We used BLU link distribution to the amps, meaning significantly less cabling is required as all audio is distributed over a single cat-6 ring. Even with the additional cabling and networks for redundancy, the installation has been significantly streamlined in comparison to how it used to be. Our final speaker install was 46 speakers all of which are JBL models, including 3732Ts for the screen channels, 4642As for the screen low-frequency effects, 4645Cs for the surround low-frequency effects, a mixture of 9300s, 9310s and 9350s for the side and rear surrounds, and AC18s and AC28s for the top surrounds.
PTE: But what about the Neve DFC, did you consider replacing that as well as part of the upgrade for Studio One?
Richard: We spoke to countless mixers and various other studios both at home and in the US regarding a switch to an Avid S6. The mixers who regularly work with us were split down the middle, regarding the S6 vs the DFC, and interestingly not many of them were sat on the fence; it was either strongly for or strongly against. The demand for S6 is definitely there and we may yet go down the hybrid S6 route.
PTE: You mentioned worked closely with James Seddon at Dolby, Chris Walls of Level Acoustic Design, and Ben Todd at Sound Technology, who are Harman’s UK distributor, who decided on the different contractors, was there one overall contractor co-ordinating the project?
Richard: Daniel Napier, our own Technical Director oversaw the upgrade. He has a vast amount of experience in project-managing builds of even greater scale and complexity than this one, so we were in safe hands. Also having one of us manage the job meant we could act (and react) very quickly, which was essential with the tight project schedule. We have a long standing relationship with Chris Walls at Level Acoustic Design from our recent builds, including Studio 5, and Jigsaw24 is our preferred supplier for all audio equipment and infrastructure. We have worked with them extensively in the past, and really understand what they are selling. We didn't just give them a shopping list to blindly fulfil, they work closely with us to ensure all systems and specifications fully meet the brief.
PTE: Talking of the tight schedule, how was the 6-week project duration arrived at?
Richard: Downtime means the double whammy of project expense, AND lost revenue, so Dan’s MO was to get the job done as quickly as possible. This meant that the plans had to be watertight. We had been ruminating on the project for a couple of years, so once we pressed the Go button, we were able to move very swiftly to flesh out the concepts we’d been working on up to then. There was an opportune gap in the schedule in December and January, so we went for it, although I think we only really signed off that we were going ahead in late October or early November… I’m a firm believer that you do your best work to a deadline!
Halo Post Production, based on Noel Street in the heart of London’s Soho, has a long history as a leading post-production house that provides quality results under tight deadlines. Continuing to remain at the top of its game of delivering creative solutions for programme makers also means the company has a self-imposed mandate to embrace the latest technology, which now very much includes the advent of 4K.
Recent halo post production credits include the feature films The Danish Girl, Bear Hunt and Nocturnal Animals. Dramas include Doctor Thorne and The Missing 1 and 2; documentaries including Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough for the BBC Natural History Unit, Forces of Nature, and the television comedies Murder in Successville, Upstart Crow and Toast of London.
Although halo soon recognised the need to enhance its 4K capabilities to meet increasing demand, it also recognised that the storage system in its existing workflow infrastructure could not cope with 4K production requirements.
Halo therefore turned to leading IT-solution specialists ERA to design and implement a 4K solution who in turn came to Pixit Media with a view to designing a new system for halo with Pixit Media’s PixStor storage system at its heart.