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FOX session

(To be published in "Studio Systems" July-August 2003)

 A transcontinental recording was the stuff that science fiction was made of till a few years ago. Today, with galloping technological advancements, the world seems to growing smaller and smaller and the ability of media engineers to conquer hitherto insolvable problems has rapidly increased.  The 20th Century FOX mixing engineers in Los Angeles were faced with such a problem recently on the eve of the launch of their 100 million dollar production “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. With just two weeks to go for the first press shows, the director decided he needed his actor to add and redo some lines. The problem would have been easily sorted out if the actor was living in the States. However the actor was Naseeruddin Shah, the famous Bollywood star, who was doing his first major Hollywood film in a major role as Captain Nemo and he lived in Bombay, India!

Naseeruddin was unable to fly to Los Angeles at short notice due to previous commitments and the FOX engineers then started their search to find an audio recording facility in Mumbai which would do an ISDN hook up or upload the files immediately. It was then that they got in touch with me at Insync Studios. ISDN was the preferred route but there are no Bombay studios with that facility.  It was then decided by John Larsen and Paul Apted of FOX that the session be done at Insync with the supervision done by phone from LA. By the time the session was set up, it was just 3 days to go for the press shows!

Naseeruddin walked into the studio at 8 am that day as we were checking out the Beta tapes that they had couriered along with the script etc.  We were totally ready for the session to begin when, FOX called from LA at their scheduled time of 8.30 am and the session began. At first, the long distance telephone supervision seemed strange but soon Naseeruddin and the director were in full flow and the session was over in an hour. We then burned a CD of the files and they were immediately uploaded to the FOX FTP site. Within an hour of the recording, the files were downloaded and ready for use by the FOX engineers.

We heaved a sigh of relief at Insync when John called up and told us that everything worked out like a dream. According to him, the recording was as good as any they have done and in perfect sync. They were thrilled that they could beat the clock and thanked us for our help in helping them finish their film in time. We, at Insync were happy that we could help in the post production of a major Hollywood film, even if it was in a small way. It had truly become a case of Bollywood coming to the rescue of Hollywood.

Vasai

The AES India section organized its first technical visit after its 8th Annual General Meeting held on 27th April 2003. This time, it was to the speaker manufacturing factory of Iwai Electronics Pvt. Ltd., a sister concern of the Television manufacturing giant, Onida. Situated in Vasai, a few kilometers outside Mumbai, the visit took off when 30 AES members got together in a bus and reached the factory in a few hours. Mr. Nayak & Milton of Iwai were at hand to guide the members through the entire speaker manufacturing process and it was great to see the precision of hundreds of women working on the assembly line. Having a capacity of over 10,000 speakers a day, the company is now supplying speakers to a large number of TV manufacturers besides car stereo makers. They have a number of new products in the pipeline and we should soon be seeing some high end audio products from this great company.

The afternoon was spent by the members in visiting the seminar hall of Vartak College, Vasai where the founder chairman of AES India, Mr V.V.Merchant had made successful acoustic corrections. The hall was an acoustic nightmare before Mr Merchant got his hands on it as it had a very long reverberation time. This made speech unclear and inaudible. Mr Merchant went on to explain to the members his techniques of acoustic design which have allowed him to achieve excellent results. The hour long lecture was a combination of technique, experience, street smart knowledge and great wit and he kept the members enthralled with his keen observations. It was a satisfied lot that returned back to Bombay after a day filled with enriching experiences.

Atomic Forest

Atomic Forest, one of Bombay’s foremost rock bands in the 70s had a tribute concert at the “Not Just Jazz by the Bay” on 30th August 2003. The concert was a great success where some of the old members, Kittu, Steve Sequeira, Keith Viegas and I, performed classic rock hits of yesteryear to an appreciative audience. Unfortunately, most of the old members are abroad or in other towns and it would have been great if a proper reunion concert would have been organized. Founded by Keith Kanga, the legendary bass player in the early seventies, the band had its headquarters in Colaba, downtown Bombay and through its illustrious career had the good fortune to have as its members what later was to become the who’s who of the Bombay Rock scene.

The Atomic Forest was at the forefront of all Rock happenings in India and did all the major concerts of its time. The Rock/Folk festival at Malawli, the opening of Slip Disc, Mood Indigo etc, saw the Forest perform at its very best. The early members included Freddie Manricks, Neil Chattopadya, Val Lobo, Kittu, Arun Pathak, Keith Viegas, Jerry, Abe and “Jesus’ himself, Madhukar Chandradas. The early seventies saw the advent of the Rock opera and the Forest singer, Madhu played a major role in its success. Later, with Madhu’s departure to the States, the band went through many vocalist changes and we saw Glen Gilbanks, Joe Alvares, Andre and yours truly, in the vocalist chair. Keith Kanga remained the solitary constant member through the entire journey of the Forest and his untimely death a few years back was a big blow to his many friends and fans.

Asona India

Acoustical Materials have seen a growing trend in India recently and we have today have a host of new products available that can help in achieving excellent acoustic results. The “Spray on” products of ICC were effectively demonstrated by Asona India at the Rachna Sansad Auditorium, Prabhadevi, Mumbai on 12th July, 2003 in front of an audience of AES members and guests. Representing International Cellulose Corporation, Asona has come up with a variety of quiet zone products for the management and control of sound in domestic and commercial environment.

These are designed to be used in partitions, roofs, walls, ceilings and floors, and semi- exposed locations such as canopies, balconies, and pedestrian tunnels. The resulting product contains a special blend of fibres which are non-irritant, non-toxic and meet the Building Regulations relating to Fire. They neutralize unwanted sound in three ways; by blocking the sound path; by breaking the vibration path; and absorbing the sound energy.

The presentation was later addressed by Mr. Ajit Jhaveri, the renowned acoustical consultant who gave the AES members and guests an insight into the acoustical design of the auditorium where this presentation was taking place. The “Spray on” K-13 was used to control reverberation time in the auditorium with great success and the excellent acoustics of the auditorium were a testimony to the outstanding results that they have been able to achieve.

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