Will Bates'

Fall On Your Sword

North Hollywood, California

Fall On Your Sword
Will Bates’ studio in North Hollywood, California

Surround To Atmos In Six Weeks

Fall On Your Sword is a boutique music and post-production house in Los Angeles. Home to Composer and founder Will Bates and Executive Producer Lucy Alper, their work encompasses film, TV, and immersive art installations.

For years, they had been interested in adopting Immersive Audio formats like Dolby Atmos but didn’t take the plunge until they got a call from Netflix to work on a new project. The catch? This – and all future projects – would require Atmos deliverables, meaning Fall On Your Sword needed to be Atmos-ready in only six weeks.

“We knew that we needed something that could expand on our existing 7.1 system without replacing everything,” Lucy says. “And we had just upgraded all of our computers to the new Mac Pro cheese graters, which cost quite a bit of money. So cost was a concern.”

At the recommendation of their friend and fellow sound designer Jon Greasly (The Orville), Will and Lucy contacted Westlake Pro’s Stephen Bannister to see if he and the Design Services Group could retrofit their 7.1 surround room to 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos on such a tight deadline.

Building The Rig

After studying the system, Westlake’s Design Services Group noted that the older ‘trash can’ Mac Pros that were replaced could be repurposed for the new Atmos system. “A lot of people don’t realize how efficient Atmos mixing has gotten over the past five or six years,” Bannister says. “It used to cost a lot of money to get two computers that could handle Pro Tools and Dolby’s RMU separately. A few years ago Dolby released an update that would allow Mac Minis to handle the RMU, and now some smaller studios can even get away with running everything off of a single machine.”

Monitoring is provided by JBL 10” Cinema Surround speakers, while interfacing, clocking, and control are handled by an Avid MTRX, Sync X, and S6 console respectively. Together with Pro Tools Ultimate, the Avid system provides enough power and flexibility to make quick work of almost any session.

As gear was sourced, the design team cut into the acoustic fabric on the ceiling and framed openings for the height speakers to be mounted. After everything was installed, Stephen and the Design Services Group worked with Dolby to align the speakers and tune the room. Within six weeks of the first meeting, Fall On Your Sword was ready to begin mixing in Dolby Atmos.


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