Anthony Hales Celebrates 20 Years at SIDE

June 2022


At SIDE, we’re excited to recognize a special milestone for one of our team-members. This month, Senior Technical Director Anthony Hales is celebrating his 20-year anniversary at SIDE. We’re proud to highlight his passions, his decades of industry know-how, and his favorite projects.

Anthony was SIDE’s first non-director employee. At the time, SIDE primarily worked in TV, but over time, shifted to become the video game dialogue specialists we are today. “As we all had a passion for the medium and for delivering great performances, progressing into this happened quite organically,” says Anthony. “We’ve always wanted to push to be the best and it’s incredible how we have turned into being the market leader in this field.”

Anthony’s first job in media was with QVC. There he worked as a TV Floor Manager before moving into the technical department as a Technical Assistant, and then into the sound department full-time as a Sound Operator. “In this role, I did a bit of post-production audio. Working in a digital audio workstation was the ‘hook’ that made me want to work full time in this specialism.”

Today, Anthony’s typical workday is more complex: “I oversee the technical output of SIDE’s audio delivery,” he explains. “I’m blessed to have an incredible team of managers, engineers, coordinators, and editors working with me to deliver the huge number of files we work on.”

Anthony expands on the specific challenges inherent in creating quality voice production for games: “The need to deliver realistic, emotional, and truthful performances has always been SIDE’s main ethos.” To deliver this across multiple languages is a huge logistical effort. “For example, on Dying Light 2, we provided all our core services, so the organization across sites in LA and London and our audio localization partners was key, especially as we were under a very condensed timeline.” Not only did SIDE have to cast a multitude of actors, but they had to ensure the thousands of dialogue files in the game were processed correctly, ready for our partners to record against.

Anthony has seen a lot of change in the industry, not least of which have been due to the ongoing pandemic. “On a pure technical level, we have faced many challenges,” he explains. “One being the need to record ADR with a head-mounted camera while simultaneously recording reference camera footage. This was a huge technical challenge to make sure everything was in SYNC and locked.” On a big project, this can be literal months of video capture. “We now have a very slick pipeline for this but getting there was a huge undertaking.”

Obviously, it isn’t always nose-to-the-grindstone at SIDE. “SIDE has always had a great culture, and we’ve maintained that philosophy through the 20 years I have worked here.” Anthony recalls one of his favorite projects: “One that will always be prominent is the work I did on Battlefield with EA/DICE.” On their previous title before working with SIDE, Electronic Arts had recorded the actual Swedish army outside, to replicate the authenticity of battle. “The dialogue sounded great, but it was full of background noise. So, working with their dialogue team, we were tasked with capturing the equivalent performance in energy and style, while technically keeping it within the limits needed. We pushed the talent hard, but the results were excellent.”

Finally, Anthony reveals his work inspirations: “Just being involved in the great titles I have worked on has been the main inspiration driver. It’s been a huge pleasure to work on the titles SIDE has been involved with.”

Congratulations on an incredible 20 years, Anthony. Here’s to many more!