio clip to the track below it, mute it and come back to the original clip selection in order to create a backup when you are processing a clip with audio suite. This sequence of events can be automated into one button. Simple tasks like these, once automated, save a huge amount of time that frees up more creative space for you. The EuControl Soft Keys are in XML format. EuControl has the ability to create and execute these macros based on the focused application.

But there are a few things to keep in mind before creating a macro. This is the method I adopt while doing this:

  1. Get the sequence of shortcuts right. Remember, there are many ways of doing the same task. but you want to be able to execute it in the least number of keystrokes. This is to make it as fast as possible and it is simpler to undo your changes. Also, bear in mind that Eucontrol can only accept a maximum of 20 individual steps, but each step can have multiple key strokes as long as they share a common modifier key.
  2. Once you have determined the sequence, make sure that you have the EuControl Soft Keys editor open beside you. This helps because when building complex macros, you can easily forget the steps if you don’t do it in parallel. I do this by performing each step in Pro Tools and putting the macro with each one. So, if I wanted to copy, move selection down, paste and mute, I would make a copy in Pro Tools, put the key stroke in the Soft Key Editor, go back to Pro Tools, perform the move, come back to the soft Key editor and put that shortcut etc. It may take a bit of extra time, but it is also very helpful to troubleshoot and be sure that your sequence is correct.
  3. Make sure your Button Layout is something that lends itself to muscle memory. If you need to access many pages to execute a set of buttons, then it may defeat the purpose of using a macro.

As an Example, let’s create a macro that copies a selection, pastes it into a track below, mutes it and returns the selection to the original track. For our purpose, lets make this on the Pro Tools | Control app. To begin, lets look at the sequence:

  1. Make sure clips are selected and command key focus is enabled. Then Copy with c
  2. Move selection down. So, the key stroke is ;
  3. Paste the copied clips. So the key stroke is v
  4. Mute the clips pasted. Usually, we would just do a Command+M. However; what if the selection contains clips that are muted before? We want to be able to maintain all the states of those clips too, otherwise performing a Command+M will unmute all clips. The easy way to do this is to create a clip group and then mute that, thus maintaining the original mute states. So the key stroke is Command+Alt+G and Command M.
  5. Move selection up. So key stroke is p.

Now that we have the idea set, lets build it. If you look on the Soft Keys tab on Pro Tools Control, there is a button on Page 1 called User Pages. We will use the pages in that to build our macros. If you haven’t pasted my macro XML yet, you will see this is a blank page that looks like this:

Blank User Page

What is important is to note the page number as we will need to know that to put our macro in. In this case, the page is Page 148. By default, it jumps to page 147 on the current Eucon Soft Key set. For now, lets create our button on page 148. To do this, click on the EuControl app on your task bar and choose EuControl Settings and then select the Soft Keys tab. Now, since we are creating a Soft Key on the Touchscreen section of the app, select Touchscreen from the drop down menu as seen in the Picture:

Eucontrol Setting Soft Key Section

Once there, we need to go to Page 148 because that’s where we will create our macro. Select Page 148 and select any one of the buttons you see on screen. If you want to add more pages, you can simply click the + sign beside the pages dropdown menu. Once you have selected the button, click on Command… This brings you to the Soft Key Editor.

Soft Key Editor

Here we see options like Key, EUCON, Page, etc. Each has a specific function. If you choose EUCON, you can access euconized commands like menus or preferences that are otherwise not accessible via a key stroke. But remember, we can have only one EUCON command per macro. In our example we are building the macro with keyboard shortcuts, so we choose Key.

Once there, the key strokes we need in order are C, ;, V, Command+Option+G, Command+M, P. That’s a total of 6 keystrokes. But, we don’t need to create 6 different entries for this. The reason is because the first three don’t have any OS Modifier keys such as command or control which would change their key value. (We are assuming the Command Key focus is on). So, we can build this as one Key Function. The Next one is Command+Option+G. This and Command+M along with P needs 3 different entries because their OS modifiers are different. So, when we finish building the macro, it will look as this:

Copy and Mute

Macro Button

Lets now name our Button as Copy Down Mute. Now, if you have clips selected, have an empty track below it in Pro Tools, go ahead and push the button and see the magic work!

Although this was a very simple one, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, if you copy from a track with a surround output or an automated plugin to another one that doesn’t have these, then a dialogue box is thrown saying “Some Automation parameters in the clipboard do not match the paste destination”. This is important as we need to test the macros in various situations and figure out the best way to make them run. Now, let’s look at the macros in the custom Soft Key Page shared above.

