Monday, 24 June 2013

Cherwell Case Study

We recently completed a case-study film for Cherwell, a software company that provides IT Service Management Solutions.

They asked us to work with them and provide a format for their initial case-study film, based at the University of Wolverhampton. And what do you know, February gave us a blue sky day for the filming - that's rare!

The client required a informative film which demonstrated real-world experiences of their clients when choosing and working with Cherwell software solutions.

We recorded some heartfelt and genuine responses from the university, prompted by a well planned script we wrote beforehand with the Cherwell marketing team during the planning stage.

In addition we recorded some great cutaway shots of the software in use and the wider situation of the University using both a dolly and job/crane equipment for that extra production value that is so important to make your film standout from the crowded marketplace.

We can work with any format, film for any occasion and have a dedicated producer, DOP and sound recordist for each project. The end product is always high quality and well structured, and we always pride ourselves in maintaining regular and accurate communications with our clients and crew along the way.

Cherwell Case Study from Cherwell Software on Vimeo.

It was a real pleasure working with the team at Cherwell and their clients at Wolverhampton University and we look forward to working with Cherwell again in the near future.

"Great job guys, this is a very well-produced video... great content, transitions and production" - Dave Kolb, Cherwell Software.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Retro Sound Design for Apps

We have been working with a few app developer companies and recently had the pleasure of working with the development team at Moonbright Innovations. They approached Dreambase Studios with a request to create catchy, retro sounds and music for their game Mission To The Moon [MTTM], a highly addictive game that has a simple concept; get to the moon in one piece! Once you get there, you then make your way back...but with a twist of course! The game offers a retro feel, with progressive difficulty levels as expected, but there are plenty of other changes that keeps you entertained. The playability of the game will be off the scale and you'll encounter birds, planes, balloons, satellites and even aliens! Below is a sample of the stunning graphics for 'MTTM' - created by the superb Alix Briskham.

As we are passionate about sound, it was only right to use some old 'retro' equipment we had lying around (well, that Alex has collected over the years), including an old BBC Micro and a Casio PT-30. Our approach resonated with the developers at Moonbright Innovations as being a techie company, they also have a stack of retro gear, including a Mattel Aquarius would you believe. We also made contact with Swindon's very own Museum of Computing who were also up for us sampling some old, retro equipment. "We pretty much have one of everything from 80's computing" - Ashley Shepherd.

We were very pleased with Andy Ward's (co-founder of Moonbright Innovations) reaction after hearing the temp music that we came up with. "Hahaha, you can just imagine a ZX spectrum or similar playing this, it's brilliant [Andy Ward MBI]"

We are also working with Moonbright Innovations on other projects and they are currently creating an amazing film app that will offer not only interaction for films, but also keep the fans updated on news, content and progress of films with a rather neat -right-to-buy- at the end of it.

Moonbright Innovations have more neat ideas including the Horse Buyer app, Class Books app and their eBook range. We really enjoyed working with Moonbright, like-minded professionals with innovative ideas in their field of expertise. We have some great ideas too and we look forward to an innovative and exciting future together.

Friday, 7 June 2013

'Mr Wiggles' - the sound process of a short film

Type in Mr Wiggles to Google and what do you get? A load of entries for the rap artist Mr Wiggles. However the penultimate entry on page one of Google – last time I looked – refers to another Mr Wiggles. This is far more interesting – to me at any rate.

Mr Wiggles is a Swindon-based short film, written and directed by Steve Ware and co-directed by Steph Palmer. In late 2011 Steve asked Dreambase if we’d be able to spare some time over a couple of weekends to record the location sound for the film and to act as sound supervisor and co-production on the project. As with all ‘no/lo-budget’ projects we were naturally skeptical, so asked Steve for a draft script so to read what it was all about. First read and we were hooked by this powerful family drama and simply had to be involved.

We went to recce the location with Steve and Steph a month or so before filming to get bearings on the situation – this being a large run-down farmhouse on the side of an A-road and an accompanying large barn, open at the sides. The immediate impression was the sound of the road nearby. As a sound recordists we're always thinking about the final product when making decisions on sound. Thinking about what we can get away with in terms of dialogue and how we can perhaps ‘cover’ up the sound of passing traffic if need be, especially for the exterior barn shots. Lot’s of close-up shots come in handy here, where we could get the boom in a close as possible to maximise the signal (dialogue) to noise (passing traffic) ratio.

