Making his debut at the Broadway Sound Master Classes this year is Chris Hubbard of CH Sound Design in Australia. He will be presenting an overview of The CH Sound Design Process, discussing three software applications, Palladium, Micplot, and Moves—products he designed to assist the sound designer and operator from the very beginning of the sound design process, right through to running the sound system during performances.
“I am hoping the attendees will gain an insight into how my programs can make their lives easier, and free them from some of the more mechanical aspects of sound design, give them more time to devote to the creative aspects,” says Hubbard. “The programs were originally developed to help me with my own designs, without any real regard to them being sold as products in their own right. However, as time progressed, they became more mature, and I then decided to turn them into self-contained products. A more comprehensive history of all my products can be found at: www.chsounddesign.com/about.php.”
“My session will contain two parts: an overview of my programs in the form of a Power Point presentation, plus two demonstrations,” says Hubbard. “The first will demonstrate how a complete wireless mic design and sound system programming can be achieved in under 10 minutes. The second will demonstrate how a show can be moved from one mixer to a completely different mixer.”
Hubbard first started in sound design by producing promotions and short program segments at a community radio station at his university in Australia. “Later, when I moved to London, I made the transition to theatre sound,” he says. He is currently working on Palladium 3, which he will be launching at the BSMC (during the manufacturers’ showcase). “Palladium 3 will include a range of new features to greatly enhance its usefulness,” he points out. The first version of Palladium was born back in the mid-90s, as DOS-based software that was able to either directly control a MIDI-equipped console, or control a non-MIDI console via an electronics box connected to the console's insert points. This early version of Palladium served Hubbard well for many years and was used on such shows as Les Misérables, Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods, and West Side Story, to name just a few. The new Windows (also can be used on a Mac) versions of Palladium developed from there.
Hubbard’s programs also deal with the link between sound and show control. “Links between sound and show control can actually happen at two distinct levels: performance and design,” he says. “At the performance level, the links are typically in the form of MIDI commands sent from one system to another. These commands usually take the form of either ‘Program Change’ or ‘MSC—MIDI Show Control’ messages, and Palladium supports both of these.
“At the design level,” he continues, “the links are usually in the form of data transfer between different design programs. For example, one of the outputs of my Moves program is an Excel spreadsheet containing one row corresponding to each set of actors' entrances or exits. This spreadsheet can then be used as an input to the lighting cue list. The Moves data file format is also freely available to manufacturers of lighting design software, so they can import the data directly.