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Archive by Sue Sillitoe

Italian Superstar Pino Daniele Chooses DPA Microphones

Pino Daniele with DPA 1

Pino Daniele, one of Italy’s best known singer/songwriters and a man whose career spans both genres and decades, has recently started using a range of DPA microphones, including the company’s ground-breaking d:facto™ Vocal Microphone.

Fabrizio Facioni, Daniele’s sound engineer, jumped at the chance of using d:facto when the opportunity presented itself.

“I like its sound. It’s so ‘present’ and natural,” he says. “This microphone reproduces exactly what it is given in terms of the vocal, and that greatly simplifies my job.”

The d:facto Vocal Microphone joined a range of DPA mics that were used over the summer for the NERO A META’ tour, which reunited Daniele with band members from the 1980s alongside special guests. For his forthcoming theatre tour, the line-up is more intimate and includes Pino Daniele on vocals and acoustic guitar, a second acoustic guitar, an upright bass, piano and drums played by internationally acclaimed producer and arranger Alfredo Golino, who regularly works with artists such as Laura Pausini.

Facioni says: “The decision to use DPA microphones initially came about when I needed a microphone for Pino’s acoustic guitar. I spoke to Agora, our PA rental company, and they recommended DPA’s d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones. After trying one, I knew it was perfect for the task. Both Pino and I were so impressed that we decided to use d:vote 4099s on his guitar and on the second acoustic guitar.”

Facioni adds that the improvement in sound made him question the microphones he was using on the other instruments in Daniele’s intimate line-up. It was at this point that Alfredo Golino suggested he got in touch with Salvatore Zocco from DPA’s Italian distributor M. Casale Bauer for more advice on the DPA range.

Salvatore Zocco says: “Alfredo is a great ambassador for DPA and has used the company’s microphones for a long time, so it was perfectly natural for him to put Fabrizio in touch with me. I was able to recommend the most appropriate microphones for Fabrizio’s requirements.”

The final choice came down to d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones for the high hat, snare (top and bottom) and toms. DPA d:dicate™ ST4011C and ST4015C Recording Microphones were respectively chosen to handle overheads and percussion. The acoustic guitars and upright bass are also miked with d:vote 4099s, while Pino Daniele has two d:facto Vocal Microphones – one for when he’s standing and the other for when he performs with his acoustic guitar.

“I have been very satisfied with the results these microphones have delivered,” Facioni adds. These were exactly the mics I needed to give me a natural sound. I am a studio engineer as well, so I already knew DPA mics for piano and orchestra and I like them a lot. But this is the first time I have tried them for percussion and bass and I am definitely impressed.”

And perhaps more importantly, Pino Daniele himself has also been impressed with the performance of the d:facto Vocal Microphone which he used consistently during his summer tour of Italy’s sports arenas.

“We are now planning more dates in smaller theatre venues during November and December and the d:facto will once again be part of our microphone set up,” adds. “It has worked for Pino and he really like it. He says he now recognises his own voice!”

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

Visual Unity Shows vuMedia™ at NAT Expo 2014 and Inter BEE 2014

multiscreen_devices_vu

Leading OTT solutions provider Visual Unity is showing the latest version of its Award-winning vuMedia™ multiscreen platform at NAT Expo in Moscow (November 19-21, 2014) and Inter BEE in Tokyo (November 19-21, 2014). The software will include a new, white label version that gives partners the opportunity to sell the product under their own brand by changing the colours and logos on the user interface.

“Having secured an investment of 7.2 million US$ (5.2 million Euros) from 3TS Capital Partners, we are now able to support the growth of an international customer base for vuMedia™,” says Visual Unity’s CEO Tomas Petru. “We are positioning Visual Unity as the leading provider of OTT and multiscreen solutions and to this end we are very focused on both product development and expanding into previously untapped markets.”

The company, which will be exhibiting on booth B23 at NAT Expo in Moscow, while at InterBEE it will be exhibiting in conjunction with its Japanese distributor DSP-Japan (Booth 5380).

Visual Unity’s updated vuMedia™ platform now includes a raft of new languages that have been incorporated into the software’s administrator user interface. This significant addition broadens its international appeal and reinforces Visual Unity’s plans to expand sales into new geographic territories. Also new is Multi-level account administration, which allows Visual Unity customers to collaborate on OTT projects, share resources or limit access to specific parts of vuMedia™ to dedicated groups. It also allows vuMedia™ to support different re-seller and seller models and relationships.