Custom User Page

“The more you automate repetitive tasks, the more creative time you get. A click or keystroke saved, is a creative second earned.”

—Sreejesh Nair

Track Lay Soft Keys

1. Extend & Create 1 Frame Fade

This is very useful to me when I spot sound effects or ambiences from SoundMiner. There is a quick way of cutting a mixdown video or an audio track into the scenes. If you have markers on all your scene changes, then you just need to go to the grid display and change that to clips and markers. Now, hide all the tracks except the Video track and select the length of the video. Once you do that, head over to Edit Menu -> Separate Clip -> On Grid . The logic here is that since the grid is split to markers, it separates on the marker locations. Pretty easy! Of course you can still get scene based edits if you work using AAF transfers from Media Composer. Once done, it is then easy to spot an ambience from Sound Miner for that scene selection. When I export from SoundMiner, I make sure I have head and tail for the same. This is important as it is key to making the macro work. My usual method is to have ambience spotted and then extend the clip by one frame on either side and insert a one frame fade. This is now made very easy with this macro. The 5 frame version is the same with 5 frames of fade length.

2. Copy Fade from Clip Above

If I have an ambience that is laid in the exact length of the clip above it and it has a certain fade length that I want to use, I can use this macro to replicate that. Note that this won’t be able to replicate the fade type. The Copy fade from Clip below does the same but from a clip below the selected one.

3. Extend Whole Clip to Match Clip Above with Fade Length

Sometimes I want certain effects that I have to match the length of the clip above. This does exactly that but it also includes the clip fades. Once I run this, I can also run the Copy Fade from Clip above to get the same fades too.

4. Extend Clip Head to Match Clip Above with Fade Length

This does the same as above except only for the head of the clip.

5. Extend Clip Tail to Match Clip Above with Fade Length

This does the same for above but only for the tail of the clip.

6. Extend Whole Clip to Match Clip Above without Fade Length

Sometimes the clip above won’t have a fade or I need only the length of the clip between the fades. That’s when this is the one to use. The rest of them are the same with head and tail.

7. Duplicate Clip Backwards or Forwards

Duplicating clips forwards is easy. But for backwards, it was usually Control+Option+Command+Click with the grabber. This was a bit too much so I created the Duplicate clip backwards macro for this very purpose.

8. Export Tracks

This is a Quick access to export selected tracks to new session.

Dolby Atmos and Spanner Page

The Atmos Pan transfer copies your regular surround pan into an object plugin. There are a few requirements for the Dolby Atmos Pan to be executed correctly.

  1. The Object track must be below the track from which Pro Tools automation is to be transferred and of the same track width (Eg: Both are Stereo or Mono.)
  2. The Object track view must be set to Master Bypass lane of the Atmos Plugin and the main track must be set to waveform view.

1. Move Clip Down

This is the first step in Copying the Pan Automation once the above criteria are met. The video below shows what happens.

2. Transferring Pan

Once the above is complete, without clicking anywhere else (in order to not lose the selection), click the appropriate Soft key. This is based on the output you have for the source, be it 7.1 Mono or Stereo or 5.0 mono etc. This will copy the automation. Remember to make sure you are on the Bypass Lane of the Atmos Plugin. (For this to be visible, the plugins parameters must be automation enabled).

Spanner Plugin to Atmos

The way this is set up is to have individual Atmos panner auxes for each channel. This is because there is no multi-mono version of the Atmos plug-in. So for a 7.1 pan you must create L, C, R, LSS, RSS, LSR, RSR in that order, one below the other and kept below the Spanner track. I usually use Spanner on the master of the Ambience bed or FX bed. The Objects I want to pan are separately sent to these 7 auxes. Once set, the channels need to display the bypass automation lane of Spanner as well as each of the panner plug-in.

If you look at the Soft Key Page, I have made individual soft keys for each channel of Spanner. This is because I found this to be a more efficient way of converting the pans rather than a complete set. This can therefore be used whether you are going from LCR to LCR and all the way up to 7.0. The only thing to keep in mind for a 5.1 pan is you need to use the Spanner Left Side Surround and Spanner Right Side Surround Soft Keys for Ls and Rs. This will be sent to the 4th and 5th aux but that’s ok as we are only concerned with the panning Metadata. This video will hopefully explain this.

