Behind the X-Men Emmy: Pro Tools and AnimationAnimation is hot right now, and it's no longer simply a Saturday morning babysitter. Animated shows, with adult themes but a child's sensibility, have moved into primetime, on both networks and cable 12/02/2003 7:00 AM Eastern
Animation is hot right now, and it's no longer simply a Saturdaymorning babysitter. Animated shows, with adult themes but a child'ssensibility, have moved into primetime, on both networks and cable.Robert Hargreaves, a sound designer, mixer and principal at DigiPost,Burbank, has been working in animated TV shows for the past 13 years,and he has seen the concern for sound grow up.
"Showslike Justice League or X-Men have been created with alive-action feel, so they're looking for film-style sound," he says."We're doing full editorial, design, Foley and mixing here in ourfacility. We have a two-man setup on the Control 24 and we're runningHD Accel [Mac G5, dual 2 GHz] with a separate Pro Tools [Version] 6 foreffects. Something like Justice League can go to 48 tracksjust for effects."
Roughly85 percent of DigiPost's work is for Warner Bros., both for cartoonsand direct-to-video releases, which are all in 5.1. The five-roomfacility, which also includes a mix stage and a Foley stage, alltielined and Airported, turned out more than 70 episodes [of a singlecartoon?] last year. It can be a very busy place, with most mixesscheduled for a single day. Hargreaves and crew now have five EmmyAwards, two for X-Men, including this year's Sound Editing inLive Action/Animation.
"I thinkwhat producers like about us is that we believe mixes should always bechanging and evolving," he says. "We do a lot of monsters ad alienvoices, and producers are always looking to stay fresh and new. Becauseof technology, we're able to do a lot of it live on the stage. We cannow run more plug-ins and more tracks.
"Lastmonth, we added the Accel cards and we definitely noticed thedifference in power," he continues, "especially on the 5.1 mixes. TheWaves Platinum Bundle certainly seems to like it, and for dialog, whichis usually edited at Warner Bros. and comes over as a raw Pro Toolssession file, we've been finding some interesting futzes with Digi'sSci-Fi and Lo-Fi. I'm also a fan of Pitch Blender Time Blender, andeverybody in animation likes Pitch 'n Time."
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