Introduced in 2011 and the winner of the 2012 ConnectedWorld.TV Award, Visual Unity’s flagship vuMedia™ is an end-to-end OTT platform that allows broadcasters and content owners to control how their brand and assets are managed, delivered and monetized in the multiscreen environment. Highly scalable and flexible, vuMedia™ delivers a cutting-edge live viewing experience on the web or any mobile or connected device. vuMedia™ also enables comprehensive Video on Demand services, social network integration and secures the distribution of content – all of which can be deployed into existing workflows and business processes.

vuMedia™ can be bought in two formats – Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) for customers who don’t want to invest in new hardware.

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About Visual Unity

Visual Unity is a global provider of video and digital media solutions, enabling our clients to deliver premium quality video content. Our clients can measure, analyze and optimize their libraries over time and achieve optimal business success. Our platform capabilities inspire our clients to deploy their assets across multiple devices, screens, and media formats. Visual Unity helps clients manage, deliver and monetize their digital content.

Visual Unity is a Multiscreen Solution Provider, bridging the gap between linear broadcast, IT and IPTV to help clients reach and engage audiences on any screen. Since 1991, the team has been designing and delivering turnkey broadcast and complex multiscreen solutions worldwide – from HD outside Broadcast (OB) vehicles and major playout facilities to live internet streaming and Video on Demand services. Visual Unity’s award-winning vuMediaTM platform helps broadcasters and content owners control how their brand and assets are managed and monetized in the multiscreen environment. vuMediaTM is a highly scalable and a modular architecture, delivering a cutting-edge live viewing experience on the web or any mobile or connected device – all of which can be deployed into existing workflows and business processes.

Visual Unity is based in Prague, London, Munich, Moscow, Nairobi, Dubai, Istanbul, Ottawa, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. For further information, please visit www.visualunity.com

Chartmakers Mastering Stocks Up On Prism Sound Kit

Henkka Niemisto photo credit Christoffer Relander (1024x683)

High profile Finnish mastering studio, Chartmakers Mastering, recently bought both a Prism Sound Dream AD-2 A/D converter and an MEA-2 EQ for its state-of-the-art facility in the Töölö district of the nation’s capital, Helsinki.

Established by Svante Forsbäck together with long-term associate Henkka Niemistö, the studio is celebrating its tenth birthday this year and is as dedicated to high-quality audio mastering services as ever.

“All music styles are more than welcome to use our services,” says Niemistö. “I usually work with pop, dance, hip-hop and electronic music and some metal and rock groups. My clients are mainly Finnish bands and include Husky Rescue, Pepe Deluxe, Sofi De La Torre, Machinae Supremacy and many more.”

Chartmakers currently runs three studios in Helsinki itself and a satellite about 20 minutes to the west in Espoo. Niemistö is a firm believer that the simplest mastering chain of very high-grade equipment delivers the best results. As such, he says that the AD-2 and the MEA-2 have both been on his mind for a long time.

“It was time to finally give them a go,” he says. “Svante and I have gone through pretty much everything on the mastering market, and Prism Sound was, for me, the last largely untested equipment to try.”

The kit was supplied by Finnish distributor Qualitron and Niemistö says that as soon as the converter and the EQ were connected he felt right at home with them.

“They are a joy to use. The converter continues to surprise me, almost every day,” he says. “The EQ has some strange way of adding a sort of ‘glue’ to the master sound — I can’t really explain it. They both definitely bring the game to the next level.”

Niemistö adds that he particularly likes the fact that the converter can drive two different sample rates to different AES/EBU outputs.
“The clock also sounds very nice,” he says. “Since I do a lot of bassy electronic music I love the fact that the EQ goes down to 19Hz and up to 27k.”

Niemistö is using his Prism Sound equipment on all of his current projects where it meshes well into his existing set-up.

“I personally use three Amphion Two18 speakers and two One18s in the back for full surround, and I have a Maselec MTC-2 mastering console,” he explains.

And there might well be more Prism Sound kit added into the Chartmasters slate in the near future.

Niemistö says: “We just got the Prism Sound compressor in to test, and we might have to get that one as well…”

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About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. The company’s product range includes the Prism ADA-8XR precision 8-channel converter unit, which is regularly used for music and film soundtrack projects by clients such as EMI Abbey Road, BBC, Sony, Lucasfilm and Walt Disney. Prism Sound also manufactures a range of audio test and measurement products, including the de facto standard DSA-1 handheld digital audio generator/analyser and the dScope Series III audio analyser system.

For more information: www.prismsound.com

Jason Phats Changes Direction with Prism Sound’s Orpheus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Writer, producer, remixer and DJ Jason Phats has become the latest high-profile musician to purchase a Prism Sound Orpheus Firewire Recording Interface.

“The sound is extremely detailed and transparent. Clarity, depth, separation and stereo imaging is breath-taking – my jaw hit the floor when I first heard it,” he says. “I found myself kicking back in the sweet spot and going through my music collection. Suddenly everything made sense.”

