Tag Archives: Post and Broadcast

PRO SOUND NEWS MOVES TO MIX

Dear Pro Sound News Reader—

PSN and Mix are merging. We are combining both iconic pro-audio news brands, bringing together the best features of each under the Mix name.

Starting in July, you’ll find all the great stuff you come here for—our Real-World Reviews, our trademark live sound coverage, industry analysis and more—over at mixonline.com.

To be clear, PRO SOUND NEWS is still bringing you the latest pro-audio coverage, just over at Mix. Same staff, same crucial news, different website and magazine.

PSN subscribers will start receiving Mix with its July, 2021 issue. Since we’re cramming two magazines into one, Mix will be growing in size, giving you even more to read and discover.

Also, starting July 6, the Mix SmartBrief email newsletter will increase to FIVE days a week to add all of PSN‘s coverage. Set up your free subscription now at https://bit.ly/3gVh4Gf so you can keep up on the latest pro audio news.

We’re looking forward to bringing you more of the great content you read PSN for, so we’ll see you in the pages of Mix!

Clive Young

Content Director, Pro Sound News (and now Mix!)

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Yessian Celebrates 50 years of Music and Sound Design

Dan Yessian (middle) with his sons Michael (left) and Brian (right) in Armenia for the performance of Dan’s classical composition, An American Trilogy. Yessian

Farmington Hills, MI (June 21, 2021)—Founded by award-winning composer Dan Yessian in a 300-square-foot bait shop in metro Detroit in 1971, Yessian, now a global enterprise, is celebrating 50 years in business.

“I was an English teacher with a dream: making music. I left teaching in the Detroit Public Schools to start creating jingles in a tiny space I rented for $50 a month, and fortunately I was embraced by the Detroit advertising community,” says Yessian, who was inducted into the Adcraft Hall of Fame in 2018. “Now, with my sons, who have taken the business to a level I could never have imagined, and with an outstandingly talented team, our current scope of work includes music for theme parks across the world along with network television and global advertising for Fortune 500 companies.”

His early success in creating jingles for companies such as Whirlpool, Dodge, Ford Motor Company and Frigidaire, plus music for TV shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company, allowed for the creation of purpose-built studios. Since working alongside his two sons Brian Yessian, chief of operations; and Michael Yessian, head of production, Dan Yessian was able to expand the company into a global enterprise with producers, composers, music supervisors, research creatives and recording artists creating groundbreaking and award-winning audio. The company now maintains six full-service recording studios, a music licensing and research division and office space at locations in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City and Hamburg, Germany.

In April 2021, he was awarded two Gold Awards by 2021 American Advertising Awards Los Angeles for Detroit Youth Choir’s “Glory” which was recorded onsite in Detroit and in the studio, and Vistaprint’s “Unregiftable” advertisement. Other notable recent projects by Yessian include producing the sound for Hudson Yards Observation Deck in New York City, “Flying Over Indonesia” theme park ride at Trans Studios Bali, and Lincoln’s “Ivory Steps” ad for the 2021 Grammys featuring singer-songwriter Jon Batiste.

Yessian’s clients over the years have included Disney, RAM, Budweiser, Macy’s, United Airlines, Walmart, Coca Cola, L’Oreal, McDonald’s, Porsche, Nintendo, Proctor & Gamble, Mercedes-Benz, Samsung, Bosch, NBC (Sunday Night Football, The Voice, America’s Got Talent), ESPN (College Football, Major League Baseball), Disney Channel, HGTV, Lifetime, PBS, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force, among countless others.

Yessian • www.yessian.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

HEAR Rethinks Remote Recording

John Harris of HEAR
John Harris of HEAR

Burlington, NJ (June 21, 2021)—Technology eventually caught up to concept for John Harris and Jody Elff, two live music event mixers with a stack of awards between them. For more than 25 years, the pair had been pondering the practicality of remote production and finally, a year ago, hastened by the pandemic, their dreams became a reality.

