Engineer, producer and mixer Fiona Cruickshank’s recent TV and film credits include Netflix’s Sex Education and the movie Supernova, the latter starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. She explains how she brought a key sense of intimacy to Supernova’s film score using a vintage Neve console.
Cruickshank worked in-house at London’s prestigious AIR Studios for over 11 years before she joined AIR Management in 2018, by which time she’d already been involved with several high-profile film and TV scores, classical recordings and pop mixing projects, swiftly becoming a sought-after engineer among composers, artists, producers and musicians alike.
But it’s not just being a go-to person when it comes to the tech that has secured Cruickshank a plethora of work over the years.
“There's a certain sort of personality side to it,” she begins, speaking to Headliner from a 5.1 mix room she uses when she’s not working at AIR or The Church Studios.
“What I really learnt at AIR is how to run a session and how to show your client that everything's under control and that you're taking a lot of the burden.
"They've probably been working on this thing for months, and they finally got to the point where they get to record and mix it – they might have had no sleep – and they're probably quite stressed. Just the fact that they can come to us, and then we're like, ‘okay, we've got you now; we're going to get this done, and we're going to make it amazing’.
“We take a lot of that weight off them hopefully, and help them as a second pair of ears by taking that step back in seeing the bigger picture. You might be able to suggest things while you're recording or on the mix, or try things out that they might not have heard anymore because they’re deep in it. That's the sort of thing that I have learned about how to run a session: how to communicate effectively with musicians, producers or directors.”
A knack for inspiring this type of confidence in people has seen Cruickshank work with some of the world's best engineers and producers on everything from film and TV scores, classical albums, to film music editing projects for high profile movies including Aladdin, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Beauty and the Beast and The Alienist.