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Sound Decisions: A Properly Designed Mixing Room Makes All The Difference

At Biscardi Creative Media, we understand the importance of great audio. To that end, we had our Rialto mixing theater designed specifically for quality sound design. The Rialto features a ProTools HD Native 5.1 system, SPL 5.1/stereo monitor controller, Genelec audio monitors and subwoofer, an 8 foot projection screen– and sound designers love working from it.

One sound guy you’ll frequently find at BCM these days is Michael Cardillo, a veteran audio engineer in the Atlanta area. After many years as a sound designer at Crawford Communications, Michael went freelance in 2007 and spends his time working on all manner of projects from broadcast to corporate and long-form shows like our own “This American Land” for PBS. A true sound nerd, Michael spends much of his rare free time educating editors about how to make their own audio better. He’s also been a musician for 35 years and plays the guitar and bass guitar.

“When I was a kid, one of the first Christmas presents that I got really excited about was a cassette recorder. My next one was an electric guitar. My acoustic guitar was very exciting, but when I got my electric guitar I sat in a room and played with the knobs for hours. That’s when I knew there was either something wrong with me or some kind of potential in me.”

I talked with Michael about the workspace he uses at BCM and how it’s become an encouraging creative and technical environment for his work.

What does this room offer you that your home studio doesn’t?

My at-home studio is great for much of what I do. But particularly when I want to mix in surround but even just for bigger projects, I can hear more in here than I can at home. This a nice big room, and big rooms always sound and feel better when you’re doing audio. It’s set up very well. It does a nice job with 5.1 surround which is really helpful for today’s sound design work, because I haven’t taken the time to really make my home studio as 5.1-friendly as it could be. It’s also just not big enough – you need more space for 5.1 and this is a big, comfortable room. Even for stereo, I love it. The Genelec speakers are a really strong full-range sort of speaker. I’ve also had clients in here and they love how comfortable it is for them.

It’s also really nice to have access to a good voice-over booth. It doesn’t have any anomalies or strange characteristics. Some vocal booths have a little “honk” in them, caused by reflections within a certain frequency range. There’s no HVAC noise or anything either, it was thought through when it was built.

Why is the design of the room important?

Sonically, it’s such an important thing to have these walls be non-parallel. It takes a lot to build something like that, so the fact I have a place where I can go that has that kind of design to the build of the room, along with the drop ceiling, helps make the quality of my work better. Rooms in general are rectangular with all parallel surfaces, but this room was designed with angles and non-parallel walls. Even the ceiling has pretty cool angles. When sound is allowed to bounce between parallel surfaces, you get what’s called “standing waves” which completely transform the way a mix can sound. This room was designed to eliminate that. At home I rarely mix over 65 or 70dB, but here – with the size and design of the room – I can enjoy mixing at higher levels without fatigue.

Is it difficult to pick up projects and move between home and here?

ot at all. It’s as easy as plugging in a drive. I do most of my projects on Firewire 800 drives, so I plug my drive into the Mac Pro in the machine room, turn everything on, and by the time the computer is up and running, I’m up and running. It’s all fully compatible with my system at home. Once I plug in a drive, I’ve got everything I need.

It’s also great to have the Small Tree shared storage here when I’m working on BCM projects. I can load up the latest cut of a video and have it playing through the projector from ProTools in a couple minutes.

I love the people and camaraderie. I like the fact I can go where I can feel like I’m part of a team even without being on staff. I’m always welcome here, I’m not an outsider. It’s also great to be able to come into a creative environment. When I’m on BCM projects, we can bounce ideas around and get instant feedback. When I’m on my own thing, I can still draw from that energy. You can get good equipment anywhere, but at the end of the day, it’s the people and the creative environment that contribute to quality work.


In addition to the ProTools mixing room, BCM also has a variety of edit suites (furnished and empty), a DaVinci Resolve room, production offices, and warehouse space available for rental. Detailed space specifications are available on our Rental page.

