ATLANTA — John Penn is an independent film/music composer, 3D sound designer, producer, media-tech entrepreneur, and owner of Undercurrent Labs (www.undercurrentlabs.com), the company he founded in 2011. Part of the Atlanta tech community, the company is focused on virtual and augmented reality and content development for Web and mobile applications.
Working with several innovative companies that are pushing the boundaries on immersive surround, a networked infrastructure is key to the company’s development. As a software and content development company, it’s focused on enterprise mobile apps for the med-tech and streaming video markets, and is also currently developing augmented reality and location-aware technology for mobile devices to help medical device manufacturers and hospitals reduce the risk of accidents, complications, and costs of operating complex medical equipment.
“I believe music is an important form of medicine and I've been researching the application of 3D sound and music as a more natural application to improve medical conditions that affect the brain, nervous system, and chronic pain conditions,” says Penn. “Harnessing song, sound frequencies, and rhythm as another tool in treating physical ailments is an emerging field. Fundamentally, our biological existence is closely tied to vibrational energy, and tapping into 3D space and other dimensions that is hard for us to consciously perceive, but our core being understands, can ultimately render medically beneficial outcomes previously not thought possible. There is a connection between dimensional sound vibration, m-theory physics, and medicine that we have barely scratched the surface on.”
Penn says the company’s strategy to provide full-service and on-time delivery is built on the best network infrastructure available for audio and video that helps to scale dynamically to each project with post production talent, workflow and equipment. For that reason, Undercurrent Labs recently purchased a Yamaha Nuage digital audio production system.
“I was sharing my studio upgrade plans with my brother Mark, also a Nuendo user, and had just seen the Yamaha announcement for Nuage. “For years, we waited for the right control surface for Nuendo, so when we saw the pictures and specs for Nuage, we knew the wait was over.”
Nuage dealer RSPE recommended a demo, so Penn reached out to Yamaha’s Chris Hinson. “You don't have a real appreciation of the presence and feel of Nuage… until you see it in person, touching the surface and realizing the freedom of not being confined to a box of semiconductors,” says Penn. “Sitting at the Nuage console and looking at the new Nuendo 6, I actually felt at home again, in a musical sense. The design is that good!”
The collaboration of Yamaha and Steinberg to harmonize the workflow of an established DAW like Cubase/Nuendo and Yamaha's deep portfolio of digital mixers and their combined design and engineering philosophy helped Penn to affirm Nuage as a great result. He has been using Nuendo since Version 2, and the Yamaha 01V and 01V96 mixers. “It is kind of like mixing peanut butter and chocolate, for most folks, you're going to get something great.”
The Nuage saw its first use on the film Switching Lanes, which will be out later this year. Penn served as supervising sound mixer, working with actor/director Tommy Ford, editor Kevin Christopher, producer Shannon Nash and executive producer Bryant Scott of Tyscot Films. The film stars Michael Lerner, Marla Maples, Terri J. Vaughn and Victoria Staley, among others.
“Nuendo’s ADR mode enables me to accomplish more in vocal and Foley sessions by allowing multiple takes in one batch for scenes, providing more freedom for greater spontaneity in performance by the artist and guidelines from the director or producer,” says Penn. “I'm currently test driving Yamaha’s Rio 32-channel I/O box to remotely control the head amplifiers from either the Nuage master and fader control surfaces, by-passing my analog patch bay and cable snakes.”