null Immersive Talk with La Tina

Immersive Talk with La Tina

Genelec recently caught up with Andrés Silva, Alejandro Uribe-Holguín and Manuel José Gordillo, the three experienced entrepreneurs behind post-production and film score studio La Tina in Bogotá, Colombia. There, they shed light on how they've embraced the rapidly growing immersive audio market.

Can you start by telling our readers a little more about yourselves?

The three of us first met in 2004 when we were studying music at our university in Bogotá, after which, in 2010, we founded our company. We are all musicians with different master’s degrees who have become entrepreneurs in the film industry with La Tina. Since putting together the business, we've been doing full soundtracks for various films, documentaries and series. We now have a team of 13 people, and we do everything from production sound editing, ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement), foley, sound design, sound effects, music composition and production, and sound deliveries. We built a 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos mixing room for home entertainment and we can also mix 7.1.4 (and downmixes) for theatrical versions.

Can you describe the space you use in more detail?

Nowadays, we have two locations in the north of Bogotá. One is in a beautiful, avantgarde and modernist house built in 1942, with gorgeous interior gardens and
quiet spaces. It’s an ideal place for working on sound design. There we have two control rooms and a recording studio where we normally bring in actors for ADR sessions and we design and do pre-mixes in 5.1. More recently, and in accordance with the current content security demands of the industry, we built another space in an office building two blocks from the house. There we have a 150 sq. metre office with comfortable parking spaces, 24/7 security at the perimeter, login security and CCTV. There we have a 42 sq. metre 9.1.6 mixing room and two smaller control rooms with 7.1.4 monitoring setups. We also built a 40 sq. metre live room where we record foley, water and occasional ADR sessions and voice overs.

What do you consider to be your key equipment?

Apart from the Genelec monitoring, which sounds amazing and makes us very proud, we really value our Mac Studio computers and a very powerful and interesting interface we hadn’t seen before from DirectOut Technologies. The DirectOut was a great solution for us because it means we have only one interface for the whole facility – running all three Atmos systems. It also allows us to distribute a digital workflow using Dante and AES. Avid S1 consoles also play a big role. What we have is a very simple and robust high-fidelity digital system.

La Tina PR Image 1
(L to R) La Tina founders Andrés Silva, Alejandro Uribe-Holguín and Manuel José Gordillo.

What type of work do you do in your studio?

We usually do a combination of jobs for independent and major production studios looking for production services in Colombia. Both types of work are different in terms of the time and challenges involved. We recently finished Spiros Stathoulopoulos' latest film 'Cavewoman' with Angeliki Papoulia and Ewen Bremen. It's a very interesting film in terms of sound because the film is all closed shots. We see very little, so the film relies on sound to paint the full picture. At its premiere in the Thessaloniki Film Festival last November, Stephen Dalton of The Film Verdict called it "a masterclass in sound design".

We also provide all the sound post services and music for Amazon Original productions made in Colombia, including a film in Dolby Atmos and a series in 5.1. We're also working on a film with James Franco, another with Aaron Eckhart and a couple of Netflix series from smaller Colombian studios. The film law incentives here have been boosting the industry for the last 20 years. This has created a vibrant ecosystem, allowing us to be a part of beautiful film projects as well as art installations and digital media projects from around the world.

Is there a particular immersive format you enjoy?

Since the year 2009 we've been absolutely amazed by binaural sound. We couldn’t believe the cleanliness and spatialisation that could be achieved with such a simple and beautiful recording technique and a stereo system. We even created our own dummy head back then and we did a nice experiment with MAX DSP. We recorded raindrops on different plants – one by one using a mix of dough with water – at different distances from the dummy head. We then created a patch that could randomly generate and playback heavier or lighter three-dimensional rain sounds. This was done by randomising the frequency of events, equalisation and volumes, plus positioning and reflections in 5.1. Nowadays we are very excited to create binaural down-mixes from our Atmos full mixes. You can experience the binaural trailer of 'Cavewoman' on our web page.

