Focusrite converts home studio of one of Hollywood’s top sound designers to Dolby Atmos
Tom Ozanich is a 25-year veteran recording mixer and sound designer of Hollywood film audio community. He has recently upgraded his home studio into a 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos mixing setup incorporating Focusrite RedNet signal distribution and an Avid S6 control surface. He has become and expert through the years and he absolutely know the technology that he handles every day. “I’m not okay with not knowing how it all works,” says Ozanich. “I don’t have to be able to answer every question, but I want to be able to know, when somebody is telling me something can’t be done, that they’re wrong, because I know how to do it.”
Ozanich has built an impressive credit list that includes such major motion pictures as Joker (2019) and A Star Is Born (2018), both of which earned him Oscar nominations, as well as Sully (2016), Sicario (2015), American Sniper (2014) and numerous others.
He had been using a Focusrite RedNet 5 Pro Tools HD bridge, but when he expanded his system to handle Dolby Atmos projects, he added five Focusrite RedNet HD32R 32-channel HD Dante network bridges to network the computers running his multiple Pro Tools systems and the monitor management system. There are four playback systems, including three Pro Tools rigs and the computer running the Dolby Atmos RMU, which is fitted with a RedNet PCIeR Card.
On the other hand, he had long been eyeing an Avid S6, the console that he frequently finds himself using on the big mix stages around Hollywood. “I just couldn’t justify the cost, because when I’m doing something big then I’m doing that at a studio,” he says. He eventually bit the bullet and installed an S6, and when COVID-19 forced him to work at home, he was glad that he had it. “I’ve used it quite a lot in the last six months,” he says.
When Dolby Atmos was first introduced to the Hollywood audio community there were some who were not sure about its value, says Ozanich. “I think there are some people who still think it’s just going to add more work. The reality is it’s not really more work, it’s just a little bit different of a workflow. If you understand it, and you understand what you’re doing, it’s really not any more time consuming than mixing for 7.1, for instance.” Although, he acknowledges, “It generally does require an extra day on the back end to make that master.”