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December 2015

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Page 39 of 51 38 POST DECEMBER 2015 were having. I was really moved by that. I was really happy to be on that panel and even more delighted to be there for the moments afterwards — to be there for the next generation of women entering the industry and those thinking about it." OPPORTUNITIES: "There is opportunity to hire more women and attract more women to the gaming audio industry. There has been very small growth over the past year. There appears to be a growing consciousness around diversity as well — not just for women but also dif- ferent ethnicities. As the game industry is maturing it's getting larger and it needs to be more inclusive of all of the different voices in the community." THREATS: "There needs to be a cultural shift in online communities. There's still quite a lot of harassment in multiplayer situations and sometimes the language is really intolerable towards women. It's a threat to the game community in general. I wonder, is that one reason why women aren't attracted to the industry? There are companies that have com- munity programs like Riot Games and Microsoft. They are trying to help change the culture and educate gamers. With that, there is a growing awareness but we need to continue educating the com- munity at large." OUTLOOK FOR 2016: "We are seeing an impact from the virtual reality world. There are companies now working quite aggressively towards creating content, and the technology needed to con- sume that content, in virtual reality and augmented reality. I think we're going to start seeing games coming out next year that will utilize technologies that have come about by the impact of VR. Virtual reality is expanding the way we listen in a spatialized way. It's always exciting to have new technology that opens up new ways of experiencing sound. Middleware like Wwise is already bringing in more possibilities for sound designers and composers. We have been talking about spatialization for some time, but now it's becoming more of a reality. We have tools that allow us now to bring it out of theory and into practice." KEN HAHN Co-Owner/Re-Recording Mixer Sync Sound New York City Audio post house Sync Sound, Inc., in New York City, has mixed numerous series over the years, most recently Un- breakable Kimmy Schmidt for Netflix and The Americans for FX. Primetime Emmy award-winning re-recording mixer Ken Hahn, co-owner of Sync Sound, notes that this is the studio's fourth season mixing The Americans. STRENGTHS: "Television is considered a legitimate artistic outlet. For years there was a stigma that once you went to television you never went back. So if you were on Broadway or in feature films and you did television, then you were stuck in series television. Now it's attracting talent both on-camera and behind the camera that wouldn't before have ventured into TV. That's a really positive thing that brings a lot of strength to the television industry. It's good for everybody. It's good for sound mixers and editors, and it's good for the talent and the writers. Another thing is that there are more players producing series. It used to be just the networks and cable, but now we have Amazon and Netflix, and many other players." WEAKNESSES: "The delivery demands are increasing. We are not just delivering high-quality 5.1 or 7.1 mixes, we are also delivering stems and deliverables for oth- er versions, like DVDs or international or promotional. The number and variety of mixes that we do can be daunting. My de- liverables can be well over 30 tracks wide for one program because everyone needs a slightly different mix. It can get very complicated. That's a management issue but everyone expects it all to be done at the same time because deadlines are very tight and the turnaround is very tight." OPPORTUNITIES: "We are maximizing the technology we have available for mixing and editing. There has been a lot of downsizing of spaces used in post production. People are editing in cubicles practically. But you can't mix in cubi- cles. You can do a lot of things to prep the tracks for the mix stage in a smaller environment if real estate is an issue but you still need a generous-sized space for the mix. There is no replacing that, and I don't see that changing, so that's a continuing opportunity for mixers." THREATS: "The real issue is the amount of time that is allotted to actually mix a show. There are a lot of expectations and we've squeezed as much work as we can into the time allotted. We work right up to the delivery date and there is no wiggle room. There is the expectation that you can make changes at any time, so flexibility is key. Fortunately for us, we work on shows, like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Americans, which are run by really good people who want the show to be the best it can be. They understand that the mix helps propel the program. They appreciate what we bring to the table. And that certainly helps when the clock is ticking and the pressure is on." OUTLOOK FOR 2016: "I don't see how we [mix] changing all that much. Where we [work], and how we deliver [mixes], is evolving. How we deliver, to the networks and distributors, is changing. Also, there is no 'usual' number of episodes in a series anymore. Some series are 13 episodes, or you can have a six-part series or 26-part series. There is a demand by audiences for high-quality shows and that is what we keep getting called to do. Ultimately, the audience wants to be entertained. It's our role to support the artistic intent of the produc- ers, and entertain the viewers." OUTLOOK AUDIO O Sync Sound has been mixing FX's The Americans for four seasons.

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