During the recce we made some atmos and room tone recordings which could later be used in the film. We also recorded the sounds of the farm animals as we expected to be using some of these during the post production process. After all, the sound of a snorting pig pitched down can be quite dramatic!! We also ended up banging and hitting various farm implements, including a large rusty spring on the back of a grass cutter, which was later pitched and used in the trailer for effect.

Main shooting of the film took place over two consecutive weekends in November 2011. The first weekend turned out to be very cold with near or sub-zero temperatures for most of the time due to to a constant wind entering the open side of the barn we were filming in. Lots of layers, hats, balaclavas, scarves and gloves were required, as well as plenty of hot drinks! We were ably assisted on sound by Samantha and 2nd sound assistant, Shannon to record notes for each take. We were lucky to have such a comprehensive crew on this film, whose unyielding efforts really contributed to the quality of the final product.

The second weekend’s shooting was a little easier as many more of the shots were in the house so less effected by traffic noise and a lot warmer too!

Following a very intense but ultimately successful shoot we were now into post production. Initially we'd  offered to compose the music for the film, as well as doing the sound design, edit and mix. This initially seemed like a good idea and a first composition was some original music for a music box which is featured heavily in the film. Steve was keen that we have an original score for this which was duly delivered. The main music score was a different proposition and Alex was feeling under pressure to deliver as well as keeping our regular paying clients happy. Fortunately around this time we were introduced to composer Michelle Eaton through a mutual friend. We were immediately impressed by her compositions and asked if she might like to get involved in the film. She said yes! We'd been messing about with a couple of ideas, which basically consisted of a series of nine notes!! A catchy riff but very far from a proper film score. These were played to Michelle and a week later she had transformed the initial ideas into something wonderful and immediately engaging. A few tweaks later and we had a main score for the film. From this Michelle composed a series of moods to go with the unfolding of the film.

The last music track in the film was written and performed by Daniella Faircloth andMatthew Mordak. It was recorded and mixed the music at Dreambase Studios and a music video was later created for the song at the film’s location.

At this time the picture edit was more or less complete so we were editing/processing the dialogue and adding fx and atmospheres to the soundtrack. We’d already completed a short teaser trailer for the film with some temp music, which was later changed using Michelle’s score. Michelle’s music was the last element to be laid up to the main project and this is pretty usual for most films. Ideally the composer would be bought onto a project at pre-production stage but logistically this doesn’t always happen. The music was track-layed using Michelle’s notes and with some further editing and mixing we were approaching a theatrical mix which could be played back in the local multiplex for the premiere. We had a couple of evening sessions at the studio with the core team to go through the soundtrack and get approval before it was mastered out and married with the graded picture, ready for the first showing. When the crew actually have tears in their eyes in the studio you know you’ve done a god job; emotions were running high – in a good way!!

Next event was the screening in the local multiplex cinema. We'd mixed the film knowing it was going to be re-played in this environment so were pretty confident everything would be played back at the right level and all the dialogue would be understood. The sold-out charity premiere was a superb night and marked the end of the first stage of the film’s progress.

Mr Wiggles has so far been shown on the festival circuit in Asia and is currently showing in America.  Dreambase Studios wish it all the very best, especially given the hard work, commitment and attention to detail from everyone involved.

You can keep updated on Mr Wiggles via the Facebook page here.

Mr Wiggles is about the imaginative distraction we all desperately desire from reality. The film takes the lives of two young children’s desperate escape, into a world created for protection. But for Amber and Nathan, it’s only a matter of time before reality, catches up.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

myHealthPal - Visualising Health

We were approached by Mike Barlow, founder of myHealthPal, in collaboration with Ross from Firebird Films to produce a film that was simple, slick and demonstrated this innovative idea. Mike was diagnosed with Parkinsons at the age of 42 and with a background in IT, has come up with a very clever healthcare initiative that has been created by patients & carers for people living with long-term medical conditions such as Parkinson's.

Working closely with Mike and Ross, we took the initial scrip that Mike sent through and cut down to around 2 minutes, a little tricky to get everything in without rushing as Mike also has a full-time job. As always, it really paid off to plan before going into the studio and whilst the scrip was being firmed up, Ross was researching ideas for look and style of the film, coming up with a rather neat grey background that was created with clever lighting. Using the Sony FS700, the shoot went seamlessly with the help of Darren Potter and of course, recording great location sound to accompany the film is a given with Dreambase. We were back in the studio editing before we knew it.