Phats runs the Orpheus through a SSL Sigma summing mixer and likes the unit primarily for its ability to lever both Prism Sound quality conversion and mic preamps into a 1U box and then cram it full of features. These include line, microphone and instrument inputs, selectable RIAA Equalization for turntables, a built-in premium-quality monitoring mixer for each output providing for performer foldback and surround monitoring, and concurrent ADAT and switchable S/PDIF or AES3 digital I/O plus support for outboard MIDI devices.

Phats, who has sold over 5m records in a career spanning nearly quarter of a century. adds that the Orpheus has fundamentally altered the way he works.

“From the moment I started working with the Orpheus I could see myself getting closer to the sound I had been searching for,” he says. “I decided to stop releasing tracks and focus on a goal: a new sound, a new direction.”

Pursuing the new path took time but now, eight months later, Phats and his management are in the process of releasing his new material.

“With the Orpheus I could instantly identify where I was going wrong in my mixes and productions. Once I could understand the mixing process with such detail and depth I was able to achieve exactly what I wanted,” he says.

The first track from the new ‘Phats & Orpehus’ partnership was Jason Phats & Fenton Gee’s \ \ H I T E \ \ A T E R (White Water), which caused a real buzz in Ibiza over the summer. There is plenty more to come too.

“Every day is a joy in the studio with the Orpheus and I am very proud of the new material I have lined up for the future,” he says. “The huge leap in quality has led to some great collaboration.”

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About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. The company’s product range includes the Prism ADA-8XR precision 8-channel converter unit, which is regularly used for music and film soundtrack projects by clients such as EMI Abbey Road, BBC, Sony, Lucasfilm and Walt Disney. Prism Sound also manufactures a range of audio test and measurement products, including the de facto standard DSA-1 handheld digital audio generator/analyser and the dScope Series III audio analyser system.

For more information: www.prismsound.com

Visual Unity Strengthens Its Marketing Team

James Mazur

Leading OTT solutions provider Visual Unity has strengthened its marketing team by appointing James Mazur to the position of Chief Marketing Officer.
Formerly co-founder and leader of a start-up software company and Award winning GoStickman animation studio, James Mazur has extensive experience in online business and digital marketing. As Chief Marketing Officer, he will head the marketing team and take responsibility for company messaging, lead generation, online marketing, and communication. His position is also strategic as he will build and implement a complete digital product strategy for Visual Unity over coming months, and oversee current and future product marketing.
Visual Unity has also promoted Kristyna Sonkova to the position of Marketing Director, with responsibility for the development and delivery of a fully integrated marketing strategy for the company.
A graduate of the University of Economics,. Prague, Kristyna Sonkova has extensive marketing and events experience. Since joining Visual Unity two years ago as marketing manager, Sonkova has played a major role in driving the company’s corporate marketing strategy.
The final appointment to Visual Unity’s marketing team is Barbora Kubickov, who has extensive experience in international marketing gained while working for Czech Airlines.
Tomas Petru, CEO of Visual Unity, says: “Visual Unity is an outstanding company with great broadcast and multiscreen products and services, therefore it is imperative that we have a strong, professional marketing team that can boost our activities, particularly in new digital arenas. With his worldwide experience in the field of digital marketing James Mazur is the ideal person to lead this initiative. I have full confidence in James, and in Kristyna and Barbora who are supporting him.”
Visual Unity has over 20 years’ experience and expertise in the design and delivery of linear broadcast and multiscreen solutions. Its Award winning vuMedia™ integrated content management and delivery platform helps broadcasters and content owners control how their brand and assets are managed and monetized in the multiscreen environment by delivering a cutting-edge viewing experience on any screen or connected device. Among the many national and regional broadcasters and media companies that have adopted vuMedia™ are Al Aan in the Middle East, TV Nova, Czech TV and TopFun.

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About Visual Unity

Visual Unity is a global provider of video and digital media solutions, enabling our clients to deliver premium quality video content. Our clients can measure, analyze and optimize their libraries over time and achieve optimal business success. Our platform capabilities inspire our clients to deploy their assets across multiple devices, screens, and media formats. Visual Unity helps clients manage, deliver and monetize their digital content.

Visual Unity is a Multiscreen Solution Provider, bridging the gap between linear broadcast, IT and IPTV to help clients reach and engage audiences on any screen. Since 1991, the team has been designing and delivering turnkey broadcast and complex multiscreen solutions worldwide – from HD outside Broadcast (OB) vehicles and major playout facilities to live internet streaming and Video on Demand services. Visual Unity’s award-winning vuMediaTM platform helps broadcasters and content owners control how their brand and assets are managed and monetized in the multiscreen environment. vuMediaTM is a highly scalable and a modular architecture, delivering a cutting-edge live viewing experience on the web or any mobile or connected device – all of which can be deployed into existing workflows and business processes.

