NEW YORK, NY, August 26, 2009 â”€ Creative Group, the industryâ€™s premier full-service post-production facility, made the audio come alive for two major concert DVDs released this summer, Michael BublÃ© Meets Madison Square Garden and Chess In Concert Live From Royal Albert Hall. Sue Pelino, Creative Groupâ€™s EmmyÂ® Award-winning VP of audio post production and senior mixer, along with her team, performed the final 5.1 and stereo mixes for the DVDs, giving viewers at home the chance to experience the same stunning vocals and extraordinary music as those who witnessed the performances live.
Achieving this was no small feat for Pelino, as both DVDs combined often wildly disparate audio elements. Michael BublÃ© Meets Madison Square Garden not only showcased the croonerâ€™s legendary MSG debut, which required a mix that truly brought the ambience and grand sound of the venue home for viewers,
but also included documentary footage of BublÃ© getting ready for his performance, going through rehearsals and hanging out with his family backstage. Chess In Concert, meanwhile, featured the lyrics of Tim Rice and music by Benny Andersson and BjÃ¶rn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, with amazing vocals by Josh Groban and Idina Menzel, who were backed up by a 100-member chorus, a rock â€˜nâ€™ roll band and a classical orchestra.
To bring to life the sound of BublÃ© jazzing up MSG, Pelino mixed the rehearsal music in stereo only and toned down the sound of the documentary footage, so that when contrasted with the 5.1 mix of the actual concert, the sound of the latter would truly stand out. â€œI mixed all the documentary footage in surround but it wasnâ€™t quite like once you get inside, all of a sudden you feel the grandness of being in Madison Square Garden and the mix is really open at that point. Even though the doc stuff was mixed in surround it wasnâ€™t as big as when the concert actually started.â€?
With its multiple musical elements, Chess In Concert presented its own challenges. Chief among them was keeping the sound of the lead vocalistsâ€™ voices from being drowned out by some of the other elements. â€œThese are some amazing vocalists, so the key was really to keep them pronounced,â€? says Pelino. â€œBecause there was this combination of classical music, rock and the chorus, along with some small speaking parts, we had to be very careful never to lose those vocals.â€?
According to Pelino, accomplishing this came down to careful management of the audio in Pro Tools: â€œIt was really just riding the volume levels, with slight compression and eq, and letting the vocals drive the performance. These vocalists are so incredible that thereâ€™s really not that much that I have to do; their voices unprocessed just sound absolutely perfect. So we just made sure that they stayed pronounced in the final 5.1 and stereo mixes.â€?
Chess In Concert was taped and premixed in London, with Pelino and her team handling the final music and audio post mixes. They did the final 5.1 and stereo mixes for the DVD, a version of the show for Great Performances (PBS), which premiered in June, and a double audio CD of the full show. Similarly for the Michael BublÃ© Meets Madison Square Garden DVD, Pelino handled the final 5.1 and and audio post mix, laying back everything onto the HD master, as well as preparing a session and a drive for the firm that performed the DVD authoring.
â€œWhen it comes to mixing performances on DVD, the aim is always to make the viewer sitting at home feel like they have orchestra seats to the live event,â€? says Pelino. â€œThis was especially the case with the Michael BublÃ© and â€œChessâ€? DVDs, with their amazing music and vocals. Thanks to the guidance of David May, the producer on both projects at Warner Bros. and the dedication of my talented and hard-working team at Creative Group, I feel we have contributed to making these DVDs a truly thrilling experience for the viewer.â€?
About Creative Group
Creative Group is a leading, full-service post production facility specializing in nonlinear, linear and HD editing compositing, visual effects, color correction, digital intermediates, DVD duplication and sound design/5.1 audio post mixing for the broadcast, film and DVD markets. The New York City-based Creative Group first opened its doors in 1993 with an imaginative and award-winning team of artists. The company has since expanded its industry presence to include Mantra, its Manhattan-based design and visual effects boutique, as well as its Bristol, CT location. The company has grown internationally, as well, to include a facility overseas in Shanghai. Working with such high profile clients as The Walt Disney Company, General Electric, Viacom, Time Warner, Paramount, NBC Universal and Momentum, Creative Group prides itself in its mission to offer an all-inclusive hub for value-added creative services. This affords clients the ability to differentiate themselves in todayâ€™s cluttered multimedia environment.