They are seven partners united like the fingers on one hand. . . to tell the truth, given the time they spend at their computers, having seven fingers would actually be a plus for them.
Capable of doing everything as far as capturing and mixing sound for television is concerned, they decided to create Easys, a tool designed to meet the specific needs of reality TV and all of its derivatives. Let’s visit these fellows, who definitely have brains between their ears.
SLU : When was Les Gens Du Son founded, and who was behind it?
Frédéric Filhol : We started in 2006 under the impulse of four partners: one with a background as a mixing engineer and the other three coming from shooting broadcast TV, some of them veterans of permanent positions in large structures. I, myself, worked for 11 years in VCF, which has now become Euromedia Group.
We started out intermittently in the early days of reality TV and we immediately perceived the demands of productions keen to go beyond the traditional reportage technique – with a mic boom, field mixer, and portable transmitter – and move towards much more sophisticated services with global coverage, multitracking, and expanded monitoring solutions.
We also quickly realized that we would spend days and sometimes even an entire week racking our brains to find innovative solutions for the big national chains. . . for free. Full-blown pre-production sessions. We had to organize all this quickly, develop it as much as possible and, most importantly, also follow our work in post-production. In short, we had to offer global solutions.
It was becoming clear that releasing audio and video files into the wild, with the only common reference being timecode, complicated the work terribly for the people in post-production, not to mention the endless search for sound that was supposedly missing but was there all the time and simply not clearly marked.
Three of the seven LGDS associates at their facilities in Malakoff. On the left is Vincent Givarch, sound engineer specialized in reality TV, in stars (you can’t have one without the other) and, especially, the “project manager” of Easys. In the center is Fred Filhol, sound engineer and driving force behind LGDS, and on the right is David Cerf, another sound engineer, master of fixed and mobile studios
SLU : So you had ideas and people. What about equipment then?
Frédéric Filhol : Tapages. They still supply us today.
SLU : But how did you get your foot in the door of reality TV?
Frédéric Filhol : That was through VCF, who was asked to provide a technical infrastructure that went well beyond the simple on-location reporter setup, which would not have been sufficient for a new program that was about to begin: “l’Ile de la Tentation” (The Island of Temptation).
I was in charge of planning and handling it. After that, we worked on “Queer” for Glem, with one of the technicians who would go on to become one of our partners. Antenna coupling was brought in, the multiplicity of reception antennas, the dematerialization of media in the era of DVD-Ram…
A working day for LGDS reduced to its simplest expression and now held in a 512 GB SSD, in a Delock enclosure!
SLU : Oh, that medium is not the most comprehensive insurance.
Frédéric Filhol : Exactly. I can still see myself with our Fostex PD6 recorders, where you press stop and they start a spinning loop displaying “writing”… Audio people sometimes have sound in their hearts that they do not have in their recorders (laughs!). The rack-mount DV 824 Fostex brought us 8 tracks easily, but also sometimes a few problems…
Then came portable direct-to-disk configurations and now CF memory cards and for us, we have chosen the Sound Devices 788 or 664 recorders.
SLU : You are not an equipment rental company.
Frédéric Filhol : Absolutely not. We have gradually invested in some equipment and connections, but we correspond more to the business model of a technical service provider, such as you find a great deal of in the world of audio. We supplement what we lack from rental companies like Tapages, but our material never leaves home without one of us for the implementation of a specific project.
We do not want to get into debt for too much equipment because this implies another phenomenon of the default choice, which leads to “You take what suits us and not what suits the given situation”. We do not want that. We have a bit of radio gear, Lectrosonics essentially, and we were very interested in Wisycom, but the RF spectrum in France is too unstable to risk the investment.
SLU : The digital solutions use up less of the available space.
Frédéric Filhol : Yes but, in our business, when chasing someone with analog, the worst that can happen if we experience a dropout is a little white noise that the production and the viewers know and have integrated. At the worst, we can subtitle it, because it conserves the audible sound.
In digital, it becomes a heavy rumbling or even blunt cut-outs. For example, we tested the Sony and it is excellent. The sound is reconstructed when data packets are lost. But when too many packets are missing, everything collapses suddenly and makes the sound unusable, so much so that you can’t even subtitle it. It’s gone. The latency of digital, however, does not bother us at all.
