Complex sound post-production process includes repairing and replacing old tracks, a 5.1 surround sound mix and sound design
Status Quo and director Alan G Parker
Online PR News – 28-September-2012 –Soho Square Studios has completed significant audio restoration work and a 5.1 surround sound mix on ‘Hello Quo’, a new feature-length documentary about seminal British rock band Status Quo.
Under the direction of renowned rock’n’roll documentary filmmaker Alan G Parker the central London boutique facility repaired and replaced archive audio and music performances for the 150-minute biopic before matching the restored content with new interview footage and then bringing it all together for a 5.1 mix.
Due to premier in cinemas on 22 October 2012 ahead of a Blu-Ray and DVD release, ‘Hello Quo’ follows the band from its origins in 1962 to its current status as one of the UK’s most successful acts ever with total worldwide album sales topping 120 million.
The documentary combines never-seen-before archive from across Europe with well-known footage such as 1985’s Live Aid concert, all intertwined with exclusive interviews with the band’s recently reunited original line-up of Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan.
For Soho Square Studios, the biggest task on ‘Hello Quo’ was making sure that all the different audio elements of the film knitted seamlessly together, a challenge made more complicated by the age and origin of some of the material.
Soho Square Studios sound engineer Edward Sutton said: “Once all the material was converted to the same frame rate our job was to ensure that the audio was at the highest level of quality possible and any repair work was completed ready for the 5.1 mix.”
With stretched videotape, unusable audio tracks and instances of wow and flutter as well as a myriad of different frame rates to contend with, the audio post process required the use of both Avid’s Pro Tools and Steinberg’s Nuendo - including their various plug-ins and filters - along with tools from Waves and TC Electronic. iZotope’s RX2 audio restoration suite was used extensively for noise reduction.
“In some cases the original audio was so bad that I had to go back to CD recordings and post-sync the whole performance,” added Sutton. “Because the tape had been worn out over time I had to actually replace the audio bit by bit. You couldn’t just replace the whole track.”
With restoration work completed it was on to the 5.1 mix, a task jointly completed by Sutton and Soho Square Studios’ senior engineer Simon Capes “My main job was to show respect to the audio’s origins,” said Capes. “There’s lots of restored audio and lots of well known music. Converting it to 5.1 was all about keeping true to the original sound.”
Director Parker, whose CV includes ‘Who Killed Nancy?’ and ‘Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyers’ Cut)’, praised Soho Square Studios for helping to take his film to the next level.
“What you see on screen is essentially what we brought back from the edit,” he said. “But it was desperate for a good sound mix. I always say, we take a film out of edit and it’s like a finished car. But a finished car with no paint, no glass and no number plate. By the time it hits the streets it has the paint and the glass and the number plate. That is what those guys [at Soho Square Studios] do. It’s not a different movie now but it still sounds like a different movie even though my story hasn’t changed. It’s my movie but it’s much slicker.”
In addition to audio restoration and a 5.1 surround mix Soho Square Studios also completed sound design work on a number of animated sequences within the film including the opening titles.
‘Hello Quo’ will premier in cinemas across the UK for a special one-night-only screening on 22 October 2012. It will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on 29 October.
Notes for Editors
• Further details on Soho Square Studios’ audio restoration process and a number of additional quotes from director Alan G Parker are available on request.
About the author
Will Strauss is a freelance journalist based in Leeds who covers broadcasting, media, music, DIY and construction. As well as writing for Soho Square Studios he regularly generates articles for HotCam, the HD Camera hire company, and for ASD, the Hob spares firm in Leeds.
About Soho Square Studios
Formed in 1990 by composers Alan Coates and Kim Goody, Soho Square Studios (previously known as The Voice and Music Company) provides audio post-production and music composition/production services to television, film and commercials producers.
Based in Soho Square in the heart of London’s creative community, the independently owned company has a Dolby licensed 5.1 dubbing theatre, four stereo suites plus two edit stations and a music composition suite. Its range of services includes dubbing, ADR, voice over record, sound design and foley.
Soho Square Studios’ many credits include commercials for Samsung, Bacardi, Hyundai, Panasonic, and McDonalds as well as the TV shows Don’t Stop Me Now, Ronna and Beverley Phineas and Ferb, Embarrassing Bodies: Live From The Clinic plus feature film work for international clients such as Disney Character Voices and Kandor Graphics/Timeless.