The opening of a second site on Livonia Street in the heart of London’s Soho has allowed post-production house Fifty Fifty to add two PMC-equipped Dolby Atmos suites to its already extensive list of facilities.

The new suites meet customer demand for Dolby Atmos mixing, which is currently high thanks to the format’s adoption by streaming services and broadcasters alike. Designed and built in conjunction with HHB Communications’ post-production division Scrub, the suites are being used to service high-end scripted programming, feature documentary and factual documentary productions.

Gavin Allingham, Head of Audio at the independently owned Fifty Fifty, says creating audio environments that not only sound great but also deliver the Wow factor was a key consideration for this project.

“The HHB team understood that there is an important balance between creating a good working space for the mixer and also a high-end viewing experience for clients,” he says. “Additionally, the decision making around the new rooms was thoughtful and forward thinking. This included implementing a Dante based infrastructure that offers more flexibility as well as making it futureproof.”

Alex Meade, Operational Managing Director, adds: “The second room, while primarily a mixing suite, has all the equipment necessary to comfortably act as a Grade or Online. It was purposely built on the ground floor to make it fully accessible using specialist access consultants to help in the design of the space to create a multi-use suite.”

Both Dolby Atmos audio suites are equipped with monitors from PMC’s Ci range. “I had heard the PMCs in use before and thought they sounded amazing,” Allingham says. “The Ci range really suit rooms of our size and sound great even if you’re a little off axis, which is ideal when clients are attending a session and might not sit in the sweet spot. They have superb low end and excellent frequency response, which is obviously important for critical listening. The fact that they are fitted flush with the walls and ceilings is also a bonus, as it helps keep the rooms feeling spacious.”

Since opening the new suites, Fifty Fifty has already completed several Dolby Atmos mixing projects. These include Dreamland, a scripted comedy made by Merman, for Sky Atlantic, and Capturing the Killer Nurse, a Sandpaper Films documentary for Netflix that accompanies the true story feature film The Good Nurse, which tells the story of nurse and serial killer, Charles Cullen.

“There were so many opportunities for creative sound to be used in both projects,” Allingham says. “Dreamland was shot in location in Margate and there were so many scenes at the seafront that lent themselves so well to creating immersive backgrounds. Similarly, Capturing the Killer Nurse is set in and around a hospital environment, so we used things like ultrasound recordings, stethoscopes, and anaesthetic machines to give us a grainy, eerie, medical feel. I think that is where working in Atmos really comes into its own, often it is the subtleties that land the most impact, particularly when using object-based sound to plot effects or dialogue in the spaces between the speakers.”

Fifty Fifty has also been mixing live performances in Dolby Atmos, and recently completed a mix for a live comedy show where the format played a part in bringing the viewer into the event.

“The additional height channels make such a difference to live performance and the results are truly immersive,” Allingham explains. “Being able to pepper the mix with objects also helps create a real sense of the space. We have done full post on two comedy specials for Netflix in Dolby Atmos, Jack Whitehall I’m Only Joking and Mo Gilligan’s There’s Mo To Life, which has some fun audience participation that is so effective in Atmos. Even little whoops and whistles from around the arena sound so good you really feel like you are there.”

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