Visual Unity is based in Prague, London, Cologne, Moscow, Bratislava, Belgrade, Nairobi and Dubai. For further information, please visit www.visualunity.com

Visual Unity: Na hrebenech II 1718/8, Prague 4, 147 00, Czech Republic
T: +420 271 742 111 F: +420 271 742 112 E: info@visualunity.com

Rogue Element Embraces an Open Source Philosophy

Dan Mulligan

Rogue Element has become one of the first digital cinematography companies in the UK to adopt an Open Source policy for its rental division by providing Open Source Digital Camera Solutions.

In a move designed to unleash and encourage creativity, the Soho-based company is ensuring that 4K cinema is fully open to everyone by making AXIOM Beta Open Digital Cinema Cameras available to its rental customers.

AXIOM Beta cameras are the first products to be developed by apertus°, an Open Source cinema organisation founded by film makers and financed through crowd funding. The people behind apertus° were galvanised into action when they became concerned with the expensive and limited tools they were forced to work with every day. Instead, they wanted access to affordable devices and technology that delivered the highest possible image quality and could be customised to exactly suit their needs.

Since its formation in 2007, the apertus° project has applied an Open Source philosophy to everything it has developed. As no patents have been filed, anyone can access the technology behind its cameras and people are actively encouraged to adapt, modify, repair and even replicate them. To date, reaction has been very positive. Not only has the company achieved – and exceeded – its initial crowd funding target but it also has the backing of some very important film makers and cinematographers.

ASC and AIC Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer, who was responsible for films such as Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland and Stranger Than Fiction, says: “I believe than an Open Source camera will allow us to customize the digital camera to our personal liking. That should include ergonomics and hopefully give the ability to get rid of the shoebox, front heavy trend of current designs. I look forward to using custom elements to create the new Digital Aaton, even though they are no longer in business. The design possibilities that I’ve seen from the apertus° project are exciting, as are the image creation possibilities. Not being locked in to any one company’s idea of what the images should look like is a breath of fresh (film) air. Currently in order to switch film stocks we have to change camera systems. The AXIOM will hopefully change all of that and allow us to change stocks with a physical switch.”

His views are shared by Emmy and Academy Award-winning DOP and Visual Effects Supervisor David Stump, who says: “The spirit of Open Source frees up the creative spirit to do something that no one else thought of,” while IMAX cinematographer Lee Ford Parker adds: “Open Source cameras are a step back toward the dark room, in which making the tools is part of the joy of making the art.”

The AXIOM Beta camera has just been released and is currently only available at cost to the community that backed the initial crowd funding campaign. Rogue Element was one of those backers and Managing Director Dan Mulligan says: “Open Source is a fantastic concept and we are delighted to be supporting apertus° by making this format available to the UK rental market. In taking on the Open Source philosophy, we hope to facilitate unfettered access to the technology and free up the creative spirit so that the cinema industry can engage in practices that encourage freedom of expression and is no longer limited by who can contribute.”

Established by Mulligan in 2001 firstly with camera rentals, Rogue Element then pioneered tapeless and file-based digital workflows and onset correction with 3D LUTs, S.two & Codex data recorders and Filmlight colour timing suites until 2011.
Now starting an Open Source operation for 2014 onwards Rogue will offer new camera solutions and options for the Broadcast & Features markets.

Rogue Element can also provide dailies and workflows for Arriraw (Alexa 16:9/4:3 sensors) RED RAW (RED Epic & Dragon 6K),Sony S-Log3 (Sony F65), Canon RAW (Canon C100/300/500), Cinema DNG (Blackmagic), GoPro and many other of today’s professional and niche camera systems. With this new operation for 2014 we want to pursue new avenues for the market.

Dan Mulligan, who has recently returned to Rogue Element after a three year stint at Technicolor, says: “The Arriraw format is now well established and there are a raft of high-end products catering for this market. We are still providing our customers with access to these workflows as they continue to develop, but thanks to our investment in the apertus° project we can now bring a very high quality Open Source 4K camera to the market at a much lower entry cost.”

Mulligan adds that for many film makers, cost can be an ongoing issue and the price of using high end equipment does bar many talented people from entering the market.

“This is why it is good to see the appearance of an Open Source camera system that has a much lower entry point,” he says. “The ability to create your own 4K camera and your own workflow is hugely beneficial for the film and broadcast industry because it will encourage content creation and allow people to get involved at much less cost.”

