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Registration for the 21st HPA Tech Retreat Now Open

The Bellwether Entertainment Technology Event Returns to Indian Wells
HPA Tech Retreat

(Los Angeles, CA) Today at the SMPTE Symposium, produced by the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA(r), registration for the 2015 HPA Tech Retreat officially opened. For the 21st consecutive year, a veritable who’s who of engineering, technology, creativity and strategic business leaders will gather in the desert to discuss the trends and technologies of the future, while tackling head-on the issues of the present. The HPA Tech Retreat takes place at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, near Palm Springs, CA, from February 9th to the 13th, 2015.

The HPA’s preeminent event enjoys a global reach, bringing together the thought leaders and senior practitioners driving the rapidly advancing entertainment technology landscape. The HPA Tech Retreat has consistently proven to be a crucial gathering where technological developments in production, post production and broadcast are unveiled, discussed and debated. During the Tech Retreat, attendees from the media and entertainment industries are uniquely able to share time and ideas with academics from around the world, scientists, and experts in technology from various disciplines. The environment is one of discovery and exploration.

Mark Schubin, who has led the programming for the HPA Tech Retreat for many years, notes, “Each year, we receive submissions from all over the world – about six times more than we can possibly use – and, based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s going to be hard to choose. So many new technologies have been introduced at the Retreat over the years that it’s tough to count them all.”

Over the course of its history, the HPA Tech Retreat has seen a number of breakthrough products and processes previewed in advance of their actual debuts. Surround headphones, full-color full-motion holograms, Sony’s HDCAM SR, SR Memory, targeted-ad production and distribution systems, Panasonic’s Varicam and stereoscopic cameras, Dolby’s high-dynamic-range video monitors, Pencil-beam microphones, and OLED monitors to name just a few of the many “firsts” to be unveiled at the Tech Retreat.

Leon Silverman, President of HPA, notes, “The Tech Retreat is the place you go to see history before it’s made, and to move and shake with the movers and shakers across the technology community. The subjects are always topical, but the real value of this event is the ability to share ideas and challenges, to understand from those who really know and get inspired. While I take away so much from this event each year in program content, an equally important take away comes from mingling with this amazing group – the teachers who teach the teachers. If you have not been to the Tech Retreat, you owe it to yourself to make a pilgrimage to the desert. If you have been, you know exactly what I’m talking about.”

Breakfast roundtables are also a popular part of every HPA Tech Retreat. Schubin comments, “Participants begin hashing out the future of media at the lively breakfast roundtables. Among the topics already confirmed for the 2015 event are net neutrality, content security, workflow complications, and a review of the legislative and regulatory environment.”

The HPA Tech Retreat is a not to be missed opportunity for industry professionals. The five day, multifaceted event includes dynamic conference sessions, a curated Demo Room with leading-edge technologies, networking events, and parties. The session schedule and programming information will be announced soon.

Earlier this year, SMPTE and HPA became official partners, moving forward with plans for full organizational consolidation by May 2015. Today’s Symposium is the first jointly produced HPA/ SMPTE event, an auspicious time to open registration for the HPA Tech Retreat.

The event has a history of selling out, and timely registration for the 2015 HPA Tech Retreat is recommended. Registration at Early Bird rates is now available, REGISTER. For more information on the event and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.hpaonline.com, call the HPA office at (213) 614-0860, or email Eileen Kramer at ekramer@hpaonline.com.

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About the HPA Tech Retreat
The HPA Tech Retreat(r) is an informal gathering, in the Palm Springs area, of the top industry engineering, technical, and creative talent, as well as strategic business leaders focused on technology, from all aspects of digital cinema, post production, film, television, video, broadcast and related technology areas, for the exchange of information. The 2015 HPA Tech Retreat will take place February 9 to 13, in Indian Wells, California.

About the Hollywood Post Alliance(r)
Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) serves the professional community of businesses and individuals who provide expertise, support, tools and the infrastructure for the creation and finishing of motion pictures, television, commercials, digital media and other dynamic media content. Through their partnership with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers(r) (SMPTE(r)), the leader in the advancement of the art, science and craft of the image, sound, and metadata ecosystem, the HPA continues to extend its support of the community it represents. Information about the HPA is available at ww.hpaonline.com.

