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HomeCraftsEditingAvid Everywhere Brings Foo Fighters Sonic Highways Documentary Series o Life

Avid Everywhere Brings Foo Fighters Sonic Highways Documentary Series o Life


LR-Sonic Highways cover art-email

Sonic Highways cover art
Sonic Highways cover art

The creative team behind the HBO documentary series Foo Fighters Sonic Highways recently relied on Avid systems to develop an efficient and collaborative workflow, while managing a vast amount of footage and tight timescales.

Directed by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, the eight-part series sees the band travel to legendary music studios in cities 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 on Nov. 10. Each episode features interviews with influential artists, producers and studio owners – from superstars like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, to pioneers like Steve Albini and Daniel Lanois.

The editing and sound teams established a collaborative postproduction environment built on the Avid MediaCentral Platform with the Avid Artist Suite’s Avid Media Composer Software and Avid Pro Tools audio 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 said. “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,” explained 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,” said Lazarte, who cut the Seattle episode. “I’ve used this workflow on every major project, and I love and trust it.”

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