Les Gens Du Son is not only ears!
SLU : Going back to the birth of LGDS, you started out as four partners in 2006…
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, and now there are seven of us. Each has brought business with him. If one of us wants to offer a complete solution to the production with which he works, he does, just like the same production may not wish to receive any services beyond the presence of the technician. We offer service à la carte. We are in the process of building a dossier in order to apply for our “Certification Sociale”, which would allow us to hire more of ourselves with fixed term contracts when necessary.
SLU : So you’re associated with Ficam and not Synpase.
Vincent Guivarch : Absolutely, the Live Entertainment Service Provider mark is not right for us, but rather the Certification Sociale, which also involves a number of new hires on permanent contracts, and that represents very accurately the future of our company. We wish to be vendors for sound linked to images, with specific expertise in the pre- and post-acquisition phase, which, for the most part, takes place on location.
The audio acquisition position during a show of “La France a un Incroyable Talent 2015”, with Vincent Guivarch at the console. We suppose that the MacPro is recording.
SLU : If you had to define that in a simpler way?
Frédéric Filhol : We are the right people, with the right skills and the right equipment in the right place. Vincent, for example, is the specialist in mobile studio mixing for news gathering, reality TV and fiction. That is, a field mixer.
David and I spend much more time doing OB van and consulting. Each team member has a specialty, the sum of which allows us to cover the entire spectrum of audio and video. I am also an instructor at the INA (Institut national de l’audiovisuel – National AV Institute) and responsible for comms.
I train on Riedel and Telex. David Cerf (one of the seven partners – ed. note) and I are therefore best at taking care of this essential part of our work and designing the best solutions for our customers. Intercommunication is of strategic importance, if only to cope with the number of participants in a reality show that have to be followed, equipped and never lost.
The director, of course, but also journalists and even we need to know who is where and, in order to do this, it is fundamental to be able to communicate reliably and without disturbing others. We are also working towards a double intercom between the stage and backstage, the second being for the sort of second set present in shows like “Incroyable Talent”, in order to limit the confusion of the interference of directions between two worlds that are part of the same program but which live at different times and at different rhythms. They do not tell the same story. Of course, there are some links between the two networks.
France has Incredible Talent and an Incredible Service Provider
SLU : Tell us about a typical project where you brought in a new workflow.
Frédéric Filhol : Take “Incroyable Talent”, where Guivarch Vincent (one of the seven associates – ed. note) has been working for seven years. This program features a stage part and a backstage part, and the first four episodes are essentially dedicated to what happens behind the scenes. So far, this behind the scenes part had been treated in pure documentary-style, using cameramen and sound engineers to acquire material.
Euromedia asked us to change the workflow in order to bring it closer to that of a reality show. This implies continuously recording people that can be interviewed, but also – and especially – capturing moments of life. We must therefore equip each with a bodypack transmitter and a mic.
From that point, methods exist to track who said what, when and where, but we offer a digital solution that is much more powerful and effective. Vincent’s advantage in this case is his perfect knowledge of the program, the needs in terms of images, the ratio between the “documentary” part and the “life scenes”.
The two are complementary, but each has its advantages and technical limitations in editorial terms. To gather such precious moments in order to tell a story, we have to equip everyone with a transmitter and follow them, because these same people won’t behave the same with a mic boom, a camera, and other people in front of them.
SLU : The advantage is that you ensure that there will always be sound to put together with what was filmed…
Frédéric Filhol : That’s exactly right. We multitrack many, many hours of sound. As soon as we wire someone with a mic and a transmitter, it runs 13 hours a day, without the stress of having to know on which camera the audio is located, or which microphone picked it up. We manage this and it is guaranteed. The only constraint is determining a coverage area for the radios, to which everyone must adhere, especially those with mics.
The advantage of working with us is not only the quality of coverage but also the precision of the tracking that determines the zone in which everything that is said will go on to an SSD. We are capturing around 240 GB of rushes per day of shooting.
