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First Focal Dolby install in UK as Factory upgrades

Kevin Hilton 7 July 2010

EXCLUSIVE – London post house Factory Studios has opened a new 5.1 surround sound mixing suite, the first Dolby certified room in the UK to feature Focal audio monitors, writes Kevin Hilton.

The suite was designed by acoustic consultancy White Mark and is based on an Avid ICON D-Control ES controller running with Pro Tools|HD. This is the second phase in the re-development of Factory’s premises in Margaret Street, Soho. The first stage, completed in February this year, involved the company’s audio-visual division, Factory Production, which offers voice casting, music composition, video editing and 2D/3D graphics services. The work involved improvements to the facility’s Final Cut Pro, motion graphics and digital design edit operations. The audio division, Factory Studios, has been upgraded with the addition of the new Dolby Digital room. The facility now has four suites, with the existing three housing Pro Tools|HD systems. White Mark designed these rooms and the long-standing relationship with Factory has continued through the building of the Dolby Digital suite, which is licensed for commercials and trailers. The new studio is on the third floor in space made available by moving the Production Suite to the fourth floor. "There is undoubtedly increased demand from the industry for this type of facility," comments Ben Firth, sound engineer and technical support manager at Factory Studios. "We have always been able to offer stereo mixing for commercials but with more and more customers asking for Dolby Digital as standard, we recognised the need to meet that demand." Focal monitors were selected after the Factory team auditioned several systems. The installation features Twin 6 BE cabinets for left, centre, right monitoring, with three CMS-Subs on the LFE channels and six Solo BE loudspeakers for the rear and surrounds. "This set-up will equip us for full monitoring of Dolby analogue, Dolby Digital and Surround EX," explains Factory Studios’ creative director, Anthony Moore. Factory Studios has used Pro Tools since it opened in 1997 and Ben Firth sees the installation of the 16-fader ICON D-Control ES as an extension of the facility’s equipment policy. "After evaluating other offerings we felt the ICON would enable us to create-award winning work," he says. The new suite will be used for a range of project, including sound design, audio post-production, music composition, mixing and mastering. Among Factory Studios’ recent credits are the trailer for the BBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, which won the prize for Best Titles at the 2010 BAFTA Television Craft Awards, and commercials for O2, and Bud Ice.  

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