Westwind Media in Burbank, Calif., provides post-production picture and audio finishing services for some of the highest-rated television productions on air today, including “The Catch,” “Colony,” “Criminal Minds,” “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” “The Good Fight,” “Good Girls Revolt,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal, “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Still Star Crossed” and more.
The facility’s roots are deep in television history, as founders producer Stephen J. Cannell, producer Steven Bochco, composer Mike Post and musician John Bidasio are behind some of the most memorable shows in TV history.
Recently, Westwind Media acquired a suite of Focusrite RedNet Dante interfaces, which were installed in three of Westwind Media’s five sound mixing stages, with a fourth expected to be retrofitted this year.
“The Focusrite RedNet systems really filled a huge need at the studio,” says Craig Holbrook, the studio’s chief engineer. These units also offer future expansion capability, in the event that the facility decides to interconnect all five stages, says Holbrook.
“It used to be the newest console or the latest software upgrade that you let people know about; now, it’s the newest addition to your network,” he says. “People know RedNet is going to make the work process go smoother and more reliably, and perhaps even faster. That’s a definite selling point for us.”
RedNet offers Westwind significant efficiencies in terms of speed, flexibility, scalability and manpower. For instance, says Holbrook, if a client books a Dolby Printmaster, Dolby can bring in a Dolby Digital Mastering system (DMU), a necessary component in creating Dolby Digital soundtracks, the unit then can be integrated into Westwind’s workflow through one of the RedNet D16R units instead of through a patch bay.
“We can connect it on a single Cat-6 cable quickly and reliably,” says Holbrook. “With the RedNet units on Dante, too, we’ve eliminated the potential for connectivity problems. That’s one less thing to think about during a session, for the client and for us.”
Holbrook says RedNet has significantly increased each mix stage’s I/O count.
“I can send any computer to any other computer, using Dante,” he says. “There are a number of ways that it improves our workflow and the client experience.”
Streamlined connectivity also means sessions can run with fewer staff in each room, which will ultimately create a positive for the studio’s bottom line.
Each mix stage houses five RedNet HD32R units: one each for playback of music, dialogue and effects, and two for the Stem Recorder. All of the Pro Tools systems are outfitted with Avid ProTools|HDX cards, as well as the Avid D-Control consoles in each room.
Each mix stage also houses one RedNet A16R to provide analog audio for the stage’s monitors, and there are three RedNet AM2 units per stage providing headphone feeds for the playback systems.
Additionally, there are spare A16R and RedNet D16R units available to any stage for additional analog or digital I/O as needed.
Here’s the acquired suite: networked audio converters and interfaces from Focusrite, including 15 HD32R 32-channel HD Dante network bridges, four A16R 16-Channel Analog I/O interfaces, nine AM2 Stereo Audio monitoring units and one D16R 16-channel AES3 I/O interface.
“RedNet’s Dante compatibility means we’ll be able to move into a network environment when we decide we need to,” says Holbrook. “In the meantime, RedNet offers us advantages like being able to get rid of our old patch bays and cables and make networked connections within the studio.”