In Broadcast February 2012 - 58


InSOUND
Audio Post Production Is Key To The Mix
By Kevin Hilton
George Lucas once observed that sound was 50 per cent of a movie. His films, as both director and producer, are noted for their use of audio post-production to create tension and other atmospheres, as well as to underpin action, drama, emotion and character. This was already an established approach in filmmaking but since the 1970s movie soundtracks have become ever more complicated, with layers of effects and ambient noises mixed with dialogue and music to create a coherent, creative whole. Television has had some outstanding moments of audio creativity over the same period but it has only really been since the late 1980s and early 1990s that TV drama, and some documentaries, has been on a par with its cinematic counterpart. Over the last 20 years US episodic TV productions have been like mini-feature films, shooting on 35mm, and now digital formats, with multi-layered soundtracks created in postproduction facilities equipped with the latest technology. The UK audio post sector is certainly on a par but many TV directors and producers have only seen more creative and involved sound designs as necessary or beneficial to their productions in the last ten years or so. To illustrate the previous attitude, as recently as the early 2000s a director declined to talk about audio postproduction on a major primetime drama of the time because “he wasn’t interested in sound”. That now seems to be the minority view but although today’s UK dramas and documentaries are more likely to have sophisticated soundtracks, including 5.1 surround sound, there isn’t always the budget or the time left in a schedule to make a mix that most audio types would feel suited the programme.
Kevin Hilton

58

Audio forms a crucial part of the experience

Dynamic Business

Post-production is a volatile business but the audio side has been particularly susceptible to the vagaries of the broadcasting and advertising industries, as well as rents, rates and the overall economic situation. In the past ten

years there have been some notable casualties among stand-alone audio houses; dB Post, Saunders & Gordon and Videosonics all succumbed to various pressures in the 2000s, while Pepper Post, which had expanded into sound by taking over the dubbing rooms of Future Films, was closed in June last year. Studio 1 at the building on Noel Street in Soho is the second biggest re-recording theatre in London behind Studio 1 at De Lane Lea, which re-opened in 2010 after smoke from a fire in a neighbouring building in 2009 seriously affected its facilities. While Pepper’s video, grading and graphics facility on Greek Street remained closed when it became clear no one was interested in taking it over, the general industry opinion was that the sound suites at Noel Street would be a much more attractive proposition. This proved to be the case and in September 2011 Halo Post Production took over the lease. Noel Street houses four audio suites, three of which are reasonably sized and used for broadcast mixing and ADR (automated dialogue replacement) but it is the 8.3m wide, 12.1m

long, 4.35m high Studio 1 that was always the main attraction and which Halo hopes will expand its operations into feature and high-end drama work as well as documentaries and general TV. Halo was founded by chief executive and dubbing mixer John Rogerson in 2004 as an audio-only house. It already had four sound studios split between premises on Margaret Street and Great Portland Street and, despite adding video facilities over the years, Halo remains rooted in sound. “I would say audio is our strongest draw in terms of why clients choose to come to us,” managing director Jo Beighton comments, “and the rest of the facilities have been built around that.”

concentrating on a single area. These days the importance of audio has been recognised by many video and effects houses, which have added an audio department to offer a comprehensive service. Clear Cut Pictures in west London has online and offline editing suites and grading facilities as well as audio rooms. At the end of last year the company began expanding its sound department with the addition of a large 5.1 mix room to bring the tally of rooms up to six. Chief Executive Horacio Queiro observes that audio is still an area of post-production that continues to bring in a “reliable” amount of work. Goldcrest Post Production is known for its video and film work, particularly with its New York DI (digital intermediate) facility, but in London audio is the focus. In the last three years the company has expanded its Soho sound operations; in 2009 it opened a large mix room at its Dean Street premises, while the Studio 2 ADR suite and Studio 3 mix room at Lexington Street had to be refurbished when, in February
CONTINUED ON PAGE 59

Focused Sounds

Stand-alone audio houses like Boom, Hackenbacker – which won a 2011 British Academy Television Craft Awards in the Best Sound Fiction category for its work on the first series of Downton Abbey and recently worked on the second – commercials specialist Wave and Silk Sound – which concentrates on voice-overs for ads and talking books – have all survived despite


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast February 2012

In Broadcast - February 2012
Contents
Pictorvision Academy Award
The Ultimate Strategy to Win
Importance of Smooth Streaming
Sony Vegas Pro 11 GPU Speed Boost
Trilogy Communications Celebrates 25 years
CES 2012 Smarter Systems on Show
Vitec Videocom CEO Joop Janssen has the Answers
Space Saving 3D System
OpticamSWITCH Success at Swiss TV
In Broadcast February 2012 - 1
In Broadcast February 2012 - 2
In Broadcast February 2012 - Contents
In Broadcast February 2012 - Pictorvision Academy Award
In Broadcast February 2012 - 5
In Broadcast February 2012 - 6
In Broadcast February 2012 - 7
In Broadcast February 2012 - 8
In Broadcast February 2012 - 9
In Broadcast February 2012 - 10
In Broadcast February 2012 - 11
In Broadcast February 2012 - 12
In Broadcast February 2012 - 13
In Broadcast February 2012 - 14
In Broadcast February 2012 - 15
In Broadcast February 2012 - 16
In Broadcast February 2012 - 17
In Broadcast February 2012 - 18
In Broadcast February 2012 - 19
In Broadcast February 2012 - The Ultimate Strategy to Win
In Broadcast February 2012 - 21
In Broadcast February 2012 - 22
In Broadcast February 2012 - 23
In Broadcast February 2012 - 24
In Broadcast February 2012 - 25
In Broadcast February 2012 - 26
In Broadcast February 2012 - 27
In Broadcast February 2012 - 28
In Broadcast February 2012 - 29
In Broadcast February 2012 - 30
In Broadcast February 2012 - 31
In Broadcast February 2012 - 32
In Broadcast February 2012 - 33
In Broadcast February 2012 - Importance of Smooth Streaming
In Broadcast February 2012 - 35
In Broadcast February 2012 - 36
In Broadcast February 2012 - 37
In Broadcast February 2012 - 38
In Broadcast February 2012 - 39
In Broadcast February 2012 - Sony Vegas Pro 11 GPU Speed Boost
In Broadcast February 2012 - Trilogy Communications Celebrates 25 years
In Broadcast February 2012 - 42
In Broadcast February 2012 - 43
In Broadcast February 2012 - 44
In Broadcast February 2012 - 45
In Broadcast February 2012 - 46
In Broadcast February 2012 - 47
In Broadcast February 2012 - 48
In Broadcast February 2012 - CES 2012 Smarter Systems on Show
In Broadcast February 2012 - 50
In Broadcast February 2012 - 51
In Broadcast February 2012 - 52
In Broadcast February 2012 - 53
In Broadcast February 2012 - 54
In Broadcast February 2012 - Vitec Videocom CEO Joop Janssen has the Answers
In Broadcast February 2012 - Space Saving 3D System
In Broadcast February 2012 - 57
In Broadcast February 2012 - 58
In Broadcast February 2012 - 59
In Broadcast February 2012 - 60
In Broadcast February 2012 - 61
In Broadcast February 2012 - OpticamSWITCH Success at Swiss TV
In Broadcast February 2012 - 63
In Broadcast February 2012 - 64
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