A view of the Riedel Acrobat kits used on “Incroyable Talent 2015”, when DECT made its breakthrough into intercoms, even capable of dialoguing with the Motorola walkie-talkies on the table. You can find it all at Tapages!
SLU : Isn’t battery life another constraint?
Vincent Guivarch : Not so much. A Sennheiser 5212 transmitter has a battery life of 15 hours. So we manage to record two candidates who, themselves, are “active” for about 4 hours.
SLU : How many frequencies do you occupy for the backstage/reality parts?
Frédéric Filhol : This past season for “Incroyable Talent”, we got up to 40 and Dushow, who equip the stage, used just as many, counting their various microphones, Overline intercoms, their Lectrosonics service ear-monitors and the in-ear monitoring.
This abundance of active frequencies was because I made the choice of wired and DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications), a technique that works very well, when the number of antennas is well controlled. In addition to that, we added Tait walkie-talkies and relay bases, to avoid shadowing and to connect to the DECT Riedel intercom. The spectrum analyzer was quivering (laughs)!
SLU : Do you get to sleep at night?
Vincent Guivarch : No, there are days when it’s hard. At certain times in the programs or when we launched Easys, the tension is very high. . . White knuckles. We certainly never get bored!
A standalone Ambient timecode generator, wearing the scars of quite a few hours of work and a lot of time spent rubbing shoulders with other devices. German Quality: it works well (as long as you don’t measure the CO2 output)
SLU : You speak of Euromedia; it is a hell of a juggernaut now, and with huge expertise…
Frédéric Filhol : They are the only ones in Europe able to deploy, in two Algéco modular constructions, 70 cameras for “24 hours in the ER” or “BabyBoom” in a week of set up. It’s impossible to capture such numbers – which add up to more than plus 50 radio channels of audio – even in the largest of the OB vehicles, and this know-how extends to the selection of equipment in order to remain within reasonable budgets, which is inevitably a key parameter for customers.
Technicians from other countries have come to the facilities in France and have been very impressed. At the heart of this type of program there has to be a system which takes up all the video, a system which takes up all the audio, and a third system that makes the connection between the two. Historically this has been the timecode.
We use Lockit sync boxes, of the German brand Ambient, to generate the Timecode autonomously; generators that are started every morning with the reference TC originating from the mobile studio but which then continue independently on their merry way. Every morning they are given the reference cue when they start and they have a maximum deviation of one frame every 24 hours.
Turn on your headlights, we’re driving into the tunnel of Dante
A rack full of Sennheiser 3732 receivers, 17 in all, the AES outputs of which are then converted into Dante and distributed to the recorders and Easys monitoring stations. The laptop on top of the rack displays the status of all the receivers
SLU : Can you give us some details on your typical audio path?
It generally starts from a rack of Sennheiser 3732 receivers, which furnish an AES output signal from our microphones. This is converted in an Auvitran AVB that outputs Dante for us, which we can more easily route and send via switches.
This signal arrives first at the recording station, an SSD system where it receives the timecode. Then it goes to the console, which it also receives and synchronizes to the TC, where it is monitored and where we only adjust the gain of the different microphones. This signal is then routed to the main recorder via a MADI converter and an RME MADIFace.
This main recorder is a MacBook with double SSD, internal and external in a Delock enclosure. The first, pre-console recorder is a backup in case the console falls. It runs at 48 kHz/24 bit. This sample rate and bit depth provide some comfort at low levels, and we maintain the signal in digital to eliminate conversions and background noise.
Where once you would have had stacks of machines, with media as exotic as it was improbable, in order to get half the number of tracks with some difficulty, there is the LGDS master recorder: a MacBook Pro with two SSDs and Boom Recorder Pro. 64 tracks as simple as pie, and a few clicks in Asterix, the TP Link switch beneath it in the picture
SLU : What recording software do you use?
Frédéric Filhol : You are probably not familiar with it: Boom Recorder Pro. It is very simple and can record up to 256 tracks. Typically we use only 64. Its main strength is its file patching. One can choose the directory into which each track will be recorded, allowing us, for example, to connect two disks simultaneously. Or more. To my knowledge, it is the only one that can do this.