Contact Randy Lockey, BCM production manager for more information. | | 770-271-3427

Posted by: walter biscardi on Jul 21, 2014 at 9:05:21 am ProTools, Biscardi Creative Media

Looking ahead to our new Facility

A lot of folks have been asking me about this and a recent post on my Twitter feed reminded me to go ahead and update you folks on some of what we plan to have in the new facility.

Well first off, still running Apple's Final Cut Pro. At the moment it still serves our needs however the next version of FCP will be the "make or break" for me. I'll have to see some significant improvements in the realtime functionality and ability to work in more formats natively to stick with the platform. Apple's own H.264 which is the backbone of most DSLR formats is not even supported in their own editing software. That's pretty bad. Avid now works pretty much instantly with any MXF format, goodbye Log and Transfer. So I'd like to see FCP start offering up more of these types of features. Yep, it's still the most bang for your buck, especially when you put together the entire suite of apps for $999, but efficiency is the name of the game as we move into an all digital / non tape acquisition world. Converting all these formats just because Final Cut Pro can't work with them will leave it in the dust.

All of our reference monitors will be Flanders Scientific. If you read my blog often, you know exactly why. They are the best monitors I've seen in this and higher price points. They have some of the best tech support / customer service in the business. And the entire gang are some of the nicest people you will meet, period. Our shop will have a mix of the 1760W, 1770W, 2450W, 2460W and 2470W. We already own some 1760, 1770 and 2450 monitors. The 2460's are the newer versions of the 24" 8bit monitors. One 2470W will be housed in the Client Theater / Color Enhancement / Sound Design suite as that's the only room I can really justify the full 10bit monitor being installed.

Since I just mentioned the Client Theater, the plan calls for a 65" Panasonic Pro Plasma screen and a drop down projection screen for client viewing. The projector will be the Panasonic PT-5100U DLP Projector. Not sure on the screen size yet as we'll order that after we have the exact throw from the projector lens to where the screen will hit. I expect it to be somewhere between 7 and 15 feet across. No sense ordering that until the room is essentially completed. The projector will allow us to really do some nice DI work for films and features. Two computer units will be used in this room, one will run Apple Color and the second will run ProTools and DaVinci Resolve. Why two computers? Well Apple doesn't recommend running two graphics cards in a Color machine and DaVinci uses nVidia Graphics cards while Color uses ATI graphics cards. Easier just to separate the two softwares. Why put both Color and Resolve in the room? Well that's easy. Color is included with Studio so why not? At the moment it has the easy workflow from / to FCP with the XML transfer while Resolve will require EDL workflow to / from FCP. Both software utilize the Tangent Wave Control Surface which we already own so that makes the panel more versatile. Sound will be provided by a Genelec 5.1 surround sound package with the exact models to be determined. My good friend Patrick Belden is working with Atlanta Pro Audio to configure the system to be something that works within my current budget and can be easily expanded as we grow. I'll be honest, we're not a sound design company, but with the space we have in this facility, we went ahead and designed the color enhancement room so it can also serve as an outstanding sound design suite. We'll bring in incredible audio engineers like Patrick to do full 5.1 mixes for film, television and gaming. Yeah gaming, I can't wait to see that! More on that in a future blog.

The edit suites will all be outfitted with Anthro Fit Consoles on which we usually add the Outboard Shelves for added desk space and the Standard Swing Arms to hold the computer and FSI monitors. The thing I REALLY love about these units is we can stand up to work and that really does make a difference in the day. Especially after lunch I like to stand up for a few hours to work. Makes me feel better by the end of the day. KRK Rokit 5 are my audio monitors of choice in the suites. Good flat response with just enough bass to give you a very good representation of what the audio will sound like when it gets home. The suites aren't going to be huge, but they will be plenty comfortable for the editor and a client or two in there. If we need to host a bunch of folks, we'll move them into the Client Theater for viewing. Clients will have a small desk as well for laptops and such, probably from Ikea or an office supply store. As we do now, each edit suite will have it's own theme with a paint scheme to match. The current themes of "Wally World," "Jungle Land" and "Rialto" will transfer to the new space with new themes to be announced soon. The big change in the new space is that the front wall will be primarily painted with 18% grey this time, rather than carry the theme to the front.