Way back in the day, says Elff, a Grammy-winning audio engineer, sound artist and designer, the conversation was kickstarted when the band he was touring with needed to record a show. “It really needed a remote music truck,” he says, “but nobody wanted to pay for it. I thought, if I could give someone control over the Pro Tools system next to me at front-of-house we could save ourselves a lot of hassle without adding an extra semi to the tour.”

Fast-forward a couple of decades and little had changed—the industry paradigm was still typically to move dozens of channels from the stage to a truck or control room. As producers pivoted to work-from-home workflows, “We were still trying to ship all this audio over the internet, which is really hard and unpredictable,” Elff says.

While collaborating with Solid State Logic, which was seeking to meet the WFH mixing challenge with System T, they had a eureka moment. “We need to control the mixer that’s on stage; that has to do all the work,” says Harris, who has numerous Emmys, Grammys and a Peabody Award to his name. The preamps, recorder and mixer need to sit stage-side. “And we need to accurately and dependably control and hear that system,” he says, from their remote mixing locations.

“Once we started going down that road, it was pretty straight forward,” says Harris. A couple of months into the initial 2020 lockdown, the pair launched a partnership, HEAR (Harris Elff Audio Resources), offering remote music mixing services from their respective similarly equipped facilities in New Jersey and New York.

One of HEAR’s first gigs was recording Diana: The Musical, a Broadway show closed by the lockdown the week it was to have opened. “We recorded for five days with me in my studio, John in his, handing off monitoring and mixing capabilities, and sent it to Skywalker Sound for mixing,” says Elff. The show will premiere on Netflix on Oct. 1.

Capturing a Grammy Awards Like No Other

Harris and Elff are also part of Remote Production Group, a “strategic alliance of like-minded folks,” as Harris describes it. RemotePro includes several key members based in Nashville who provide video services for remote live productions. Together, they have produced live events such as the iHeartCountry Radio festival and performances from the Anyway Café in Manhattan.

Key to the technological breakthrough that has enabled HEAR’s offering is a patent-pending IP tunneling scheme that Elff co-developed with RemotePro’s IT guru, Greg Green. “We’ve effectively moved the control of a console surface in my studio or John’s studio to a Pro Tools system next to the stage,” says Elff. Any number of surfaces can log on and off via the tunnel, offering failsafe redundancy.

With no need to move dozens of audio channels across the internet, HEAR can generate a broadcast mix at any resolution up to 24-bit/192 kHz. Control data passes between the stage and remote studios, but only monitoring audio is transported to the mixers.

Using Unity Connect, a 64-channel high-resolution audio streaming solution developed by Chuck Downs, “We’re sending back our monitoring audio—which can be a stereo or 5.1 mix plus PFL—and whatever else we need that’s independent of what goes to broadcast,” says Elff. “It’s fast, very good quality and it’s a very secure network.”

For any event, the pair ship a couple of racks equipped with up to 128 channels of Millennia mic preamps and a Pro Tools Ultimate primary computer plus an independent backup recording computer, all Dante-networked using Focusrite interfaces, to the location. For smaller productions, they offer a rig with a 16-input Dante-enabled SSL Net I/O SB i16 interface.

There are broadcast console and workstation manufacturers offering remote solutions, typically requiring duplicate surfaces and DSP at either end. “But none of them have as integrated and comprehensive a hardware-software partnership as Avid does with their consoles and their software,” says Harris.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Fox Podcast Talks Tech in 60 Seconds

FOX on Tech
Fox News Channel

New York, NY (June 21, 2021)—Podcasts, by the nature of their open-ended format, afford creators the license to define the length and pacing of the stories they tell. Episodes of the exhaustively researched Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music, for example, routinely clock between an hour and two hours-plus in length. The aptly titled Longest Podcast in the World set the record at 36 continuous hours.

Brett Larson, editor of the FOX on Tech podcast
Brett Larson, editor of the FOX on Tech podcast

“Usually, podcasts are as long as they are interesting,” says Brett Larson, editor of the FOX on Tech podcast and morning anchor on Sirius FM’s FOX News Headlines 24/7. FOX on Tech goes the opposite direction, squeezing the tech news of the day into pithy one-minute audio shorts which are made available to listeners as a podcast and through terrestrial FOX News Radio affiliates.

