Recording and Production in the News
Prism Sound brings clarity to animation expert Threshold Digital Research Lab's cast of starsCalifornia, USA, February 2007: Threshold Digital Research Labs (TDRL) in Santa Monica has invested in a Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel audio converter for its groundbreaking global digital animation and effects production studio. Threshold Animation Studios.
Foodfight, which will be released by LionsGate Films later this year, has a large cast that includes well known actors such as Eva Longoria, Charlie Sheen, Hillary Duff, Wayne Brady and Jerry Stiller. Hearing their voices loud and clear was the director's main objective and a key reason why TDRL's Technology/Animation Office, George Johnsen, chose the ADA-8XR for the project.
Foodfight is an extremely dense motion picture, George Johnsen explains. The backgrounds we are using are thick and rich and we wanted the best possible converter in order to ensure that we captured the essence of our performers. We have used other converters in the past, but as we use extreme dynamics in our recording, we wanted to guarantee there was no noise, no graininess, and no distortion across the dynamic spectrum. We were finally able to achieve this with the Prism Sound ADA-8XR, particularly as it gave us an extremely transparent interface to Pro Tools.
As a developer of technologies for the entertainment industry, George Johnsen regularly works with industry giants such as IBM, Sony, Audio Technica, and Crown to provide better tools for digital production and post-production world. He is also a pioneer of digital post-production. Prior to joining TDRL, Johnsen co-produced the hit sci-fi TV series Babylon 5. During production he used his ability to combine and streamline various in-house visual and audio effects to create an independent digital operation for the series. The operation became the standard in the industry for streamlined efficiency, controlled costs and high creativity.
George Johnsen first came across Prism Sound ADA-8XRs while he was working on an orchestral recording at Air Studios in London.
I was blown away by the sound and immediately opened a dialogue with the company, he says. In this business, we rarely just buy a piece of gear. Since we use our tools everyday, we want to know that there is a company behind what we are doing that is just as passionate as we are, to chase the results that we seek. Frank Oglethorpe, our primary contact with Prism Sound in the US, has been phenomenal at following up, dealing with information and installation. It's great to know that with Prism Sound you aren't just buying gear, but you are buying a company.
Alongside his ADA-8XR purchase, George Johnsen has also invested in a Prism Sound MMA-4XR microphone pre-amp, making TDRL the first facility in the US to install this new unit.
I am a microphone preamp junkie. I like having a variety of the world's most useful preamps around to record the things I love, he explains. From the Big Band featuring lots of tubes and ribbons, to orchestra, adding a tremendous amount of condensers, young and old, to rock where all the rules are off, I find that taking the time to properly set the microphone and mate it with the right preamp is the secret to good recording.
However, identifying the right preamp is the tough part but with the MMA-4XR I realised that its clarity and range of gain made it a very attractive combination with some of the classic mics that I cherish. Try it with a well cared for ELAM 251 and see if you don't agree. For me, there are two major types of preamp. The first is one that brings an interesting colour on its own - there are a lot of classics that do that well, as well as some spectacular new pieces. The second type is one that lets the microphone set the colour for the recording. The MMA-4XR is outstanding in this category. I have always heard of the mythical 'wire with gain', and now I own one. It is an extremely natural sounding unit that we have added to our daily arsenal for recording all sorts of music. It has earned a place right next to a large selection of classic and super preamps. Some of the microphones I am trying on it, I feel like I am hearing for the first time.
Apart from his work with animated films, George Johnsen is currently developing new methods to bring cost effective computer generated imagery to television shows. He is also the producer of the IMAX format film Avenue of the Giants for the Dunsmuir Conservancy and has served as a key member of design teams contributing to every aspect of the experience on numerous highly-celebrated theme park attractions for clients such as Universal Studios, the Kennedy Space Centre, Euro Disney, EPCOT and Paramount Properties.
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