We'll probably continue to use some sort of a Gefen DVI over Cat6 extenders for the computer monitors. This allows us to house all the computers for the facility in the central Machine Room thus moving all the noise into that room. You'd be amazed at how quiet the edit suites are because of this. But we are seeking out alternatives to Gefen because they have become rather finicky of late and the darn things are too expensive to be this finicky.

Of course Wacom Intuos tablets will still be the device of choice in the all the rooms. They're so versatile, can make you much more efficient in all tasks over a mouse and it is pretty darn near impossible to get carpel tunnel in your wrists using the tablet. I've using some form of a Wacom tablet since 1996 and I absolutely can't stand using a mouse. Takes about a week to really get used to the tablet, but once you do, you'll never want to touch a mouse again.

In the Machine Room we use the Middle Atlantic Slim 5 series racks that were first recommended to me by Bob Zelin They're the most economical racks I've seen, they arrive all broken down and easy to assemble, and they hold a ton of weight! And Mid Atlantic has a ton of accessory shelving and such that makes them very versatile. I highly recommend you get the rolling casters for the bottom, even if you never plan to move them. You'll be happy the first time you decide you really want to clean out under the rack or move the rack to install / remove a piece of equipment that require a little more space. If you have a bunch of gear or even just a little bit of gear, clean it up and organize it by putting it into a rack.

BluRay Authoring will continue to run off NetBlender's DoStudio package running off an HP workstation. Yeah, it runs on Windows and when we first got it, it was not really recommended to run Windows XP in Bootcamp on the Mac. Now it appears you can do this just fine, but since we already have the HP, we'll just continue to use it. Not to mention it was only about $1,500 for the computer WITH the BluRay burner. Can barely get a Mac laptop for that...... But I digress.

The Conference Room will be ringed in cork board. Why? Well we plan to be doing a lot of original television series and maybe some original animated specials / DVDs so I want to very easily be able to hang storyboards, season plans, etc... all around the room. Yeah I could make a very pretty and stylish conference room if I wanted, but I prefer to make it a very functional and useful room for clients and colleagues alike.

Lighting will be predominately from Ikea. It's functional, much of it is rather stylish and you absolutely cannot beat the price. A lot of the shelving for the Media Library will probably come from there as well. Again, functional and cheap! The kitchen will have some gaming systems in a huge oversized kitchen where folks can really relax. Multiple coffee machines with freshly ground coffee, espresso machine, popcorn machine and a 1960's era Coca Cola machine will outfit the Atomic Café with a predominate 50's theme.

A backup power generator will be in place in the event that we lose power. Still working out the full details, but with all the deadline sensitive work we do, we can't afford to lose power. Particularly during overnight renders when you would not find out about the power outage until the next morning.

Oh, last but not least, we're planning to hold classes and workshops in the new place too! I get so many requests for classes and simply can't do them for lack of space in current place or lack of time to travel elsewhere to hold classes. Well the new space will give us plenty of room not only for me to hold workshops, but also bring in many of my friends and colleagues to give their insights on various aspects of the industry. Sure we'll have the usual software / hardware workshops, but there are so many things to talk about when it comes to the production industry as a whole. Sometimes we just need to get together to share insight and bounce ideas rather than just learn how to trim a video clip in one keystroke instead of two. Should be some fun stuff and I'll have more information about that as we develop the ideas.

That's pretty much it. Much of what is going into the new facility is simply going to be transferred from this current space. One of the things Bob Zelin and I did when we engineered this space was to ensure all the wiring would be easily removed from here and re-used in the new space thus saving me a couple thousand dollars at least. One thing for sure is we're not going whole hog into this thing with the mentality of "if we build it they will come." Not all 8 edit suites will be up and running when we open. The wiring will all be in place though, so we can literally get a room up and running in a matter of days when it's needed, but there's no point in purchasing a bunch of new computers if they're going to sit idle for a while. Especially with an Apple Store and multiple electronics stores 15 minutes away. If we need something right away, we'll just go and get it and be up and running by the next day.