“Day to day, there’s always something that’s going to happen—there’s a new phone from Apple, there’s malware you have to keep on the lookout for, there’s a massive data breach—but some of the stories are kind of tied together,” says Larson. “The podcast platform allows us to do more interesting stories in the field of technology.”

FOX on Tech began as a feature segment on FOX News Headlines 24/7 and as a download for radio affiliates throughout the U.S. The segment was so popular on radio that the network decided to add the program to the lineup on its podcast platform alongside four other new titles in March.

Story ideas begin at the FOX news desk or with Larson himself, who writes the podcast shorts and compiles audio clips to help tell each story. Timing affects every decision, not only to make the most engaging and informative use of the allotted daily minute, but also because the clips have to be exactly 60 seconds in length for radio. If a story calls for audio support, Larson gauges precisely how much is necessary and writes his script around it.

“Some stories that are more complicated take significantly longer because some of the tech subjects can be difficult to explain in just a few seconds,” says Larson. “How do you explain net neutrality in seven seconds? Because that’s all the time you’re gonna get in a 60-second feature to do it.”

Jason Bonewald, director of podcast development, news operations and political programming, and his team aim to keep production values high.
Jason Bonewald, director of podcast development, news operations and political programming, and his team aim to keep production values high.

The production process is lightning-fast as well, which Larson attributes to the “muscle memory” of researching a topic, then writing, rewriting, submitting and finally producing the podcast segment. Typically, it’s all done within an hour. Larson records at home using a Shure SM7B microphone and a Comrex Access remote-broadcast IP codec, employing an XLR splitter that sends the audio to both the Comrex and through a Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB-C interface into Adobe Audition.

Once Larson is done with the audio, he uploads the WAV files for Jason Bonewald, director of podcast development, news operations and political programming. Bonewald and his post-production team add compression and other subtle audio sweeteners if needed and review for editorial content.

“We’ll add a little bit of compression [and] tweak some if there’s any audio hiccups, if there’s anything we heard coming over his mic,” says Bonewald. “It’s mostly polishing on the final product on our end, and then just reviewing the read and doing some final checks on audio and editorial to make sure nothing that changed from when we handed the original product in to when we get the finished product back. There’s rarely any need for final polishes, but we review every single one of them anyway.”

Producing the ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ Podcast

Keeping production values high is a priority with FOX News Podcasts, he adds. “There’s no closer medium that you could get than the podcast industry, because you’re literally in someone’s ear,” says Bonewald. “We try to give our audience what we’re used to hearing in the old-fashioned radio experience. We’re trying to give them the best quality audio that we can.”

Fox on Tech Podcast • https://bit.ly/3o5c0ko

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Producing the ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ Podcast

Throughout the pandemic, Marc Maron (left) and producer Brendan McDonald have continued to record the WTF podcast in Maron’s garage.
Throughout the pandemic, Marc Maron (left) and producer Brendan McDonald have continued to record the WTF podcast in Maron’s garage.

Los Angeles, CA (June 9, 2021)—When the popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron debuted 11 years ago, the iPhone was only on its third iteration and couldn’t muster downloads larger than 20 MB. That’s an important fact in understanding the evolution of podcasting fidelity from tinny and flangey in the early ’00s, as the podcast’s producer Brendan McDonald describes, to the comparatively crystalline audio available from podcasts today.

“When podcasts were a fairly young medium, there were a lot of data concerns about them from users,” says McDonald, “people with early data plans or devices that did not hold particularly a large amount of data and did not have cloud storage plans yet. So, you had to be very mindful.”

As MP3 compression technology progressed and the show upgraded to a server whose bit rate was 128 Kbps, he found some listeners still preferred the original 22050 Hz mono file, which was 32-bit at a constant 40 Kbps. Those longtime listeners can still find that format on the podcast’s website, while podcatchers and platforms like Spotify get a modern formatted file.

Twenty Thousand Hertz Podcast Spotlights Shure SM7

“I was like, if the default setting is [128 Kbps] and I’m compressing down, [then] we’re getting like a VHS copy of a copy here,” he says. “Now we’re using a more standard, almost stereo MP3 style setting of 44.1 stereo, 16-bit and 128 Kbps—which is a much bigger file, but in the style that people are generally listening to podcasts now.”