Media Contact:
ignite strategic communications
p: 818.980.3473
Christine Purse, chris@ignite.bz or
Mimi Rossi, mimi@ignite.bz

Sound Devices Streamlines Production Workflows with Launch of Firmware 2.10 for Rack-Mounted Recorders

Latest Firmware Update Incorporates New Release Candidate Screening Program

REEDSBURG, WI, OCTOBER 21, 2014 – Sound Devices, specialists in portable audio and video products for field, live event and studio production, introduces Firmware 2.10, the latest software update for its 970 audio rack-mounted and PIX 250i, PIX 260i and PIX 270i video rack-mounted recorders. New features and upgrades include enhanced metadata functionality, sound report creation and improved file/folder formats. In addition, Sound Devices now offers a Release Candidate Screening Program, which gives existing end users of its rack-mounted recorders a sneak peek into new features and changes under development in the firmware.Video Devices PIX 270i

Firmware 2.10 features a new Metadata screen so users recording audio can quickly access and edit the Scene, Notes, Take and Circle status of Previous, Current and Next takes. It also provides the same metadata editing functionality from PIXNet, the Web browser interface. Additionally, the PIXNet clips tab has been enhanced to display useful information about recordings, including start timecode, fps, user-bits, duration, codec and audio format.

With regard to reel folder formats, in previous iterations of the firmware, a Custom option enabled users to edit reel folder names with any alphanumeric value, whereas the 2.10 firmware offers a second Daily option. If set to Daily, new reel folders will automatically be named with the current system date in the YYMMDD format. These daily reel folders, which are containers for the recordings, are helpful in organizing deliverables for projects that span multiple days. This latest firmware also features a new Phrase List Manager, which lets end users create a list of commonly used phrases and then use them to quickly edit the Notes field of recorded WAV files. Users can also now enter notes from either the File list or the new Metadata screen, for the next recording.

For those devices operating in Audio Only Mono mode, it is now possible to have the system append the actual audio track name to the end of the file name. While recording, track names can now be edited from the audio screen and from PIXNet. This assists those in post production in determining which audio file is associated with which member of the cast, a feature that is particularly useful in high-track-count reality shows. In addition, the new Sound Reports feature creates CSV files based on WAV-file metadata.
Sound Devices 970 - front panel
Sound Devices’ new Release Candidate Screening Program provides the company with direct customer input on the usability of its updates, ensuring the stability of firmware updates in real-world applications. Initially, the program will target the Video Devices and Sound Devices rack-mount products, with the company planning to expand the program to other product lines over time.

“The goal of our new screening program is to work together with end users to identify and resolve any potential stability issues and get feedback on product performance in real-life workflows, so the best possible firmware makes it into upcoming official releases,” says Dan Desjardins, Manager of Software Development and Quality Assurance, Sound Devices. “Sound Devices enjoys a highly regarded, open-door relationship with its customers worldwide, and this program promises to expand on that bond.”

Each Release Candidate will come with a pre-determined expiration date and limited technical support. Firmware 2.10 is available as a free download for all existing rack-mount products. To download this firmware and offer feedback on the Release Candidate firmware version, participants simply need to fill out a convenient online form located at www.sounddevices.com/download/release-candidate/.

Sound Devices, LLC designs and manufactures portable audio mixers, digital audio recorders and related equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news-gathering, live event and acoustical test and measurement applications. Video Devices, a brand of Sound Devices, produces digital video recorders and related products that address a range of multiple-source video productions, including fast-paced, mission-critical studio applications, live sports, live events and mobile production.

Founded in 1998, the company designs and manufactures both brands from their Reedsburg, Wisconsin headquarters with additional offices in Madison, WI. For more information, visit the Sound Devices and Video Devices websites, www.sounddevices.com; www.videodevices.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

Matrox to Feature Multi-channel SDI Card for 4K and Live Streaming and Recording Products at Inter BEE 2014

X.mio3 OEM card, VS4Recorder Pro multi-camera recording app and Monarch HD streaming/recording appliance to be showcased

At Inter BEE 2014 (Chiba City, Japan, Nov. 19-21, Hall 6, Booth 6302), Matrox® Video and local distributor Japan Material will feature the X.mio3 family of high-performance, multi-channel SDI cards for developers, the new VS4Recorder Pro™ multi-camera recording and multiviewer app and the popular Matrox Monarch™ HD video streaming and recording appliance.

Also on display will be the Matrox Mojito™ 4K video monitoring card, the Matrox MicroQuad™ multiviewer, the Matrox Convert™ DVI Plus scan converter, the Matrox MXO2™ family of editing devices and the Matrox MC-100™ SDI to HDMI mini converter.