As Mike was working to a tight deadline we had to streamline workflow so whilst the content was being edited, revised and CG graphics being added, we selected appropriate music and created a quick mix on the Adams back at the studio. Coupled with a quick grade the video was signed off and ready to upload to the client, in time for a funding application to be submitted on-line by the 6th June. Quick, slick and professional is how we roll.

We wish Mike all the very best with the presentation and we look forward to working with him again in the near future. We have worked with Firebird Films on many occasions, we have some really exciting projects coming up in the near future and as Ross said "we make films not videos" which is bang on the money as all our content is fit for the big screen and we've taken many projects into the cinema and will continue to do so.

myHealthPal from Dreambase Studios on Vimeo.

A little more about Mike Barlow and myHealthPal:

MyHealthPal Visualising Health - winner of 'one to watch for 2013' and 'best tech entrepreneur'.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Advance Housing Association DVD


Dreambase were approached by Firebird Films and asked not only to create a great sounding project, but produce something unique, something that would stand out, take a film approach to it all. Although the project was ultimately intended for DVD, we were all keen for it to be screened in the cinema, pushing the boundaries for corporate projects. We had to create a 'How to complain' film that not only did what it said on the tin, but also capture the audiences attention for the 12 minute duration. Ross wanted to shoot in a studio environment on the Red ONE film camera, using green screen. We'd seen the film 'A Scanner Darkly' using rotoscoping techniques and we decided to animate the backgrounds and use the rotoscoping technique in a minimal form, mainly on the cups.

At the studio, creating the rather amusing end credits

We wanted the project to be rich in layers, visually interesting, with a quirky script and great sound. John Kay, our main contact at Advance UK really wanted the film to be engaging, interactive and fun. He also wanted the Advance customers to get involved with all aspects of the film from the script stage, acting and foley sound to creating the artwork that's hanging on the frames in the film. The end result is an engaging 12 minute film that has texture, dynamics and fun, not to mention a very clear message but is also interactive (see DVD menu).

Mark Capturing Stop Frame Animation Credits with Ross.

Mark working on a boolean table for the endless (48) possibilities for the interactive DVD menu.

The final film is also fully inclusive and has subtitles, BSL sign-language and even an audio-description option, which I think maybe a first for a corporate project to have all 3! It's so refreshing to work with companies like Advance and Firebird Films who want to push the boundaries, care about quality and being a little different too.


We provided location recording for the studio-based film production. This also included the recording of voice-overs to be added to the final film production in post, guided by script supervisor Maria Vickers.

Alex at Sandstorm Studios, sound recording on the Advance shoot

As part of the post production process we needed to record Foley sounds. These sounds of footsteps, cups being put down and tea slurping, etc. were required to reproduce some reality to the studio environment in which the film was recorded.

Advance Customer in the Foley session

From the outset Advance were keen for the their own clients to be involved in the process of recording the Foley effects. Whilst Alex recorded and supervised the Foley session, all the actual reproduction of the Foley sounds were carried out by two of the residents themselves. Some of the sounds recorded included, footsteps, cups, slurps, paper ripping and cutting, amongst many other effects required to complete the soundtrack. Check out the Behind The Scenes Film above at 2:30 to see more details of the sound process.

Music was especially written for the film by Jack Watson with performances by saxophonist Ray Stephens and Advance HA's very own John Kay!

Clients at Dreambase Studios during the music session

Mixing was carried out in the traditional way with dialogue, music and effects stems to make up the final stereo soundtrack to be used for both cinema and DVD playback.

Alex mixing up the Music, Dialogue and Effects (not to mention Foley & Atmos!)

Premier and Awards

In true 'Dreambase' fashion, we treat every project as if it was for the big screen, taking a film approach to all aspects of the project, including quality of image and sound. John at Advance liked the idea of having a film premier for the customers of advance, press and local companies. We have an understanding and passion for the cinema, so we provided support throughout production, post-production and even in preparation leading up to the screening, hand-holding everyone through rehearsals and tweaks to ensure the show would go ahead, uninterrupted. This is what the majors do with their films (Warner, 20th Century Fox, Disney etc) so why should it be any different with an important corporate client. We have great relationships with cinemas and in this case, received fantastic support and co-operation with Steve Wright at Cineworld at Whitney on this occasion which made everything possible. We creating a HD master, playback on a 2k projector with Dolby surround sound. We certainly look forward to the next cinema event and working closer on future projects with Cineworld.

