Blackmagic Design today announced that Sound Design Corporation uses Fairlight DAWs with Xynergi controllers to deliver audio for major award shows, including the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Led by Founder and CEO Paul Sandweiss, Sound Design Corporation relies on 12 Xynergi systems, with six in daily use at the company's Los Angeles facility and two in daily use on TBS' "Conan," for which Sound Design Corporation built the audio broadcast facility.
Sound Design Corporation also uses four Xynergi systems in flypacks to record award shows and specials, such as the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, the Emmy Awards, and more.
Sound Design Corporation has five Fairlight-equipped mixing suites, consisting of four dialogue rooms and one room equipped with Fairlight's XE-6 fader for mixing music and vocal writing. All the machines are networked together, which Sandweiss noted is essential to their workflow.
"The networking is great because we can pass files back and forth with ease," he said. "The machine room has a networked Xynergi that we can all access for sound effects, backup files from past work and more. We could be working on TV shows from any decade, so we have to hang onto content, and Fairlight lets us access it in just a few clicks."
Efficiency is a big part of Sound Design Corporation's workflow as many taped shows need to air quickly. "We might need 80 hours to do full post and only have two days until delivery, so we have to work efficiently, sometimes using multiple mix suites, and save as much time as possible," he said. "Even late night shows have a small one hour window for fixes."
For Sound Design Corporation, it's not just about the amount of time until a deadline, but also the amount of deliverables for each project. The team is often tasked with delivering on networks' censoring guidelines and time zones, extra foreign language deliverables, stem delivery and more, which can add up to 80 tracks of deliverables for one airing. "Having audio and video in the same box is a necessity, and I know Fairlight will always be frame and field accurate," Sandweiss continued.
While latency often occurs in monitors due to the nature of digital media, Sound Design Corporation relies on Fairlight's built-in ability to independently advance or delay video to compensate. "While mixing, video monitors will sometimes be a field or frame late, which can add up to two or three frames of latency," explained Sandweiss. "All monitors have different latency, and while you want audio in sync, you don't want to delay the audio because then you're asking the faders to move late. Instead, Fairlight's video playback advance tells it how many frames to advance, and boom, you are synced up."
Sandweiss concluded, "We originally chose Fairlight because it simply sounded great, and when working in audio, that's the main factor. Throughout the years, Fairlight has read my mind when it comes to innovations and delivered tools that I thought, 'How did they know I wanted to do that?' Especially when it comes to creating efficient, quick and better ways to do things while maintaining reliability, because whatever I need to do, it needs to be done fast and sound sweet."