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Archive for January 10th, 2013

The Super Powers of DiGiCo’s SD7T Propel Batman Live Production

A superhero and cultural icon operating out of the fictional American Gotham City, Batman is assisted by various characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin in his continuous war on crime. Armed with a keen intellect, detective skills, technology and physical prowess coupled with an indomitable will to fight an assortment of villains from Catwoman to the Riddler, Batman is proof you don’t need superpowers to be a superhero. Adopted for the stage, Batman LIVE is a spectacular live action adventure filled with stunts, acrobatic acts and illusions. The show’s North American circuit started in the fall of 2012, following a popular and acclaimed arena tour throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and Latin America.

A DiGiCo SD7T at FOH was chosen by the show’s sound designer Simon Baker in conjunction with Clair Global, with a D5 local rack and DiGiCo stage racks connected via 500-feet of fiber optic cable. Two Apple Mac Pro’s with internal RME MADI cards run as hot, swappable redundant show playback machines, running QLab theatre control software enabling 48 channels of playback and flexible MIDI and Timecode programming.

The FOH system handles around 140 inputs overall: 24 channels of Sennheiser RF receivers, 2 x 48 channels of MADI playback, and 16 channels of external effects, as well as 22 zoned outputs to the FOH PA comprised of eight hangs of Clair Global i3 loudspeakers (56 boxes), 12 zones of Clair FF-2 boxes for front-fills built into the stage (26 boxes), two end-fire sub-arrays of Clair BT 218′s (12 boxes) and another 30 outputs for onstage and backstage monitoring in-ear monitors and press feeds. All effects are obtained within the console with the exception of an external Mac Mini running Apple’s MainStage 2 with a RME fireface interface for all vocal effects, and a TLA Audio valve compressor sitting across the vocal subgroups. [Pictured at right: Clair systems engineer Tim Peeling, FOH engineer James Meadwell, PA's Dane Barber and Kevin Leas.]

“The QLab machines send and receive MIDI signals back to the SD7 with pre-recorded Timecode to trigger all video cues, and some of the automation sequences,” says Clair systems engineer Tim Peeling. “We also pass MIDI triggers through the console exiting the stage rack to fire a hundred or so lighting cues. The comprehensive programming options available on the SD7T for this very snapshot-hungry theatre show are extensive. The powerful matrix, including the ability to delay matrix inputs, allows me to time-align the live mics separately to the track and sound FXs within the console. Sonically, the console is great as well, but where the SD7 really wins in this situation is the flexibility of the snapshot programming.”

“The SD7 is being used in a ‘control via MIDI’ mode with each of the snapshots assigned a MIDI value,” adds FOH engineer James Meadwell, who brings extensive experience mixing shows on London’s West End theatre district. “We then configured the desk’s NEXT and PREV buttons via the SD7 Macro page to send out MIDI commands to control the QLab’s Next and Previous functions. This created a loop with the desk triggering QLab, which in turn sent a trigger back to the SD7 recalling the snapshot needed. The music for the show has all been pre-recorded and we were able to get the SD7 snapshots to be recalled at exact musical points within the show. We programmed the QLab so the SD7 ‘reacted’ to the show’s sound cues, which makes mixing the show a very intuitive and enjoyable experience!

“We also used the SD7′s macro buttons extensively,” Meadwell continues. “We created a full set of transport controls for QLab, which meant that we could control both our main and backup machines simultaneously from the surface of the SD7. This was invaluable as it effectively did away with two computer keyboards and helped when cueing up to start from different points within the show. We assigned a whole page of macro buttons to trigger spot sound effects within the show. These were for moments that varied and therefore couldn’t be programmed into a set cue list structure. We assigned a MIDI note value to each macro button, which in turn, triggered a separate cue list of sound effects within QLab. An example of this in the show is where the Scarecrow walks around the stage on giant stilts. We follow his walk playing a sound effect with every step. Every performance is different, which gives the actor the freedom to do whatever he likes. Having the macro button as a sound effect button gives me total flexibility without having to jump around the show’s main cue list. We use the Alias feature heavily as a lot of the characters double up on inputs, so the ability to switch EQ settings between snapshots was great! Overall, I’d say the SD7T is by far the best digital desk for theatre I have ever used.”