McDonald has been with WTF with Marc Maron for all 1,200-plus episodes and worked with the host in terrestrial radio in New York and Los Angeles before transitioning to the podcast format. While he can hear improvements in the quality of the show and audio over that time period, the equipment he used to get the show to today has changed very little. Maron, in his home studio, still tracks with a Shure SM7 microphone and a Samson MDR6 tabletop mixer with Garage Band. McDonald edits in Adobe Audition, the latest version of the Cool Edit software he used in the show’s earliest days.

The only measurable changes to the show’s production, in fact, came with COVID-19. Maron and McDonald had to ease off their policy of only taping interviews in person, but maintaining the easy, conversational vibe that comes from conducting face-to-face interviews was a top priority during the upheaval of 2020.

True Crime Sound Design on ‘Anatomy of Murder’

“These interviews, and this show in general, really connect with people because the conversations feel so intimate,” says McDonald. “Marc, over the course of a decade, has gotten very good at that—basically creating an environment for people to feel like they’re comfortable and they can share with him. It doesn’t have a lot of pretense, it doesn’t have a lot of roadblocks to actual conversation, as opposed to feeling like it’s stilted or a list of Q&A. He wanted it to be personal; he wanted it to feel like two people connecting. And so that was really important to us.”

Social distancing protocols meant that videoconferencing became a necessity. For interviews in which the subject has a home recording setup, McDonald is able to get a tape sync recording, but most audio now comes through Zoom with the Audio Hijack extraction tool by Rogue Amoeba added to the mix. In the software’s Voice Chat mode, McDonald can select Skype, Zoom or another videoconferencing platform as the audio source and tweak the audio on the fly while Maron conducts the interview.

“It’s actually brought me back to my early days of live radio production, in that now I can actually sit on the live call with Marc and I can tinker with the sound if I need to,” he says. “It’s been more work in the last year, but we’ve been able to make it work and largely have been very satisfied with the way things have sounded.”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Reflecting on The Mandalorian’s Reflections

Disney's The Mandalorian shoots within a circle of 20-foot-high video screens that surround actors in realistic panoramic environments—but also considerable vocal reflections.
Disney’s The Mandalorian shoots within a circle of 20-foot-high video screens that surround actors in realistic panoramic environments—but also considerable vocal reflections.

Manhattan Beach, CA (June 2, 2021)—Disney+’s The Mandalorian has been racking up accolades and ever-increasing record viewing numbers since its debut on the premium streaming platform in late 2019. One of the latest honors went to production mixer Shawn Holden, CAS, who won a Cinema Audio Society award in April for her work on “Chapter 2: The Child,” which debuted Nov. 15, 2019.

No doubt the CAS Award looks nice next to Holden’s Emmy Award, which she won a few months earlier for the same episode. She shares the Emmy with scoring mixer Christopher Fogel, CAS and re-recording mixer Bonnie Wild, also honored by the CAS, and with re-recording mixer Stephen Urata, ADR mixer Matthew Wood and Foley mixer Blake Collins, CAS.

The recognition must be doubly sweet considering the challenges presented to the show’s production sound by the advanced video technology used to film The Mandalorian at Manhattan Beach Stages. There, Industrial Light & Magic is using its Stagecraft integrated virtual production platform, better known as The Volume, to film location sequences without, well, going on location.

The Volume is a seamless circle of 20-foot-high LED video screens that, in combination with tracking sensors, infra-red cameras, a powerful gaming engine and arrays of computers, positions the actors in realistic panoramic environments with perfect camera perspective. One of the challenges for Holden and her current team—Randy Johnson and Patrick Martens  on boom and Veronica Kahn on utility duties—is that the almost-perfect circle of LED screens, with a roof of yet more screens, reflects sound very efficiently.