How and when did you become interested in immersive audio?

Well, we believe that the sound for film industry is naturally interested in immersive audio. Even if you listen to a film in mono, there is always the concept of sounds that are outside of the image. So immersive sound offers a beautiful opportunity to create new standards of film and cultural production. Sound in film is the part that most touches the audience emotionally. We think of our work as being like the work of a ninja; if it is done correctly, no one should notice it. So, you are kind of massaging the spectator's brain and emotions to immerse them in the story, raising the drama where possible. Sound and music are very powerful tools for this purpose.

What gave you the final push to equip your studio for immersive?

We've been working in 5.1 for over ten years now. The Atmos system was like a myth for us. None of us really understood how it worked, so Atmos became a sort of thrilling challenge. Once we saw that streaming platforms were interested in the system then it became a natural step for our studio. When we were planning the build there were two big challenges, cash flow and availability. Eventually, we got in touch with Alberto de la Cruz at VCR Ltda. in Colombia. The company was a good choice because they could sell us our Genelec monitors within Colombia and handle importing them for us. They also recommended the DirectOut interface which we didn’t know about and seemed to solve more issues than we thought we had. They were a highly professional partner for this. An old friend of ours, Lucas Serrano, has an acoustic architecture firm, Aqstica SAS. They designed all the spaces, the infrastructure and connectivity.

La Tina PR Image 3

How do you approach immersive work and how does it differ from stereo mixing?

It has been a real pleasure working with the new immersive system. One of the things we have found out is that immersive sounds clearer. With a lot of monitors, each one can work less hard. Another thing we’ve noticed is that the Atmos system is great for action scenes and crazy panning, but it's even better for quiet scenes and naturalistic sound designs. We really enjoy the transparency for silent scenes. For example, we've used a muffled TV effect in the height channels, and it really seems like there is someone upstairs watching something and walking above the ceiling. We really like this type of detail and sensation during quiet scenes, with quiet sound sources coming from all around.

The other great thing is the binaural stereo down-mixes. Nowadays, with everybody plugged into their iPhones and laptops, this format is very convenient and gives a very vibrant, clear and immersive feeling.

Can you tell us more about your Genelec monitoring system

We've installed a 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos system with 16 Genelec Smart Active Monitors (SAM). Three of the monitors are 8350As, twelve are 8340As, and then we have a 7380A subwoofer. The system exceeded our expectations, but more importantly, our clients' expectations were also exceeded. They're very happy working in the new room and listening to their audio productions in such a high quality, comfortable and wide space.

How did it go for you when using GLM (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager) to calibrate the system?

We did the calibration a couple of times, and it helped us with the troubleshooting aspect of connecting such a complex system for the first time. Once we were all set with that, we ran the calibration once again and the system started to sound beautiful. We're monitoring using Bass Management for home entertainment and without for theatrical. We have marks set at 79- and 86-dB SPL. We also have a sweet spot for our clients who usually sit on the couch up front. So, besides calibration, GLM has also been a very useful tool for allowing us to decide how we listen to our mixes.

How do you feel about your decision to go immersive?

We've had work recently with the Cavewoman Atmos version and a film for Amazon Prime, and we were hired for an Atmos Mix during the second half of 2023. We're constantly being asked for quotes, so we think going immersive was a great commercial decision. We only opened the studio for work in January 2023, so we feel like this is just the beginning.

How do you see the future of immersive audio over the next few years?

We see immersive growing as a market, no doubt about it. The film, the music and the video game industries are all creating a big demand for it, and it's slowly starting to be acknowledged by mainstream consumers all around the world. We also see immersive audio experiences providing fresh ways to present narratives; VR and POV are going to complement this nicely.

To find out more about the La Tina, click here.

Do you want to be featured in our ‘Immersive Talk’ series? If so, just post some pictures of your setup on Instagram using the #GenelecImmersive hashtag. We’ll be keeping a look out for the most interesting setups, so who knows? We may be in touch with you!

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