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Mike Thornton is an Audio Meister, which the dictionary defines as ‘a person of great skill or authority in a particular field’. His credits include music (from classical to rock), drama and documentaries across all the BBC radio networks, as well as audio post production for video and TV, ‘new media’, live sound, commercial CDs, DVDs and podcasts, helping his clients tell stories with sound. He has been described as ‘an oasis of calm in a stormy creative world; quick, creative & easy to work with; always going the extra mile; and invests himself in the success of your project’.
Pro Tools specialist at One Stop Digital (OSD) Ltd
1992 – Present (19 years)
I am an audio dubbing editor & mixer and a Digidesign Pro Tools specialist with a growing experience in 5.1 surround. I work in radio, TV sound, and ‘new media’ and I am committed to high quality in all areas at an affordable price. Examples of work include….
Dubbing editor and mixer for series of 6 x 1 hour documentaries ‘The making of a monster’ for Sky TV; Dubbing Editor & Mixer for ‘The Creative Write Kit’ – a DVD with a range of TV dramas presented on an interactive DVD for key stage 3 students; Dubbing Editor & Mixer for Open University DVDs
‘Shedtown’; ‘Cheque Book & Pen’; ‘Craven’ – 5 x 15 min Womans Hour drama series; Divided We Fall (Awarded a Sony award in the Community category) – a drama for community radio looking at racial tensions in a northern community see the Talk to Taz web site
‘The Story of The King James Bibles’ – 3 x 30 mins; ‘Merry Christmas Morris Minor’; Three Series of ‘What’s the point of’, ‘Archive Hour – ‘Giving way to a new era’ (Sony Nominated), ‘Desperate Dreams’ (Sony Nominated), Series of ‘A sense of Liverpool’, Series of ‘Witness – Behind Luke’s story’, ‘Portraits of Jerusalem’, ‘A Yorkshire Christmas’, ‘Christmas in the Cathedral’, 7 series of ‘The Choice’ (Sony Award in 2004); ‘Iconoclasts’, ‘Cities without Maps’, ‘From this Moment on’ – the history of LSD in ProLogic Surround. ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ for Remembrance weekend, ‘Growing Up With God’ documentary with John McCarthy, Series of ‘Brass Britain’, Faith in the World’ x3, Soulsville – The Stax Record story, ‘Laughter & Tears’ – The Les Dawson Story, ‘Another Fine Mess’ – The Laurel & Hardy Story
Recording, editing and mastering hymn samples for Church of England wedding web site
Sound Designer and Audio Producer at One Stop Digital (OSD) Ltd
September 2009 – Present (2 years 2 months)
I have a varied client base that look to me for a more creative and editorial input to their content, confirming our position as an audio ‘one stop shop’. I have completed a number of projects that involved me in a sound design and production role, drawing from my significant experience, this is proving to be a successful extension to the range of services. A good example of this would be the ‘New News’ project for AstraZeneca. For more information see the Portfolio section of our web site. This was conceived, recorded and produced in our facility in North Manchester.
5.1 surround audio production trainer at One Stop Digital (OSD) Ltd
August 1993 – Present (18 years 3 months)
I provide 5.1 surround production and acquisition training and consultancy to both broadcast and post production facilities. Recently I ran a 5 day course for OSN in Dubai which included assisting them with developing workflows and integrating the new loudness specs.
Pro Tools columnist and reviewer at Sound On Sound magazine
January 2005 – Present (6 years 10 months)
I write a workshop every month on Pro Tools outlining a feature or function in Pro Tools. Recently I have covered Region List management, Splitting Sessions, Handling Missing Files and a series of tips and tricks for beginners and experienced users a like.
Freelance broadcast audio specialist at Studio File
June 1990 – Present (21 years 5 months)
In 1990 I went freelance and undertook a lot of OB work for companies like Chrysalis TV Mobiles and my previous employer Key 103. Another client was VisionLink Satellite Services providing my services as a Technical coordinator for high profile satellite conferences with multiple international linkups. Clients included:- SmithKline Beecham, Shell, AT & T and National Grid from countries as far a field as Czech Republic & Kenya. More recently the client base has included The Oldham College where I am an accredited media NVQ assessor and North West Vision & Media where I am an accredited radio and Pro Tools trainer. I also have significant experience of preparing audio for on line use including Skillsoft NHS training schemes and the Working Class Movement Library.
Apprenticeship Competence Assessor at The Manchester College
April 2011 – Present (7 months) I am an accredited competence assessor assessing the new BBC Creative & Media apprenticeship scheme.
NVQ Assessor at The Oldham College
May 2008 – April 2011 (3 years)
I am an accredited NVQ assessor for the media industry currently working on the Advanced Media Apprenticeship that has been piloted here in Manchester and is being rolled out across the country now.
Producer and Editor at Glass Mirror Productions
April 2008 – July 2010 (2 years 4 months)
We are a co-operative of radio producers pitching, selling and making radio programmes for clients like BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. We have a wealth of experience in story telling and programme making and could help your organisation get its message across.