“Your voice is reflected back at you, about every two and a half inches, all the way around the wall, at 100% with no decay,” says Holden. To meet the challenge, Holden called in acoustician Hanson Hsu, principal of Delta H Design, who recommended his company’s ZR (Zero Reflection) Acoustics screens, which measure eight feet by four feet by about 1.5 inches thick. Suspended on wheeled stands at the stage, they can be rolled around and positioned as needed.

“They will do a rehearsal, set up cameras and we work around that. The trick is that you have to get the panels close enough to the actors for them to be effective,” she says, noting that they can’t interfere with the cameras or sensors—or reflect in the lead character’s shiny helmet. “It really is a delicate balance.”

Some scenes are shot on sets or on location, but in The Volume, she says, “If we get close enough and if we can get the screens in, then we can boom it.” Her preference is for Schoeps CMIT boom mics, with Sanken, DPA and Countryman lavs, and Lectrosonics RF equipment. “The Mandalorian himself is in a helmet, so he’s on a wire. We’ve built permanent things into helmets, masks, suits and various costumes” for other characters, she says.

No less of a challenge on The Mandalorian is coordinating the RF and Wi-Fi also used by the cameras, lighting, video assist and other departments. That has even included adjacent stages. But all the departments have worked together to alleviate interference, she says, and consulted with her before buying a Riedel Bolero system for production comms.

Holden captures everything to an Aaton Cantar X3 recorder via a Cooper CS-208 mixer. “I’ve been using Cantar since it came out. They told me I was the first woman in the world to own one. I had no. 75, back in the day,” she says, an X1 model. “It’s such a beautiful machine and sounds so lovely. And I just love the sound of my Cooper.”

Holden’s credits are extensive in both film and TV, and include movies such as Gods and Monsters and Nightcrawler. She started in local television news after graduating with a radio-TV-film degree in Oklahoma. Relocating to Dallas, she lucked into accompanying a former colleague, award-winning freelance cameraman Darrell Barton, to cover the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. “I was there for a week and ended up working with Dan Rather. From that point on, I was a network news sound technician,” she says, working on 20/20, 60 Minutes and the like.

For season two of The Mandalorian, the shape of The Volume became slightly less symmetrical, Holden reports, “but it’s still a challenge, and always will be in this environment.”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Mix Sessions: Emmy Awards Season Ready to Roll

Mix Sessions Emmy Awards SeasonNew York, NY (May 21, 2021)—Pros behind the sound and music of some of this year’s biggest television hits will divulge all when they sit down Wednesday, May 26 for the FREE virtual event, Mix Sessions Emmy Awards Season.

Register at https://www.mixsoundforfilm.com/sessions/virtual

Enjoy these sneak peeks:

The free, one-day event will include behind-the-scenes interviews with the leading supervising sound editors, sound designers, re-recording mixers, composers, production sound mixers, editors, technologists and creative talent vying for this year’s Best Sound awards. Meet the women and men who tackled sound and music for Wandavision, Small Axe, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, The Underground Railroad and Sylvie’s Love.

In addition to a series of profiles on the year’s best dramatic and documentary programs, Mix Sessions: Emmy Awards Season will feature two special roundtable discussions—The Documentary Score: Emotional Reality and Sound Editing and Mixing: Comedy, Drama and In-Between.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

MIX SESSIONS SNEAK PEEK: Sound of ‘Small Axe’

Go behind the scenes with the creative sound team behind Steve McQueen’s Small Axe, featuring Ed Bailie of Leland Music and sound editor/re-recording mixer James Harrison. Moderated by Jennifer Walden, ‘Sound for Small Axe’ is just one of the presentations featured at Mix Sessions: Emmy Awards Season, where Mix sits down with audio post teams behind some of the year’s best work in sound for television.

Register for FREE Now at https://www.mixsoundforfilm.com/sessions/virtual

Pros behind the sound and music of some of this year’s biggest television hits will divulge all when they sit down Wednesday, May 26 for the free virtual event, Mix Sessions Emmy Awards Season.

Mix Sessions Emmy Awards Season Set for Wednesday

The free, one-day event will include behind-the-scenes interviews with the leading supervising sound editors, sound designers, re-recording mixers, composers, production sound mixers, editors, technologists and creative talent vying for this year’s Best Sound awards. Meet the women and men who tackled sound and music for Wandavision, Small Axe, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, The Underground Railroad and Sylvie’s Love.