SLU : I imagine that all this needs very careful patching, routing, and cabling to work with.
Vincent Guivarch : It’s not difficult, you just have to exercise the utmost rigor in setting up the system.
Frédéric Filhol : As I tell my students at INA: my grandmother used to say that when you are laying the pipework, the fewer the faucets, the fewer the leaks. Therefore, you make sure to simplify the diagrams (laughs)!
Goodbye Mr. Coax, hello Mrs. Fiber
SLU : I have the feeling that the radio part of your work has changed significantly in recent years.
Frédéric Filhol : Yes terribly, probably even more for us than what has happened in live performance. The main difference is that we now have the ability to remotely locate the receiving antennas – and more recently also the transmitting antennas – very far from the receivers and as close as possible to the transmitters through the use of optical fiber instead of old-fashioned coax.
A rear view of the Tapages coax-to-fiber hub, or how to elegantly get rid of hundreds of meters of coax while moving the antennas closer to the action
The same hub from the front, proudly announcing the presence of 8 fibers – A and B, like the coax that they replace. Made by Tapages
This progress has been made possible by solutions imported and distributed by Tapages, who also develop their own systems. For the record, a few years ago we had to carry hundreds of meters of coax which, for reasons of impedance, had the same length as the longest cable run of the diversity pair. Fiber optic connections have revolutionized our work. It is the same with Wi-Fi and its distribution.
The box by Tapages that converts an antenna signal into fiber optic signal, allowing it to be easily transported very far away. Above it is its power supply
SLU : The RF transmitters you use most right now are Sennheiser…
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, the SK 5212 coupled with the DPA 4060 omnidirectional capsule, used with the DPA clamp shaped like a funnel that makes it rigid, prevents breakage and reduces rubbing noises.
SLU : Do you use a master clock to synchronize the console, Dante and the recorders?
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, we use a Rosendahl master clock. Ideally, it should be linked to that of the mobile studio and to each camera via WordClock, but that doesn’t prove necessary for reality TV and, 99% of the time, an identical TC generated in each device with an Ambient sync box is enough for us.
There is no concept of an absolute synchronization. Sometimes I feed the Rosendahl a video reference and then use its own WordClock, once it is aligned with this reference.
One of the first decisions we made when we were putting together LGDS was to lay a good foundation, “synchronization needs to use a star topology and it needs to be German” and, as a result, we’ve never had problems. And it was not even that big. We got a standard Nanosyncs, and then an HD, and it works!
The famous specific clamp for the DPA 4060, in the hands of Frédérique
SLU : What is the master in the Dante network?
Vincent Guivarch : The console. We tried once to make the Auvitran AVB the master, but it did not work at all. Our set up is very simple.
The console receives the Rosendahl and the synchronization signal is also sent to the Auvitran AVB, which makes the conversion from AES to Dante. Another output is sent to the 3732 receivers that are daisy-chained, and a final one goes into the Sound Devices 970 backup recorder. Finally, we respect a precise power-up order so that all goes well in synchronization as well as with IP.
SLU : You stagger them to avoid muddles?
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, normally everything, even if it is not such a sensitive issue, since we are not working live. Let’s just say that “Network soup” still is an issue.
As “Easys” as it gets
Two Elo touchscreens with Easys ready for action, monitoring mode on the left and log mode on the right with, between them, a Thomann powered speaker with pretty unbeatable price/performance ratio and perfect for this application
SLU : Now that we’ve done a quick tour of audio, let’s get into the thick of it, in the functions of Easys, your proprietary software, or how to manage quickly and efficiently the captured media, adding information to it, well beyond simple timecode.
The moment of capturing the face of a participant in order to create his profile and assign him a microphone. Simple and fast
Frédéric Filhol : The idea for this program came to us from the start of LGDS, even if only to find a way to avoid the time lost opening and closing channels for the journalists to hear. “Journalist 2 here; could you open up the microphones of Toto, Brenda and Fifou and send them to my ear monitors?” The first solution that was found for this was a touch screen driving a Yamaha DME. I think this is still used.
