Pro Tools takes off with airport studio

A new Pro Tools 10 editing suite has been installed in Virgin Atlantic’s airport lounge at Heathrow, catering to the “international jet-setting rockstars” that frequently travel with the airline.
Publish date:

Virgin Upper Class passengers: they get drinks, they get beds, they get chauffeurs. And now, unbelievably, they've got their own recording studio installed at Heathrow Terminal 3. Specifically, an Avid Pro Tools editing suite in the terminal's airport lounge, the Clubhouse. The suite features Pro Tools 10 with the Complete Production Toolkit, an Artist Mix control service and an M-Audio Axiom Pro 25 keyboard housed inside a ‘pod’ designed by Guy Wilson of AKA Design in London, which bears more than a slight resemblance to the sleeper pods found onboard Virgin’s Upper Class cabin. Avid’s Ben Nemes spearheaded the project. A conversation with Virgin Atlantic’s head of brand allegiances, Charles Vine, led to a demo of a small-footprint Pro Tools rig in the canteen of Virgin Atlantic’s offices in Crawley. Both companies recognized they shared a similar customer base of “international jet-setting rockstars” said Nemes. Installing a Pro Tools system in Virgin’s Clubhouse allowed the company to say to its passengers “We know what you do, and the brand name of what you use,” he continued. Nemes added that it’s also about knowing what can and can’t be done with the minimal amount of gear passengers can carry with them: “Yes, of course people have their own Pro Tools system on their MacBook Pro,” he said. “But if you’ve got two or three hours to kill there’s only so much you can do on a track pad. You’re going to be aching for a mouse or a keyboard; something you can get your hands on. It’s about having familiar things like faders to grab.” The editing suite was installed on 10 May, after Virgin Atlantic’s last departing flight took off. The suite is unmanned although concierge staff have been given a full day’s training on how to get someone started using the system, and where to direct them should things go wrong. The assumption is that the people interested in using the Pro Tools already know what they are doing, explained Nemes: “It’s kind of like a pottery wheel. People aren’t just going to rock up and play with it; you can really make a mess.” The Heathrow Airport studio is – so far – the only one planned, though Nemes said Avid would “be open” to further installations, as well as expanding the software provided to cater to professionals in other creative industries. The Heathrow studio, meanwhile, has already contributed to the release of a single by the aptly-named band Cloud (pictured, at the editing suite). Virgin Atlantic spokesman Greg Dawson commented: “With a name like Cloud, this band had to be the natural choice to release the very first single. The final edit for their first single Free My Soul was completed live at the Avid edit suite on 14 May and released within four hours of finishing the last note.”

At the time of writing, it was not known whether the surviving members of Wings, Jefferson Airplane and Pilot are Virgin Upper Class passengers.



ADAM Audio keeps Studio Sledge smiling

Travel directly north-west out of the chaos of central Paris to the suburb of Colombes and you will find the sanctuary of chic that is Studio Sledge. A recurring feature of all the rooms, and the three edit suites, are ADAM Audio monitors.

Editworks goes Native with Pro Tools

UK post-production house Editworks has installed an Avid Pro Tools HD Native suite in its London facility to meet what is says is increased demand for audio production from clients, writes Kevin Hilton. The company works on both entertainment and factual TV programmes.

Avid resets bar with Pro Tools 9

The news unveiled during the recent AES Convention in San Francisco that Avid Pro Tools Version 9 would include a number of major user-requested features underscores the firm's avowed intent to both listen to and respond quickly to customer needs, writes Mel Lambert.


ATC for Mark Ronson's new studio

Grammy award-winning producer Mark Ronson has installed a pair of ATC SCM25A PRO three-way compact active loudspeakers in his new Munro Acoustics and Steve Durr designed studio space at London’s Tileyard Studios complex.