Rogue Element is not initially consider charging for the rental of its AXIOM Beta cameras. Instead, it will make its income through consultancy and through supplying additional new sensors, lenses, tripods etc., and add on services such as storage and workflow.

“We want people to try them so we are making them as easily available as possible,” Mulligan says. “With the Axiom Open Source we now have a camera solution coming from an opposing end of the release spectrum with a differing approach to its target audience. There should be more than enough room for both this and the higher end systems.”

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About Rogue Element:
Rogue Element provides digital cinematography filming services plus data and dailies, to the Film and Broadcast industries. A pioneer in tapeless and file-based digital workflows and on-set colour correction, the company’s growing rental division also supplies and supports a wide range of professional Digital Cameras including RAW camera systems and workflows, apertus° AXIOM Beta Open Source cameras and new solutions for RAW workflows.
www.rogueelementdigital.com

Media Group International Delivers The Middle East’s First Dedicated Children’s Radio Station

Children's Media Network - PearFM 3

Leading systems integrator Media Group International has built an entire radio station for the Children’s Media Network (CMN) so that the company can broadcast dedicated children’s content to families in the U.A.E.

The project, which took Media Group International (MGI) just three weeks to complete, involved designing and installing two radio studios and a back-up studio that doubles up as a production facility when it isn’t needed for live broadcasts. MGI also installed server rooms where live broadcast material can be stored for up to 60 days.

MGI’s Managing Director, John Aslett, says: “This was an incredibly exciting project to be involved with because we were helping CMN make history. There has never been a dedicated children’s radio station in the Middle East and we are very proud to have played a key role in making this happen.”

Based in Dubai, CMN is committed to establishing a multimedia platform related to children, and to creatively working with them. The company also aims to provide a support network for parents as well as a number of local and international family events.

The initial idea for CMN came about 20 years ago when founding partner Jeff Price was working with Great Ormond Street Hospital Radio in the UK. This life-changing experience inspired Price to join forces with Nick Watson, who champions children’s health awareness campaigns in the U.A.E.

Earlier this year CMN was appointed to launch and manage PearlFM, an English and Arabic language radio station specifically for children and their families. The station will play a significant role in reflecting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to provide a cultural space in Dubai dedicated to enriching the lives of children through a wide range of cultural learning and artistic programmes.

“Charged with launching a radio station, we recognized that we needed specialist help to install the technical infrastructure,” says CMN’s Jeff Price. “We chose MGI for this project because the company has a reputation for delivering world-class broadcast solutions. As part of our remit is to allow children to present some of our programmes, we needed tough, durable equipment that is also easy to operate. MGI gave us excellent advice and helped us choose equipment that was ideally suited to our needs. They also worked exceptionally fast to complete the radio station and gave us great service and support throughout.”

The equipment chosen for the new station includes Clyde Broadcast Synergy Master Control systems that have been installed in all of the studios. These are complimented by RCS play out systems; microphones from Clyde Broadcast, Shure and Beyerdynamic; Sonifex delay units and a range of production and control software from various manufacturers.

PearlFM launched in October 2014 with a live broadcast from the Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children in Dubai. Catering for children up to the age of 12, the station will present a wide variety of interactive radio programmes that combine music with discussion topics. It will also give school children the opportunity to get creative by taking over the airwaves and presenting their own shows. PearlFM will also provide a support network for parents who can phone in during talk shows or simply listen to experts discussing a range of topics covering health, wellbeing, education and current affairs.

Once PearlFM is established, CMN plans to launch a sister station, LuluFM – the first all Arabic radio station for children. Ultimately, CMN plans to expand within the Middle East, Europe and Asia by developing its Radio, Television and online brands.

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Notes to the editor:
About Ghanim bin Saad Al Saad & Sons Group Holdings
Ghanim bin Saad Al Saad & Sons Group Holdings (GSSG) was founded by Ghanim bin Saad Al Saad in 1993 and incorporated in 2007. Today it is one of Qatar’s most successful private sector business groups, making a major contribution to the country’s economic growth.
GSSG has enjoyed steady growth and success in many fields and industries locally and internationally. GSSG’s diverse portfolio gives it strength and enables its companies within the group to maximise global business opportunities wherever and whenever they arise.
The founder, Mr. Ghanim bin Saad al Saad, has enabled the group to grow to over 40 companies around the world. As an inspirational business leader, he has steered the group to achieve its success in industries that include aviation, maritime, automobiles, oil & gas, real estate, manufacturing, contracting and trading, finance & asset management, engineering, education, fitness, hotels, hospitality and fashion, information technology and telecommunications.
In addition to its corporate headquarters in Doha, GSSG also has five international offices located in London, Zurich, Cairo, Singapore and Dubai.
www.gssg.com

