A Brief History of HALF-LIGHT
By Conor Barron
Half-Light home studio, 2009
I established Half-Light in 2009, with humble beginnings in the spare room at my family home. I had recently returned home from Bristol where I worked as a Creative with Apple Retail, UK. This role had been a great opportunity to work alongside the famously creative community in Bristol, London, and Manchester. The job was mainly a teaching role, providing in-store one-to-one lessons, and group workshops, on how to use Apple's flagship music and sound production software; Logic Pro. I was inspired by the amazingly creative people around me, and when I arrived back home to Cork I wanted to keep that energy alive.
With a Masters degree in Music Technology from the University of Limerick, as well as a few formative years of live and studio music production already under my belt, I placed an ad in the local film centre bulletin board in August 2009. The ad offered my services as a music composer for short films, and it wasn't long before I began receiving commissions to compose music soundtracks for short films. I soon discovered other aspects of audio post production, and I began working regularly with local production companies on a wide variety of audiovisual projects. I spent the following two years working from the spare room sharpening my skills in sound editing, dubbing mixing, voiceover recording, and music production.
In 2011 I designed a purpose-built audio post production studio to be built at the Marina Commercial Park in Cork City. This 800 sq. ft. modern and comfortable facility features extensively sound-proofed and acoustically treated production rooms, with an additional office space and kitchenette. The production facilities include:
A 5.1 mix room with Avid Pro Tools hardware and software (C|24 mixing console, HD I/O 16x16 Analog, Pro Tools Ultimate). Genelec 5.1 monitoring system, and large screen client TV monitor. Comfortable seating area.
Spacious and quiet recording space, sound isolated and acoustically treated. Linked to Control Room via door and large viewing window. Talkback and listenback services from Control Room. Large screen TV for ADR and voiceover to picture. Zoom, Source Connect, and Skype recording sessions available,
An additional recording booth connected to the Live Room. Featuring the same connectivity to the Control Room as the Live Room.
Half-Light new studio launch, 2012
Conor Barron at Half-Light new studio launch, 2011
Conor Barron with Jeremy Irons, 2015
Launching this new studio was a true life 'field of dreams' moment. There was no purpose-built and privately owned audio post production studio facility operating commercially in Cork City up until that point, and there were no guarantees that there would be a strong enough uptake on my services. Thankfully those worries were short-lived and bookings began flowing immediately. One of my first guests at the studio was chef Rachel Allen, and I recorded the voiceover for her entire new TV series, All Things Sweet. Rachel became a regular visitor to the studio and I recorded voiceover for three more of her TV series.
In 2015 I had the privilege of producing voiceover with Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, for a documentary charting the success of the Mercedes Benz Formula 1 team. Many commercial clients came through the doors over the years also, and I have been lucky enough to produce voiceover and sound for commercial campaigns such as Currys PC World, Lidl, and Red Bull.
One of my personal favourite projects to work on has been The Young Offenders, by Peter Foott. It's a source of huge pride to me that I've produced voiceover and ADR on every production of theirs, from the original breakout hit movie in 2016, to the three TV series produced by BBC and RTE.
It was also a huge pleasure to work with Graham Norton recently, when I recorded his latest audiobook, Home Stretch, due for release later this year.
One of the most consistent themes over the years has been the importance of up-skilling. I am continually pushing myself to learn more about my industry, and I believe that technology should never be a barrier to creativity. Broadcast post production is a rapidly changing field and my clients expect me to be up to speed on the latest advancements.
An example of this changing dynamic during lockdown would be an ADR recording session I facilitated for the forthcoming BBC series, Bloodlands. This was the first ADR session I had conducted via Zoom. I provided picture and audio reference for producers and sound supervisors at various locations around the UK, and linked them to the acting talent in the Live Room here in Cork.
Dubbing mixing is a skill that I have worked hard at to improve. In 2015 I began to receive contracts from RTE Cork to mix some of their series for broadcast. By 2018 I had mixed three entire series, as well as several one-off feature documentaries. Broadcast mixes commissioned by RTE include: A Taste of Success (2015, 2016, series), Christmas Carols From Cork (2016, music documentary) The Local Eye (2016, series), Christmas Then and Now (2017, documentary) John Creedon's Road Less Travelled (2018, episode), and Turf Life (2018, documentary).