Option Media overhauled its legacy systems and now operates seven studios, adopting DaVinci Resolve Studio for both audio post and picture finishing for an integrated workflow.

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Belgian audio and video post production facility Option Media recently overhauled its legacy systems and now operates seven studios, including a dedicated foley stage, 5.1 and Dolby Atmos mix rooms, as well as two remotely accessible audio suites.

Option Media has adopted Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio for both audio post production and picture finishing, and especially favours Fairlight’s audio functionality.

“Fairlight is far and away one of the best tools for audio post available today. Its ability to import or borrow media from other timelines or projects truly stands out in its level of flexibility, compared to other audio post software,” said Bart Vanvoorden, senior audio engineer at Option Media.

Fairlight Logic

Frank van Caesbroeck, chief production officer at Option Media, commented on the transition to DaVinci Resolve Studio and the integration of its audio workflow. “We have always found the Fairlight approach more logical than that of its competitors,” he said.

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He also rates the strength of DaVinci Resolve Studio's integrated workflow, particularly its versatility with different file formats. “The ability to search and audition different takes, and the simplified process of rendering files for evaluation due to our integrated audio and video workflows, is a significant advantage,” said Frank.

The facilities’ connectivity could remain largely unchanged during the upgrade, which made moving over to DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Fairlight workflow very smooth. All of the new systems run on Windows 11 PCs, equipped with Blackmagic DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G capture and playback cards, Fairlight Audio Accelerator PCIe cards and Fairlight Audio Interfaces.

Low Latency

The Audio Accelerator maintains ultra low latency for up to 2,000 tracks, and includes cascading bus management with a FlexBus interface controller and real time processing, and one coax MADI I/O. A single width PCIe card, it connects to the Fairlight Audio Interface to synchronise to house reference via the interface word clock, AES, MADI or HD Tri‑sync or reference video inputs.

Blackmagic Design’s Fairlight Desktop Audio Editor, Fairlight Console Channel Faders and Fairlight Console Channel Control panel play a pivotal role in the facility. With all systems tied to a central media server, Option Media uses the DaVinci Resolve Project Server application for control when setting up a collaborative workgroup within their private network. They can open, save and share projects with other editors, post artists and audio engineers, with minimal delay.

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“For larger projects, the time saved in transferring work between departments is significant. There’s almost no need for exporting or importing via intermediate formats,” Frank said. “For smaller, fast turnaround projects, we can now manage everything within DaVinci Resolve, from ingest to final delivery.”

Remote Sites and File Synchronisation

When the need arose for the team to adapt to a more flexible working arrangement, Option Media established two remote sites to accommodate various team members.

“In the beginning, we used standard file transfer tools like WeTransfer for moving our projects,” said Frank. “However, we now host any project media that needs sharing with remote locations directly on the Blackmagic Cloud Store 20TB, and set up Dropbox to synchronise in the background.”

This gives them the option to create a local cache of Dropbox files, which speeds up their workflow – files are available without downloading from the internet – while Blackmagic Cloud Store keeps files synchronised across the network. This operation requires setting the sync folders and, if space is limited, sync direction. Meanwhile, because everyone has a local copy of the files, people in different locations can collaborate without latency.

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“Any new audio captured or rendered is then automatically synced across all our locations. With the integration of Blackmagic Cloud and our NAS System, we can now edit, pre mix and complete the final mix in a studio at Option Media, without the need to physically move media or projects,” Frank said.

Notable projects using the integrated workflows of DaVinci Resolve Studio and Fairlight include a nature documentary series focussed on Belgium called ‘Our Nature’, a Belgian/Canadian animated children’s series ‘Interstellar Ella’, and television series including ‘Geldwolven’ and ‘F>* You Very, Very Much’ seasons one and two. www.blackmagicdesign.com