Focusrite RedNet Goes to the Movies with Brad Haehnel

Haehnel just finished scoring work on two new hit animated films, Pete’s Dragon and Storks, with RedNet devices moving audio effortlessly between studios and recording platforms
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Haehnel just finished scoring work on two new hit animated films, Pete’s Dragon and Storks, with RedNet devices moving audio effortlessly between studios and recording platforms

Los Angeles, CA – Brad Haehnel, working from his Noise Alchemy studio in Hollywood, has scored numerous hit films including Little Miss Sunshine, The Lego Movie, and the Academy Award-winning Life of Pi. The veteran engineer, who began his career in Toronto over 25 years ago, understands that technology has to be transparent to the creative process, and for the last year or more, that’s meant using RedNet Dante™-networked audio converters and interfaces from Focusrite as the backbone of his signal flow. To date, Haehnel has worked on 10-plus films and counting using RedNet.

He’s been acquiring RedNet devices regularly, and he currently has two RedNet 2 16-channel analog interfaces, two RedNet 4 Eight-Channel Mic Preamps, four RedNet 5 HD Bridge interfaces for Pro Tools®, two RedNet 6 MADI Bridge interfaces, and a RedNet PCIe card that links audio computers to the gigabit network. Together, they provide Haehnel with a RedNet ecosystem that gives him efficient signal path and connectivity to other facilities.

“Here, I’m all RedNet now, and I love it!” Haehnel exclaims. He says it’s dramatically changed his workflow for the better, eliminating layers of copper cabling and replacing them with a few strands of Cat-6, while also expediting his access to Dante networks. “Before, I was all MADI, which works but is cable-intensive and complicated. Once I saw how RedNet works, how invisible it is to the recording process, I was sold. I don’t need even half of the routing equipment I had before. RedNet’s changed everything.”

RedNet came along at the right time, as Haehnel’s already busy work schedule became even more hectic. He recorded two major-film scores this year for new movies — Pete’s Dragon and Storks — and RedNet was a critical element for both of them. “I made extensive use of RedNet on both films, and in very different ways,” he says. Pete’s Dragon was mixed at Noise Alchemy and “one-hundred percent” of the audio was passed through RedNet, according to Haehnel. “I have four Pro Tools rigs running at 96/24 all the way, with all of the rigs connected to each other, including one rig that’s just running video using a RedNet PCIe card. The final mix is 48 tracks, from which I create 16 stems that go to production. Those are all connected through the RedNet 5 HD Bridges. But I also still like to use my analog outboard gear, like my Lexicon PCM 96. So I can access that through MADI, using the RedNet 6 MADI Bridges. RedNet has a way for me to get to everywhere I need to go.”

On Storks, Haehnel moved to the Warner Bros. post-production facility in Burbank, where he used the studio’s 96-channel Neve 88R analog console. “It’s the last large-format film-mixing desk made,” he says, with obvious affection. And it’s RedNet that let him connect everything. “I have my rack that I roll right out onto the studio floor next to me on the podium,” he says. “All of the orchestra mic inputs come into the RedNet 4 units. From there, the signals are sent via a single Cat-6 cable over Dante to the machine room and a RedNet 5 interface and distributed to the facility’s Pro Tools systems for a 64-track recording. Not only does this configuration offer tremendous efficiency and flexibility of signal flow, but Haehnel says it’s also been drawing positive comments from staffers there about the sound quality. “People notice the difference in sound,” he says. “The transparency is amazing. So these films are a testament to what RedNet brings to the table: great sound and simplified signal routing that means I can focus on what I do. RedNet has totally changed everything.”