UK/US: This year's BAFTA Film Awards brought a special award for Pinewood and Shepperton Studios, writes David Davies. The studios - which joined forces in 2001 - were acknowledged for their Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema at the 2009 event, which took place at the Royal Opera House in London on February 8th. Meanwhile, the technical categories of the Grammy Awards saw recognition for producers Rick Rubin and David Frost.
The African Queen, The Third Man, Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Batman Begins and 20 of the 22 Bonds are among the countless films to have been shot in part or in whole at Pinewood and/or Shepperton.
"We're absolutely thrilled that the roles of Pinewood Studios and Shepperton Studios have been honoured in this way, recognising the skills of all the people who have worked there over the last 75 years and the contribution which the Studios have made to British cinema and the UK," commented Pinewood Shepperton plc chief executive Ivan Dunleavy, pictured here with actor Jason Isaacs (left).
On a night that saw Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire dominate proceedings, there was also specific recognition for Pinewood Post's Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp, along with Glenn Freemantle and his team at Pinewood-based Sound 24, who received the Sound award for
their work on the Mumbai-set movie. The film was mixed at Pinewood's newly renovated Powell and Pressburger theatres, each of which is equipped with a Euphonix System 5 dual operator film mixing system with EuCon Hybrid option for DAW control. Composer A.R. Rahman also used Euphonix equipment - specifically his own 32-fader System 5 with EuCon Hybrid at his AM Studios complex in Chennai, India - to create and mix his Best Music category-winning score for Slumdog Millionaire.
Looking forward, a Pinewood Studios Group representative confirms to PSN-e that work has just finished on a trio of new movies: Prince of Persia and The Wolfman at Pinewood, and Nine at Shepperton.
Grammys call for Shure and Yamaha
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Coldplay and Radiohead were among the major artist winners at the 51st Grammy Awards, which took place in Los Angeles on February 8th. In the technical categories, the winners included Joe Chiccarelli, Vance Powell and Jack White III for The Raconteurs' Consolers of the Lonely (Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical); Rick Rubin for his work on albums including Metallica's Death Magnetic and Neil Diamond's Home Before Dark (Producer of the Year, Non-Classical); David Frost, Tom Lazarus and Christopher Willis for Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of Silk Road Chicago (Best Engineered Album, Classical); David Frost for recordings of compositions by Berlioz, Schubert and others (Producer of the Year, Classical); and Michael Bishop and Robert Woods for Mussorgsky - Pictures At An Exhibition; Night On Bald Mountain; Prelude to Khovanshchina (Best Surround Album).
Pro-audio suppliers in evidence at this year's Grammys included Audio-Technica, which has played a major role at the event for many years and this year supplied more than 250 microphones. Artists who performed using A-T's Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless System, featuring the AEW-T5400 handheld microphone/transmitter and AEW-R5200 true diversity frequency-agile dual receiver, included Jay-Z, Estelle, Stevie Wonder and Al Green. Among the other A-T mics that saw service were the AE3300 Cardioid Condenser Handheld (Kenny Chesney), the AE5400 Cardioid Condenser (Radiohead's Thom Yorke), AT4050 Multi-Pattern Condenser (for guitar cabinets and overheads), and ATM350 Cardioid Condenser Clip-On for horns, congas and strings.
"Our engineers need a wide range of consistent and dependable microphones that enable them to capture each artist's individual character, and A-T delivers exactly what we need," said Michael Abbott, audio coordinator for the Grammys.
Shure equipment was also in evidence at the event, with Kid Rock, Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay, B.B. King and Keith Urban among the artists to use SM58 or KSM9 handheld transmitters. U2_s show-opening performance, meanwhile, found Bono striding forth with an Shure UHF-R wireless microphone incorporating an SM58 capsule.
The sound system for the show was provided by ATK Audiotek and included a quartet of Yamaha PM1D consoles - two apiece at monitors and FOH. Monitors were mixed by Mike Parker and Tom Pesa, while Ron Reaves and Mikael Stewart were in position at FOH.
According to Stewart, the PM1Ds are "totally reliable, flexible and accepted as an industry standard. There is no room or time for error. Changes come up to the last minute as was demonstrated with the Al Green/Justin Timberlake performance [of Green favourite 'Let's Stay Together']."
Other key members of the Grammys sound team included Phil Ramone and Hank Neuberger in charge of broadcast audio, and John Harris and Eric Schilling, who created the music mix from XM Productions/Effanel Music's L7 remote truck.
The next major event on the awards calendar is the 81st Annual Academy Awards, due to take place in Hollywood this Sunday (February 22nd).