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Related Topics: Live Sound, News |

Stephen Arnold Music Recharges ‘Showbiz Tonight’ on HLN With Bold New Music



DALLAS, TX – Updating one of the top daily entertainment shows on TV can be a daunting challenge. HLN’s long-running program “Showbiz Tonight” stayed with the sonic branding of Stephen Arnold Music for their makeover, turning once again to the original music creators that helped launch the show in 2005.

The composers at Stephen Arnold Music wrote five new arrangements to match up with a fresh graphics package and set for “Showbiz Tonight”, which is hosted by A.J. Hammer, from the network’s New York City studios. Built around the memorable four-note hook that Stephen Arnold Music first wrote for the show seven years ago, the bold new package incorporates a range of dubstep, dance, electronic and indie rock themes.

“A common thread of long-running daily entertainment shows is an unforgettable melodic theme,” Stephen Arnold, President of Stephen Arnold Music says. “A strong musical signature is essential to pop-culture based programs, and the lasting power of our sonic brand for ‘Showbiz Tonight’ reflects that. The new music package builds on the original hook, evolving it within modern styles to keep it catchy and current.”

Depending on the genre, Stephen Arnold Music employed everything from filtered loops and programmed beats, to live guitars and drums to drive the energetic new themes. In addition to the primary arrangements, Stephen Arnold Music also provided HLN with a large supply of long beds, short logo stingers, and other transitional elements. Culled from moments in the longer themes, the shorter elements sync up with the “Showbiz Tonight” sonic stamp, providing the show’s producers with a flexible toolkit to match their fast-moving graphics.

The “Showbiz Tonight” update was the latest in a long string of collaborations between Stephen Arnold Music and CNN/HLN. Other recent projects that the Dallas-based music company has created for the networks includes “Jane Velez-Mitchell,” “Dr. Drew,” and “Morning Express with Robin Meade.”

For Stephen Arnold Music, recharging the sound of “Showbiz Tonight” was a welcome opportunity to go deeper with the music they make.

“A project like this gives you the chance to explore all the different angles of a sonic brand,” Chad Cook, VP/Creative Director of Stephen Arnold Music says. “These new themes are a natural progression for an established show. They provide a fresh direction, while maintaining a familiar connection with its dedicated audience.”


About Stephen Arnold Music:
As a multiple Emmy, Addy and Promax Gold award-winning music production company, Stephen Arnold Music has over 20 years of success in delivering the sounds that make a difference to networks, television stations, advertising agencies, film studios and video game companies the world over. The company’s Commanding Sonic Branding approach to music production and commitment to industry-leading service is at the core of its promise. For more information, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.stephenarnoldmusic.com” http://www.stephenarnoldmusic.com.


Web Resources:
Click here to hear the HLN’s “Showbiz Tonight” brand music package:
http://youtu.be/HmlMU2U-mV4

Click here for more info about Stephen Arnold Music:
http://www.stephenarnoldmusic.com

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Related Topics: News, Sound for Picture |

Doing Business at Butter? Leave Lunch at Home

Any great job comes with plenty of perks: paid vacations, great insurance, maybe even a health club discount. However, employees and clients who step into the Manhattan post-production supercenter housing Butter Music + Sound – along with its sister companies Fluid, Mr. Bronx, and Platige Image – get an extra special daily bonus: free, gourmet lunch courtesy of head chef Gen Sato and sous chef Noah Cain. In a time of industry-wide austerity, the food freebies are a daily morale boost and fantastic recruiting tool, while also providing the ultimate welcome mat for outside businesses.

Every day, more than 40 people descend upon the kitchen (known among the Butter family as Cindy Rivera) for an all-natural banquet-style meal, typically built around a meat dish with hot or cold vegetable dishes, a starch, and a raw salad. In addition to daily lunches, Butter also boasts several catered after work activities – including happy hours, poker nights and a monthly supper club. For variety, the chefs tackle a theme, like an Octoberfest spread with sausages or hand-made pretzels. Other times, ethnic food trends such as Vietnamese sandwiches or Singaporean street food dominate the menu.