Matrox X.mio3 PCIe cards offer developers up to 12 reconfigurable I/Os, from SD to 4K, along with support for AES/EBU, LTC and GPIO. Multi-channel hardware processing accelerates compute-intensive operations including motion-adaptive de-interlacing, up/down/cross scaling and mixing/compositing for all resolutions including 4K. The cards provide the ideal hardware platform for OEMs who need to create advanced yet compact channel-in-a-box systems, video servers, broadcast graphics systems, encoders, transcoders, multiviewers, switchers and other digital media equipment. Comprehensive development tools in the Matrox DSX SDKs for Windows® or Linux® include versatile file reading/writing, memory management, streaming synchronization, and a large selection of effects and software codecs including ProRes encode/decode and XAVC decode in UHD. A prototyping tool provides a graphical representation of all hardware components so developers can simulate and test their use cases within minutes, before writing a single line of code. From a single development effort, broadcast equipment manufacturers can create a variety of products at a full range of price/performance levels.
Matrox_X.mio3_FH_card_180pix

Designed for use with Matrox VS4™ quad HD capture cards, each VS4Recorder Pro system frame-accurately captures up to four video and audio inputs to create files for use with popular editing apps from Adobe, Apple and Avid and for archiving. H.264 is provided in either MOV or MP4 wrappers. AVI files can be created using the high-quality Matrox MPEG 2 I-Frame codec. MOV QuickTime files can be created using DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO HD. VS4Recorder Pro also functions as a multiviewer, offering pristine video quality even when monitoring interlaced sources on progressive computer monitors. VS4-based systems are also ideal for multi-camera live production streaming with Telestream® Wirecast® for Windows® or StudioCoast vMix software.
Matrox_VS4Recorder_Pro_180pix

Matrox Monarch HD is a small, easy-to-use H.264 encoder designed for professional video producers who need to simultaneously stream a live event and record a mastering-quality version for post-event editing. From any HDMI input source such as a camera or switcher, Matrox Monarch HD generates an H.264-encoded stream compliant with RTSP or RTMP protocol. While encoding the video at bitrates suitable for live streaming, Matrox Monarch HD simultaneously records a high-quality MP4 or MOV file to an SD card, a USB drive, or a network-mapped drive. The Monarch SDK, an HTTP-based API, includes documentation and sample code that let AV and broadcast equipment developers write applications to configure and control Monarch HD streaming capabilities, giving them a very straightforward way to include a high-quality webcasting service as part of their overall product offerings. Monarch HD can also be integrated with a Crestron® controller, which allows operators to easily start and stop streaming and recording from within the familiar Crestron interface.
Matrox_Monarch_HD_angled_180x92

About Matrox Video
Matrox Video is a technology and market leader in the field of 4K, HD and SD digital video hardware and software for accelerated H.264 encoding, realtime editing, audio/video input/output, streaming, A/V signal conversion, capture/playout servers, channel-in-a-box systems and CGs. Matrox’s Emmy award-winning technology powers a full range of multi-screen content creation and delivery platforms used by broadcasters, telcos, cable operators, post-production facilities, live event producers, videographers and A/V professionals worldwide. Founded in 1976, Matrox is a privately held company headquartered in Montreal, Canada. For more information, visit www.matrox.com/video.

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At full speed: The Art of Light uses wysiwyg for Armin Only – Intense world tour

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wysiwyg enables a spectacle for each and every visitor

The Art of Light, a Netherlands-based creative light designing, programming and operating company, used wysiwyg version R33 to previsualize lighting design and effects for DJ Armin van Buuren and his ‘Armin Only – Intense’ worldwide tour.

“A completely original lighting design was designed by Marc Heinz. The Art of Light was in charge for all the programming and used wysiwyg R33 to previsualize the tour,” said André Beekmans, founder of The Art of Light.

“Because the design includes 388 moving lights, 67 strobes, 100 LED fixtures and some conventional lighting, we needed to pre-program the lighting design in our studio before we started the rehearsals. The 6 hour show includes 25 timecode tracks including live performances and dancers.

“wysiwyg is realistic and reliable. When used in combination with all paperwork and drawings, it proved to be a really powerful previsualization tool for Armin Only – Intense,” enthused André Beekmans.

The Art of Light was established by André Beekmans in 2011. Today, a highly skilled design and engineering team works on the biggest, brightest and technically complex high profile events around the world. Their scope includes a number of world firsts including all shows for Hardwell, Afrojack and Armin van Buuren. Festivals such as Dance Valley, Tomorrowland, Amsterdam Music Festival and tours including A State of Trance, Revealed and Fusion Cube.

