Sim is a leading equipment rental, production and post-production company with locations in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Vancouver and Atlanta. They have recently completed a major expansion of their post-production facility in downtown Manhattan, NY. Of the seven new rooms there, four accommodate audio, including three 5.1 surround mix suites, one with Dolby Atmos® capability, and an ADR/VO recording studio, which can accommodate as many as five actors. All four new audio rooms and a central machine room are linked using a network employing components from Focusrite’s RedNet range of Dante® networked audio converters and interfaces. Four RedNet 5 Pro Tools® | HD bridges are located in the machine room, feeding the Pro Tools systems in each of the three broadcast audio mix suites. Two of those suites are equipped with RedNet 1 eight-channel A-D/D-A interfaces, while all three suites have RedNet 2 and/or RedNet A16R 16-Channel A-D/D-A interfaces. These three types of RedNet interface create a robust, efficient and effective AoIP infrastructure that has vastly streamlined the workflow for Sim.
In addition, Focusrite RedNet X2P 2×2 Dante audio interfaces are used elsewhere in Sim, to expand the Dante network for ancillary operations. In the large theater, ad-hoc recordings can be captured using a shotgun mic and an X2P, and tracked straight into a Pro Tools project. In the facility’s various vocal booths, X2Ps provide mic preamps for VO mics, and headphones mixes for talent, all from within one compact box that can be powered via PoE.
The new studio resources are geared toward scripted television, as Sim Post seeks to support the current boom in broadcast and streaming production. Recent TV credits for Sim New York include the MTV VMAs, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men for Showtime, and Deal or No Deal for NBC; recent film credits include Motherless Brooklyn for Warner Bros. (fall 2019) and Someone Great for Netflix. “We are responding to an acute need for more high-quality post services in New York, especially for television,” says Sim Post New York Partner and Vice President Kim Spikes. “Our new sound and picture resources are designed to meet the finishing and delivery needs of those scripted productions.”
The RedNet audio network is critical to making that happen, says Liam Ford, Sim’s Senior Vice President, Post Engineering. “RedNet lets us connect all of these spaces together on single strands of Ethernet cable, instead of the dozens of copper cables we’d need otherwise, which is a huge cost savings,” he says. “Also, we have much greater flexibility from putting our Pro Tools systems in a central location and networking from there to each mix room. That way, our editors can continue working on the Pro Tools deck of their choice, configured the way they want it, in any of the rooms, because the Pro Tools systems aren’t locked to a particular room. In addition, when we need extra processing power, we can connect multiple Pro Tools stations together on the network. And we have all of our related audio, such as recording and talkback mics, on that same RedNet network. It’s a full AoIP system.”
The new studios, which came on line earlier in 2019, can also serve as a template for future audio-post expansions. “In the event we expand to other cities, what we’ve done in New York with RedNet is the model for how to do it going forward,” he says. “The advantages it offers, at a time when we’re so busy and the amount of work continues to grow, are incredible!”