Studio owner and mixer Brian Riordan first started using a 32-fader ICON D-ControlTM worksurface in January 2006 at the facility’s previous location. “I quickly realized that the ICON system was indispensable for our work,” he says. “Our clients demand incredibly fast turnarounds, but they still want the highest quality results. Features like Custom Fader groups, plug-in automation mapping, and dedicated encoders let us work efficiently and intuitively. There’s just no faster way to work.”
With ICON in mind, Riordan worked with architect and studio designer Peter Grueneisen of nonzero\architecture over the course of 2006 to create the new and larger 5.1 HD audio facility. The new Levels Audio “super- boutique” features five ICON—equipped 5.1 audio dub stages along with an ADR/Foley stage, three audio editorial suites, five HD offline/online bays, and two visual effects suites, plus a central machine room. The complex also offers clients extra amenities, including two large kitchens and lounges, a guest loft, and secured private parking.
Installing ICON systems in every dub stage was a natural choice for Riordan. “This was an extreme build-out for the studio,” he says. “I wanted to put the best equipment in every single room. The ICON systems give us all the flexibility and efficiency we need to meet the deadlines and deliver outstanding quality.”
The studio’s Mix 1 room features a 32-fader D-Control worksurface with a D-Control Surround Panner Option, while Mix rooms 2 through 5 are equipped with 24-fader D-CommandTM systems. “The D-Commands give us an easy way to access the advantages of an ICON in a compact, even more cost-effective package,” says Riordan. “They’ve been really perfect for the TV mixing we do.”
Each ICON system at Levels Audio features an integrated Digidesign Pro Tools|HD® Accel system as its mix engine, 24 channels of input and output via a 192 I/OTM interface, and a SYNC I/OTM interface for syncing. Each Mix room is also equipped with an Avid Mojo® video interface and Avid® MediaStation|PT software for easy video integration with audio. The studio also has additional Avid Mojo interfaces in the machine room for engineers to digitise video and pass it across the network.
To share files with clients, Levels Audio uses the Digidesign DigiDelivery® file exchange system to ensure that files are delivered quickly and securely. “Our clients like DigiDelivery so much that we let them use it for their own work as well,” admits Riordan. “It helps us work in a single, integrated environment throughout the span of the project.”
Riordan and his engineers are developing an even greater appreciation for their ICON systems since the release of Pro Tools® HD 7.2 software. “Pro Tools HD 7.2 software makes the ICON even more powerful,” Riordan says. “It is now easier to do post entirely in the box. With some of the new capabilities—like VCA automation, for example—the ICON worksurface can feel more like whatever other console you’re familiar with.” Enhanced video integration has also provided significant time-saving benefits. “Being able to integrate QuickTime clips more easily lets us get to work earlier without having to wait for a full work print,” Riordan explains. “Now we can digitize just a few new clips of video, set them up on multiple tracks, and start working right away.”
“We’re proud that Levels Audio Post has selected Digidesign ICON systems for their new facility,” says Rich Nevens, Digidesign director of worldwide console sales. “By integrating audio, video, and advanced automation features for post workflows, ICON systems can help facilities like Levels accomplish everything from editing and mixing to final delivery, all in a single environment. The unprecedented efficiency that these systems provide is part of why more than 1,700 studios have already adopted ICON.”
For more information about Levels Audio Post and its state-of-the-art facility, visit www.levelsaudio.com.
The Digidesign ICON integrated console environment is redefining the state of the art in large-format audio recording and mixing technology. Featuring a choice of the flagship D-Control worksurface or D-Command compact worksurface, plus a Pro Tools|HD Accel system as its DSP mixing and processing engine and modular Pro Tools|HD audio interfaces for analogue and digital I/O, ICON is the first truly integrated console solution of its kind. For more information about ICON, visit www.digidesign.com/icon.