Molinare faces Masterchef challenge

MasterChef is formed of a number of strands, including the original amateur MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef, MasterChef: The Professionals, and more recently Junior MasterChef. Soho-based film and post production facility Molinare has provided full post -production services across all strands of the show from series two onwards. 

Recently the Molinare team handled the post-production of series seven of MasterChef: The Professionals, which consists of 21 one-hour episodes, and as Steve Speed, dubbing mixer, explains, the series presented a unique set of challenges at both the tracklay and mixing stage.

“Each episode is shot using multiple cameras both in the studio and on location,” he explains. “To add to the complexity, the final sound supplied from the offline edit has a significant number of edits.

“A great deal of work goes into the equalisation and restoration of the edit in order to produce a balanced and uninterrupted soundtrack for the viewer. We use a number of tools including iZotope RX and Altiverb to treat and bring those recordings up to broadcast standard.

Tae-Hak Kim – Tracklayer, Tom Foster – Sound Designer, Claire Ellis – Sounds Designer

“From a sound editor point of view, MasterChef is one of the most challenging television programmes out there,” agrees ????? “With 30 tracks to choose from in the latest series, we had to go through and select the best recordings that would make sense with the narrative of the show and enhance this with sound effects.

“For the latest series we used a variety of techniques and software in order to streamline the editing process that enables us to turn the show around as quickly as possible. The use of Pro Tools 10 throughout the audio process worked well alongside the plugin Izotope RX. By using these tools we could make the frequently very noisy dialogues – due to the nature of professional kitchens – coherent above a very music-driven show.

The music of MasterChef is well known for its energetic and often bold style and extensive work is undertaken on the dialogue sync recordings at the tracklay and mix stages allowed the team to give a full range to the music mix, creating a dynamic and emotive soundtrack.

In order to achieve such consistently high results, teamwork and planning was crucial.

“The producer’s vision to create a professional yet energetic and fun show needed careful pre-planning,” adds ??? “As a team we met at the beginning of the project to set out the vision before starting work and adopted a collaborative approach to the project, with constant communication throughout to check the different parts worked together to the best effect.”

Masterchef firsts

Series seven of MasterChef: The Professionals was also the first time the team had worked with EBU-R128, the new loud normalisation requirement.

“This enabled us to create a dynamic mix and offered us more flexibility to give the sound track real energy,” explains dubbing mixer Nick Ashe. “This project had a four day turnaround, with two days preparing the audio and two days to mix and review each episode. This is a fair allocation and demonstrates how the producers value the audio on the series.

Returning to the issue of challenges faced on the series, Ashe adds: “Sean Pertwee, the narrator, was filming in New York. This meant that for the first time on any MasterChef series we had to record from his location to Molinare’s studio. To do this we used Source Connect, which allowed us to artistically direct him during the recording sessions.

“The MasterChef: The Professionals series has a different feel to the other strands of the MasterChef franchise, with a slightly more serious tone. As a team we worked together to create a style which reflected this slightly more grown-up theme through the audio, utilising different sound effects and with more of an emphasis on the sync recordings.”

Masterchef: The Professionals is currently showing on BBC Two in the UK.