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Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 | 8 comments

My Impressions of Dolby Atmos

One of the hot topics at AES this year…and by “hot,” I mean a subject that had multiple conference sessions devoted to it…was the concept of adding height to the spatial information presented by multi-channel surround formats. I’m sure a fair bit of the enthusiasm for this subject is caused by the announcement and release of Dolby Atmos earlier this year.

My experience with Dolby Atmos prior to AES was non-existent. To date, there are only 14 theaters in the U.S., and one in Canada, currently equipped for Atmos playback. The closest theater to me is in New York, and that’s not exactly a short trip from the Washington, DC, metro area. Thankfully, my trip out to San Francisco for AES provided me with two opportunities to listen to the system at work. The first was a technical demonstration at Dolby Laboratories, scheduled as a “Technical Tour” within the AES events program. The second was the AMC Metreon, which had two daily showings of Chasing Mavericks; the latest film release to be mixed in the new Atmos format.

Just imagining all that could be done in creating subtle backgrounds and ambiences, I was excited to hear what this system could do…though I fully expected the bulk of the examples that Dolby would be showing would tend toward spectacle. That proved, for the most part, to be true. Which made the opportunity presented by Chasing Mavericks all the more important; a chance to truly hear how editors and re-recording mixers would make use of the system throughout the course of a story. Before I get too deep into those experiences though, let’s talk about some of the interesting technical abilities of the system.

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Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 | 0 comments

SoundWorks Collection – The Sound of Chasing Mavericks in Dolby Atmos

The SoundWorks Collection talks with the sound team of Director Michael Apted’s Chasing Mavericks including Craig Henighan (Sound Re-recording Mixer) Paul Massey (Sound Re-recording Mixer), Bryan Pennington (Dolby Atmos Sound Consultant), and Erin Rettig (Post Production Sound Services, 20th Century Fox Studios) to discuss the process of mixing this film in Dolby Atmos.

A young surfing prodigy enlists the expertise of an old pro in order to conquer a truly epic wave in this drama detailing the incredible true story of surfer Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston). A Santa Cruz teen with a natural born talent for surfing, Moriarty can’t resist the temptation to conquer the mountainous Mavericks surf break. Moriarty realizes that his lack of experience could spell doom while attempting such a formidable feat, so in order to ensure that he’s well prepared he seeks the wisdom of veteran surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). Meanwhile, as Hesson teaches Moriarty how to stay balanced and focused in the face of danger, the two surfers establish a close bond that gives them the strength to face any challenge.

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Posted by on Sep 3, 2010 | 1 comment

Mix Magazine – September: Beyond 5.1, Paul Massey's Studio and Sound of Reality TV

The September’s Issue of Mix Magazine is now online, and includes features several articles on sound for film and television:

  • Beyond 5.1 – From the megaplex to amusement parks, audio playback is taking audiences to new dimensions. We reveal the projects and trends leading the way to 7.1, and beyond.
  • Designing Paul Massey’s Mixing Studio
  • Reality TV – Sound mixer and recordist Michael Alexan- der, CAS provided us with this inside look at the day-to-day challenges of working on loca- tion for reality television. This article previous- ly appeared in CAS Quarterly.

Mix Magazine – September [download or view online]

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Posted by on Jun 4, 2010 | 1 comment

Mixing "Robin Hood"

Mix has published an article about the sound mixing of  Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. Check:

“It’s going to need a lot of work,” acknowledges dialog/music re-recording mixer Paul Massey, as he turns from the screen in the Cary Grant Theater on Sony Pictures’ Culver City lot to face other members of the sound and picture crew. Massey has just rolled a faders-up mix of the re-conformed Reel 8 for Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott, and there are several dialog elements that sound at odds with some new tracks that have been synched to picture following a re-sequencing of the film’s final battle scene. There are also places where the music ends or transitions too early, and sound effects require sweetening.

Continue Reading…

Stay tuned for the next week for an interview we had with sound designer Ann Scibelli talking about her work on Robin Hood.

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Posted by on May 31, 2010 | 2 comments

The Approach of a Re-Recording Mixing Team

The May-June Issue of MPEG Magazine contains an interesting article about the different approaches of four re-recording mixing teams from Los Angeles and New York.

The re-recording mixing team is an odd phenomenon, common in Los Angeles, rare in New York and almost completely absent in Northern California. Local post-production culture, personal history and the size of the film are all factors, but one thing is for sure: Mixing teams work best when the chemistry is good, the working style is compatible and the size of the job calls for a team approach. Editors Guild Magazine interviewed four mixing teams to see how they operate.

David Giammarco & Paul Massey at Sony Studios, L.A:

This style of working allows each mixer to “focus on the details of their respective departments,” says Giammarco, and then take a step back to concentrate on the overall picture. “If I were one person working alone and getting client input, he would never have a moment to stop, catch his breath and see what he’s doing,” adds Massey. “We bounce ideas off each other all the time and present something that as a team we feel confident about. The mechanics of a mix become easier when you work with all the time. We always feel free to suggest creative ideas to each other.”

Sean Garnhart, freelance, & Cory Melious at Sound Lounge, NY:

Teamwork can create not only an exchange of ideas and creativity but also knowledge. Just as Melious says he’s learned more about sound design from Garnhart, so Garnhart credits effects mixer Doug Hemphill as a mentor. Garnhart supervised editing and designed sound for Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005), and then did pre-dubs for the movies. “Knowing that Doug was going to mix the finals was intimidating,” says Garnhart. “But his feedback was extremely supportive and priceless. He helped me become the mixer I am today.”

Anna Behlmer & Andy Nelson at 20th Century Fox Studios, L.A:

Teamwork for this pair is a matter of philosophy as well as personality. “We both believe in broad strokes,” explains Nelson. “We never work in small details from the beginning. I need to see the story and the emotional arc. What I like to do is sit back with Anna, and play the music in almost one run. It’s rough, but it immediately tells the story––what the filmmaker wants to achieve. And that opens the whole discussion for what we want to achieve.”

Scott Millan and David Parker at Todd-AO Studios, L.A:

“It would be impossible for the most part to do this as a solo mixer,” says Millan. “As it stands now, David and I have worked on projects where we don’t go home for three days. One person couldn’t physically do it all.” They even occasionally work on smaller films together, such as Taylor Hackford’s Love Ranch (2010). “We jumped on that and maximized the resources,” says Millan. “He’s a loyal client and someone we want to work with as much as we can, so we do the work as smart and cost-effectively as possible.”

Full Article

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