Media Group International
Media Group International (MGI) is an award-winning media broadcast and communications systems integrator, serving the media, telecommunications, security, education, hospitality and advertising industries in the Gulf region for more than 35 years. Formerly known as Salam Media Cast (SMC), the company joined GSSG Holdings in 2010, with offices in Qatar, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UK.
Media Group International is diversifying its business into new technologies. As well as equipping professional television stations and studios, master control rooms, newsrooms, concert stages and theatres providing light and sound technology, the company also equips whole multivendor and multisensory environments. MGI provides solutions from safeguarding national security, such as in government operations, to creating the best educational venues in museums and classrooms, enhancing sports environments and revolutionising health facilities and satellite telecommunications.
Media Group International won the Digital Studio award for ‘System Integrator of the Year’ in March 2014. The company also holds ISO 9001:2008 certification, the world’s most recognised quality management standard. It is the first company of its kind to receive the prestigious accolade within the Middle East region, guaranteeing customers world-class quality assured products.
www.mgi.tv

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Recorded with DPA Microphones

Simon Hayes 2

Oscar-winning production sound mixer Simon Hayes relied on DPA lavalier mics to record Marvel’s film adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn.

Hayes, who first used DPA microphones as Production Sound Mixer for the film adaptation of Mamma Mia in 2008, has turned to DPA d:screet™ 4061 and 4071 miniature mics on every film he’s worked on since then. Recently these have included Les Miserables (for which Hayes picked up the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Sound Mixing) and upcoming releases Tarzan, directed by David Yates and Kingsman: The Secret Service, directed by Matthew Vaughan.

Hayes chose DPA miniatures for Guardians of the Galaxy so that he could capture original dialogue, right at the point of shooting. Given that Director James Gunn’s vision for the film was to preserve the authenticity and emotion of the actors’ performances, he felt this was the best way to serve the film and its creative team.

“It was clear from the first meeting with James Gunn that he wanted to capture original performances, which of course isn’t always easy when you’re talking about large budget special effects and action-driven visual effects type movies,” Hayes says.

“We knew that we were going to be shooting three or four cameras at all times so the DPAs took precedence over the booms on a lot of scenes. This meant that, in the final mix, at least 75% of the dialogue that made its way into the movie was recorded on DPA [d:screet] 4071s and DPA [d:screet] 4061s.”

Leading man Chris Pratt was fitted with the DPA d:screet 4061 omnidirectional mic. “We felt that the 4061 added a little something extra in the bass region for his voice, which was quite exciting,” Hayes continues. “All of the other characters used 4071s on their chest rigs and if we were rigging microphones in their hair or in their helmets, we used 4061s to increase the bass.”

As the title suggests, the sets for Guardians of the Galaxy were not going to be small. Finding regular-sized Sound Stages a little small, set designer Charlie Woods had sets housed in old Ministry of Defence buildings to allow enough space. This provided Hayes with a few hurdles to overcome sound-wise.

“That kind of environment isn’t as easy to record sound in as a sound stage, so I had a lot of background noise and a lot of reverb to contend with,” he says. “Again, the DPA mics excelled at rejecting that reverb and just capturing dry, up-front vocals for me.”

One of the things that really sets Guardians of the Galaxy apart from its kin in the superhero film genre is its esoteric 70′s soundtrack, which was integral to the way the sound was mixed. Hayes explains why this was a huge consideration when recording:

“Mixed in with the huge space sound-effects that the sound design team built for us, we really wanted close-up dry dialogue so that we could push the music and the effects harder, and that’s what the DPA mics helped us to do,” says Hayes, who collaborated closely with Alexandra Byrne (costume designer) and Dan Grace (costume supervisor) to design the mic placements used within the actors’ costumes.

“We had some really interesting rigs. For instance, Lee Pace, who plays Ronan, was wearing a helmet for his whole performance and we actually placed two 4061 mics into the helmet because the microphones were creating a tiny bulge. We wanted to have the bulge uniform, so we put one above each eyebrow, which not only gave a uniform look to the helmet, but it also gave us the opportunity to have two tracks running on Lee Pace’s dialogue.”

Ronan has a particularly dynamic part in the film, as Hayes continues: “This placement allowed Lee Pace more creativity in the way that he was playing Ronan and I was able to assure him that because we had the two 4061 mics on him, he could literally go from a whisper to a shout without us having any trouble whatsoever.”

Dave Bautiste, whose character Drax the Destroyer goes through the whole film topless, presented another challenge altogether, which meant finding an ingenious solution.

