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Changing the Way the Industry Operates


Thomas Dalton, owner of Brown Bear Audio took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Behind the Glass about how the pandemic has changed the post industry for the better. Dalton is known for his work on Cruella, Pip and Posy, Sally Lindsey’s Posh Sleepover, Young Wallander, The Fugitive and Grace amongst others.    

 

There is no doubt the pandemic has provided many challenges for the post production industry but it has also forced us into new ways of working, many of which have real benefits. Brown Bear has been pioneering a remote workflow since its inception in 2013 and the pandemic has streamlined the process and the tools it uses. “The development of technology enabling remote working has accelerated over the past 2 years allowing us to seamlessly blend remote and onsite workflows in a way that wasn’t possible before.”

 

In an industry where long hours and overtime are the norm remote working has enabled a better work life balance, allowing us to use our time more efficiently and fit work around life. “The pandemic has given us the opportunity to change the way the industry operates, by adopting better, more efficient working practices, and many post professionals have embraced the benefits remote working has brought; better work/life balance, access to a global talent pool, flexible working, cost savings, better for the environment, increased productivity, geographical flexibility.”

 

The industry has had its own technological advancements with online platforms to meet the demands of remote workflows. “One of the tools that has revolutionised our remote workflow is the streaming platform Evercast, giving us the ability to stream audio and video direct from Pro Tools in near real-time. Similar to Zoom but far superior; full HD quality, enterprise level security and most importantly perfectly synchronised. Our clients love it and it’s made the experience of collaborating so easy.”

 

One of the barriers to remote working that still remains are producers’ attitude and acceptance of it. “Although we have been working remotely for the last couple of years there are still some who believe you need to go to Soho for professional audio post-production services, not even entertaining the fact that you can get the same level of talent and service outside the capital, and in many cases for less money. There are some aspects of a project that are better achieved when everyone is in the same room bouncing ideas off each other but it’s about offering those options to clients, giving them the flexibility to decide how they want to work.”

 

With many people streaming film during the pandemic what effect might it have on the cinema industry? “Unfortunately I think demand for cinema will continue to decline with all but the biggest blockbusters drawing the crowds. Although I’ve grown up going to the cinema and love the experience I’m not sure it’s the same for the next generation. 20 years ago, the only way to see new films was at the cinema but nowadays people expect to be able to find anything on demand from the comfort of their homes.”  

 

Dolby Atmos has firmly transitioned from the "future of home cinema audio" to very much the here and now. Atmos is, in Dolby’s own words, “the most significant development in cinema audio since surround sound. “We were getting more and more enquires for Atmos related projects so decided it was time to make the investment. It was more a matter of when not if and the time was right. 

Demand for Amos is only going to increase as the format becomes more mainstream. Now that companies such as Apple TV, Disney+ and Netflix have adopted it, I think it will only be a matter of time before it becomes the standard format for audio visual.”

 

“There is no doubt experiencing a well-crafted Atmos mix in a cinema environment is the best place to do it and I think the format will help draw some people back to the cinema. That being said the range and quality of soundbars and home systems coming onto the market that do an excellent job of translating this experience to a home environment is growing rapidly, which will only make the format more accessible and mainstream.”

 

The podcasting sector has seen substantial growth over the past few years as the demands for content grows and brands realise the potential it has to connect with audiences. “We wanted to create a studio for podcast producers that was completely self-sufficient but would also have the options for enhanced services such as development, production and marketing. To achieve this, we’ve teamed up with Kult Media to offer a unique blend of professional recording studio, production company, bespoke media strategy and podcast training services. We believe we have the first comprehensive podcasting solution in Brighton and Hove that can help develop and grow podcasts for both new and established enterprises.”           

 

So how does Dalton think the industry will look in a couple of years? “I think we’re currently in a transition period as the industry starts to settle into some sort of normality. I don’t think people want to go back to the old way of working and I see the combination of remote and on prem workflows as the future, giving everyone more flexibility to work in the way they prefer.”

 

www.brownbearaudio.co.uk

 

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