Mix, Sony Turn Spotlight on Immersive Sound

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The marquee outside the Cary Grant Theatre welcomes attendees.

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Randy Thom delivers the keynote address.

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Greg P. Russell on the mic talking about mixing sound effects in immersive formats, with, from left, moderator David Bondolevitch, Mark Stoeckinger, Will Files, Scott Gershin, Chris Jacobsen and David Giammarco.

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David Gray of Dolby, left, Wilfried von Baelen of Auro Technologies and John Kellogg of DTS discuss the technologies behind the immersive sound formats. All photos: Frank Wells

More than 500 film sound professionals visited Sony Pictures Post-Production Studios on September 6 to take part in an inaugural Mix event, Immersive Sound: From Production to Playback. Beginning with a keynote address by two-time Academy Award winner Randy Thom, director of sound design at Skywalker Sound, and concluding with a panel on Technology and Workflow in Immersive Sound Formats, the all-day event brought together the best of the creative and technology communities in addressing the issues surrounding the emerging formats.

The event was produced in conjunction with Host Sponsor Sony Pictures Studios, event partners Motion Picture Sound Editors and Cinema Audio Society, and a range of manufacturers and companies involved with professional audio and film.

“We were thrilled with the level of participation from the editors and mixers, and from those who supply these exciting new tools for those creatives to work with,” says Tom Kenny, editor of Mix. “I believe this was the first time that representatives from Dolby, Auro Technologies and DTS were in the same room, in front of an audience, explaining their new systems. Then we have Yamaha in the house with their Nuage production system. We have Avid, Meyer Sound, Harrison, and all these breakthrough technologies, not to mention Randy Thom, Skip Lievsay, Andy Nelson, Ron Bartlett, Scott Gershin, Marti Humphrey, Dennis Sands…the list of amazing sound talent just went on and on.

“And to have it at Sony Studios just made the day all the more special,” Kenny continues. “They literally rolled out the red carpet for us, put our name on the marquee, and opened up some of the finest re-recording stages in the world for our panels and demos. Then they surprised us all at the end of the day with a special screening of The Equalizer, in the Cary Grant Theater, where the film was mixed. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

After opening remarks from Randy Lake, EVP/GM of Sony Pictures Digital Production, Randy Thom spoke to the crowd about the art of sound, how sound can be a collaborator in the storytelling process from the writing of the script on through production. He illustrated his talk with clips from Gravity, Barton Fink, How to Train Your Dragon and Apocalypse Now.

Then attendees moved over to the main post-production sound complex and heard from industry experts in the Kim Novak Theatre, where panels focused on: Effects Editing and Mixing; Music and Dialog, The Technologies Behind the Formats—Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS MDA Explained; and Technology and Workflow.

Next door in the William Holden Theatre, Dolby, Auro Technologies, and DTS provided demos of material in the new immersive sound formats, while Yamaha/Steinberg took over ADR 1 and showcased its advanced production system, Nuage, with Nuendo 6.5.

Other sponsors included Harrison, Avid, Meyer Sound, Fairlight, RSPE Audio, GC Pro, Audio Intervisual Design, Formosa Group and Imax.

For complete program, panelist and sponsor information, visit mixsoundforfilm.com.