“We collaborated with the Special Makeup FX department and were able to have a [d:screet] 4071 basically rigged into the special makeup effects, which was applied to his upper body so it became part of a scar in the middle of his solar plexus,” Hayes says. “This meant that even though we had a topless man through the whole movie, in every single scene we were able to have a perfectly placed 4071. DPA’s are so reliable that you can have it buried under makeup and you know that it’s going to work all day, you’re not going to have any problems from them.”

With a run of over 18 films on which he’s used DPA microphones, Hayes concludes, “In the marketplace today there aren’t any lavalier mics that sound as natural and as transparent as DPAs. I feel that when I’m using a DPA microphone, I’m hearing actors through their performance rather than the microphone factoring it.”

After the box-office success of Guardians of the Galaxy, a sequel has already been announced, due for release in 2017.

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

Fairlight Delivers the Gift of Great Sound at Sky Vision Sound Studios

Robert Thompson Sky Vision

London-based Sky Vision Sound Studios, part of the BSkyB/Sky Vision family, has recently completed a major upgrade of its Fairlight equipment to bring it in line with BSkyB’s UK broadcasting facilities in Osterley. The three-studio complex, two mix rooms and a prep room, has upgraded its Fairlight Constellation console with a Fairlight EVO, six of which are already in use at BskyB. It has also upgraded its XYNERGI system by installing the latest software version – a move that is already improving workflow.

Sky Vision’s Audio Supervisor and Senior Dubbing Mixer Robert Thompson says: “Although we have handled work for external clients such as SKY, the BBC, Universal and Channel 5, the majority of our work comes from Sky Vision. As work often moves between BskyB’s sound studios and ours, it made sense for us to have identical equipment. The dubbing mixers at BSkyB were obviously very happy with their Fairlight EVO’s and this, combined with our own good experiences of Fairlight, meant we had no qualms about upgrading our own desk.”

Tucked away in a Georgian Mews in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia, Sky Vision Sound Studios handles a variety of programming covering wildlife, docudrama, documentary, children’s TV shows, scripted content, sports and comedy. The diversity of the projects Sky Vision Sound Studios tackles is mind-boggling, as is the speed of turnaround this facility achieves.

“Last year we completed over 70 hours of broadcast TV, which for two mix rooms is pretty good going,” Thompson says. “That’s just shy of three hours a month – a lot of work by anyone’s standards. Of course none of this would be possible without the Fairlight systems we have in both rooms. It really is a credit to Fairlight we achieve what we do because you simply couldn’t get through such a large quantity of work without having a system that is so reliable and flexible.”

Sky Vision Sound Studio’s affiliation with Fairlight goes back to 1999 when the facility was first set up by dubbing mixer Trevor Barber. Thompson, who was brought in some years later to help increase the facility’s output, says: “I got switched on to Fairlight by Trevor because he wouldn’t use anything else. I didn’t start out as a Fairlight user – in previous jobs, and as a freelancer, I had mostly used Avid Pro Tools. But when Trevor first set up the studios he installed a Fairlight MFX hard disk recorder in Studio One. As soon as Fairlight introduced their new Xynergi range, Trevor came on board straight away. In fact, the Xynergi system we own and use today is serial number 5. It still works perfectly. The only thing we have changed is the operating software, which we have just upgraded again to the latest version.”

Thompson adds that transitioning from Constellation to EVO has been very straightforward, mainly because all Fairlight systems are very intuitive.

“We have had no issues moving over to the EVO,” he says. “Both Russell Skellon, who mainly works in Studio Two, and myself have been using Fairlight for a long time and we have so much experience that the system is almost second nature to us. I would say the same about XYNERGI and the upgrade to the latest software version. Setting up the XCS controller on the EVO so that it works the way we are used to was very quick to master and it was all so seamless that we were up and running almost immediately. The only thing that is taking a bit of time is exploring the new software features. We are now finding out all the new tricks it can do and it is already offering much greater functionality.”

As many users will testify, one of the main benefits of Fairlight is the ability to build customised workflows.

“We often have to deliver shows to multiple broadcasters worldwide, and with Fairlight I am able to build consoles and workflows that produce all the deliverables I need very efficiently,” Thompson says. “I also find editing on Fairlight incredibly intuitive because I can use the Picture Keys on the XCS to make my own controller and editor, which I design around my personal preference. It’s also really nice to personalise my common functions and assign them a macro so they can be done with just the push of a button. It gets me away from mouse based editing. The whole XCS mentality is quite exciting as it has the potential to operate as a controller across multiple applications.”

Thompson adds that Fairlight’s ability to accept and export multiple file formats is useful when the facility gets project from outside clients, “but to be honest we’ve honed the workflow between ourselves and Sky Vision to a point there this isn’t really relevant,” he says.

