Loud and Clear: A New Level in Audio

 

 

Clear Cut: Shepherd’s Bush Audio Suites Upgraded

At Clear Cut they have years of experience in postproduction: delivering brilliant programmes and films all over the world. With the recent acquisition of The Edit & Sound Store Clear Cut now has  access to a specialist team of creatives, a great creative track record and an additional 20 suites in a beautiful building, all in Central London. Over the next few months, they’ll be working on a landmark theatrical feature, several peak time science documentary series, some brilliantly fun factual entertainment and hard-hitting documentaries that will reverberate across the nation.

 

Recent audio work:

Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport (Raw TV, ITV1), Drain the Oceans (Maddison Saddler, NatGeo/C5), When I Grow Up (Optomen, C4), 100 Vaginas (Burning Bright Productions C4)

 

Rowan Bray Managing Director

No post house can stand still and at Clear Cut we’re constantly updating our technical offer across the business. The major upgrade of our three Shepherd’s Bush audio suites is part of our rolling programme to offer the next generation of services. We deliver the highest quality production values we can, and our clients expect nothing less.

Our clients wanted more high-quality capacity and the upgrade of the audio suites delivers what they need. The build quality of the physical studios was already to the highest standards, but we wanted to update the desks with the latest technology.

The team was charged with identifying the best solutions, the best technical partners and optimising the installation plan. With 11 audio suites across the group we were able to install the suites in a phased programme avoiding any client disruption.

 

Jess Nottage, Technical Director

HHB were the obvious partner: for their expertise, their close relationship with technology suppliers and their willingness to work with us each step of the way. Together we identified the ideal equipment to future-proof our services and they designed a very flexible and versatile configuration.

The Avid S6 and S3 desks were clearly the best tools for the job with an investment based on application and use by suite. As an Avid Pro Tools facility, it made logical sense to further invest in the Avid ecosystem with the S6 and S3 desks offering the next generation of technology. The new desks are immediately familiar to our talent while the enhanced feature sets and lay out allow more opportunity for creative expression.

The desks have a great design aesthetic too: both in appearance and ergonomically. The S6 suites are designed for mixing complex theatricaland broadcast projects. We have them configured for 7.1, 5.1 or stereo. We selected the larger more powerful M40 model with 32 faders for our theatrical mixing suite – where we offer open stage ADR and Foley as well as mixing – and at 6 foot the more compact M10 with 24 faders for our broadcast dubbing theatre.

The S6’s modularity meant that we could work with our suppliers to tailor the desks exactly to our creative needs, working with HHB for presale training and demonstrations.

The S3 is mainly intended for tracklay and Voice Over but its total interoperability with the S6 adds an additional layer of versatility. It packs a lot of punch for its size. The Avid MTRX is almost infinitely configurable, providing both the S6 monitor sections and Pro Tools Dante I/O.

 

Ben Newth, Head of Audio

With ever increasing track counts the S6 is an incredibly flexible console that will keep us delivering the top-quality sound tracks we are known for.

The fader spill function in particular allows us to quickly navigate around large projects and fader selections at the touch of a button; the scrolling waveforms enables us to keep our eyes and ears forward to what’s happening on screen; and the power of the monitoring section is incredible. Coupled with Dante there are opportunities to patch almost anything to anywhere across our sites. We can also set up monitoring profiles that are personal to our workflows which is important when mixing and creating deliverables.

The timing feels much tighter, so our creative team is really positive about the improved mixing experience while the ergonomic features of the desk allow the dubbing mixers to stay in the perfect sweet spot of the room at all times, enhancing the creative process. (With the older desks the mixer would have had to move out of the sweet spot to access the distant parts of the console.)

Technology is always evolving in audio and we’re always adapting the way we work, but the human element mustn’t be forgotten. The balance between dialogue intelligibility and dynamics is as important as ever- even more so when creating soundtracks that are exciting and have to work across a multitude of devices.

Software and Plug-ins like iZotope RX and AutoAlign arerevolutionising the way we approach audio post too. We can now do so much to save material that has been adversely recorded, but we must be careful not to develop an over reliance on these tools.

Traditional mixing methods such as EQ and over-sampling still have their place and capturing clean, natural recordings at source remains the simplest solution. Dolby Atmos has certainly advanced surround sound in cinema, the number of people watching content on phones and tablets – and listening on headphones- however is ever-increasing. We’ve recently been testing enhanced stereo plug-ins that provide a more immersive audio experience.

This by my reckoning might grab the attention of more domestic consumers.

 

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