Northeast software developer wins Emmy for work on TV shows such as The Crown

Mark Hills, devant à droite, avec l'équipe lauréate d'un Emmy Award <i>(Picture: RGS)</i>”  data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/″datarc “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/″></div>
<p><figcaption class=Mark Hills, front right, with the Emmy Award-winning team (Picture: RGS)

A computer whiz who worked on hit shows such as The Crown and Line of Duty has won one of television’s highest honors; an Emmy award.

Ripon Grammar School (RGS) alumnus Mark Hills and his business partner Marc Bakos have created a revolutionary audio production system that has revolutionized the industry.

And it earned the couple the highest accolade for television work for their role in creating soundtracks for TV series such as The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit, The Flight Attendant and Line of Duty.

Mark, 41, who left RGS in 1999 to study computer science at university, is no stranger to awards.

In 2014, he was part of a great team at UK visual effects company Framestore that won both the Oscar and Bafta for Best Visual Effects for Gravity, along with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.

The Northern Echo: Mark Hills with his Emmy Award

Mark Hills with his Emmy Award (Picture: RGS)

But this Emmy — an elite Primetime version, which is one of the most sought after of TV’s top accolades — has his name on it.

He said, “It’s different because it’s for something I designed, and my name is engraved on it.

“I’m very proud.

“It’s great that as a technologist, these rewards are within reach.

“We had had no contact with the Television Academy, the judges seemed really impressed with what we had done.”

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Their Cleanfeed system, which works for radio, TV, and film, connects studios together so the quality sounds like it’s all recorded in the same room.

Emmy judges credited the pioneering new audio production for changing the way post-production studios are built.

But Mark says it was because they were ahead of the curve that their business was ready to meet the needs of the pandemic.

After 13 years working at Framestore and needing a break, he resigned in January 2020, working his notice until March.

The Northern Echo: Mark Hills with his Emmy Award

The Northern Echo: Mark Hills with his Emmy Award

Mark Hills with his Emmy Award (Picture: RGS)

He said: ‘I left the office on Thursday with no work and the World Health Organization announced the global pandemic on Friday so all of a sudden all travel options were ruled out.

Mark, who was a DJ for RGS school nightclubs and later worked in radio, had developed a side business in his spare time creating software for radio stations to enable broadcasters to create programs from home them.

He said: “Suddenly everyone was trying to figure out the best way to produce shows and do interviews away from the studios during the pandemic and he got a call from the BBC, who wanted to use Cleanfeed.

“I realized the need was dire and the timing meant I was going to be home, so this was a great project to work on.

“After leaving Framestore, I also realized its potential in audio post-production for film and television, where the sound you hear is often not recorded on set, but recreated afterwards.

“There has been a lot of cross-pollination, with radio features and ideas being adapted for film and TV.

“Ideas developed for podcasters, for example, have improved features used in movies.

“It’s the intersection of creativity and technology that really excites me!

For now, Cleanfeed is suitable for professional use, but a free version allows people outside the industry to do more at home.

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