A view of the Capture display of Easys, with empty microphone “boxes” and those already assigned.
As for us, we have chosen to create a software from scratch by making use of the Ircam Max “engine” that uses object programming, which Vincent handles. The problem was, we were not able to integrate the iPhone – that is, the possibility to enter parameters quickly and easily without being physically at a computer. Because our time was limited, we decided to take everything and establish the specifications of the ideal tool.
It needed to manage the monitoring and perform dynamic allocation of radio mics – that is to say, the ability to capture the name and the image of a candidate, to assign him a free frequency, to ensure that it appears immediately in all touchscreens, and to remove temporarily or permanently those who are no longer wired for audio. It is from this project that we created the current version of Easys.
Vincent Guivarch : In the case of “Incroyable Talent” or “Baby Boom”, participants do not stop to renew. We must catch them on the fly, insert them into the recording workflow by equipping them with a free transmitter and a microphone, and finally give everyone on the team, from the director to the journalist, to the technicians, the ability to listen freely to their audio, selected via a touchscreen.
The display on the right shows Easys in use on “Incroyable Talent 2015”, or how to listen on the fly to what is always visible in front of you on the display. . .
It has to be simple, fast and flexible. Even if the people who grab and integrate participants are, for example, on the ground floor, the sound board on the second floor, the reporters on the 4th and the participant is in his car parked on the street, the process should still be simple and instantaneous.
A simple iPhone using their application becomes a capture station, able to insert a whole new participant in the network . Remember the microphone and the bodypack!
SLU : How do all the fixed positions and input iPhones talk to each other?
Frédéric Filhol : In WiFi. We develop our own professional and powerful access point that outputs on single mode duplex fiber optic on the grounds of length because in Cat5 we would be limited to 70 meters.
The advantage is that it is the same fiber that Tapages uses to remotely place the antennas for the microphones. The application is installed on the iPhone by us and is not available in the iStore.
SLU : Have you thought about a live performance version of your application?
Frédéric Filhol : We have spoken to a few people working in musical theater, and they could be interested in the ease of monitoring each microphone without having to go to the console.
A detailed view of the 3732 receivers with the Auvitran AVB, which converts from AES to Dante, in the middle. You can see the AES inputs on the front panel
SLU : But that implies that the microphones are multiplexed in the Dante stream…
Vincent Guivarch : No, not necessarily. Our app works with Core Audio, so it is not required to be in Dante. It is practical to have only an RJ45 to connect, but in MADI it works just as well, as long as the card is good. Since MADI is bidirectional, we have also anticipated the possibility for talkback, a troubleshooting solution especially for shoots where there are no intercoms. It still requires an external mixer to route the signals to those concerned.
SLU : How many participants, and thus signal flow, can you manage in Easys?
Frédéric Filhol : 64 in all, which is already quite dense, but the appearance on the screens can be changed.
Vincent Guivarch : There are 3 types of interfaces. There is “Capture”, which allows you to photograph the face and directly integrate any new participant with a microphone and name . There is “Console”, which is used for audio monitoring, viewing and scripting and, finally, there is “Admin” which, as its name suggests, opens the door for system administration and on-the-fly configurations that are immediately carried out in all connected stations. Some streams can be locked and not modifiable, while some others, typically those of the presenter or significant participants, may still arrive at the same place on the screen so that they can be found more easily. It is flexible and powerful.
What can crash, will crash…
SLU : The tough question:What if it crashes?
Vincent Guivarch : We have worked hard on degraded modes. First of all, any packet loss, for example in WiFi, is reported, and this facilitates resending the missing info. It is impossible not to know. After a crash, the pre-crash data can also be accurately recovered. During a timecode crash, the console switches to its internal clock to recover.
SLU : There is no server, as such…
Frédéric Filhol : No, actually we have chosen to embed the web server in the application, that is to say, each application is a server. Capture, Admin or Console are three servers that allow you to connect each device by its private IP. If something does not work, the address and, therefore, the device turns red. We know it right away. You can connect up to 255 networked devices, as well as subnet masks.
SLU : It was you who designed it all, Vincent?
