Gigantic Studios, a post-production house in New York City, recently built a dual-purpose room for both sound mixing and colour correction. When the room is in sound mixing mode, it is a dual-operator 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos cinema mixing studio, nothing revolutionary there, the innovation comes in the form the floor sliding away to reveal a pit, allowing the mixers to work standing up whilst retaining an unobstructed view of the screen for both editors and clients alike.
Gigantic Post started back in 2006 when Tom Paul partnered with Brian Devine, who was behind Gigantic Pictures. Their post-production facility boasts three mixing stages, one of which can accommodate Dolby Atmos, a Foley room, an ADR room, a DI theatre, colour grading suite, five editing rooms, a machine room, offices, in-house post supervision and a massive sound library.
Tom Paul’s innovation was Inspired by Walter Murch, who spent a year at Gigantic editing a film. As a result, Tom decided to have the dual-operator Avid S6 console disappear into the floor, which also enabled Gigantic to give a colour correction artist an unobstructed view of the screen or alternatively enabling extra seating to be brought in for screenings.
Tom and Brian collaborated with Dennis Darcy, Pawel Szarejko and Jeff DelBello. The team came up with the idea of mounting the two Avid S6s on an Autoquip scissor lift table, which apparently is more likely to be used with motorcycles. The consoles were modified with removable meter displays fitted on rails and can be opened out once the lift is raised, to create a central producer’s desk.
The floor below where the mixer would normally sit, pushes back to provide the standing room and the adjustable lift has the added advantage that can also be adjusted to suit mixers of different heights as you can see in this time-lapse video...
My main excitement about the room and its innovation is that the floor slides away and reveals a pit. I can dance around. I’m over at the music, then back at the dialog, then diving for the reverb. It brings a whole new element of physicality and body involvement to the mixing, which is energizing.
Although we understand that Tom has yet to do a Dolby Atmos mix in this room, he adds...
I’m emboldened by the fact that the consumer market really seems to have embraced it. I was also encouraged to go that way because of Avid’s commitment to the format.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Standing Whilst Working?
Most of us spend a large proportion of our day sitting down with relatively idle muscles. It is becoming pretty common knowledge that 30 minutes activity at least 5 days a week will go a long way to counteract health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity that may result from inactivity.
But what about the rest of our waking time? Researchers at the University of Missouri in Columbia say what we do during the rest of the day is just as important, perhaps more so, than the time we spend actively exercising. Dr Marc Hamilton is a professor of biomedical sciences and he explains...
Many activities like talking on the phone or watching a child’s ballgame can be done just as enjoyably upright, and you burn double the number of calories while you’re doing it. We’re pretty stationary when we’re talking on the phone or sitting in a chair at a ballgame, but if you stand, you’re probably going to pace or move around.
In a series of studies that were presented at the Second International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Amsterdam, Marc and his team discussed their research on the impact of inactivity. They studied the effects of sitting in office chairs, using computers, reading, talking on the phone and watching TV. They found evidence that sitting had negative effects on fat and cholesterol metabolism. The researchers also found that physical inactivity throughout the day stimulated disease-promoting processes and that exercising, even for an hour a day, was not sufficient to reverse the effect.
Marc goes on...
There is a misconception that actively exercising is the only way to make a healthy difference in an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. We have found that standing and other non-exercise activities burn many calories in most adults even if they do not exercise at all. The enzymes in blood vessels of muscles responsible for ‘fat burning’ are shut off within hours of not standing. Standing and moving lightly will re-engage the enzymes, but since people are awake 16 hours a day, it stands to reason that when people sit much of that time they are losing the opportunity for optimal metabolism throughout the day.
Marc hopes that creative strategies in homes, communities and workplaces can help solve the problem of inactivity. Some common non-exercise physical activities that people can do instead of sitting include performing household chores, shopping, typing while standing and even fidgeting while standing. Given the work of muscles necessary to hold the body’s weight upright, standing can double the metabolic rate. He believes that scientists and the public have underestimated common activities because they are intermittent and do not take as much effort as a heavy workout. Marc continues...
To hold a body that weighs 170 pounds upright takes a fair amount of energy from muscles. You can appreciate that our legs are big and strong because they must be used all the time. There is a large amount of energy associated with standing every day that can’t be easily compensated for by 30 to 60 minutes at the gym.
The purpose of medical research is to offer effective new strategies for people whom the existing therapies are not working. Because our research reveals that too little exercise and excessive sitting do not change health by the same genes and biological mechanisms, it offers hope for people who either are not seeing results from exercise or can not exercise regularly. The lifestyle change we are studying is also unlike exercise because it does not require that people squeeze an extra hour into their days and/or get sweaty at the gym, but instead improving the quality of what they already are doing. One misrepresentation is that people tend to say 'I sit all the time, so your studies suggest that I can't even work,' but Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson showed us that you can be very productive and still do great work in an office with a 'standing' desk."
What Do You Think About Mixing Standing Up?
When I am mixing live sound I am nearly always mixing standing up as you can see in the image above. This was 2 x 52 input Amek desks linked together in Lincoln Cathedral to handle the sound for the world premiere of a specially composed piece of music.
Mixing standing up for live sound is surely a no-brainer, so why not for other work? To help I have researched some of the pros and cons of mixing stood up...
- Moving around especially in front of a large console or control surface is easier.
- Reaching for controls at the top of the channel strip is easier when stood up.
- Because it is easier to move around you are more productive.
- Working standing up makes you more focused.
- Health benefits from working stood up (see above).
- For those with back pain, you may find as some have done so, that your back pain is significantly reduced.
- No expensive chair to buy.
- Reaching for outboard gear is easier from the standing position.
- Probably a little tiring at first when standing for extended periods.
- Rack gear might need raising too or there will be a lot more bending over, but that exercise might be beneficial.
- You will need new studio furniture.
- You will need new monitor stands so that the speakers are at the correct height when you are stood up.
- You will need comfortable footwear.
- You may need additional height in your room as your listening position will be closer to the ceiling.
- We understand from people who mix standing up that initially you may get tired more easily standing for long periods, but after a while, it seems to become completely natural and you can stand for long periods without getting tired. Apparently, the trick is to move your feet and not stay completely still. Every half-hour or so, consider stepping away from your work area and walk around the room for around thirty seconds. The consensus is that this seems to reduce any fatigue from standing and the view from people who suffer from back pain is that working stood up can be better for your back than sitting.
- If your room has a ceiling height of around 8 feet (2.4m) then your head will be much closer to the ceiling and the acoustics and reflections will be an issue you may not be able to overcome satisfactorily.
So there you have it, have you trying working stood up? How have you found it? Do share your thoughts and experiences with us.