Daly City, CA (April 10, 2007)--Sony Pictures Studios recently installed two new Digidesign ICON integrated consoles into its Stage 7 Dubbing Room. Once the home of the legendary MGM Studios, Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA, boasts a rich history dating back to the 1920s-having played host to hundreds of legendary films, including The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane and the original King Kong.
Sony Pictures' senior vice president of engineering Mark Koffman (left) and independent sound designer Steve Ticknor.Though Sony Pictures has been using Pro Tools for many years, and many of their smaller sound design rooms are equipped with Pro Controls, the feature dubbing rooms have long been the stronghold for more traditional digital consoles. Stage 7 is the first dubbing room to move entirely into the Pro Tools realm--with a new large-format, dual-operator ICON D-Control worksurface sitting front and center. Mark Koffman, Sony Pictures' senior vice president of engineering, attributes their decision to replace the studio's previous console with an ICON system to increasing client demand. "More and more producers are becoming aware of the impact that the ICON system has in the mixing environment," he explained. "ICON was a logical choice for us. Its sound quality is excellent, and the ability to tightly integrate with Pro Tools and access the full range of plug-ins really streamlines the mixing process."
Independent sound designer Steve Ticknor recently mixed the new Sony Pictures feature Premonition on the ICON, as well as 3D-animation feature Surf's Up, working with directors Ash Brannon ( Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck ( Pocahontas, Little Mermaid). Ticknor reports that working with the ICON system has had an immediate and positive impact on his workflow. "You can move things around, grab things from other reels, pop them in and it's instantaneously part of your mix," he explained. "If the director wants something changed, I'm no longer locked into making hard pre-dubs. The flexibility is a tremendous asset."
"Using the ICON allows us to have the automation move with the files," added Koffman. "When you're doing multiple versions of the same mix-like a 5.1 mix and a stereo mix on the same session, for example-you can make cuts and changes to them all at the same time, rather than having to go back and make extra passes. It's a huge time saver."
With a steady production schedule, Sony's new ICON system has seen consistent use since its installation last December, and has performed without a hitch. "The system is very robust," remarked Koffman. "When the heat is on, it's a comforting feeling to know that everything is working smoothly."
The Sony team's expertise has made them a valuable resource for the ICON development team, confirming Digidesign's long-held principles of success in pro audio being a two-way street built on solid communication and good client relationships.
"Digidesign has been very responsive in listening to our ideas," explained Koffman. "It's clear that they are serious about doing their homework--understanding our specific needs and the way we work. ICON offers tools that may seem somewhat new to mixers accustomed to working in the analog domain, but as they embrace these new technologies, we're seeing that it significantly speeds up the process."
"It's a very intuitive way to mix," Ticknor concluded. "It's hard to express to someone sitting there watching, because they're assuming that's the way it's always been. But I know what a tremendous advantage it is to mix on the ICON. Things just flow better. When the client leaves and they're really positive and upbeat, you just know--this is the right direction. It's a great tool."