Producers’ Video Corporation is a Baltimore-based facility that offers US broadcasters and advertising agencies a full service covering everything from location shooting through to audio and video post production.
In recent months the company has completed a major overhaul of its audio facilities to bring them up to the latest technical specifications. As part of this process, Producers has installed two Fairlight Constellation XCS consoles, featuring a Xynergi centre panel and running on Fairlight’s latest Crystal Core (CC-1) engine.
“Before choosing Constellation XCS, we thoroughly investigated every major integrated professional audio product on the market,” says Producers Senior Audio Engineer Bob Bragg. “In the end the Constellation consoles won out because there were no other products on the market that offered such an extensive range of features at such a cost-effective price point.”
Producers is no stranger to Fairlight technology, having previously used the company’s QDC/FAME systems.
“We’ve always striven to have as much integration in our equipment as possible - that’s what pointed us to the FAME systems back in 1997, because we liked the integrated mixer/editor concept,” Bob Bragg adds. “Fairlight has now taken it to the next level by adding HD video in the timeline, flexible file import/exporting and VST plug-ins. In post production these days everything is all about work flow. Speed and flexibility are absolutely vital and Fairlight has really taken this seriously with all the new features it has incorporated into Constellation XCS. Even our multiple Terrabyte FX library is integrated within the box with Audiobase3. We don’t have to switch applications to search our sound libraries and spot them into a project, which is a major advantage as it saves us so much valuable time.”
Bragg adds that having the ability to ingest picture and import and export most file formats is also helping to speed up workflow, leaving staff free to get on with the job and get the finished project over to the client more quickly for final approval.
“I also like having a variety of EQ and dynamics on the channel strip of every channel without having to load a single plug-in,” he says. “This saves time, plus the native processing sounds sonically superior to most of the plug-ins that I’ve used on other systems.”
Bragg says that, as a long-time Fairlight user, he has adapted easily to the built-in Xynergi interface and the new CC-1 engine. Less experienced engineers have also taken to the system quickly because it is so intuitive to use.
“We set-up our first Constellation system for training several weeks before the installation so that we could provided our engineers with training time without the normal pressure of a busy day with a client,” he says. “I would advise any other facility with the space to adopt a similar approach because it does give staff an opportunity to become familiar with this new technology. Having said that, the Xplain help buttons and the unrivaled support we’ve gotten from Fairlight US really helped us get to grips with CC-1. Now we’re comfortable with the general operations and we’re continually adding the advanced features to our skill set.”
Producers handles large volumes of regional and national television spot work, all of which have to be delivered to very tight deadlines. The facility is also tackling an increasing amount of ADR work and Bragg says that everyone is very excited about the ‘great’ ADR features on the new Constellation systems.
“It has beeps, streamers, and even support for on screen script,” he says.
In keeping with any facility that is moving to a more up to date technology platform, there is always the worry that archive material might not be compatible. Producers was concerned about this because it has 12 years of archived projects that clients need access to.
“It turns out that our concerns were unfounded because Fairlight has made the legacy projects loadable in the new editing format,” he says. “In our first week with the new equipment we had a client who needed to re-edit and update work from 2003. It was seamless.”
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia Fairlight designs and manufactures media production systems powered by the company’s groundbreaking CC-1 FPGA digital processing engine. The Fairlight product range includes Constellation, Xynergi and the new Pyxis MT, all of which feature in the world’s leading broadcasters, commercial post facilities, music studios and film production studios. Fairlight has a rich tradition of innovation and development and is at the forefront of green computing technology. www.fairlightus.com