There's a look at our starting point for the new shop.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 31, 2010 at 8:47:50 pmComments (4) post production, Biscardi Creative Media

BluRay BluRay BluRay!

All of a sudden we're creating a whole lotta BluRay discs these days. NTSC and PAL for screenings all over the world. Sounds like many film festivals are now accepting BluRay discs as a playback format and of course, it's a lot cheaper to do one of these than an HDCAM tape.

So we're in BluRay central right now, regardless of what Steve Jobs might say about the format. What I love about the discs is they pretty much perfectly replicate the quality we see playing off our Apple ProRes timelines in Final Cut Pro. A few weeks ago we did a screening for some executives on a 45' screen in a 450 seat theater playing straight off our BluRay player. The darn thing looked just like a film despite playing at 1080i / 29.97.

Normally we would drop into DoStudio for all our BluRay work but since all the film festivals require is a "Play" button, we're using Adobe Encore as this is about the only task it's well suited for with BluRay authoring. All compression is being done in Apple's Compressor and the menus created in Adobe Photoshop.

We're using Nero on our HP machine to burn the BluRay discs, though we can also use Toast on one of the Mac Pros to do the same task. It's just that the HP was literally purchased to do nothing but BluRay authoring so it's just sitting there needing a task to do. And of course we still have our BluRay duplicator we've had for 3 years now still going strong, though we'll probably have to update to a 4 burner unit so we can turn these around even faster. Maybe when we open the new place.....

Funny, we're a Mac shop turning out BluRay discs that Apple won't even support. Kind of like trying to run Flash on my iPad, but that's a whole 'nother blog entry.....

Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 31, 2010 at 8:26:25 pmComments (5) BluRay, Biscardi creative media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent Screening Sept. 9, Atlantic City International Film and Music Festival

The feature documentary, Foul Water Fiery Serpent will screen Thursday, Sept. 9 at the Atlantic City International Film and Music Festival.

Location will be at the Claridge Theater and Lucky's Lounge

Time will be 3pm.

Ticket price is $12.

You can read details of the film and purchase tickets here:

Full information about the Festival here:

Foul Water Fiery Serpent website:

Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 8, 2010 at 4:12:04 pm Biscardi creative media, documentary

Biscardi Creative Media new facility announced

Thanks to our friends from the Gwinnett Chamber for this press release.


Lisa Sherman, Marketing & Public Relations Director
Economic Development Department
Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 678-584-2267

Digital Media Firm Expands in Metro Atlanta

Biscardi Creative to open new 6,000 sq-ft office in Gwinnett
Gwinnett County, Metro Atlanta, Georgia (July 1, 2010) – In partnership with Gwinnett Chamber economic development, Biscardi Creative Media (BCM) recently announced it will break ground on its new state-of-the-art-media-ready facility. After almost 20 years in the business, the company is expanding to a brand new 6,000 square foot facility in Buford.

Located in Buford, Georgia, this new building will feature eight edit suites, color enhancement suite, 5.1 surround mix suite, client theater, game room, kitchen, conference room, a 1,400 square foot multi-use room and over an acre of open wooded area for employees and their pets to roam.

“Our new facility will provide more convenience and the space needed as our business continues to grow,” said Walter Biscardi, Jr. Creative Genius of Biscardi Creative Media. “The property is in an ideal location, providing our team with access to a great quality of life environment near big-city amenities. Not to mention a relaxing alternative for our clients just a short drive north. You usually don’t find a facility situated on nearly 2 acres backing up to nature. We think we’ve found the perfect creative location and we’re thrilled to be staying in Buford and Gwinnett County.”