A selection of pictures from the film premier at Cineworld.

Since the premier at Cineworld, the project has gone on to win an award for Best use of video at the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC), beating entries from the likes of National Grid with comments such as "A great and unique way to create a memorable message that leaves all the usual corporate help videos behind" John Kay and "Fantastic – put a smile on this ‘seasoned’ judges face – thanks for entering".  

For more information, please check out this link. We look forward to working with Advance UK, Cineworld and Firebird Films on future projects.

John Kay receiving award for Best Use of Video at the IoIC

The cast and crew on the set of the Advance shoot

How to Complain is a short film that explains what a complaint is, and how Advance customers can complain to us if they are not happy.

We made the film because we know that some people feel awkward about complaining. Advance customers wrote the script, came up with the ideas for the scenes, acted in the film, provided the sound effects and created the artwork which appears in the film. We made the film particularly for people who find reading difficult. So we have included a Sign Language version, subtitles and an audio description.

Red carpet excitement as new film gives people a voice

A GLITZY movie premiere links James Bond and David Beckham with a charity that supports people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. But the real star is the message it sends out. Witney-based Advance's How To Complain is written and performed by their customers who explain how to tell the charity when it gets things wrong.

Produced by Dreambase Studios' Mark Kenna, directed by Firebird Films - Ross Mackenzie, the short film's big stars are the four leading actors - Advance customers Antony O'Dell, Claire Crombie, Paul Ward and Theresa Brind.

For the full press release.
BBC Oxford Radio Interview.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Windrush Medical Practice

Dreambase Studios worked with Silicon Practice to create a “Welcome” video for Windrush Medical Practice homepage. Featuring an introduction and guided tour by Dr Stephen Smith, the video combines the opportunity for new and existing patients to view the new premises at the Medical Practice, with the chance to see how the ethos of the Practice has influenced the design of the building and patient care.

Dr Smith said “We were keen to show off our new building,  and raise the practices profile with patients and prospective clinical and non-clinical staff. The filming of the video was actually quite fun and performed very professionally. We were able to have input in to the editing and were very pleased that the end result accurately portrayed our values as well as the facilities.”

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Sound design for Elizabeth Avenue teaser

We recently completed sound design and mix on a teaser for a new animated TV series called Elizabeth Avenue, created by Amanda Evans.

Produced by Martyn Niman of Elstree-based King Bee Entertainment, the series is based in a beautiful London street, lined with grand Victorian houses. It follows the adventures of a select pack of unpredictable, yet charming cats and dogs, each with their own distinctive characters, designed by Rafi Nizam and animated by King Bee Entertainment.

The big streets of London are bought to life through the antics of Lucy, Alfie, Ron, Reg and and a host of other characters as they go about their daily discoveries.

We provided sound design and mix for the TV project, which includes music specially composed for the series by Barrington Pheloung.

Full details of the project can be seen by visiting the Elizabeth Avenue Site, but for now here's the teaser:

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Filming X Factor for the BBC Big Screen

Dreambase Studios teamed up with Firebird Films, working with host, Kirsty Heber-Smith (BBC) to provide coverage for the 28,000 strong audience over the 2 hour show. We look forward to working with Kirsty and the BBC on future projects. The finals of this years X Factor 2012 can be seen this Saturday, ITV at 8pm.

An estimated 28,000 people attended this years 2012 Christmas lights switch on in Swindon, led by X Factor finalist, Jahmene Douglas along with Swindon’s Olympic torch bearers including Ben Fox, who carried the Olympic torch through Royal Wootton Bassett’s High Street.

X Factor judge, Nicole Scherzinger acoompanied Swindon singer, Jahmene and got the crowd going with a fantastic introduction, sporting the Union Jack flag after the firework extravaganza.

Finally, after an evening of comedy, dancing and competitions, Jahmene Douglas sang 3 songs, starting with his audition song, At Last, by Etta James. He then continued his soulful tone with an Amy Winehouse / Diana Ross mix, finishing with Angels, by Robbie Williams that he dedicated to him Mum. For more information, please check out the Swindon Advertiser article or the article published by This is Wiltshire.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Rodrigo Cortes Interview - Dolby Atmos

Recently we were asked to provide video production for an interview with Spanish film director, Rodrigo Cortes. The interview, by Dolby's director of Distribution Services, Julian Pinn formed part of Dolby Laboratories' promotion of their new Dolby Atmos surround system.

