Cutting-edge kit from good to bard

NEWLY-installed technology at a TV post-production studio in Glasgow gets its first public airing with a programme celebrating Robert Burns, to be broadcast on BBC Scotland later this month.

Uist Media Group (UMG) has installed a Merging Technologies’ Pyramix DAW system into their studio, believed to be only the second such system operating in the Scottish post production sector – the other being at BBC Scotland.

One of the system’s many strengths is its ability to simultaneously handle sound and image in a far easier way than the current industry standard, Pro Tools.

Uist intend to make available their new system to outside, independent TV and film production companies, as well as for their own, commissioned productions – including 8×30-minute programmes from the folk festival which started yesterday in Glasgow, Celtic Connections.

Says managing director, Alasdair MacCuish: “The obvious thing to do when we began thinking about upgrading our pro Tools system would have been to move up to Pro Tools HD.

“But, with one eye on the impending move of the BBC Scotland headquarters to the new, high definition-ready premises at Glasgow’s Pacific Quay, we were keen to choose a system that was widely in use by the BBC, and capable of handling multi-channel surround sound for HD transmission with the minimum of fuss.”

“The new system had to be robust and capable of handling UMG’s demanding mix of audio recording, radio and video post-production work. Uist’s facilities have always been used to record a great deal of traditional Scottish music and folk bands, so high-quality recording of analogue sources was a priority, alongside the ability to record and mix digitally at the latest high sample rates and bit depths.”

For those who know about such things, what has been installed is a three-screen Pyramix Post Pack system, including dual monitors for Pyramix operation and editing, and the third for video monitoring while working to picture.

Full video capture, OMF compatibility and Sony 9-pin control of separate video recorders are included with this system as standard, and AAF file interchange was added as an option, both to provide the widest possible compatibility with the rest of the industry and also for backwards compatibility with the company’s old Pro Tools-based projects.

There is also a 16-channel valve-based TL Audio M4 console to act as a high-quality analogue input stage for Uist’s traditional recording needs. The M4 is equipped with two optional eight-channel D08 analogue-to-ADAT optical converter boards, and each of these connect via ADAT lightpipe directly into the Pyramix system.

There is also a Merging Sphinx eight-channel analogue-to-digital (AES/EBU) and digital-to-analogue converter for direct, high-quality analogue input to the Pyramix system.

The completed system therefore offers a total of 24 simultaneous inputs to the Pyramix DAW, eight via AES/EBU from the eight-channel Sphinx and 16 from the ADAT cards in the M4 valve mixer. It is perfect for recording bands and the traditional folk ensembles often seen at UMG.

Last, but not least, an additional software-only Pyramix Native system was specified, so that radio programmes could be rough-edited off-line on a portable laptop before being transferred to the main Pyramix system for their final cut.