Interview: Raygun’s head of sound Dean Jones

Adam Savage speaks to Dean Jones, one half of the partnership behind Raygun, Dublin’s newest post-production house, to see what it has to offer…

Raygun is a new boutique post-production facility based in the centre of Dublin, Ireland, run by Jess Felton and sound engineer Dean Jones, which aims to quickly establish itself as a leading specialist in TV, commercial and feature work, as Jones explains…

What are you planning to do with the new company, and how will you look to carve a niche for yourselves in the Dublin post scene?

We do sound and we do post work; we’ve noticed that some of our peers in town get quite competitive about trying to get absolutely every aspect of the job, whereas we’ve learned that sometimes people really want to just send you the audio.

So we’re really trying to sell that; while we’re a very hungry couple of people starting up a business, it’s the wrong way to think that you can get every piece of every project in. Sometimes splitting that up creatively around the town is the more efficient way to get more money through the door, and that’s kind of our ethos.

We’ve had the whole building revamped, and the response has been good. We’ve done it primarily to target the commercial sector and advertising agencies. It’s about trying to make them as comfortable as possible and creating a bit of a buzz around town.

We’re trying to make it a boutique-y, comfortable environment. I think people have sat up and said ‘I want to go down there, I want to see what it’s like’.

How many studios do you have, and how are they set up?

There are three audio studios, and they’re lovely spaces. Studio 2 is 5.1, and properly iAcoustics-designed – that would be the room that we do a bit of feature work in, loads of cinema mixes for commercials and television, and the one I put most of the acoustic control into; it’s very important that that room sounds good.

Studio 1 upstairs is a lovely space but a lot of engineers see that room and go ‘Do you not have crazy reflections off those glass windows?’ and I do, but I know what I’m doing to make sure a lot of the TV mixes that I do in there are absolutely fine.

The benefit of having those windows to the commercial people that we’re getting in is it becomes a little bit of a sales job – everybody absolutely adores the view we have from those windows, they love the brightness. We probably get more work in because of it.

We have a third suite as well. We do a lot of sound edits for film and TV programming in there.

Could you tell us a bit about some of the other members of the audio team?

Tim O’Donovan came to me from working in a very big animation house in Dublin called Brown Bag. I was looking to get another good engineer in and Tim was always on my periphery, and I found it refreshing that he came from the animation sector and had a strong music background because it crosses over into a lot of stuff that we do.

Colm O’Rourke comes from another post house in town called Screen Scene – he did a couple of years there. Within six weeks of being here he was already mixing for TV. I’m delighted with the way the audio team has progressed.

Any particular equipment in your arsenal that you’d like to shout about?

The DigiDesign/Avid Pro Tools thing – it’s the industry standard; once you’ve got the total recall on the D-Control Desks it’s amazing.

We use Genelec 1032A monitors, the Neumann TLM103s as our standard mics, and then our others are U87s – that’s what we use for the ADR.

The most important purchase we’ve made at the moment was actually iZotope RX4 Advanced. In Ireland, when budgets were slashed for TV programming and commercials, the first thing they’d cut a corner on was location sound and sound recordists. The dialogue denoiser on the RX4 is absolutely what every engineer has been dreaming of. So that’s really helped us in our TV programming.

With regards to plug-ins, we’re big fans of the Waves Gold bundle.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

We do The Voice of Ireland, and Colm has been my wingman on those sorts of jobs. There are jobs that come in and they look very straightforward but they’re like 24 channels before you even get started. That’ll come back to us in about December and it lasts for about 16 weeks; it feels like doing a film every week, there’s a huge amount of work that goes into it.

We’re also doing Zig & Zag’s new animation series – that’s in post, and there’s 26 episodes. Three of them have been mixed and we’re delivering that at the start of next year. It was very easy for us to get that work on the back of Tim’s experience in other animations.

We did our first feature film at the beginning of this year called You’re Ugly Too, starring Aidan Gillen. It was a low budget feature but it did really well.

I used to work for Windmill Lane – I was there for eight years – and I did do quite a bit of TV drama before I got here, so the drive is to try and attract some of that work with me.