Recognized as a top professional in the world of media creation, Walter Biscardi, Jr., leads Biscardi Creative to not only meet, but exceed consumer expectations. Emmy-award winning programming, episodic television, commercials, feature films and corporate presentations are some of the projects Biscardi Media brings to the screen every day. Leading the way in High Definition, BCM supports all formats from DV to HD to RED 4k in-house. Since 1993, BCM has consistently achieved regional and national award-winning recognition, including five TELLY awards in 2008 for editing and production work in animation and over a dozen Emmy Awards in the company’s history.

Digital media is one of five targeted industries in Partnership Gwinnett, the community and economic development initiative led by the Gwinnett Chamber, to bring jobs and investment to the Greater Atlanta region. In April of this year, the Gwinnett Chamber released its first –ever digital entertainment white paper, touting the emerging mega-industry in metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia.

Nicole Wright, technology business development manager for the Gwinnett Chamber, said, “Biscardi’s expansion in Gwinnett adds tremendous value to an already stellar industry of digital media and application in Gwinnett and Georgia. It is both a testament and tribute to the claims of growth and sustainability that the white paper shares about this industry.”“Biscardi’s expansion is a classic example of the type of growth digital entertainment businesses can experience in Gwinnett,” commented Gwinnett County District Four Commissioner Kevin Kenerly. “And with technology being one of Partnership Gwinnett’s target industries, we consider this growth to more than just positive economic news; it’s a strategic win for our community’s long-term vision.”

“The City of Buford embraces this ‘creative class’ company, which fits in with the quality of life we strive to provide,” said Buford City Commission Chairman Philip Beard. “The momentum we’ve created in our historic downtown is spreading to other areas of the city. We’re happy they chose to locate here.”

The new Buford facility is projected to open by the end of November 2010. At present, the company is releasing its latest work, “Foul Water Fiery Serpent”, a feature documentary that chronicles Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center’s fight to eradicate Guinea worm disease. The film, produced by Biscardi Jr and Gary Strieker and narrated by Sigourney Weaver, is the first of three documentaries being edited at BCM.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Jul 19, 2010 at 6:37:57 amComments (7) Biscardi creative media, business

Assignment Earth and Science Nation Episodes posted

Just posted 15 new episodes of our continuing series Assignment Earth and Science Nation to our BCM Facebook page.

These are two really great series that we’ve been posting at BCM for several years now. We’re heading into our fourth year of Assignment Earth and our 2nd year of Science Nation. R. John Becker is the current editor on the Assignment Earth series and Roger Mahr has edited all the Science Nation episodes.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Jun 7, 2010 at 6:25:46 pm Final Cut Pro, Biscardi Creative Media

Original Pilot in production this week.

Biscardi Creative Media is pleased to announce our first original Pilot goes into production this week. The new travel series starring Bobby Rivers and Widdi Turner will be in Atlanta and areas south of the city this week highlighting some great areas to explore. Bobby is a pop culture icon who is best known from VH-1 and "Top 5 with Bobby Rivers" on Food Network. Widdi is well known to the fans of "Good Eats" on the Food Network playing a multitude of memorable characters with host Alton Brown.

Executive Producers Walter Biscardi, Jr. and Cheryl Collins head up the production team. Cheryl created the original concept and together with Walter, worked out the final design for the series. Marsha Walton is the Supervising Producer and the camera operators will be Chris Palmer and Brian Gaffner, both veterans of productions with BCM. Production Coordinator extraordinaire is Jeanna Thomas, without whom our lives would be much more difficult!

This will be a very fun show, full of pop culture references and most likely destined for PBS distribution in the States. More details as they become available and watch for announcements on the new website here.

This series represents the first phase of a new division of Biscardi Creative Media focused on bringing original programming to television and independent film projects to theatrical release. We'll have a full announcement on the new division in the coming weeks. Needless to say, we're really REALLY excited about this new phase of the company.

NSF Press Release and website on Science Nation

The National Science Foundation has issued a press release announcing the launch of the new series Science Nation along with taking the new website live. Biscardi Creative Media is providing all post production for the series which has reunited principal Walter Biscardi, Jr. with multiple CNN colleagues.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Jun 4, 2009 at 5:48:29 am biscardi creative media, nsf, final cut pro

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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