Dreambase provided camera, lighting and sound recording services for the interview, which was filmed at Dolby's Wiltshire-based theatre.

Dolby once again changes the auditory experience for the industry and consumers with Atmos. Dolby Atmos is a break-through, new audio platform that will change the way people experience entertainment sound. The revolutionary technology seamlessly blends onscreen visuals with enhanced audio by not limiting the sound to channels or fixed speaker locations. Launching in the cinema, Dolby Atmos delivers an even more natural and realistic sound-field, by transporting people into the story with a life-like, sensory experience.

About Dolby Atmos
from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo.

Rodrigo Cortes' new film Red Lights is to make use of the Dolby Atmos system and was released in the UK on 15th June

Dolby's Julian Pinn interviews Director Rodrigo Cortés on Dolby Atmos
from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo.

Official Trailer:

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sound Post for Verity's Summer

We recently completed sound post production on Verity's Summer, a new feature film by Palme D'Or nominee Director, Ben Crowe.

Verity's Summer is the story of a young woman’s journey from the security of childhood to the compromises of adulthood and moral ambiguities of love. It is also an intimate portrayal of a family coming to terms with the traumas and violence of distant war that are brought back home.

The film stars, Indea Barbe-Willson, Martin McGlade, James Doherty, Nicola Wright, and Christian Hogas and was shot on location in the North East.

'The ambiences play a big part in this film and we wanted to create distinctive 'backgrounds' for each part of the film', comments sound designer, Alex Hudd. 'The coast is ever present in the film and so from a 'sound tag' point of view I wanted to make sure the sea sounds were distinctive and repeatable if necessary in order to reinforce the scenes.'

For the ambiences, Alex spent a weekend in West Wales recording lots of different locations for the film. 'I had already spotted the film for what I needed to record but I took a rough cut of the film on my iPhone so I was able to get an idea of perspective there and then when making decisions on where to position the microphones for the best recording. I took many different sound perspectives from close up to the waves, to many hundreds of meters away, at times. I also took recordings of the countryside nearby as these also play an important part in many of the scenes in Verity's Summer.

A chance recording I made of some sea birds defending territory on one of the beaches was also very useful in several scenes during post production. I chose Wales partly because it offered the same 'sound feel' as the visuals had suggested to me but also because it is largely free of interference from transport such as aircraft, motorways and trains. In fact, recording on location in many parts of Wales is, at times like having your own outdoor studio, such is the absence of external sound interference. And I also love visiting this area, so it was a good excuse for a short break!!'

Ambience recordings were combined with other sounds in order to subtly change the mood of the film as a scene progressed. For example, we were keen to make sure we had simple but dark textures in some scenes, particularly the more difficult dialogue subjects. In others, such as Verity's garden we wanted to make the sound detailed and comfortable, as the garden is often a place of solace for her.'

Among the many Foley sounds we recorded were a variety of Trangia sounds for when one of the characters (Martin McGlade, as Castle) is eating in his encampment. Dreambase Studios' co-director Mark enjoyed a 'camping' lunch of cold baked beans and stale bread that day in order to complete the Foley recording for the scene, but once edited in it worked tremendously well and was absolutely necessary due to rain interference on the original production tracks.

Verity's Summer premieres on 21st April 2012 at London's Shortwave Cinema.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dreambase Studios Newsletter 2012

For more information on the projects above, click here.

Dreambase Studios is a creative production and post-production facility built on 25 years of film industry expertise.  We work across all media platforms, including film, TV and web, on projects such as feature films, television, commercials, animation, music and corporate videos and alternative content.

With our network of trusted contacts within the industry we are able to offer a one-stop solution for all your creative media requirements, overseeing the entire production if required.  Our services include: directing and producing; story-boarding; filming; location sound; editing sound and picture; sound design; mix; composition; and deliverables for all platforms as well as a range of additional design and media services.  We provide a free initial consultation on every project.