Vincent Guivarch : I basically specified it and two developers wrote the software. In my previous life, I was in IT and science, which allowed me to be comfortable with this type of app.
Frédéric Filhol : Our “Professor Calculus” here used to work on the stars at CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique – national scientific research center)! (laughs)
Vincent Guivarch : (trying to be serious) We launched the hardcore development on July 1 even before we had the financing from the bankers (it’s not easy to explain this type of project – ed. note).
SLU : I think it would be perfectly reasonable for you to apply for some economic assistance for innovation and, contrary to popular belief, there are numerous and fairly substantial funds.
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, but as you know, in a small operation, you can not chase after funding, build the project and, at the same time, continue working every day in order to live. . . But we are thinking about it.
The other side of Easys: the Log!
During “Incroyable Talent 2015”, one of the Easys consoles in Log mode, a good way to test the effectiveness of the solution for rapid acquisition
SLU : So far, we have been speaking of pure audio. When did the logging part of Easys come about?
Frédéric Filhol : Almost at the same time. Euromedia found the audio part interesting but they asked us right away to add information capabilities regarding what is being said, when and where – the famous log – to make Easys a complete and working solution for reality TV.
SLU : It’s not really in your job description to do this…
Frédéric Filhol : No, all I remember is arriving one morning and seeing the faces of my associates when Easys Audio was finally specified, the funding issue was completed and perfectly on track, and telling them “guys, we are going to change everything, we will do the log!”
The reactions were mixed as we had taken some time to get our bearings and to solidify the initial project. I held firm, because the demand for a tool that is comprehensive, easy to set up and use was, and still is, very strong .
The goal is to generate an XML file that contains certain data fields that have been filled out on the fly by operators who monitor the audio via Easys and create its identity card. It was therefore logical that this logging section should also be part of Easys. The XML is thereafter recovered by the two major image editing platforms – Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut – and these create locators, tags that contain the information.
If, for example, I want every point in which Jean-Claude is mentioned, I do a search by the first name and the timeline in the software will jump to the appropriate position.
An iPhone screenshot of the Capture mode, with a number of microphones locked in order to avoid cutting off the presenter or the boom microphones that, by definition, will not be reassigned
SLU : But to develop this extension of Easys, all of the sudden you had to learn three jobs: that of the logger, the image man and software developer.
Frédéric Filhol : That’s right. We also took advantage of the flexibility of our software to offer cells that can be named on the fly. For example, this is handy for knowing that Camera 1 is filming Pierre, who is getting upset. So you can add a checkbox above -Cam 1- and click on it when Peter gets upset, so that the editor can find it. But you can also place drop-down menus, in order not to clutter up the display. . . or some of each. The user can do what he wants and change his mind as he wants. Typically, the camera can be a check button, while the location, on the other hand, must be a drop-down because there are many where action can be taking place. You can also add a list of emotions quickly.
The programming of this tool is instantaneous and completely adheres to the needs and style of the production that uses it. Of course you can edit each log, go back in the timeline, read it and add details. I can just as well monitor the audio of one microphone while I log what I see on another camera.
SLU : Can you take with you the XML files to follow a particular story?
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, in the last version of Easys, it’s possible to export the file as a PDF. Another planned innovation is the auto-log, which creates an automatic event at the arrival of a new participant (and therefore a new microphone) on the program and at his departure and the temporary closure of his microphone.
The audio is the driver, for a change, and not the last wheel on the coach
SLU : The sound remains essential…
Vincent Guivarch : Absolutely, and the thing that strikes us is the number of people who, in the context of a reality show, listen and report the occurrence of an event that deserves coverage so that they can get the cameras on it more quickly. The audio is the keystone. The loggers stand in front of a huge display with all of the camera feeds and spend hours inserting information, listing and even suggesting actions. These days you can film and record the audio of almost everything continuously, creating a colossal base of information. You have to learn extremely precise ways to bring life to it. Four or five indications are sufficient. Here, again, excess is the enemy of success.
SLU : Where do you stand in terms of availability of Easys?