In addition to a series of profiles on the year’s best dramatic and documentary programs, Mix Sessions: Emmy Awards Season will feature two special roundtable discussions—The Documentary Score: Emotional Reality and Sound Editing and Mixing: Comedy, Drama and In-Between.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

SNEAK PEEK: Sound of ‘WandaVision’

Take a peek at the Sound for WandaVision panel at Mix Sessions Emmy Awards Season, featuring the Skywalker Sound team of Danielle Dupre, Kim Foscato, Steve Orlando and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle. Moderated by Jennifer Walden, this is just one of the presentations featured at Mix Sessions: Emmy Awards Season, where Mix sits down with audio post teams behind some of the year’s best work in sound for television.

Register for FREE Now at https://www.mixsoundforfilm.com/sessions/virtual

Pros behind the sound and music of some of this year’s biggest television hits will divulge all when they sit down Wednesday, May 26 for the free virtual event, Mix Sessions Emmy Awards Season.

Mix Sessions Emmy Awards Season Set for Wednesday

The free, one-day event will include behind-the-scenes interviews with the leading supervising sound editors, sound designers, re-recording mixers, composers, production sound mixers, editors, technologists and creative talent vying for this year’s Best Sound awards. Meet the women and men who tackled sound and music for Wandavision, Small Axe, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, The Underground Railroad and Sylvie’s Love.

In addition to a series of profiles on the year’s best dramatic and documentary programs, Mix Sessions: Emmy Awards Season will feature two special roundtable discussions—The Documentary Score: Emotional Reality and Sound Editing and Mixing: Comedy, Drama and In-Between.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Hallmark Home & Family Upgrades Wireless Rig

Mike Dooley
Mike Dooley

Los Angeles, CA (May 24, 2021)—The Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family, now in its ninth season, recently upgraded to a Lectrosonics all-digital D Squared wireless mic system.

“We had been using three Lectrosonics Venue racks and SM-series transmitters since the show started in 2012,” says audio supervisor Mike Dooley, whose CV includes The Biggest Loser and The Price Is Right. “I loved how well supported they were. But when we changed rental houses, to SAV Entertainment out of Glendale, we took the opportunity to go all digital. I have to say that while the range and sound quality of the Digital Hybrid stuff was fantastic, the fully digital gear is even more amazing.”

With the RF spectrum available for TV production ever tightening, one feature that attracted Dooley’s immediate attention was the D Squared system’s built-in encryption. “NBC Universal has a frequency coordinator who assigns all our frequencies and has mostly kept us safe,” he explains. “But talent and guests wear their mics all day on this show, and of course talk privately off-set. Sometimes it’s possible that a mic is picked up somewhere it shouldn’t be. With the encryption, I no longer have to worry about that.”

Maurizio Argentieri on Metric Halo and ‘The Life Ahead’

“Working with a frequency coordinator also makes wideband important,” adds Joe Casanova, co-founder of SAV, along with Brady Belavek. “The DSQD receiver is tunable from 470 to 608 MHz, so there’s no need to switch out modules for different blocks if the coordinator gives you something unexpected. I’m also not aware of any other receiver that has four channels in a half-rack, which let them pack 16 channels into just two rack spaces. Between that; the Dante, Ethernet, and USB connectivity; the super low latency; and the built-in multi-coupler, the DSQD really checked all of our boxes.”

“Agreed,” Dooley replies. “With the way the DSQD uses the spectrum, Universal has been able to give us the best frequency coordination we’ve ever had.”

Dooley maintains a commanding view of the entire system’s status and performance via Lectrosonics Wireless Designer software. “I have an A2 [assistant mixer] but he’s running around and not always able to sit with the receiver rack,” he explains. “Right from the mix room, I can see the activity on all the frequencies and the transmitter battery levels in Wireless Designer. This comes in on a dedicated Ethernet port so there’s absolutely no latency in terms of the information being up-to-the-second.”

Lectrosonics • www.lectrosonics.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com