The list of film credits that scoring mixer/record producer SteveKempster has worked on continues to expand; current projects includeGhost Soldiers, Exorcist: The Beginning and John Water’sindie film, Dirty Shame. Films currently running that creditKempster as mixer include Brother Bear,The HauntedMansion,Mean Girls and New York Minute. Kempster hasalso recently finished producing new songs for the rock band SkyFarm.
Kempster’s diverse work as a recording engineer, film score mixerand record producer led him on a quest to find a great mid-fieldmonitor system that would sound great for his film scoring dates, hiscommercial sessions and also for his record production work. Kempsterexplains: “For my work I’m a studio on wheels. My racks of gear and Iare in a different room from project to project. My dream was a systemthat could handle a lot of gain with loads of headroom, and could stillsurvive the abuse loudspeakers take during a tracking date. I neededsomething that was tough and great-sounding. The design and idea behindthe ATCs is that they are the gold standard. I can depend on them inany situation.” After many auditions, trials and extensiveconsultations with a number of manufacturers, he purchased an LCR setof ATC SCM100ASL Pro and an CM0.1/15 Pro subwoofer.
Kempster continues, saying, “I produced Sky Farm, mixed three filmsand a number of commercials all on the ATCs and everything hastranslated beautifully. So my confidence level is extremely high! Withthe 100s, I find the imaging is breathtaking. The soundfield is sodefined and exactly the way it is on the sound stage. I also find the’sweet spot’ is wide both vertically and horizontally, making it greatfor my clients and artists to also enjoy the sound equally over afairly wide area. These speakers somehow maintain the same relationshipbetween low-, mid- and high-frequencies at all volumes better than anyspeaker I’ve worked on. If I was mixing a record, the vocal sound,characteristic and position in the mix stays exactly the same-dead onfrom quiet to earthshaking room volumes.”
Another big consideration is the transition from film work to recordwork. There is a big jump for monitoring because most film score mixingis done through the X Curve, a deliberate roll-off of high frequencies(in the monitor path) to simulate the speaker playback systems in movietheatres. Kempster says: “What ATC is doing now is developing andbuilding multistage X Curve filters for my 100s. Being able toaccommodate this change for me, and build a filter to the highstandards of ATC was a significant reason for me to go with them.”
Mixing for film, with much its bigger dynamic range, a speaker’sability to exhibit detail and resolution are tested. Kempster findsthat: “In film work, what’s important is the basic resolution of thespeaker. How well are you hearing detail? I find the resolution of theATCs as good as I’ve ever heard. I can track the detail of theforeground information and still hear the quality of the ambient decay.This is crucial to what I do, but even more important is that the ATCsare so damn much fun to listen to!”