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  #1  
Old 06-22-2006, 07:55 AM
hitp hitp is offline
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Default building small room for cinema post - help

Our company is planning to to build a small 23'L x 15'W x 10'H dubbing stage to mix our TV commercials for Cinema release. We have 6 other studios used for TV Post, while all mixes in these rooms have translated well to TV, we seem to be having a harder time mixing for the big screen. Not that ours sound any worse than the competition when played back in a movie theater, but we just want to build a room that can be used to produce stereo and surround cinema mixes that would translate better given our limitations.

Bit of a background on our market. We are in the Philippines and most theaters show their trailers and kinescoped TV commercials in stereo playing back audio only on the L/R speakers (same where they play the music before the shows). Most of the stuff played back this way already sound pretty bad no where as good as the main feature which plays back on all speakers. Still once in a while we get a chance to playback on the main system in surround and this is where I want to shine.

Went though this forum and so far have come up only with one post regarding this. Hoping Marti and Tomcat (who I understand has built a small room that works very well) can help with suggestions.

I have read Marti's fine thread on levels and most of our present TV post rooms implement a 79dB -20dBFS zero reference level and we monitor our headroom on Dorroughs meters. We plan to invest in the same equipment and standards (adjusted for film of course) for this new room.

Here are my questions . . .

Will the room which is around 3,400 cubic ft. be sufficient for mixing to film? Most of the stuff I have read on both the Dolby and THX sites, seem to suggest that a room of this size would only work for pre-mixing. The room is not yet built, I could go up to around 25'L x 16'W x 11'H, but that would probably be the biggest our space could take. Any suggestions with room sizes and ratios?

Be running with a ProTools HD2 Accel and probably a used ProControl or a Yamaha DM1000(any comments on this), would love an iCon but budgets are not too big, given the hourly rate we can charge. If we go with a ProControl, I'll be using a StudioCom for surround monitoring and bass management.

We are a Genelec facility and I plan to use a surround system built around their 8040 monitors and 7070 sub. Is this a wise move, or should we look at getting a small movie theater setup with theater horn type speakers behind a perforated screen? The theater system would cost around the same, but monitoring postions for small free field speakers and theater speakers are really different with multiple surrounds up high for a more diffuse sound field. Nearfields are more direct and usually just a stereo pair in the back. I am sure there is a difference in these two approaches. Any comments?

We plan to use this room as a mix for TV Room as well. Is this a good idea? When I look at Post for televison rooms and film dub stages, I see a big difference in the way they are set up, not only with how the speakers are placed and mix positions are situated, but in the acoustic treatment of the room's walls as well. I know there is no such thing as a room which is perfect for both film, TV and music, but given some compromises would it be possible to build a room which would work primarily for film mixing, but also be usable for music and TV mixing (keeping the limitations in mind)?

Still a ton of questions, but let us start with these first. Thanks in advance to everyone who can help. If anyone needs to get a better idea of what we do, check my company out at www.hitproductions.net

Visited to both Dr. Sound's and Tomcat's websites, you guys look like you have built the kind of room we are aiming for. A high quality film mix room buit at a reasonable budget. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2006, 08:42 AM
bigbadhenchman bigbadhenchman is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

You really should be mixing in a lage room for theatre mixes. Monitoring should be at 85.
That being said, when I had my own space I mixed a couple of features that translated perfectly, and I didn't ahver ahuge room. We had an M+L monitor set-up, which is still my favourite monitors for smaller rooms.
So, it could very well be that the Genelecs aren't really the proiper monitors to mix on.
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2006, 09:45 AM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

bigger is better for room size
Dolby has a paper on minimums for certification that they will come to to make a Dolby Digital file for marring to a print (you can not do it yourself but you know that)

have you read this link on room cal
http://duc.digidesign.com/showflat.p...fpart=1#529464
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:06 PM
hitp hitp is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

Hey guys, I understand that you need a big room, but what is the minimum size you need to get a decent perspective that would translate to a real world theater?

Craig, I did read the Dolby paper and all it states that I need a ceiling height of 9ft and work to their room ratio. I think my planned room size and dimensions has met that qualification. The impression I got was that was for a surround room in general and probably one for DVDs, HDTV or Games which is what the THX PM3 spec says a room of my size should be used for.

Also using small nearfield monitors like M&Ks, Blue Skys, Genelecs obviously would sound different when played back over larger behind the screen speakers and surrounds up in the ceiling. What I want to know is what are the factors I have to keep in mind when doing a mix for the large screen when using smaller speakers like ones used in TV post rooms.

