Mix, Sony Turn Spotlight on Immersive Sound

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The marquee outside the famous Cary Grant Theatre on the Sony Pictures Studios lot.

Photo: 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.

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Two-time Academy Award-winner Randy Thom, director of sound design at Skywalker Sound, delivers the keynote speech on the art of creating sound moments for films, from the script through production.

Photo: Frank Wells

“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.

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Randy Lake, EVP/GM of Sony Pictures Digital Production, welcomes attendees to the inaugural Mix Sound for Film event, Immersive Sound: From Production to Playback.

Photo: Frank Wells

“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.”

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Re-recording mixer Greg P. Russell addresses the audience on the opening panel of the day, Creative Opportunities in Immersive Sound: Effects Editing and Mixing. From left, moderator David Bondelevitch, Mark Stoeckinger, Will Files, Scott M. Gershin, Chris Jacobson, Russell, and David Giammarco.

Photo: Frank Wells

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.

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An attendee gets an overview of Yamaha’s NUAGE Advanced Production System in ADR 1 at Sony Pictures Post-Production Studios.

Photo: Frank Wells

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.

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John Kellogg of DTS talks technology on the second panel of the day, Immersive Technology: The Formats Explained. From left, David Gray of Dolby, Wilfried van Baelen of Auro Technologies, Kevin Collier of Warner Bros., Kellogg, and Bill Banyai of Sony.

Photo: Frank Wells

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.

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Wilfried van Baelen of Auro Technologies explains Auro-3D, with David Gray of Dolby at left and Kevin Collier of Warner Bros. Post-Production to the right.

Photo: Frank Wells

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

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Academy Award-winning production sound mixer Mark Ulano asks his fellow panelists a question during the panel on Creative Opportunities in Immersive Sound: Music and Dialog. From left: Skip Lievsay, Dennis Sands, Ron Bartlett, Andy Nelson, Marti Humphrey and Ulano.

Photo: Frank Wells

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

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Frank Wells, left, editor of Pro Sound News, directs the discussion on the closing panel of the day, Immersive Sound: Technology and Workflow. David Gould of Dolby is to his right.

Photo: Steve Harvey