Avid Brings Foo Fighters Sonic Highways Recording Odyssey To Life

The creative teams behind Foo Fighters Sonic Highways utilized the Avid MediaCentral Platform to powered a fast, efficient and collaborative workflow in creating the HBO documentary series commemorating the band’s 20th anniversary.

Directed by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, the 8-part series sees the band travel to music studios across the nation – Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and New York – to write and record their latest album, Sonic Highways, which was released in early November. Each episode features interviews with influential artists, producers and studio owners such as Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Steve Albini and Daniel Lanois.

The editing and sound teams established a collaborative post production environment with the Avid Artist Suite’s Avid Media Composer | Software and Avid Pro Tools | Software. According to sound mixer Jeff Fuller, Pro Tools helped the sound teams cope with increasingly tight timescales and give each episode a different style.

“We went from having a week-and-a-half to turn around the first episodes to just three or four days by the end, but Pro Tools was amazingly robust,” he says. “We had absolutely no glitches with it throughout the entire production. The workflow didn’t change much, but we changed the mix stylistically for each episode to keep it fresh.”

Six video editors – Brian Lazarte, Scott Hanson, Grant MacDowell, Kristin McCasey, Lenny Mesina, and Meg Ramsay – each took the lead on one or two episodes. As the editors finished their episodes, they helped out on others, sharing sequences and footage, to meet the tight deadlines. The editors also collaborated closely with Grohl, and writer Mark Monroe.

With an average of 400 hours of footage per episode, Media Composer’s media management and project sharing capabilities helped the editors cope with the sheer volume of footage as well as facilitating collaboration. “Project sharing in Media Composer across all the editors and assistants makes a huge difference in terms of being able to collaborate and work efficiently,” explains Hanson, who cut the Austin episode.

Media Composer’s tight integration with Pro Tools also helped boost efficiency and collaboration between the editing and sound teams. “Using Avid Artist Suite solutions for both the audio and video delivered reliability and stellar results,” notes Lazarte, who cut the Seattle episode. “I’ve used this workflow on every major project, and I love and trust it.”

“With Avid Everywhere, creative professionals can connect and collaborate seamlessly to bring their stories to life,” adds Jennifer Smith, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Avid. “To create such a unique and compelling documentary—while managing huge volumes of content and extremely tight deadlines—is testament to the power of Avid Everywhere, and the talent of the Foo Fighters Sonic Highways team.”

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