London post-production company HALO has installed 17 Avid Pro Tools HDX systems across its two sites in Soho and in the premises of Hackenbacker, which it acquired in March this year. The upgrades were made during May and into the first half of June, and also included the addition of HD Native Pro Tools to the group's edit suites.
The HDXs are now being used in the mix rooms of HALO's Noel Street and Margaret Street facilities and Hackenbacker's rooms in Bateman Street. The systems were supplied by MediaPros and installed by HALO's and Hackenbacker's in-house engineering teams, managed by its head of audio operations, Richard Addis. "We have been exceptionally busy across all sites lately, so finding sufficient downtime to de-rig old kit, install the new hardware and allow sufficient time to thoroughly test everything before being put into active service was a challenge in itself," he tells PSNEurope.
HALO and Hackenbacker have been using Pro Tools 10 "for some time" so, Addis says, the engineers were sure there would be no session compatibility issues between suites as the roll-out was staggered over a number of weeks, which allowed one room at a time to be concentrated on. "The move up to Pro Tools 11 will be happening in the not-too-distant future," he adds.
As Hackenbacker is still operating "reasonably autonomously to HALO," the installations there were coordinated by technical manager Smudger, assisted by Tom Martin of HALO's engineering team.
Also part of the project were upgrades of all 192 existing HD I/O interfaces; upgrading of HD TDM systems in the mix rooms for HDX (either HDX 1 or HDX 2 depending on the room); moving from Sync I/O to Sync I/O HD where required; and replacing Avid Mojo units with Blackmagic Design Decklink Studio 2 capture cards.
Existing mixing consoles have been retained, but Avid Artist mix desks have been installed in edit suites across the sites. Addis says there are plans to "overhaul" the group's networking and storage systems to provide a "much higher level of interconnectivity and workflow simplification," from ingest to final delivery of AS-11 DPP files.
At the time of going to press Addis says the company was "days away" from rolling out Nugen's Loudness Toolkit in suites at both HALO and Hackenbacker. "Whilst we have an impeccable record with regards to tape-based delivery, going totally file-based provides us with a new set of challenges and we are rolling out a number of other tools and processes which will give our clients total confidence that we will deliver DPP compliant content every time," he concludes.