Founded 45 years ago, SAE Institute offers diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate courses in a wide range of creative media industries. Its campus in Oxford, England, is the global headquarters for 54 locations worldwide, leading the way for the Institute’s education network. Training students on the latest and most efficient systems is essential to prepare them for prospective careers, which is why a Yamaha Nuage and Steinberg Nuendo system is a vital part of SAE Oxford’s studio complex.
“We run three main programmes here - audio production, film production and game art / VFX,” says audio production lecturer Mike Holloway. “Having them all in the one building means there is the opportunity for collaboration between students. For example, if game art students want audio, or film students want sound editing or cleaning up, the audio production course students have the latest equipment to help them. It’s a really creative and collaborative environment for them.”
The campus has five fully-equipped studios, providing students with all the hands-on facilities they need. Steinberg Nuendo 11 is an integral part of Studio 5, which is used for recording, mixing, mastering and designing Ambisonics immersive audio environments, played back on a Dolby 7.1.2 system. It’s controlled with a recently-installed Yamaha Nuage system, which lets the user operate Nuendo seamlessly and intuitively. Virtual Reality headsets and DearVR Spatial Connect control also allow the students to experiment with full 3D sound for game design.
Nuendo’s focus on both music and post-production makes it an ideal DAW for all the programmes taught in the facility and especially within modules focussed on multi-media sound.
“I really like features like the ADR panel, which lets you load in a spreadsheet with all your cues and literally just run the session. It’s a huge time-saver, a really efficient way to work and makes the whole process more pleasurable,” says Mike.
“On top of that, you’ve got native multi-channel output for a wide range of formats. Using the Control Room to effectively listen how you want to listen, at any given time, is hugely powerful. It’s a special feature of Nuendo that really works. You can set up the outputs and let the software take care of the routing. The ability in Nuendo 11 to now render directly to Dolby Atmos feels like a great step forward and the students will get the full benefit of that with our speaker installation.”
Thanks to the Nuage system, Mike notes that controlling Nuendo feels almost like reaching into the software itself.
“I’ve always been a bit ‘take it or leave it’ with control surfaces, because the level of integration has always felt somewhat lacking. But I had a chance to use Nuage a few times and really coveted one. I pushed hard to have one here in the studio and was very pleased when we got it,” he says.
“Nuage and Nuendo are so closely integrated that it feels seamless. It has really changed things - you can effectively touch the software, have your hands on the workings of it, which is a huge difference to using a mouse and keyboard. With the Nuage control surface, you can work so much more quickly in Nuendo than without it.”