The rest are pretty self-explanatory I would think. To know how these work, go to the EuControl Preference Softkey Editor and simply click the macro button. Then if you click on Command…, you get to see the execution logic of it. I hope these are of use to you and I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas!  To watch and learn more about EuCon Softkeys and the technicalities, check out this excellent Tech Talk by Mark Corbin from Avid:

You can download the custom soft key user set here.

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The Sounds of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

In the world of audio, there is no film more iconic or revolutionary in sound design than Star Wars. For any audio professional, getting a chance to work on a Star Wars film is the opportunity of a lifetime—but it also carries with it an awesome responsibility. Making a good movie is hard enough, but carrying on the legacy of a saga that is cherished by billions of people is even harder. For the team working on the sounds of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the goal was to deliver a film that would be both groundbreaking and an instant classic at the same time. So you know, no pressure.

First, let me address the elephant in the room and talk about why the stakes were so high for The Force Awakens. Many fans were…underwhelmed, let’s say, by the prequels to the series when they were released in 1999. And in fairness they aren’t bad films. They were just up against the expectations of fanatics who had waited an entire generation to see their beloved Yoda again. But tepid reactions to the prequels didn’t lessen anyone’s desire for the next Star Wars fix. If anything, we were all dying for more (and better) Star Wars films.

We’ve been waiting for this

When the word got out that that the sequels were being helmed by JJ Abrams, it sent expectations soaring even higher. Audiences knew that if anyone was up to the task of delivering the classic we wanted, it was Abrams. He’s been admired for his ability to assemble the best people in the world to work on his films, and the audio dream-team he put together for The Force Awakens is proof of this. His sound crew included a mix of legendary sound designers with deep connections to the Star Wars universe, as well as some of the hottest young talent in Hollywood, including sound designer and mixer Will Files who was tasked with mixing all of the trailers for the film prior to it’s release.

The force is strong with Will Files

Last month, Files took a quick break from working on Star Wars: The Force Awakens to give a presentation with Avid at the InterBEE technology trade show in Tokyo. Bringing with him the actual Pro Tools sessions he used in the mix for the trailer, Files delivered an in-depth look at how all of the elements of the sound worked together to create the most-viewed movie trailer of all time. Following his presentation, Files and I talked about making the new sounds of Star Wars, the team who put it together and the responsibility the filmmakers felt to honoring its legacy. Also, light sabers.

Will Files at InterBEE, Tokyo

Anthony Gordon: You must have felt a sense of historical occasion to be working on a Star Wars film. How did that happen?

Will Files: It’s a childhood dream come true, and I never thought I’d get to work on a Star Wars film. By the time I started working for Skywalker Sound, they were wrapping up the third episode, and it seemed like that was my last shot.

 

AG: Did they have any plans to make the sequels back then?

WF: As far as I knew, there were no plans to make any more at the time. We were working on Star Trek Into Darkness when we found out that JJ was going to be doing the next Star Wars film, and a lot of us suddenly thought, “Holy sh!t, we might get to work on a Star Wars film after all!”

 

AG: Had you ever worked with any of the audio guys from the original films before doing The Force Awakens?

WF: Yeah, my mentor Randy Thom worked on both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He had the interesting job of being both the production sound mixer on Jedi and also mixing the film in post-production. So he saw both sides of the process—being on set and being back in post at Lucasfilm. It seemed like back in the late ’70s and early ’80s in northern California, they were really forging their own path in terms of audio post-production. It was a really creative, filmmaker-focused way that was somewhat at odds with the established way things were being done in L.A.

 

AG: ILM and Skywalker Sound were both founded to create the technologies they needed to make those films, weren’t they?

WF: Yeah, exactly. Both of them were born out of George Lucas’ desire to push the boundaries of what could be done both technically and creatively. I think for him it represented a certain amount of creative freedom that didn’t necessarily exist in Hollywood at the time. They needed to create new technology because they knew they were making something revolutionary. Nothing had ever felt like Star Wars before.

Technology helps. Files at the Pro Tools | S6 control surface

AG: How did they create that feel once they had the technology dialed in?

WF: A lot of it was what ILM came up with visually, but I firmly believe what made it feel so unique was the way it sounded coupled with those revolutionary visual effects. So much of it had to do with what Ben Burtt came up with. He gave all of the alien creatures, robots, weapons and machines a real life of their own. Up until Star Wars, most sci-fi sounds were created with synthesizers or in other ways that sounded artificial. Ben’s method was revolutionary because he went out and recorded real sounds and started with that. He manipulated them to sound both somewhat familiar, but also unique and futuristic. Most importantly, they sounded like real things. It took a lot of imagination. I mean, what’s the sound of a blaster or a light saber if you’ve never heard one before?

