As a top music editor in Hollywood, Bos often switches between multiple applications. To streamline his workflow, he chose MC Pro.
Independent music editor Fernand Bos' new studio in Long Beach, California, looks high-tech and uncluttered with a MC and screen taking center stage. That unassuming control surface, however, is one of the most potent production and post-production tools available on the market—the new MC Media Application Controller—and this studio is where Bos makes it all happen.
Bos, whose film credits include numerous releases such as Miramax Film's Cold Mountain, 20th Century Fox / Regency Films' The Sentinel, and the upcoming Warner Brothers release We Are Marshall, serves as Supervising Music Editor for a seemingly endless array of blockbuster pictures. As an early adopter of MC, he is working on the cutting edge of control surface technology—and he loves it.
Unlike many control surfaces that are optimized for one particular application or another, the MC differentiates itself by being able to interface with and control any application. "I work with several different applications," says Bos, "and this is a key reason for me selecting the MC."
The ability to streamline workflow is another key attribute of the MC and, this too, impressed Bos. "When I switch between applications on the MC," he notes, "my workflow doesn't change. I can switch from Pro Tools to Digital Performer with one touch of a button and don't have to take my hands off the controller."
"In my studio," Bos continues, "the only equipment on the desk is the MC and the computer monitor. All work is done at the MC. Because I have shortcuts for everything mapped to the MC's LCD SmartSwitches, I no longer have to mouse all around the application clicking on various functions—dealing with multiple clicks, pull-down menus, and the like. All this is within reach of a dedicated button, and this speeds up the work process. There's less movement, so I'm more efficient—it's a much easier, peaceful way of working."
The fact that the MC is so highly configurable has also won high praise from Bos. "I love the fact this controller is so highly customizable," he adds. "I'm not locked into the way some programmer thinks I should be working. Everyone has their own creative process, and the ability to customize the MC exactly as you want is fantastic. Finally, the technology has become secondary to the creative process, and that's very important as it minimizes distractions."
The MC has been designed to work with any application over Ethernet using the innovative EuCon high-speed protocol. A client application on the Mac or PC takes these EuCon commands from the MC and translates them into the application in focus. This includes standard keyboard and trackball data plus faders, knobs and metering information. The MC tightly integrates with Bos' Logic Pro, and Nuendo that have specific EuCon Client Adaptors, as well as providing full control of Pro Tools and Digital Performer.
"The MC works very well with Pro Tools," Bos said. "The application set, or template, created for Pro Tools is very well thought out and is, of course, customizable. The template includes icons and text for each button, so you know exactly what you're working with, which makes it easy to get started using the controller with Pro Tools. I honestly feel you can sit down at the MC without ever having used it and start working right away. The learning curve is very modest, so getting up to speed isn't hard at all."
"The amount of visual feedback the MC provides makes working with Pro Tools very easy and the touch screen is fantastic," says Bos. "I can very quickly solo, mute, or select tracks as required—much faster than I could ever do with faders or by using a mouse. I love the fact that the soft knobs are touch sensitive and the system displays the function of the knob until the moment I touch it when the display switches to its current value. This way, I can very quickly see what and how much I'm adjusting when I have a plug-in open."
One of Bos' favorite aspects of the MC is its "Follow Attentioned Track" capability. This feature enables a fader to be assigned as the "Follow Attentioned Track" fader, and this assignment remains fixed until released—enabling the musician move about a project while always retaining immediate access to the selected track. "With a big session of, let's say 80 tracks," notes Bos, "I can move about the project and instantly have a fader for whatever track I've selected. This feature makes it extremely quick and easy to make fast adjustments as you work."
Mapping is another feature Bos has become very fond of. Bos reports, "With mapping, I can map any track to any fader as well as lock a particular fader in place. I can save these mappings as layouts. This way, I can have a mapping layout that I use while I'm editing and another one where I am mixing with one fader for dialog, another one for music, and another one for effects. With one button press, I can switch between layouts without changing the track order in my current setup."
As the MC is so adept at working with multiple applications, Bos finds the ability to lock sections extremely useful when moving between open applications. Using a FileMaker-based database dubbed CueChronicle, Bos and the film's composer are able to share information while addressing various challenges that result during the editing process. "Since the MC allows you to lock specific sections of the controller to an application, I can lock the transport controls to Pro Tools, and while controlling playback, I can actually navigate within my CueChronicle FileMaker database at the same time. Normally, this would involve at least another keyboard and mouse, or controller.
When asked about what he might share with prospective MC customers, Bos offered the following, "The build quality of the MC is terrific. This is a really well built controller manufactured by a company that knows consoles, and it shows. Of equal significance is the fact that Avid and GC Pro technical and customer support has been terrific. During the pre-sales period, they answered all my questions, and after my purchase, the support remained equally responsive. As my software evolves, so does the MC. The unit keeps on getting better and better, which is exciting. It's nice to know that the item you just purchased isn't obsolete by the time you get it unpacked."