Director and broadcast sound supervisor at Omnibuss Mobile Ltd
May 1991 – July 1997 (6 years 3 months)
The Omnibuss Mobile was an ex BBC B type sound OB wehicle that we re-fitted out with new equipment and handled a wide range of music recording and broadcast OB work for broadcasters like Granda TV and Border TV working with artists like U2, The Saw Doctors, Daniel O’Donnell and Ken Dodd. We became the first OB truck to be Dolby Surround capable and I mixed the first UK broadcast of a Dolby Surround transmission for Granada TV from Tranmere Rovers ground to be followed by 3 years of mixing football in Surround for Granada TV.
Outside Broadcast Engineer at Piccadilly Radio & Key 103
August 1985 – May 1990 (4 years 10 months)
I then became the outside broadcast department and built two HGV outside broadcast vehicles. The first a mobile stage vehicle – The Star Truck and the second a music recording OB vehicle – The Multi Truck. I was responsible for all the stations OBs including FA cup finals, taking the breakfast show out and about to places like Dublin, a bus on the bus route from Manchester to Bolton and back and Strangeways prison.
Inside I was instrumental in the creation technically of Key 103 in the Piccadilly Plaza buildings. I was also one of the first people to engineer live acoustic sessions when artist came to visit the station and some of those sessions ended up on albums including Vigilante man with The Alarm on 20th September 1989
Broadcast Engineer at Piccadilly Radio
September 1981 – July 1985 (3 years 11 months) I worked as maintenance engineer on a 4 week shift cycle improving the station’s infrastructure and
keeping it on the air
Audio Test and Development Engineer at Marconi Communications Systems Ltd
September 1979 – August 1981 (2 years)
Once I had completed my apprenticeship I became Marconi’s sole audio test engineer in the broadcast section. On the development side as there hadn’t been a specialist audio development engineer in the company for some time I started to modify and re-design products to improve them including the audio channels on the Marconi Mk 9 camera and the Marconi MR2 1″ VTRs.
Technican Apprentice at Marconi Communications Systems Ltd
September 1976 – August 1979 (3 years)
I served my apprenticeship as a block release student at The Chelmer Institute and in the first year also was trained in the Marconi Training school to use a mill, lathe, solder to military spec, and technical drawing. In the second and third years I was supposed to be on placement in different parts of the company. However after my first placement in “TV Test” the audio test engineer retired and so I was asked to replace him whilst continuing my training.
Apprentice at Marconi Communications Systems Ltd
HNC, Electronic engineering, 1976 – 1979 Activities and Societies: Institute of Broadcast Sound
Member of Institute of Broadcast Sound (MIBS)
Accredited NVQ Assessor for the media industry
Mike is an excellent sound designer, and I have no hesitation in recommending him. I worked with him whilst I was in house at BBC Radio drama and now as a freelance. He is highly skilled and a great enthusiast, treating every project with absolute dedication. Mike works extremely hard, and always has creative ideas to enhance the end result. He is a joy to work with, and a true professional.
I have worked with Mike many times both when I was a BBC in-house producer and subsequently as a freelance producer/director. His work is first rate. As a recording engineer his expertise is a great reassurance, and as an editor I have always found him extremely easy to work with – he is diligent, he has a great deal of technical knowledge and he is always happy to look for fresh solutions to problems.
Mike has edited and mixed quite a few complex features that I’ve produced for BBC Radio 4. He is fast, clever, tasteful and doesn’t make mistakes. I recommend him for any audio work.
Mike is a great person to work with. He is expert without being condescending. He fully engages with the creative process and invests himself in the success of your project. He offers you solutions rather than problems. And he has a sense of fun that helps you to keep going when you’re both working hard.
Great Radio Drama recording and editing job for me, always going the extra mile, completely reliable safe pair of hands and very personable. A pleasure to work with. The Commissioning editor for Radio 4 had this to say about the production and Mikes work “It is a good story, each episode work well, and I think you have given it an excellent production – good performances across the board, and I like the voice distortion. More please. Well done and thank you. Jeremy (Jeremy Howe Commissioning Editor Radio 4)
Mike Thornton is a true wizard when it comes to Radio production. I can highly recommend his talents if you require any production services or technical support.
Mike is an oasis of calm in a stormy creative world. He is unfailing in his efforts to make the most out of the audio he is given and he works to the highest professional standards. He is genuinely interested in helping producers feel happy with the end result, and always delivers the best possible product in the shortest time. His rates are very reasonable and he gives excellent customer care.
Mike is a fantastic audio editor. He’s quick, creative, helpful and easy to work with. Chances are he’s edited the radio programmes you’ve enjoyed the most.
I know Mike primarily as one of the main, regular contributors to Sound On Sound where his reviews and Pro Tools articles are always informative, clearly written and — important from my perspective — on time! One of my main concerns in Sound On Sound is getting over information that is sufficiently deep while still not intimidating the less experienced reader and Mike manages this particularly well.