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Mixopolis and Billy Ray Cyrus DRIVE4COPD

While it is true that a picture can say a thousand words, sometimes a visual just isn't enough. DRIVE4COPD, a multi-year public health initiative to screen the millions of people who may be at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is one such example. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in America. But in a country that supports an abundance of anti-smoking campaigns and better health initiatives, DRIVE4COPD needed to find a different way to get the American public to listen up.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. launched DRIVE4COPD in February of 2010. The sponsor has since partnered with the American Association of Respiratory Care, COPD Alliance, COPD Foundation, US COPD Coalition, Country Music Association and NASCAR on this large-scale initiative. The main purpose of DRIVE4COPD is to raise awareness of the debilitating lung disease, and promote early detection through screening. Mitch Raboy, owner of New York City's audio post production boutique Mixopolis-which employs Blackmagic Design's DeckLink HD Extreme capture and playback cards, HDLink Pro monitoring solutions and a number of Blackmagic Design Mini Converters-was just the right person to help accomplish this.

An Emmy-winning sound engineer and mixer, Mitch has helped create a distinct voice for many radio and television jingles, spots and promos throughout his career. Having been in the business for 25 years, Mitch gained plenty of experience at Bell Sound Studios, Aura Recording, Soundmixers, Superdupe and Parallax Audio Post before starting Mixopolis in 2004.


Located just steps away from Grand Central Station, Mixopolis' two state of the art surround sound mixing suites are equipped to develop the sonic personality of any project. The facility is focused solely on sound design, though Mixopolis' sound engineers spend a lot of their time working closely with video editors, making sure to align audio with video and achieve the desired soundtrack for every project.

The DRIVE4COPD project involved the complete sound design for a 30-second and a 60-second television spot. The two PSA's feature American country music singer, songwriter and actor Billy Ray Cyrus. Mitch had a music track, dialogue, and some voiceover from Billy Ray to work with. In order to bring everything together and create a powerful message, Mitch needed a mix of products that would perform the way he needed them to.

Mitch has two Pro Tools rigs and a Fairlight Constellation XCS audio mixing console and work station. He also recently upgraded to Fairlight's CC-1 engine, which came with Blackmagic Design's HD Extreme card for video input and output. Also, there are DeckLink HD Extreme cards in each of his mixing suites to handle the visual side of his work. "The cards function in two directions. We can digitize pictures and record them to the system, or output video files provided by clients," Mitch explained.

Mitch also relies on a couple of HDLink Pros to distribute audio and video around the facility via an SDI cable. The HDLink Pros convert that media from SDI to HDMI to have the audio appear with video on HD monitors. Mitch said, "We've had problems in the past with getting the signals we needed from one place to another, but the Blackmagic products provided the solution."

Blackmagic's Mini Converter Analog to SDI made it possible to replace the audio in the SDI signal with mixed audio coming out of the Fairlight console, and embed it into an SDI signal to stream on television speakers in place of the original audio. For Mitch, "it was an easy way to distribute audio and video without tearing the TV apart."

Mitch also used the Blackmagic Design SDI to Audio Mini Converter to monitor eight channels of audio from HD decks when doing laybacks. In addition, he used the Blackmagic Design Mini Converter Sync Generator to test sync signals and frame rates. He explained, "If we need to change the sync reference for a particular project, we can do so without having to change the settings throughout the facility."

Billy Ray's final 60-second PSA begins with an intimate and informative explanation of COPD, voiced over quiet guitar music. By the time Billy Ray walks out on stage to greet a cheering crowed of fans, the listener is left with all the information they need to join the battle to raise awareness for this life threatening disease. With the Blackmagic Design gear he had working behind the scenes, Mitch was able to create a crystal clear message to be delivered to the masses: DRIVE4COPD.

Launched in February 2010, DRIVE4COPD is a public health initiative that aims to help people identify symptoms of COPD and take action. Founding sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has joined forces with a cross-section of organizations, including the American Association of Respiratory Care, COPD Alliance, COPD Foundation, Country Music Association, NASCAR(r) and U.S. COPD Coalition, on this large-scale education and awareness campaign to help bring COPD to the forefront. This initiative aims to help millions of people affected by COPD by focusing national attention on this common and debilitating disease. Billy Ray Cyrus's full length DRIVE4COPD PSA is available at

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  • Mixopolis and Billy Ray Cyrus DRIVE4COPD by DMN Editorial at Jun. 22, 2011 7:49 pm gmt

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