Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
6/30/2008 11:50 AM
HOLLYWOOD – The eagerly awaited sequel “Batman: The Dark Knight” hits theaters in July and promises to be a summer blockbuster. Peter Snell, technical scoring engineer on the film, employed the Solid State Logic XLogic Delta-Link as the right device to streamline the massive Pro Tools HD® scoring setup for composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. The MADI-based Delta-Link provides up to 64 channels of audio over a single optical cable, greatly reducing the amount of traditional I/O units and requisite cabling to accomplish the same task.
“I prefer to use the Delta-Links in a Pro Tools rig for Hans Zimmer because he doesn’t do anything small,” says Snell. “The maximum size rig that you can build for Pro Tools regarding digital I/O is with 10 16-channel Digidesign-192 units or 160 channels. Because the Delta-Link modules can handle 64 channels each, I can significantly reduce the amount of rack space I take up. This is very good because these systems tend to move around from studio to studio. The first movie we used them on was “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” when we built remote rigs for Hans and Lorne Balfe to compose at Disney. Then we used them on the “Simpsons” movie and had to move the rigs from Disney to Fox. On “Batman: The Dark Knight,” I used two Delta-Link systems for each of two Pro Tools rigs and thereby replaced 16 of the Digidesign-192 I/O units.”
The XLogic Delta Link MADI HD is a professional Multichannel Audio Digital Interface (MADI) to Pro Tools HD converter for studio, live and broadcast applications. MADI enabled audio equipment such as routers, digital mixing consoles and converters can now be directly interfaced with Pro Tools HD, providing simplified interconnectivity and significant cost reductions, eliminating the need for complicated format conversion workarounds.
“Another item that comes along with running multiple units into Pro Tools is connecting up the word clock,” Snell explains. “The problem with the original all Digi-based system was that I had 10 hardware boxes to sync. Now I use two Delta-Link boxes and two 192’s to get my 160 channels, so I am only clocking four units. I am now not only saving on rack space, I am saving in clock distribution.”
When working on any major release feature film, the costs incurred for any downtime can be staggering. The last thing the engineering staff needs is equipment that won’t work and this is another reason for Snell moving over to the Delta-Link units.
“There is a great efficiency in dealing with MADI,” Snell states. “I can now run 64 channels on one cable as opposed to eight DigiLink cables with the other system. With the two rigs for “Batman,” I was able to reduce 16 DigiLink cables down to two. That is an amazing difference. Another advantage is that if something isn’t working correctly, I have reduced the sheer number of items I must look at to trouble shoot the system – time is big money in this business. I would say that anyone running anymore than a 64 IO on a Pro Tools rig really should be looking at the SSL boxes; it will save them money and save time configuring and trouble shooting. What can be better than that?”
Solid State Logic is the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and provider of creative tools for music, broadcast and post production professionals. For more information about our award-winning products, please visit: www.solid-state-logic.com.