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: Sound Decisions: A Properly Designed Mixing Room Makes All The Difference
At Biscardi Creative Media, we understand the importance of great audio. To that end, we had our Rialto mixing theater designed specifically for quality sound design. The Rialto features a ProTools HD Native 5.1 system, SPL 5.1/stereo monitor controller, Genelec audio monitors and subwoofer, an 8 foot projection screen– and sound designers love working from it.
One sound guy you’ll frequently find at BCM these days is Michael Cardillo, a veteran audio engineer in the Atlanta area. After many years as a sound designer at Crawford Communications, Michael went freelance in 2007 and spends his time working on all manner of projects from broadcast to corporate and long-form shows like our own “This American Land” for PBS. A true sound nerd, Michael spends much of his rare free time educating editors about how to make their own audio better. He’s also been a musician for 35 years and plays the guitar and bass guitar.
“When I was a kid, one of the first Christmas presents that I got really excited about was a cassette recorder. My next one was an electric guitar. My acoustic guitar was very exciting, but when I got my electric guitar I sat in a room and played with the knobs for hours. That’s when I knew there was either something wrong with me or some kind of potential in me.”
I talked with Michael about the workspace he uses at BCM and how it’s become an encouraging creative and technical environment for his work.
What does this room offer you that your home studio doesn’t?
My at-home studio is great for much of what I do. But particularly when I want to mix in surround but even just for bigger projects, I can hear more in here than I can at home. This a nice big room, and big rooms always sound and feel better when you’re doing audio. It’s set up very well. It does a nice job with 5.1 surround which is really helpful for today’s sound design work, because I haven’t taken the time to really make my home studio as 5.1-friendly as it could be. It’s also just not big enough – you need more space for 5.1 and this is a big, comfortable room. Even for stereo, I love it. The Genelec speakers are a really strong full-range sort of speaker. I’ve also had clients in here and they love how comfortable it is for them.
It’s also really nice to have access to a good voice-over booth. It doesn’t have any anomalies or strange characteristics. Some vocal booths have a little “honk” in them, caused by reflections within a certain frequency range. There’s no HVAC noise or anything either, it was thought through when it was built.
Why is the design of the room important?
Sonically, it’s such an important thing to have these walls be non-parallel. It takes a lot to build something like that, so the fact I have a place where I can go that has that kind of design to the build of the room, along with the drop ceiling, helps make the quality of my work better. Rooms in general are rectangular with all parallel surfaces, but this room was designed with angles and non-parallel walls. Even the ceiling has pretty cool angles. When sound is allowed to bounce between parallel surfaces, you get what’s called “standing waves” which completely transform the way a mix can sound. This room was designed to eliminate that. At home I rarely mix over 65 or 70dB, but here – with the size and design of the room – I can enjoy mixing at higher levels without fatigue.
Is it difficult to pick up projects and move between home and here?
ot at all. It’s as easy as plugging in a drive. I do most of my projects on Firewire 800 drives, so I plug my drive into the Mac Pro in the machine room, turn everything on, and by the time the computer is up and running, I’m up and running. It’s all fully compatible with my system at home. Once I plug in a drive, I’ve got everything I need.
It’s also great to have the Small Tree shared storage here when I’m working on BCM projects. I can load up the latest cut of a video and have it playing through the projector from ProTools in a couple minutes.
I love the people and camaraderie. I like the fact I can go where I can feel like I’m part of a team even without being on staff. I’m always welcome here, I’m not an outsider. It’s also great to be able to come into a creative environment. When I’m on BCM projects, we can bounce ideas around and get instant feedback. When I’m on my own thing, I can still draw from that energy. You can get good equipment anywhere, but at the end of the day, it’s the people and the creative environment that contribute to quality work.
In addition to the ProTools mixing room, BCM also has a variety of edit suites (furnished and empty), a DaVinci Resolve room, production offices, and warehouse space available for rental. Detailed space specifications are available on our Rental page.
Contact Randy Lockey, BCM production manager for more information. | email@example.com | 770-271-3427