“It’s a fun challenge to adapt recipes so they can feed dozens of people with widely different dietary needs, preferences, and food allergies at once,” noted Sato, who is responsible for following a tight budget without sacrificing quality. “I always try to make the lunch fun, nutritious and balanced.”

For Butter and its neighbors, the lunches have become a central part of the office culture. “People get excited about what’s for lunch,” noted EP Laura Relovsky. “A lot of camaraderie comes out of the lunch time banter, as we can all sit down together and not have to talk about work.”

Outsider visitors have been similarly impressed. “They are usually stuck into getting take out,” explained Relovsky. “So, it is a nice change for them to get a freshly prepared meal. They are all big fans of the cuisine and the warm environment, which makes for happy, comfortable clients.”

The daily lunches weren’t always so exquisite. The lunchtime ritual only took a turn toward the homemade when Sato, then a hobby chef, offered to cook lunch for the entire staff. The one-time event quickly evolved into a frequent occurrence, and became a daily highlight of work life after Sato completed courses at the French Culinary Institute. Eventually, Butter’s owners offered to build him a custom kitchen if he agreed to become their private chef. Cain, a globetrotting former admissions employee at the Harvard Busines School, joined him earlier this year.

About Butter:

Butter is a creative sonic collective committed to maximizing the impact and effectiveness of music and sound design for moving pictures and environments. Working within a collaborative environment featuring four in-house composers, access to myriad others throughout the sound world, and a core creative team, the studio emphasizes a friendly, inviting atmosphere.

Clients include Smart Car, Kayak, Keystone beer, Clinique and Lysol, via high-profile agencies, including Merkley + Partners, Saatchi & Saatchi and Euro RSCG. Butter also scored a stirring film portraying the construction of the new buildings at the World Trade Center site in New York. The studio has had work shortlisted at Cannes.

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Lachlan Carrick Chooses Earthworks Microphones for Gotye World Tour

Earthworks P30/C on xylophone

Milford, NH, January 10, 2013 – With over 364 million views as of December 2012, Belgian–Australian multi-instrumental musician and singer-songwriter Wally de Backer, known by his stage name Gotye, has likely become somebody that you know with his hit song featuring Kimbra “Somebody That You Used to Know.” In May 2012, Gotye announced a world tour and as they wound the globe, Earthworks microphones came along along for the ride.

Gotye’s FOH engineer Lachlan Carrick was familiar with Earthworks in a studio setting, yet discovered the live sound microphones while touring with Gotye and Kimbra in early 2012. “I’d used Earthworks mics a couple of times in the studio for various things, and was always impressed with the way they came up,” explains Carrick. “Then more recently I was introduced to the new series by a fellow Australian engineer, Angus Davidson, who was mixing Kimbra at the time. The Earthworks mics sounded like they provided excellent transient response, with a natural, full tone. Although the Kimbra sound was very different to what I was going for with Gotye, I could see how the mics could work well for us.”

And work well they did. With 12 Earthworks microphones covering the stage and 1 M30 in the FOH booth for analysis, Carrick quickly found his favorite applications. “The DP30/Cs sound killer on congas and bongos!”

The complete Earthworks setup includes 3 SR40s on hats and overheads on the main drum kit, 4 DP30/C mics on congas, bongos and toys on the percussion kit, 2 P30/C flexible gooseneck instrument mics on various percussion instruments on the frontline specials, and 1 M30 measurement microphone in the FOH booth for analysis. And on Wally’s kit you’ll find 3 DP30/C mics on snare and toms.

As a touring professional who has used his fair share of microphones on stage, Carrick explains how Earthworks microphones differ from other mics he has used. “The Earthworks mics have a great build quality, and seem to be very robust,” says Carrick. “But the biggest difference is the dynamic response. Drums can really sound lively and exciting when the mics fully capture the very start of the hits. They really are quick and detailed.”

Carrick was equally complimentary of Earthworks’ support services, “The experience has been fantastic. Communication has been excellent, and everyone seems to want to help out!”

“I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Earthworks microphones for live concert applications,” concludes Carrick. “They’ve proved themselves to me many times over.”

earthworksaudio.com

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