Our extensive working knowledge and background in the international film industry means we aim to bring film standards to everything we are involved in to raise the bar for all your projects.  Working closely with our clients, we pride ourselves on maintaining high quality while providing innovative solutions with excellent communication at all stages. Please get in touch to discuss further. We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sound Post for 'The Harsh Light Of Day'

Dreambase Studios have recently completed the sound post production on British Independent Horror film, The Harsh Light of Day. Directed by Oliver Milburn and produced by Emma Biggins at Multistory Films. We worked with them to create a dynamic, theatrical mix that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

SYNOPSIS: After returning home from the launch of his book about the occult, Daniel Shergold's house is broken into by thugs, who beat his wife to death and leave him paralyzed. A depressed agoraphobic in his secluded country cottage, Daniel mourns the death of his wife while being cared for by home nurse, Fiona. He is unable to accept the lack of success the police have in finding his wife's killers. Daniel accepts a visit from a mysterious stranger who insists he can help him reap revenge. He agrees and is thrown into a strange and horrific transition into darkness. With renewed strength, Daniel sets out to avenge his wife's murder, but at what cost?

From the outset HLOD needed a soundtrack that was set 'completely in reality' one minute and then going 'off on one' the next. These dynamics were intended to give the viewer a full gamut of aural experiences, from a comfortable almost anodyne setting to uncertain, or at times excruciating pieces.

Shooting outdoors and on the coast presented the usual sound issues, so wild tracks, Foley recordings and sound design were used extensively to convey the appropriate sentiment in these scenes, from water lapping on a pebbly beach to the atmosphere of a dock yard. In contrast, the 'sound' of the house in the film is almost silent, again to emphasise the isolation of the cottage and to ensure the film exhibited plenty of sound dynamics.

The film's producer Emma Biggins commented at the premiere: 'the screening went really well tonight - looked and sounded fantastic'

HLOD is released in cinemas on Friday 13th April 2012.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Wootton Bassett Rocks! Wake Me Up When September Ends

Dreambase Studios are very proud to present the charity single and music video in aid of military charities. ***OFFICIALLY RELEASED***, a cover of the classic Green Day track - Wake Me Up When September Ends – produced and performed by over 1000 residents of Royal Wootton Bassett in honour of fallen heroes and in aid of military charities: The Royal British Legion, Combat Stress, The Undentable Trust and Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association (SSAFA).

Timed to follow Wootton Bassett receiving its Royal status, the project is the brainchild of Wiltshire mum of two, Tracey Rogers, whose brother, Captain Mark Hale, was repatriated after being killed by an IED whilst evacuating an injured soldier in Afghanistan in 2009.  Having now completed the single and accompanying video, Tracey explains: “I first had the idea for a charity single in June this year.  I wanted to do something meaningful that involved as many people as possible from this wonderful community to remember my brother and other fallen heroes, to mark the end of an era of repatriations through Royal Wootton Bassett and also to raise much needed funds for military charities that focus on supporting bereaved families and also help and support wounded servicemen and women”.  Although repatriations no longer pass through the town, the community of Royal Wootton Bassett are continuing to support families and soldiers by raising funds through sales of the single and video and will continue to remain in close association with military families.

Having secured the support we needed to get the project off the ground, Richard Sutcliffe our Music Producer and Sound Engineer recorded the single using local musicians and singers together with two choirs and over 200 people from the town, the recording and mixing of the track took place in Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Box, Wiltshire with additional recording in St Bartholomew’s Church in Royal Wootton Bassett and has been 
mastered at Abbey Road Studios.

The accompanying video for the track features over 1000 local residents.  From our singers and musicians, skateboarders, the Junior Town Crier, sports and youth groups to British Legion repatriation bikers and standard bearers – everyone played a part in the video, which used the iconic Royal Wootton Bassett high street as the back drop. It is visually stunning, beautifully mastered and at the same time extremely moving. For more information on cast and crew, please visit the IMDb page

The project has had fantastic support both locally and nationally; the single was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and mastered at Abbey Road.  The music video was filmed using a Red One camera to give a cinematic quality and has been mastered to cinema standard by Dolby.  The video was directed and produced by Mark Kenna co-owner of Dreambase Studios in Royal Wootton Bassett and the Director of Photography was Ross MacKenzie owner of Firebird Films in Swindon. Dreambase also completed 100% post production including 5.1 sound mix, edit, grade and DCP for cinema.

