RH Factor

Delivering mixes fast for high-profile TV shows is a challenge. The solution? Upgrading to Pro Tools|HD Native and System 5-MC.

Avid announced that RH Factor has added the new FOX comedy The Wedding Bells to two other shows, ABC's Boston Legal and NBC's My Name Is Earl, mixed on its dual-operator System 5-MC digital audio workstation (DAW) controller. RH Factor, one of Hollywood's leading independent audio post houses, has already completed post production on several episodes of David E. Kelly's new comedy series, which airs Fridays at 9:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. CT).

The dual-operator System 5-MC includes 24 faders and an MC controller for each side, and serves as RH Factor's primary interface for all editorial prepared for the three hit primetime shows. EuCon, the high-speed Ethernet protocol from Avid, enables the hardware surface to directly control both Pro Tools and Nuendo workstations. Though EuCon was designed specifically for audio and video software, it works with any Mac or PC application and can manage multiple workstations and applications simultaneously.

For the staff at RH Factor, the greatest benefit of the system is its versatility for utilizing the strengths of each workstation.

"Pro Tools is the backbone of our editorial environment from dialogue to sound effects, ADR and Foley," Craig Hunter, co-owner of RH Factor, said. "By incorporating Nuendo into our mixing environment, we can import clips from Pro Tools and use Nuendo for processing, editing and mixing dialog. Alternately, we can simply use Pro Tools as a source machine and bring in the units with the Avid router and format converter, thereby facilitating the broadest versatility possible."

The System 5-MC enables operators to easily move between workstations. This capability is becoming increasingly important in today's fast-paced re-recording environments. At RH Factor, Pro Tools serves as the input source into the Nuendo workstations, with the System 5-MC handling the mixing responsibilities.

"Minimizing the file management time is important," Hunter said, "which, as anyone in the digital environment knows, can be considerable at times. Our design goal was to augment the use of Pro Tools by incorporating Nuendo as a workstation recorder — thereby having the best of both worlds."

Hunter is not a fan of multi-purpose topologies. Mixing is an exercise in repetitive tasking, which requires a simple yet efficient interface to accomplish effectively. When RH Factor began a search for a solution in 2005, Hunter sought a system with real-time feel and console-like characteristics that controlled more than one workstation.

"We selected the System 5-MC because of its ability to integrate into our server-based workflow efficiently — yielding the quality, flexibility, and speed we wanted in a control surface." Hunter said. "We're using the Euphonix-Nuendo integration to its fullest benefit by taking advantage of all the plug-ins and automation available to us via EuCon. Because of EuCon's capabilities, the System 5-MC provides a level of integration whereby you have a digital environment, but with the feel of an analog console."

A crucial factor in RH Factor's selection of the System 5-MC was the company's simple mantra: "Make clients' problems go away." The last thing they needed were technical challenges that drew their attention away from the projects on their plate. RH Factor's mixing team learned the system quickly while taking the time to determine the best methods to handle various tasks and routines through templates.

"The sum total of our effort is geared toward protecting our clients," Hunter said. "The combination of control surface and workstation, and the high degree of integration that exists within this system, enables us to optimize our editorial and be extremely flexible. This system provides a very quick and efficient manner of mixing while providing high quality output for our clients, and that's what it's all about."