“What is useful, though, is Fairlight’s ability to give users two picture tacks at the same time.
If you are re-versioning and don’t get an EDL file that tells you what has been cut where, this can be a very tedious and time consuming process. With Fairlight’s integrated video we can streamline the process by running two picture tracks and comparing them in real time. This makes it much faster to manually make the cuts. It’s a great feature and one that really helps us.

“For example, the nature of our work is that we do quite a few versions of a specific programme mix. With the new software, we can easily conform all of our edits, including the mix, which was something we couldn’t do with previous versions. We’ve always had a good dialogue with Fairlight and this is something we’ve been specifically asking them to do, so having it now is just fantastic because it means we can work even faster as the whole reversioning process is now far more automated. Most other systems rely on third party software for this.”

Thompson adds that he is also looking forward to exploring the latest software’s new background recording feature, which offers lots of sound design potential.

“I’m still checking this out but it looks like another really useful feature,” he says. “You can record while you are scrolling and jog shuttling. It basically records anything passing through a specified output as a background task. I can also see this being useful for ADR because it saves the timeline becoming littered with takes.”

Having proved that Sky Vision Sound Studios can handle an annual output of more than 70 hours of broadcast TV on Fairlight’s previous software, Thompson is confident this can be exceeded now that the new version is in place. But despite all the time saving features the new EVO console delivers, he still feels the best thing about Fairlight is its sound quality.

“I suppose I’m a bit of a musician at heart,” he laughs, “which is why I really like the smoothness of the Fairlight I/O. Some of our clients are composers and musicians as well so it’s no surprise they also comment on how good this system sounds.”

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About Fairlight:
Fairlight has been designing, engineering and manufacturing cutting edge, professional digital audio technology for more than 30 years. Its dedication to innovation, quality and customer service has made Fairlight one of the most respected companies in professional audio. With their integrated control surfaces and intuitive user interfaces, Fairlight’s award-winning media creation tools are renowned for their speed, flexibility and exceptional sonic quality. The company’s products offer full compatibility with virtually all open audio, video and sync standards, making them ideally suited to a wide range of audio post and live broadcast applications.
www.fairlight.com.au

DPA Microphones Makes Incognito’s Percussion Sound Crisp and Clear

Joao Caetano Incognito 1

Jazz Funk band Incognito celebrates its 35th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion the band was recently filmed at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire for a live convert DVD.

To ensure that the sound was as a tight as possible, Incognito’s percussionist Joao Caetano took along his own selection of DPA microphones including four d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones and a stereo pair of d:dicate™ 4011A cardioid microphones, which were used as overheads for the recording.

“Normally I use d:dicate™ 4011A Cardioid microphones for studio work and rely on the d:vote 4099 Instruments Microphones for live performance. But on this occasion we were recording audio for a DVD so I supplemented the line-up with the d:dicate 4011As because I wanted to capture the best sound possible. Our front of house engineer, Chris Lewis, was very happy that I had brought them out of the studio for the task. He always insists that I use my DPAs on all our gigs.”

25-year-old Caetano is a fully fledged member of Incognito having joined Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick’s band in 2010. Originally from Macau, he came to the UK to study Music at Chichester University. Since graduating he has worked as a professional percussionist in the UK and has also composed and recorded music for television. Alongside his Incognito projects, Caetano has also worked and performed with the likes of Chaka Khan, Leona Lewis, Jessie J, Dionne Bromfield, Mario Biondi.

“Although I am primarily a percussionist, I am also very melodic because I studied violin for 12 years and guitar while I was at university,” he says. “I incorporate an awareness of other instruments into my work and I do like to capture the best sound possible, both in the studio and on the live stage. This is the main reason why I invested in my own selection of DPA microphones – in my opinion they are the best microphones in the world. They wipe the floor with everything else.”

Incognito tours every year and 2014 is no exception. The band are currently performing at various venues around Europe and Caetano takes his trusted d:votes with him wherever he goes.

“I use them on my congas and bongos because they deliver a really crisp, clear sound,” he explains. “They are very reliable and, of course, very portable because they are so small. I love the fact that they are well engineered and that they can be used on a range of instruments thanks to the clips that DPA has designed for them. Everything about them is good – even down to the cables and the case they come in. Compared to other microphones, they are streets ahead and once you have tried them you never go back to anything else.”

Joao Caetano is also working on a solo album project and says this will be recorded with DPA microphones because he wants it to sound ‘beautiful’.

“I’m playing guitar on this album and I’m definitely using my d:dicate 4011A microphones to capture that,” he says. “I have also been recommending DPA microphones to other musicians that I work with and am more than happy to point them in the direction of DPA’s UK distributor Sound Network, who were a great help when I was buying my own microphones.”

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

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