Media Business Services expands with Avid Icon and Dolby Atmos 31.3
CHINA: Established in 1989 as a rental production company for live sound concert performances in Hong Kong, Kowloon-based Media Business Services (MBS) has since switched its direction to become a post production film studio. MBS recently completed a move within Kwun Tong to a larger second-storey facility, boasting a 150 sq-m mixing stage as its centrepiece.
MBS is one of the few companies to obtain a Dolby Laboratories-approved studio status in Hong Kong, in addition to being the only studio that can provide DTS encoding and replication services. The company’s experienced engineers and technicians are trained in computer editing, sound effects, TV /film post-production and TC commercial production.
The mixing stage is reportedly one of the first five studios in the world to feature Dolby Atmos monitoring and mixing facilities. The Dolby Atmos system used at MBS is a 31.3 multichannel JBL speaker system, 12 of which are located on a grid on the ceiling, all powered by Crown DSi amplifiers. Having only opened several weeks earlier, MBS has had to complete the mixes for two newly released films together with two more films scheduled for release before the end of 2012.
To handle the mixing duties for this new studio, MBS opted for a 64-fader Avid Icon D-Control ES system. The Icon system was chosen for the way it streamlines the workflow by seamlessly synchronising multiple Pro Tools systems, allowing the vast amount of channels required for this new object-based mixing format.
‘Typically, for a large 7.1 mix around 200-300 tracks are required at any one time,’ commented MBS owner, managing director and chief engineer Kinson Tsang. ‘With Atmos, mixing down to 7.1 and 5.1 works very well. However, for the recent Atmos mixes that we did, we were exceeding 400 tracks in order to provide the separation and control for the different audio objects required in this new format. No other system can provide such a cost-effective and simple solution to handle this amount of tracks. Icon was the obvious choice for us,’ he enthused. ‘One operator can now multitask on the Icon whilst controlling up to four workstations. Prior to the Icon, we required extra manpower, so it’s made us much more efficient. I also like the dedicated pans, where the editor can now fix and operate on the spot. Another benefit is the custom faders in a mix situation and the memory banks sharing the effects faders.’
In addition to the Dolby Atmos mixing room, the new facility is complemented by two recording rooms, two effects editing rooms, one smaller mixing room and a DVD mastering room – all networked together with a custom designed fibre network and a vast amount of high-speed dedicated storage. The network is a cross-platform system allowing both Mac and Windows-based Pro Tools systems to co-exist and allows for a very fast end-to-end production from pre-production to final release. Managing to blend the old with the new, a 1994 60-channel Neve VRP console now sits proudly in one of the recording studios.
Mr Tsang is happy in the knowledge that the company has made the right move. ‘It’s been an incredible journey and we have had a lot of fun,’ he smiled.