Pew! Pew!

WF: When you listen to the light saber, it’s sort of humming and it has a little electrical sparkle to it—like it might be a little out of adjustment. This sort of thing illustrates George Lucas’ idea of “the used future.” Nothing should look or sound factory new. It should look a little beat up, like it’s been through war.

 

AG: Was there a philosophy JJ had for putting the audio team together for the film?

WF: There was. The team was a mix of JJ’s regular guys from [his production company] Bad Robot, along with people who were veterans from working in the Star Wars film universe. I think it was important to him and Lucasfilm to keep some of the threads continuing from the previous films, and that meant working with people who had a history with them.

Gary Rydstrom and Matt Wood were the two supervising sound editors. Matt did all the Star Wars prequels and all the TV shows in between the films. He’s the guy Lucasfilm has trusted with the sound of Star Wars for more than 15 years. Gary Rydstrom, who has his own history with the Star Wars films, is one of the great sound designers of all time. He did the T. Rex in Jurassic Park, he did Terminator 2, Titanic—he’s a legend, and he’s also one of my heroes. Gary primarily focused on the sound effects, and Matt primarily focused on the dialog. My friend Andy Nelson was the dialog and music mixer, and he has worked on literally all of JJ’s films.

 

AG: How did the team divvy up the work on the sound design?

WF: The film has so much sound design in it that really had to be a team effort. Gary, Dave Acord, Chris Scarabosio and myself all contributed sound design to the film. And, of course, we used a LOT of Ben Burtt’s iconic sounds from the original trilogy, as well as some new ones that he made just for this film. But ultimately, Gary Rydstrom was the sound effects supervisor, kind of the “orchestrator” of all of our sound design.

 

AG: How did the work you did on the trailers connect with the final sound for the film?

WF: What’s been really fun about working on the trailers is that we used them as a sort of proving ground for auditioning sounds for new concepts in the film like Kylo’s light saber, BB-8’s voice, and the new vehicles and weapons, in a context that was different than from a cut of the film or an individual scene. I think the fact that we all knew these trailers would be scrutinized shot by shot, and sound by sound, made the stakes a little higher for which sounds we chose to include. Sometimes you need a deadline and the pressure of showing it to an audience to really focus and make some hard decisions.

Will Files and I engage in aggressive negotiations about light saber sounds

AG: How did JJ go about choosing the sounds he ultimately decided on?

WF: It really depends on the specific sound, but we often needed to give him a lot of different options to try before he would settle on one. With JJ, who is a musician himself and cares deeply about sound, we could expect to make potentially dozens of different versions of a sound before you hit one that you think might work.

 

AG: Did you present them to him all at once? That seems like it could be overwhelming.

WF: Not really—usually it happens in phases. Typically we would present a handful of sounds and then go back and create a few more iterations for him to review based on his feedback. The same goes for some of the high concept scenes in the film – I was often creating a new mix down nearly every single day with new ideas and sounds for him and the picture editors to review and reflect on. It’s a fun creative process, but time consuming!

 

AG: Let’s talk about the sound of the new light saber. When the trailer first came out, the sound of that saber lighting up became one of the most talked about things about the new film. Did that reaction surprise you?

WF: It did, and it was very gratifying to me that so many people responded to it with so much excitement. But what was really interesting to me is that so many people picked up on the nuance of what the sound meant. They got that it sounded a little unstable and that it wasn’t your normal light saber. It almost sounds angry, which of course was by design. It was important to JJ that it sounded mechanically imperfect, because he felt that made it sound more dangerous. You can do things visually to get that idea across, but it will only get you part of the way – ultimately it falls to sound to finish giving you that piece of information. Because of the mysterious way our brains work, sound seems to do a better job of encouraging you to feel a certain way about something, without us even realizing it. That’s probably my favorite part of the job!

 

AG: That sounds like a good place to end this. Unless there’s anything else you’d like to add.

WF: Yeah – go see it in Dolby Atmos.

The marriage of sound and picture is elemental to bringing stories like The Force Awakens to life. It’s a process that extraordinary people like Will Files and the rest of post-production crew on Episode VII approach with passion and creativity. For more information on the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you can check out our exclusive webinar featuring the post-production team at Bad Robot.

Thanks to Will Files, the team at Bad Robot and all of our friends involved in the film for sharing their stories with us. Because of their work, an entire generation will get to experience having the next chapter of the Star Wars saga to call their own. Thanks for reading and…I have to say it: May the force be with you.

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