“The projects that we work on are inspired by creativity and we are always pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with lighting. In saying this, we rely on wysiwyg previsualization to see, to tweak, to test, to cue as well as to provide to clients and the contractors, technicians and musicians we work with. Watch this space as there are many more spectacular events on the horizon.”

Images: © The Art of Light.

http://theartoflight.nl/

About CAST Software
Established in 1994, Toronto Canadian-based software and hardware developer, CAST Software celebrates its 20th year in business in 2014. CAST Software serves its core markets in entertainment production, special events and meetings. Its award winning flagship software products are wysiwyg design and previsualization suite, and Vivien — Event Designer. All products are designed and created in-house and supported by an established global distribution and reseller network.

CAST Software Ltd. is a member of the CAST Group of Companies Inc.

www.cast-soft.com

PESA XSTREAM C22 Compact Streaming System Now Shipping, Delivers Customized Content Sharing Between Facilities

Huntsville, Alabama – PESA, a leading designer and manufacturer of professional audio and video distribution solutions, is now shipping the PESA XSTREAM C22 compact streaming system. As part of a larger hybrid broadcast system or standalone streaming appliance, the C22 allows AV professionals to compress, stream and share high-quality content. Two units can also be paired to allow bi-directional live interaction between sites.

According to John T. Wright, senior vice president of sales and business PESA XSTREAM C22 Front JPEGdevelopment, the first C22 units have been delivered to a current PESA customer and will be used to facilitate mission critical live streaming between two geographically separated sites within the United States.

“The PESA XSTREAM C22 is a great solution for sharing content between facilities, because its two video streams can be PESA XSTREAM C22 Front JPEGtailored for a variety of applications,” he added. “That level of flexibility, combined with its dollar-to-stream value, makes the C22 a very appealing solution for a number of markets.”

The latest addition to the PESA XSTREAM family of multi-channel HD IP streaming devices, the C22 can be configured as a two port video encoder or two port decoder, or can include one of each. It includes HDMI, coax and Ethernet (IP-based camera) video inputs, and optional SFP modules allow multiple configurations (fiber, HD-BNC, A-to-D and more) for expanded connectivity. During an event, two external audio sources can be synchronized to either or both video streams.

Video signals can be locked to an external source using built-in frame sync for glitch-free video switching in broadcast and pro AV applications. An HDMI out allows for local preview, while an integrated Web server provides full remote control, so no personnel are required on site for streaming content to another facility.

About PESA
As a leading provider of audio/video (A/V) Baseband and IP connectivity products, PESA offers a wide selection of multi-path streaming products, routing switchers, matrix switchers, extenders, converters, media extenders, and signal processing gear to support government, military, industrial, commercial, medical, broadcast, and mobile truck applications. From large to small-scale A/V routing and extender products to multiple IP streaming appliances, PESA offers a diverse suite of AV products, all of which are supported by 24/7 technical support. PESA is located in Huntsville, Ala., with regional sales offices throughout North America and China. Our cost effective solutions are available around the world through our industry leading team of Channel Partners offering local support and installation. All products mentioned herein are trademarked property. Learn more about us at www.pesa.com. Follow us on Twitter: @PESA_ONLINE.

New Clear Series 2 HDMI Packaging from ICE Cable Systems Blends Retail Beauty with Custom AV Functionality

Los Angeles, CA – October 14, 2014 – ICE Cable logo_webICE Cable Systems, a leading manufacturer of premium low-voltage wire and cable products, has begun shipping its Clear Series 2 HDMI cables in smart new packaging that makes a great first impression and benefits the installation process (storing, jobsite and client presentation phases).

”Most wire and cable companies in the custom channel ship their HDMI cables in clear bags which are either heat-sealed or zip-locked,” says ICE Cable Systems President Brian Rizzo.

”Integrators prefer bags because they can easily be stored in a work truck where space is a premium. The problem is that they look like sandwich baggies; this doesn’t make for a great presentation to your client.”

”We set out to design a bag that has an upscale feel while offering enhanced functionality,” furthers Rizzo. “We landed on a re-sealable package that with its lush artwork and glossy-coating captures the premium look-and-feel that ICE Cable Systems is recognized for, while also incorporating hang-holes for an impressive presentation at retail.”

”From a functionality perspective, we incorporated a really tough plastic exterior that can take a beating and protect against water damage too. All these features combined make for a bag that exceeds the daily demands of the integrator,” concludes Rizzo.

The company’s Clear Series 2 HDMI cables in lengths from .5 to 30 meters are available in the new packaging at no additional up-charge.

ICE Cable Systems' new Clear Series 2 HDMI Packaging

ICE Cable Systems’ new Clear Series 2 HDMI Packaging

For more information please contact ICE Cable Systems at 310.444.1950.

