Mark Murray in Richards Outpost
Dallas-based advertising agency, The Richards Group recently added a 5.1 surround-mixing studio designed by Russ Berger Design Group (RBDG) to augment the post-production services offered by their Richards Outpost division. For more than three decades, The Richards Group has been a leader in corporate branding, handling advertising, interactive, relationship marketing, retail, brand, and business-to-business campaigns.
The Richards Group’s original in-house audio room was created in 1999 by renovating an existing conference room. The company needed a second space to accommodate its workload, with the ability to mix surround audio.
“The old studio is a great space and it is still used mainly for ISDN patches and radio mixes, but with more clients looking for HD projects, we needed something to go beyond that into surround,” explains Mark Murray, audio engineer at The Richards Group. “We made the decision that if we were going to do this, then we were going to do it right and build a studio from the ground up.”
Most of the firm’s existing post-production facilities are located on the 11th and 12th floors, which presented issues with cabling infrastructure and ceiling height. “High rise buildings always present a unique and challenging framework for audio production facilities,” says Russ Berger, president of RBDG, “mainly because of surrounding noise sources from other tenants and building systems. We combined creative thinking with practical experience and theoretical know-how to address these issues, and created a space that references well and accommodates more client audio work in-house.”
Ultimately, to take advantage of high ceilings that provided adequate acoustic volume, the studio was located on the building’s first floor.
Murray notes that for Richards Outpost’s new studio, “We wanted a great room for surround mixes and mixed pictures that had client appeal.” RBDG responded by incorporating a projection screen in the control room’s design to help create a better viewing experience for clients. Adjacent to the control room is an isolation booth that makes it easier to mic multiple actors and is more comfortable for the talent. Equipment highlights include a 5.1 Genelec DSP monitoring system and an Avid ICON-D Command ES console controlling Pro Tools.
Richards Outpost has already completed projects for electricity producer Southern Company, Home Depot and cable company Charter Communications. The studio also has helped cut down on travel time and project turnaround. “The big draw of doing production work in-house is to minimize travel time for our creative staff,” Murray notes. “Part of our agency philosophy is to cross-pollinate our team, so we rotate people on client assignments. They need to be available if something comes up for another account. When it gets down to the mechanical part of the mix, the creatives are able to just walk from the studio to their desk. It’s very efficient.
“It's one of the most accurate mix spaces that I’ve ever been in,” Murray adds. “This space is really on the mark—not just acoustically but the whole vibe of the space. It’s comfortable and very inviting. It’s a nice tribute to the work RBDG does because everything translates well in different positions in the room. I was really impressed with the entire crew. They are very caring people and were very interactive in the completion of this facility. I really appreciated that.”