Remote Audio Reviews with Sharpe Sound
Sharpe Sound is a full-service audio post-production house based in North Vancouver that was established in 1991. The owners, Paul and Jacqueline, had both worked in Los Angeles for a number of years. Paul is originally from Canada and wanted to bring audio post back to Canada. He left his position at Todd AO and came up to Vancouver with Jacqueline who was a sound editor in Los Angeles. They opened Sharpe Sound with the intent of bringing audio post to Vancouver as the audio post industry was just getting started there.
There were already a few places in the city, but it was still on a small scale. Deciding to move things up an octave, they built a true theater-style dubbing room. From there the business has progressed over the years to be the largest audio post-production house in Vancouver, specializing in feature films and television.
Sharpe Sound first looked at Streambox a couple of years ago as an option for remote sound reviews for clients, particularly those in Los Angeles. Things changed when Netflix launched multiple productions in Vancouver.
Netflix producers had already embraced the idea of using a Streambox solution for remote reviews. They had a Chroma system in their audio lab that they had started using for a few productions in Europe, and asked Sharpe Sound if they would be willing to put in a system to interface with their audio lab.
The production crew in Vancouver could avoid travel to Los Angeles if there were a way for to playback live home Dolby Atmos mixes to the producers in Los Angeles. Sharpe Sound subsequently acquired a Streambox Chroma encoder-decoder system and got started with it to work directly with Netflix. With Chroma they were able to employ a point-to-point connection from Vancouver directly to the Netflix audio lab in Los Angeles and right out of the gate did live Atmos playbacks from the Sharpe Sound stage to the audio lab.
Once Sharpe Sound gained experience with the remote connection process, they expanded coverage to additional Netflix projects and a few other clients, including Disney.
Kelly Cole, senior re-recording mixer and head sound supervisor at Shape Sound remarks, “We find it’s a very stable platform for us to work with. And, you know, especially in this day and age that we’re living in right now with no travel back and forth to Los Angeles, the ability for our clients such as Netflix and or Disney to be able to go on stage and essentially be in the mix is invaluable.”
Having a Streambox solution has helped Sharpe Sound expand its business. As the word has got out all around Los Angeles and Vancouver that Sharpe Sound had remote audio streaming capability with support for 16 channels to even work with Dolby Atmos, they have been approached by many other clients to use the Streambox solution for live playback sessions.
Because Streambox Chroma can be used as both an encoder and a decoder, a director from Los Angeles working in Vancouver on a project came into the Sharpe Sound studio and was able to listen to a mix coming from a location in Los Angeles.
Sharpe Sound has been using Streambox solutions for about a year. They have found the system to be really robust and reliable. They quickly got up to speed dialing in the settings to learn how to optimize full Dolby Atmos live streaming. They found the support from Streambox to be invaluable working with their technicians to get things just right.
Before long the Sharpe Sound staff got to a point where the process became an integral part of their workflow. They are able to do a test run where the IT director can log on from the Web and monitor the stream to assess the status and adjust the streaming throughput if needed to compensate for end-to-end bandwidth performance before playback is started.
Aside from the reliability and quality, the ability to fine-tune the system to match different network and client conditions is what separates Streambox from other systems. Sharpe Sound has other systems in-house that they use depending on the client’s needs, but they can be difficult to adjust or deal with. It is often a case of just rebooting and hoping that the system fixes itself, whereas with Streambox, the staff knows how the unit operates in the facility and is able to go in and make quick streaming adjustments to get the transport performance precisely where they need it to be. For example, because Sharpe Sound is more concerned with audio, they can throttle back the video when the receiving end does not have sufficient download speed in order to maintain perfect quality on the audio. If there are any latency issues across the network, they can make adjustments with the bandwidth.
As Sharpe Sound has very robust connectivity coming out of their facility, sometimes they must bring down the bandwidth so as not to overwhelm the system at the receiving endpoint. With a quick call to the technician at whatever facility they are interfacing with, they can determine what can be accepted and adjust accordingly, which alleviates a lot of problems.
When referring to their experience with Streambox, Kelly states “Any time we have needed help, it’s been really fast to reach them to work with us. It’s been really, really positive working with them.”