The single and video can be downloaded NOW from iTunes, Play, HMV, Amazon, Napster, Spotify, 7digital. You can purchase t-shirts, writstbands and pre-order your limited edition DVD form the Wootton Bassett Rocks website. Charitable donations can be made by the general public via SMS texting RWBR11 and the donation amount to 70070 or at the JustGiving website. You can follow our progress on the Facebook page or follow the project on twitter

If you have any projects you would like us to get involved with, please email We look forward to hearing form you.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

ADR for Norwegian director Petter Næss

Last month we had a visit from Norwegian director,  Petter Næss who has been busy working on the film, Comrade with Rupert Grint and Lachlan Nieboer. Dreambase Studios were very happy to work with Zentropa, a Danish based production company to provide Lechlan's ADR for the film.

The film is based on a true story. On 27 April 1940, German Luftwaffe pilot Horst Schopis’s bomber was shot down at Grotli by an RAF fighter, which then crash-landed. The several German and English crew members shoot each other together, and later found himself in the same cabin. In order for a difficult winter survival in the Norwegian wilderness, they have to stand together. It's a long, unlikely friendship began.

"I've had the pleasure of working on many of Peter's films out in Norway as a Dolby Consultant", says Mark Kenna, owner of Dreambase Studios, such as Just Bea back in 2004, Elsk meg i morgen in 2005 and Tatt av kvinnen in 2007, about a woman moves into a young man's home and starts to run his life -- a process that makes him fall hopelessly in love with her. "It's really great that Peter and Danish production Zentropa feel they can rely on us to deliver great sound."

Comrade is already getting the attention it deserves and has already been acquired by Metrodome (UK), Kino Swiat (Poland) and Vendetta (Australia).  Read here for more.

 Peter Næss giving Lechlan Nieboer direction during our ADR session.

Lechlan Nieboer at the Dreambase Studios ADR suite

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Using Logic for Post Production Sound

Article by Ian Palmer for original artical posted by Miguel Isaza Designing Sound

Dreambase is the result of Alex and Mark’s (two ex-Dolby employees) desire to setup their own post-production sound facility and work in the more creative side of the film industry. Dreambase is located in the former GWR radio studios with two edit rooms and a VO Booth/ Foley Room between the two rooms.

I visited there last year simply to say hello and was surprised to learn that they were editing and mixing feature films using Logic. Inspired by the recent Mix article I thought I would write this article to find out why they are using the DAW instead of the industry standard Pro Tools.

Ian Palmer: You’re a relatively new studio. What made you choose the Apple/Logic platform?
Alex Hudd: Initially it was for cost reasons. I had used Pro Tools since 2000 for music recording but as a Mac user was aware of what Logic was capable of, and the extensive tools it possessed out of the box. The software is so intuitive and the audio library browser is well integrated with the package that track-lays for sound design and composition are very quick to rough out and start working on. Of course Logic’s strength is the ability to compose and this had also been very useful in some projects that I have composed music for. The recording take management in Logic is excellent for ADR sessions as it’s very easy to find the best lines from multiple takes, compare them and bounce out to a composite.

IP: What have been the advantages of such a decision?
AH: We saved money on the initial start-up costs which for a studio can be quite considerable, especially as we had overheads like rent to pay each month.

IP: Have there been any drawbacks?
AH: Lack of compatibility with studios running Pro Tools exclusively is a drawback but the projects we have worked on have been mostly ‘in-house’. At the end of the day we can bounce out any number of stems to take to another studio and import into their own systems but not being able to pass over automation or plug-ins is a disadvantage time- wise.
Editing is not as quick as with Pro Tools as Logic doesn’t posses the equivalent of a ‘Smart Tool’. Also the I/O setup is pretty basic so complex bus routing is not as easy as it is in Pro Tools. We use both Logic 9 and Pro Tools 9 at the studios depending on the project we are working on. And with OMF/AAF interchange it’s easy to exchange files between the two systems.

IP: What hardware are you using?
AH: We use an RME Fireface 800 as the main I/O which is used with Logic and Pro Tools, plus a Rosendahl Synchroniser. We use the Euphonix Artist Series as hardware controller with has excellent integration with both Logic and Pro Tools.

IP: Have you ever worked with another studio and used OMF exchange files?
AH: Yes, we have had OMFs from other facilities and been able to import into Logic with no problems. We have also exchanged Logic projects with other studios running the same software. For example, they might have track-layed and premixed in Logic and then passed the project to us for a final surround mix. It makes for a very quick turnaround.

