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Images & Sound Invests In Fairlight Constellation XCS Console

Images & Sound, one of New Zealand’s largest post production companies, has upgraded its facilities to incorporate a 24-fader, three-bay Fairlight Constellation XCS console with integrated HD video record and playback.

Based in Auckland, Images & Sound offers a complete audio and video post production solution to the film, television and advertising industries. The facility has four mixing studios, two of which are equipped for 5.1 surround sound mixing. It also has two tracklaying studios, a Foley recording studio and a large cinetape department with a full range of HD and SD decks for mastering.

The decision to invest in Constellation XCS was taken after extensive research and testing to make sure that the new Xynergi control surface would integrate well with Images & Sound’s seven existing Pro Tools systems.

Steve Finnigan, Managing Partner and Head of Sound at Images & Sound, says: “We replaced our ageing DSP ProStation II with Fairlight Dream II as we have always been impressed with the speed of editing via the Binnacle, and now Xynergi control surfaces, and the build quality and reputation of previous Fairlight products. We were very impressed by the Fairlight’s ability to open Pro Tools-generated AAF files – and vice-versa. Full fader and pan automation transfers seamlessly between the two platforms.”

Constellation XCS, which was launched at IBC 2007, harnesses the unique tactile power of Fairlight’s Xynergi controller, providing a truly intuitive tool for recording, editing and mixing. With Xynergi on-board, engineers can access all of the features of Fairlight’s new Crystal Core (CC-1) engine, as well as commonly used Windows applications such as Email, Word and Excel.

Images & Sound has installed its new console in the A Suite mixing studio, which is primarily used for TV and Radio commercials and ADR recording.

Expressing himself as ‘thrilled’ with the new system, Steve Finnigan says: “The ability to drag and drop virtually any video file format onto the timeline and have it ready for instant playback is a massive time saver for us. Also, being able to open and play AAF, OMF and vision files over our network means we can start working on projects immediately rather than have to copy to local drives. With the "localise" function this can be done anytime as a background function.”

As part of the studio’s upgrade, Images & Sound has also installed three Apple Cinema displays, Fairlight’s Virtual Studio Runner, an Audiobase 3 server, AAF import/export and a variety of plug-ins.

“The Virtual Studio Runner package is particularly useful because it means we can immediately send clients finished mix files straight out of the system, with integrated vision if required, without leaving the project, or our seats,” Finnigan adds.

Images & Sound acquired their new system from Fairlight’s New Zealand distributor Gencom Technology, which has been enjoying healthy sales success with Fairlight’s latest technology. Earlier this year the company also supplied a Constellation XCS to New Zealand’s Karekare Recording, a music studio made famous by bands such as Crowded House, Pearl Jam, Radiohead and Killing Joke.

Sales Director Asia Pacific Lukas Bower and Fairlight staff have been praised by Steve Finnigan for the support they offered during the installation.

“We had several feature suggestions prior to and since buying the system, and many of them have been implemented within a day or two of asking,” he says. “The Fairlight crew are all about helping give the customer want they want in their audio workstation, rather than providing a fixed set of features with the "take it or leave it " attitude of other system suppliers. There are too many great features to list, but I am particularly happy with the custom monitoring - being able to set up returns to the main monitors from any external input, Aux or Buss on the system and have them available at the touch of a button. Also the Fader sets and Edit sets are fantastic, the ADR package, the dedicated Fairlight EQ and Compression always on hand so you don't need to load a plug-in....and then there is the huge range of plug ins available - if you need them!”