Audio at 750mph


Sam Ashwell TV-Bay Magazine
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London-based 750mph has recently completed the finishing touches to a massive refit and upgrade of this audio post stalwart's Soho HQ which will bring even more, newly immersive, audio online.

Following its expansion, 750mph now occupies around 10,000 square feet of studio space and is equipped with nine Fairlight's EVO modular console consoles as well as Fairlight's Master Control (XCS) Panel, running ICAN user programmed macro functionality, in the facilities transfer bay. Video playback across the post house's eight audio suites relies on Blackmagic's UltraStudio Extreme capture and playback hardware.

"The audio editing is exceptional," reveals 750mph's creative partner, Sam Ashwell. "The physical editing of audio using the EVO console is a remarkably tactile experience. In the main, you rely on button shortcuts and a jog wheel to manipulate the sound which makes it incredibly quick to edit with."

Fairlight's 3D Audio Workspace (3DAW) platform was also a key element of the workflow upgrades, allowing 750mph to extend its current audio production tools support 3-dimensional sound. Object oriented formats like Dolby Atmos give you creative scope beyond just the moving image according to Ashwell. "It is about making the sound more flexible," he begins. "You can literally make things fly across the ceiling as there are more surrounds to work with."

3DAW offers a battery of tools to build immersive soundscapes, including a 3D panner to position sound objects in the room, and Spaceview, a 3D visualization that provides a clear view of each object's spatial location and level contribution at all times.

For mixing sound for cinema, there is specific processing to support up to 64 discrete speaker outputs, catering for different room sizes and speaker counts. Another feature is AirPan, a control feature which allows users to simply reach out into space, and place sounds where they want them. By just moving your fingers in the air, sound designers can pan, rotate, tilt and spread sound in space.

"It is an entirely new, immersive offering 360deg sound, but you need a lot of audio flying around for all the different objects," explains 750mph's managing director, Ben Mason. "We've already had numerous requests for Dolby Atmos films, despite there not being too many cinemas equipped for it just yet. However, we believe it will become more and more popular, so we're future-proofing."

"The way Dolby Atmos works is that you have a 9.1 bed of audio running and then you manipulate audio objects around the room," reveals Ashwell. "You can put an object on any channel and move it anywhere. That allows you to locate sound effects in very specific positions. With even more audio channels our previous system couldn't have handled immersive 3D audio, and so we added 192 channels of Multichannel-Audio-Digital-Interface (MADI) ins and outs."

Ashwell sees this as a very logical progression, and not something that is overly complicated. "It is not particularly difficult once you understand the fundamentals of how the system works," he concludes. "The practicality behind it is very straightforward. The only thing that limits you, as with anything creative, is you, your mind and what you do with it.


Tags: iss125 | blackmagic | bmd | 750mph | audio | 3daw | 3d audio | dolby atmos | Sam Ashwell
Contributing Author Sam Ashwell

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