IP: Pro Tools has AudioSuite to apply changes to audio files quickly without having to setup channels routing and re-recording in real time. How does Bounce-in-Place compare?
AH: Bounce In Place is fine but you have to be organised to make sure you keep track of the tracks! I would love to see an AudioSuite equivalent in Logic (a bit like Soundtrack Pro), however you can do a lot of basic processing such as gain and pitch shift by using the Sample Editor in Logic and applying the processing from there. But beware, you canʼt apply processing to multitrack sound files from within the Logic Sample Editor. Soundtrack Pro has this one covered but it would be nice to see this in Logic now.

IP: You run a Mac Pro without any additional processing hardware. How has the software/ hardware combination performed? This is especially interesting for your feature film work. How does the system hold up running so many tracks and plugins?
AH: We run an 8-core Mac Pro and the performance has been excellent so far. Occasionally you get unexpected crashes, much like you do with Pro Tools but it’s incredibly rare. On a recent feature film we used Logic for Dialogue Edit, ADR, Foley, Sound Design and Final mix, and it handled everything beautifully whilst maintaining good sync between the video and audio. In the final mix we had Dynamics and EQ on most channels along with bus sends to several different Space Designer 5.1 reverbs and it worked very well. Merging separate dialogue, music and effects projects for the premix and final is very straightforward too.

IP: How much in depth automation control do you get with Logic and the MC Artist control surfaces? It uses the EuCon protocol, how does that compare to ProTools?
AH: You can automate pretty much everything in Logic from plug-in and surround panning parameters to mute and bypass. The usual Write, Latch and Touch and Read modes are all available. It doesn’t have a Touch/Latch combo mode as Pro Tools, which can be especially useful for small setups where you want certain parameters to latch such as plug-in automation where it might not be easy to keep your hand on the controls and others to touch such as the fader level. Manual editing of automation parameters is also very easy, which is incredibly useful for very complex sound moves in action and animation projects.

IP: How useful is Audio Quantizing for dialogue and ADR editing?
AH: The Audio Quantization Engine in Logic is excellent, especially for syncing alternative dialogue takes on scenes. In the last film we did with Logic one of the scenes had some prop noise during the shoot so it was decided to wild-track the dialogue from the scene whilst it was still fresh in the actors mind. The scene was probably around 3-4 minutes I think, which is a long time! Using the Flex Time tools in Logic, syncing the dialogue syllables and nuances was much quicker and ultimately more accurate than cutting and cross-fading. For ADR it means that even a close-up can be re-voiced with great accuracy.

IP: Do you use any other 3rd party audio software such as SoundMiner or izotopeRX? If so how well do they interface into Logic and your workflow?
AH: I have the PPMulator meters for the broadcast work we’ve done, but apart from that I tend to use the stock plug-ins. I work in quite a traditional way I guess, so rather than purchasing the latest ‘do-all-analogue-warmth-celebrity-mixer-transformation’ plugins, I tend to use multiple processing to get the effect that I’m after, understanding the physics of sound more than just pushing a magic button. In Logic you can easily save channel strip settings so I have a whole variety of channel strip setups to get rid of Red Camera noise, telephone a voice or bus compress the dialogue, for example.

IP: I’ve heard good things about Space Designer as a convolution reverb, how does it perform for film mixing and the requirement of realism?
AH: Space Designer is excellent and has plenty of surround-ready presets out of the box which you can EQ and process as necessary to get the environment you’re after. You can also record impulse responses from locations and to put those into SD for the ultimate in realism! As we all know though what you hear on location and what you hear in the studio can be different so I would expect a little tweaking to take place before we arrive at the realism (or non-realism!) that we are after.

IP: How well do the plugins that come with Logic perform in relation to post sound? Have you bought any additional 3rd party plugins?
AH: the standard plug-ins in Logic are very comprehensive. My favorites are the Match EQ which will take a reference response of a piece of dialogue for example, then apply that EQ characteristic to another piece of dialogue in order to match the overall spectral response of the original. This is great for matching boom and radio mics or for matching ‘boom-over’ and ‘boom- under’ recordings in a film. The Expander is also great for reducing background noise, and this, coupled with the narrow notches on the standard EQ are very effective at removing unwanted interference from cameras or lighting, whilst maintaining the quality of the dialogue.