Emma Butt is a freelance Dubbing/Re-Recording Mixer, Sound Editor and ADR Recordist, with over 12 years of audio post experience. She is a mentor with the Media Trust, and was involved in setting up the Women in Film & TV UK ‘Mums and Babies’ networking mornings. Recently, Emma spoke with us about her beginnings in the audio industry, some favourite career moments, and how NUGEN Audio plug-ins fit in with her workflow.
"We recorded an album for charity one year, and this guy came in with microphones and a mixing desk. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world! And I decided there and then that it was what I wanted to do as a career."
My interest in audio started at school when I was a member of the choir - we recorded an album for charity one year, and this guy came in with microphones and a mixing desk. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world! And I decided there and then that it was what I wanted to do as a career. The next day, I started researching universities for sound engineering, and I applied as soon as I could. Originally I wanted to go into live sound, and I even did work experience in a venue for a year, but I hated it! Thankfully my degree also included audio post, and when my course was coming to an end I applied to a few post houses around Dublin. I was very lucky to get a job as a runner at Screen Scene Post Production, and over 9 years I worked my way up from making tea and coffee, to audio post production, audio assistant and then full engineer.
The company I worked for handled all the post production for Game of Thrones season one. It’s always going to be a special project to have been involved with, but at the time no-one thought it would be as big as it was. I remember they held a cast and crew screening for the very first episode in Dublin, and all the women in the audience just thought “this is never going to work”. How wrong we were! I owe that show a lot; moving from Ireland and finding work in the UK was really tough because no-one knew who I was, but having ADR work for Game of Thrones on my CV definitely helped me to be taken more seriously.
"I remember they held a cast and crew screening for the very first episode [of Game of Thrones], and all the women in the audience just thought 'this is never going to work'. How wrong we were!"
Another career highlight for me has been having Jodie Whitaker request my services for all her ADR on Doctor Who, when I've been available. In the UK, there are so few women working in ADR, and in all of Jodie’s career I was the first woman she had worked with in audio post. Having the support of someone so well-known means a lot to me, but it does also demonstrate how much further we still have to go for real diversity in the audio industry.
More recently I worked on a beautiful documentary about Down’s Syndrome called Handsome, and I’d like to work on more projects about social issues I care about. We are lucky to live in a world full of diverse people and experiences, and I want to be involved in making sure those stories are told.
"Unlike some upmix plug-ins, Halo doesn't produce any unwanted artefacts, so the original quality is maintained. It's easy to see why so many mixers love it."
I first discovered NUGEN Audio through Gareth Farrell, one of the engineers who trained me back in Dublin. He was a fan of the NUGEN plug-ins, and many of my current workflows are adapted versions of what he Gareth taught me. When PPM 6 was superseded by EBU R128, the first meter our department bought was the VisLM, and to this day it's still my favourite meter. It's easy to use, clear to read, and it seems to respond quicker than other meters, so I feel I can rely on it for a more accurate reading as I mix. For short form content, LM-Correct is also handy to have around. The timescale for those jobs can be incredibly tight, so I need to get my mix up to spec as quickly as possible, especially if I've got a client asking for stems immediately.
Halo Upmix and Halo Downmix have been the most recent additions which I love. More and more broadcasters and streaming services require 5.1 mixes, but independent productions often still supply music in stereo, so I’m finding myself doing a lot of upmixing. Unlike some upmix plug-ins, Halo doesn't produce any unwanted artefacts, so the original quality is maintained. It's easy to see why so many mixers love it.
Loudness compliance perfectly integrated into your workflow, using a clear resizeable interface and ground breaking ReMEM automated loudness memory technology.
LM-Correct gives you a unique, immediate and hassle-free route to loudness-compliant audio in your day-to-day loudness workflow, saving you time and preventing costly mistakes.
From naturally extracted and expanded soundscapes to full cinematic big-stage enhancement, Halo Upmix delivers all the control you need to produce and fine-tune your surround mix to perfection.
Precise and intuitive downmixing tool. Produce better downmixes and enhance the downmix compatibility of your surround mixes.