About ICE Cable Systems
Founded in 2004 by president Brian Rizzo, ICE Cable Systems is a leading manufacturer of premium low-voltage wire and cable products serving the Audio Video, Alarm and Security, Commercial, Electrical Contracting and Data Center channels. The company’s products are available to integrators both directly and through more than 50 distributors in North America and internationally. ICE Cable’s success is driven by ingenuity and its desire to make superior products that offer more value to installers. www.icecable.com

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, the international distribution arm of Sky, has recently completed a major upgrade of its Fairlight equipment to bring it in line with Sky’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 Sky. 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 the BBC, Universal and Channel 5, the majority of our work comes from Sky Vision. As work often moves between Sky’s sound studios and ours, it made sense for us to have identical equipment. The dubbing mixers at Sky 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.”

-ends-

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

SVS LAUNCHES PC-2000 POWERED CYLINDER SUBWOOFER

The cylinder subwoofer form factor is reinvented by SVS with acclaimed 2000 Series subwoofer technology and décor-friendly styling.

Denver, CO – Rocky Mountain Audio Fest – October 10-12, 2014 – SVS, a worldwide leader in high performance home audio products, proudly announces the PC-2000 subwoofer, a modernization of the original SVS cylinder design featuring driver and amplifier technology from the vaunted 2000 Series subwoofers, and fresh, décor-friendly styling. With a footprint measuring just 16.5” in diameter, the PC-2000 delivers unmatched bass performance per square-inch of floor space.

“The cylinder subwoofer is an icon of our design heritage. The PC-2000 integrates our best technology and engineering resources, along with style upgrades, to make it appealing to contemporary audio and home theater enthusiasts,” said Gary Yacoubian, SVS president. “It’s an absolute beast of a performer and ideal for those who want outstanding deep bass effects and mid-bass slam, without the huge footprint.”

Standing 34” tall, the PC-2000 is a striking monolith of power that uses vertical height to achieve a generous enclosure volume, despite the small footprint. Interchangeable black ash or piano gloss top caps give the subwoofer design flexibility to match a range of décors. It is also the first SVS subwoofer to come standard with the SoundPath Isolation System. The elastomer feet decouple and isolate the PC-2000 from the floor, resulting in tighter and cleaner sounding bass, less room rattle, and fewer complaints from neighbors and roommates.

Inside, the PC-2000 boasts a 12” down-firing 2000-series driver. Nearly 20 driver prototypes were built by hand and punished with rigorous real-world testing; including 100-hours straight of full power testing; before the final version was approved for production. The drivers consist of dual high-grade ferrite magnets and an FEA-optimized motor for nearly distortion-free performance. A reinforced Nomex spider was integrated for improved linearity and driver control, especially important when the STA-500D amp is pushing the PC-2000 to maximum output levels.

Conservatively rated at 500 watts RMS continuous and 1100 watts peak dynamic, the Sledge STA-500D DSP amplifier inside the PC-2000 has brains to match its brawn. A sophisticated DSP in the amplifier includes an array of filters and volume, gain, and phase controls for fine-tuning performance. A frequency-dependent limiter/compressor algorithm with adjustable attack/release and compression parameters offers the ultimate in refined behavior at the drive limits of the subwoofer system. The DSP amplifier is effortless in its delivery of all this power, yet it consumes less than half-a-watt in stand-by mode.

Rated at 17-270 HZ +/- 3dB, the PC-2000 features a stereo line-level RCA input and 80Hz high pass filtered output connections, continuously variable volume and phase controls, and a rear-firing 4” high-flow port with large radius inner and outer flanges.

Pricing for the PC-2000 is $799.99 for the Black Ash top cap, and $849.99 for the Piano Gloss top cap.

For more information, please visit www.svsound.com  or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.

About SVS

SVS is a global leader in high performance home audio products; designing, manufacturing and selling subwoofers and speakers through its Internet direct business. Founded in 1998 by a group of audio enthusiasts seeking to develop an alternative to traditional audio manufacturers, SVS was forged out of a passion for the science of sound married to a disruptive, forward-facing go-to-market strategy. Today, SVS takes a radical approach to how audio products are developed. Built on collective decades of experience, SVS is redefining performance and value for people who love music and sound.

Press Contact:  Caster Communications, Inc. at 401.792.7080

Nicholas Brown: nbrown@castercomm.com

Kimberly Lancaster: klancaster@castercomm.com

For digital images log on to: www.castercomm.com

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