Anyway hoping other guys like Marti and Tomcat would chime in to let me know their opinions. Photos of Marti's room on his website looked like a pretty good sized room with carefully chosen gear that does the job without breaking the bank.

Anyway keep those responses coming in . . . thanks to CraigF and bigbadhenchman for responding.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:53 PM
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dr sound dr sound is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

Dennis,
My room is over TWICE the size of your room in all directions!
Here is a pic:
http://www.thedubstage.com/facility.php
The M&K's will translate very well to a big room if they are set up right.
As for "Photos of Marti's room on his website looked like a pretty good sized room with carefully chosen gear that does the job without breaking the bank", there is a lot invested in the room!
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:18 AM
tomcat tomcat is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

Hi Dennis,
I don't have much time to write at the moment, but I want to just express my belief that a small room absolutely can sound good and translate well. There is a learning curve though, when mixing in a small room. The room at the cottage is 14' by 19'. It translates very well. I built a much smaller room for a friend in NY where we have done a number of indy films (June Bug, Palindromes, Poster Boy) and i have been amazed at the translations. That room is something like 10x15. basically, a glorified closet.
We didn't have a budget for a designer, so I took it on as a learning experience. The first thing I did was to empty out the room and sweep a sign wave up and down, while walking around to find both the hot frequencies, and the troubled areas where standing waves were bad. We identified the particulars of these issues in this cryptic way, and then set out to make it work on paper. The main problem was low end absorption. We basically made the entire room a bass trap. This is the most difficult thing to control in a small room. that said, i think 16x25x11 is a great size for a mix room. It may have less of a wow factor, but it can sound wonderful.

When I printmastered Palindromes,we took it up to studio F at Sound One in NY for a day, after having spent 14 days or so in the "closet". I was thrilled at not needing to touch a knob on the console there. The dialog EQ was spot on, the panning worked, the balances were fine.
I next heard the mix at the Toronto Film fest,in a HUGE room. I don't know the name of the theatre, but it was giant. It was fun to watch and listen to my tiny-room mix in a room of this size. All was good, with one exception. There were some stereo effects that were meant to augment a production effect. In the small room, they sounded ok together, but in the huge theatre, the mono production effect was center and the fx effect was L,R, and felt disconnected from the mix. If I had heard this in the little room, I would have used the effect in mono, or at least panned it much more center. This is what I mean by a learning curve. Do a few mixes in the room, when it is built, and take the mixes to a big room that you trust, just to build up your knowledge about where the issues lie.


Interesting thread. I will jump back in when I can. There is a lot to talk about here.
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Old 06-23-2006, 05:20 AM
hitp hitp is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

First of all, I would like to thank both Dr. Sound and Tomcat for responding.

Apologies to Marti, I did not mean to say that your room was small or cheap. It just looked like something that was doable on a real world budget. I am sure it cost a bundle, I was merely comparing to the huge DFC / Euphonix / Harrison / Icon 3 operator dub stages you see on the cover of magazines. My comment was a compliment on your resourcefulness in using affordable gear (I know this is relative term) and yet being able to do a lot of award winning projects. In addition your eagerness to share your knowledge with the rest of us is very much appreciated. Seeing that photo on your site was a real inspiration to me. Hopefully I do not put my foot in my mouth anymore in this thread. I would really appreciate your advice in pointing me in the right direction. Promise to stay away from making stupid comments in the future. Thanks for the reco on the M&Ks.

Tom, thanks a lot for sharing. I was really excited to read about the "Cottage" and just wish you had a bit more pictures on your site. Hoping to hear more about the two rooms you have built and how well they translate. Cannot wait for you to come back when you have more time. Hopefully you can share a bit more about the equipment choices and what worked and what did not work. I am glad to hear that one of the first things you did was to control the bass. This is something we plan to do as well. Be curious to see how you did it. Again, thank you thank you thank you!
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:47 AM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

for the large screen you need to us the X-curve.
for a smaller room this curve need to be modified to compensate for the reduced size of the room
I can not tell you what the exact modifications are
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Thank you,

Craig
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2006, 12:56 PM
Rick Sanchez Rick Sanchez is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

Dennis,

Sounds like you're getting some good advice here. Just wanted to say hello. Missed you at the last couple of AES shows.

Regards, Rick Sanchez
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Old 06-24-2006, 07:31 AM
hitp hitp is offline
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Default Re: building small room for cinema post - help

Wow great to hear from you again Ricky. Looking to see you at AES in SF this year. It would be nice to get together with everyone from the old Record Plant team then.

Yes I am getting a lot of good advice from everyone on the DUC.
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