Third Wave makes waves encoding 5.1 surround on Super Bowl commercials

These are busy days for Chicago’s resident audio guru Hank Neuberger. Make that Super busy. He and Terry Fryer, his partner in recently formed Third Wave Productions, had an important hand in giving eight Super Bowl spots you’ll see this weekend more impact.

A week later on Feb. 8, some of those commercials will air on the Grammy award show, whose broadcast audio Neuberger has supervised for 15 years. Both shows air on CBS.

Neuberger and Fryer, in collaboration with CRC’s Michael Mason, mixed and encoded 5.1 surround sound on four spots for Michelob/DDB, McDonald’s/DDB, two Chevy/Campbell-Ewald spots and an Anheuser-Busch/Fusion Idea Lab spot.

“Coming out of the tremendous experience I had last year putting the Grammy telecast on the air in HD 5.1, we felt advertising agencies might be interested,” said Neuberger.

Advertisers were, indeed, interested — not in HD, but standard definition surround sound. “What’s amazing is that 33 million households have bought surround home theatres, according to the Consumer Electronics Association,” he said, giving impetus to encoding commercials in surround.

Neuberger pointed that surround sound is not common in television advertising. “You hear it on the Grammys, on the Super Bowl, some ESPN and on prime time shows,” he said. “Advertisers hesitate because of the crucial step, which is the encoding of the surround mix to a two-channel format. And that’s what we at Third Wave specializes in. It can only get bigger.”

Mason, who has a studio at CRC and has mixed many DDB spots, did the surround mix on several of the spots. Third Wave did the surround broadcast encoding at its Evanston studio using the latest Dolby Prologic II Codecs. Third Wave is a consultant to Dolby and SRS labs, the two leaders in surround sound encoding technology.

Neuberger’s phone is 874/475-1562; see

SUPER BOWL SPOT CHAMPS Thought you’d like to know who the leading agencies are in Super Bowl advertising. Clearly the winner is BBDO Worldwide, New York, with seven client entries. Deutsch has three, Campbell-Mithun two. Chicago’s Leo Burnett represents Philip Morris; DDB and Fusion Labs are on for Budweiser and Bud Light (among 10 Anheuser-Busch agencies with spots). Score one client each for Wieden & Kennedy, Fallon, FCB, Martin-Williams, Campbell-Ewald, Chemistri, O&M, Y&R and JWT. Publicis Worldwide represents a ton of P&G.