Mark Henry Phillips is a composer, sound designer and producer who has worked on a variety of podcasts, films, radio and TV shows. He trusts NUGEN Audio and its VisLM-H2 loudness meter and ISL 2 real-time, True Peak limiter for all of his loudness needs. This includes several podcasts such as the first seasons of Serial, Homecoming, and StartUp.
“I’ve really been enjoying VisLM because it saves me time by remembering the loudness for the entire project."
“I know how important loudness precision can be when working in post-production,” says Phillips. “When I first started working in post, I acquired several NUGEN Audio products and started using them on all my projects. I’ve really been enjoying VisLM because it saves me time by remembering the loudness for the entire project and lets me adjust the volume accordingly. It’s highly intuitive and clearly designed by people who understand post-production workflows.”
"VisLM was like an assistant always keeping an eye on the loudness and making sure things didn’t get out of control."
Making informed decisions
Phillips used the VisLM on Season 1 of the extremely popular podcast, Serial. “The main character on the show was recorded over a bad phone line because he was in prison, so sometimes the audio tended to be louder than the rest of the dialogue,” says Phillips. “It was about balancing the information from the VisLM with what I was hearing to come up with a level that was in the perfect spot. VisLM was like an assistant always keeping an eye on the loudness and making sure things didn’t get out of control.”
“It was great to have a little alert from the VisLM to see that the overall loudness was lower than I was expecting.”
On the first season of the Homecoming podcast, Phillips used both VisLM and ISL. “I was always keeping an eye on the dialogue level with VisLM and I had the ISL limiter set on the master bus,” adds Phillips. “For some scenes, I started to notice that the dialogue was a lot lower than I was used to. It was great to have a little alert from the VisLM to see that the overall loudness was lower than I was expecting. We decided that some scenes were OK quieter, because the recording was more dynamic than a typical in-studio podcast interview, but without that information from VisLM it wouldn’t have been as informed of a decision.”
Along with VisLM and ISL, Phillips uses Pro Tools HD as well as its OMNI preamp, I/O and monitoring interface for sound design and composition, and Ableton Live as his digital audio workstation. He also relies on a Vintech x73i preamp, a Purple Audio MC77 (which is based on the popular UREI 1176 compressor) and Native Instruments KONTAKT for virtual instrument samples.
“VisLM is my go-to meter and I always use it when I’m mixing podcasts, films or videos,” says Phillips. “I also use the ISL limiter for all of the podcast and film projects I mix. Since it’s a True Peak limiter, I know I can just set it and forget it. I don’t like to use too much (or any) compression on a master bus for most projects. This makes ISL all the more important and just like the VisLM, I have faith that it’s working and I’m not going to run into any issues down the line. Loudness monitoring or limiting shouldn’t be things that you constantly have to watch, so it’s nice to leave it up to NUGEN products to relieve some stress without fail.”
Phillip’s has a long, varied history of experience including working as a public radio producer and reporter for shows like Radiolab, The Brian Lehrer Show and Studio 360, in addition to a staff position at NPR’s On the Media. He has also freelanced as a sound designer on many films, including Cutie and the Boxer, Teenage, Northern Light and Ballet 422. His most recent projects include Baynard and Me and Hold On, which both appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. He is currently scoring a feature film for Lionsgate titled, Most Likely To Murder.
ISL is a transparent True Peak surround limiter with precise look-ahead intelligence, allowing you to focus on creative audio production while it takes care of compliance for you.
Loudness compliance perfectly integrated into your workflow, using a clear resizeable interface and ground breaking ReMEM automated loudness memory technology.
The most powerful loudness solution available for your NLE/DAW today. 3 products working in concert to deliver unsurpassed quality and workflow efficiency.
The full range of NUGEN’s audio post tools. A master set of 12 plug-ins with uncompromising quality and creativity.