Frédéric Filhol : On “Incroyables Talent” this season, Easys was used for monitoring and Easys Log was available, but only to test. An alternative solution was used by Euromedia for security, EVS IP Director, a more complex system, which inserts the log as metadata directly into the video media and which manages the video stream. A great solution, but it’s extremely expensive.
SLU : Easys sounds simple to use but its deployment requires having you, no doubt. Have you considered how to market it?
Vincent Guivarch : It requires knowledge of computers, networking, Wi-Fi. . . It will work by licensing but we have not yet made a firm decision. For the moment, it is being used as part of a global service on shoots where Les Gens Du Son are handling everything that has to do with audio.
And when I say everything, I mean that our reasoning stretches to include the world of post-production, which, at times, leaves us wondering if we are doing the same job. We are thinking of bringing in post-production people on shoots so that they comprehend our requirements for capturing the audio on which they will have to work afterward. A video shoot is, by definition, always different and unpredictable.
SLU : What might happen in the future in terms of the new software or interfaces?
Frédéric Filhol : Ideally, having a remote control of the large display on an iPad, for example. This would allow you to toggle the console remotely, to fit an ear monitor while enjoying Wi-Fi coverage and radio monitoring, and go on the shooting locations, for example, around the pool of Marseilles, for logging while directly seeing the action. For some programs, being able to observe what happens off camera would improve the quality of the video logger’s work.
SLU : We talked about a number of programs that use or could use your services, and Easys in particular. Do you have some others that come to mind?
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, on all of those programs where, initially, many candidates go through screening phases, like “La Nouvelle Star”, “MasterChef”, “Les Pâtissiers”… It would be very practical for working on this type of program.
SLU : Who are your customers?
VG: Freemantle, Endemol, Shine or even French television. Tapages, as well. . .
As the advert would say: “but that’s not all!”
SLU : It seemed to me that I saw your name on the show “Rising Star”, a program which we wrote about for the excellent lighting, and would do the same for the sound.
Frédéric Filhol : Yes, we took care of the sound design for the live broadcast of this show, another of our activities. I, personally, took care of the antenna mix, intercom and talkbacks for Euromedia, along with a colleague. For Yasta, Benoit Gilg – a super bright guy who did a great job – took care of picking up the music and, finally, Dushow was in charge of the live FoH and monitors. A superb digital installation using an Optocore ring connected the four consoles with a 5. 1 mix.
We learned a lot about multi-channel music mixing, even if we manage this type of configuration every week for Canal+, on broadcasts of football matches. We had great discussions with Pierre Laqueyrerie – the system engineer for M6, which broadcast the show – for example, about the divergence of the voices. Whether you back it off at the center or push it in stereo, everything is possible in the music mix, as long as you don’t ruin the LtRt stereo downmix of the 5. 1, as few viewers are equipped to receive it and you should not forget the rest.
David Cerf, of our group, has finally developed the MIDI bridges between sound and lighting, in order to ensure that the lights will follow the ambient sound cues.
SLU : Do you do the soundtrack design?
Frédéric Filhol : No, we manage it live and can pick and send and call up the sounds that seem to correspond to the program from sound banks or from the producer, but we do not compose them. There is a specialist for this, the Studio du Petit Pont. We offer solutions for sending these ambient sounds using Ableton Live, but with a dual redundant configuration and a GPI input and output to interface with the lighting console.
Serene, highly competent, and capable of advising, innovating and deploying intelligent solutions, we were blown away by the LGDS boys and we learned a lot about their craft and what they bring to it every day. From the intercoms to audio acquisition, from logging to mixing, they have a wide range of technical resources and know-how but, above all, an infinity of tools for taking problems out of production, something that assures and constructs their success.
As for the question of what other company does the same thing in France, and even in Europe, integrating all the skills, the answer is not very many, apart from the Euromedia Group and a few reality television specialists. Adding Easys to the equation, it seems a safe bet that we will be hearing about these seven guys for quite a while, especially since reality shows seem to be continually evolving by generating ever more specialized acquisition requirements, and need for Gens du Sons (People of Sound) and people with good brains.
Speaking of brains, they fried mine, luckily they had to pick up their children, otherwise I would still be there! ;0)
More informations http://www.lesgensduson.com/