Post Magazine

December 2013

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AUDIO SERVICES OUTLOOK The value of audio post By Greg Allan CEO/Creative Director Sonixphere Chicago There are definitely a few editors out there with a knack for audio, but the fact is, projects tend to run much smoother when audio is handled by a music production company and audio post house with talent who specialize in sonic content, have great ears, and do it all day long. Many times a poor audio mix can doom a project before it has even gotten off the ground.  If an editor is mixing VO, music, and sound design while still working on rough cuts, chances are they won't be able to give the preliminary audio mix the time and attention that it deserves. The layers of VO, music, and sound design are extremely interdependent. If the music track is just a few dBs too soft, the VO can sound bare and exposed. If the music is just a few dBs too loud, the VO suddenly becomes weak and ineffective. Now you add sound design to the equation and you're really going to need to be careful with your balance. The fact is, clients these days are really good at taking everything in and analyzing it, even during the initial viewing of a spot. If they are seeing or hearing something that isn't dead-on correct, they are going to demand changes. It doesn't matter that weeks have been spent crafting a great music track for a spot. If a few temporary sound effects are too loud, the music is going to sound weak, and it's back to the drawing board for a piece of music that was doomed from the start because a professional audio house was not in charge of all the sonic content. While some editors are also musicians or well-versed in music, we have an advantage in that our rooms are primed for great mixing: we have state of the art studios, speakers and mixers. If we can help an editor and the outcome of the project by handling the audio elements, we are freeing up the editor to be even more creative and effective with his or her work. In the end, a great edit is going to make a great audio mix shine, and a great audio mix is going to make a great edit shine.  Strengths: Growing the Talent Pool Our talent pool is definitely growing and the effect of that will be very evident in 2014. Whether it's mixing engineers or composers, 42 Post • December 2013 there are specific qualities we look for in someone who is going to join the team: a hunger to create something new, finding new ways to get to the finish line, and a passion to break new ground and embrace creative challenges with tight deadlines. That carries as much weight as having 1,000 commercials on your reel. When hiring new talent, new ideas, enthusiasm, and positive energy go a long way   Opportunities: Technology & Infrastructure Technology is rapidly advancing, but my favorite aspect of the newer technology is its size. With everything getting smaller, the technology doesn't put distance between us and our clients the way it Sonixphere's recent audio clients include OnStar, Hyundai, Boeing and Heineken. once did. We no longer need a gigantic, 96-channel console when mixing spots. We need a great computer, great software, great monitors, and a mouse. It allows us to be a lot more transparent with our clients. In the old days, some companies would hide behind the technology, convince someone that their mix sounds great because it's running through a million dollar mixing board. Today, clients aren't intimidated by the mixing environment. They're much more comfortable when we're together mixing in a room that is comfortable for everyone. It then becomes evident that the reason your mix sounds great is because you've got the right person handling the mouse. It breaks down barriers and allows for a dialogue that was sometimes continued on page 46

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