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Technicolor Opens Sound Facility on Paramount Lot

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CreativeCOW presents Technicolor Opens Sound Facility on Paramount Lot -- Audio Professionals Feature


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Paramount Pictures' upcoming film Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, TV shows Criminal Minds, Vampire Diaries, Glee, and Dexter...these are just some of the current entertainment properties that Technicolor is sound mixing. What's new is that the sound mixing is taking place in gleaming new mixing stages on the Paramount Pictures lot.

"There are 13 different broadcast series in this building and we're at capacity this week," declared Technicolor CEO Fred Rose.

The new Technicolor Sound Services facility is impressive in its size and scope: the 65,000-square foot facility is spread over three floors and includes eight remixing stages with surrounding editing rooms and producer lounges, eight sound design rooms, 16 sound editorial rooms, three large ADR stages and a Foley stage, four DVD edit and two DVD mastering rooms. Technicolor also offers worldwide connectivity via its Technicolor Production Network (TPN) and the ability to receive and playback work-in-progress footage from outside post houses in real-time within all its sound mixing environments.

Two of the re-recording mixing rooms are very large essentially identical rooms aimed at major motion picture mixing: a 23 foot 6-inch high/42-foot 8-inch wide screen and NEC 2K digital projectors with Euphonix S5 console (80 faders with 746 inputs available) and seven ProTools 64-channel systems and one128 channel system. Technicolor Sound Services also features two medium-sized dubbing stages and four smaller stages targeted at on-going TV series.

We all know that it's not the gear, it's the talent and this is where Technicolor has shown how serious it is about creating a highly competitive sound mixing facility. The multiple Academy Award re-recording mixers include Scott Millan (who has won four Oscars himself), Greg Russell, Anna Behlmer, Andre Perrault, Ken Burton, Joseph Earle, Doug Andham, Pete Elia, Kevin Roache, Adam Sawelson, Mike Colomby and Bob Lacivita. Both Behlmer and Russell are recent hires, having been brought onto the Technicolor stages from, respectively, Fox and Sony.

Opening a Technicolor facility on the Paramount lot is a win for both entities. For Paramount Pictures, the benefit is to offer high-end post, something that had been missing on the 65-acre lot. In contrast, Paramount's studio rivals have all had post and VFX offerings for years - often decades, including, among others, Sony Pictures' VFX house Sony Imageworks and DI facility Colorworks, Warner Bros.' substantial post facilities and Universal's DI house, EFILM, run as a joint venture with Deluxe.


Photo Alan Amato
Photos courtesy: Alan Amato

"We couldn't be more excited," said Paramount Pictures President, Studio Group Randy Baumberger. "In our 100 years of existence, we've never had sound on the lot. By being the last to add it, we can have the most state-of-the-art facility."

"Our goal is to be a one-stop shop," he continued. "This allows us to keep production on the lot...and to bring more productions in to the lot. With sound on the lot, our creatives won't be forced to leave..

From Technicolor's perspective, opening Technicolor Sound Services allowed the company to consolidate its existing sound services and build a single, much more impressive one, while increasing the company's visibility in Hollywood by moving to a major lot. It's also an opportunity for Technicolor to establish its digital credibility in a town where Technicolor's historic image is often associated with the fading medium of film. "This sends a clear message to Hollywood that Technicolor is the leading post house in town," said Rose to Creative COW. "It also shows that we have succeeded in transitioning from film to digital and reached a point where we have a stronger position in digital than we ever did in film..

Those are big words, but the stakes are equally big. The Los Angeles post production scene has largely consolidated into two behemoths: Technicolor and Deluxe. Technicolor's other holdings include Technicolor Creative Services, up the street from Paramount Pictures at Sunset and Gower. That five-story facility offers a range of post production services including editorial and color grading/DI as well as digital restoration, DVD and Blu-ray authoring, subtitling, and compression. Technicolor Digital Cinema, with several locations worldwide, offers 2D and 3D mastering, international versioning, subtitling, satellite distribution, digital key management and other services. Technicolor also acquired long-time Hollywood post production facility LaserPacific Media. Connecting all of its far-flung facilities, Technicolor also offers its TPN proprietary digital network, a fiber-optic backbone for real-time connection.

Adding Technicolor Sound Services - and on the Paramount Pictures lot - places an important, hitherto missing piece into the Technicolor's offerings. Rose pointed to the serendipities of Technicolor's current, integrated services; G.I. Joe recently mixed sound at the new Technicolor Sound Services while VFX and the DI were being done at other Technicolor locations, all of them linked in real-time via the TPN network.

Paramount Pictures' Baumberger said it best, and his words reflect the truth for Technicolor as well as his own company. "This is part of a broader strategy to create an overall ecosystem," he said. "It encourages people to come to Paramount Pictures. The more amenities we can offer, the more attractive we make ourselves to clients, especially vis-a-vis our competitors."

Attracting and keeping clients is more competitive than ever for everyone in Hollywood, as they vie not just with one another but also with facilities throughout the U.S. as well as the U.K. and other foreign destinations. It's not simply about having a global presence but also about structuring savvy partnerships. Paramount Pictures and Technicolor is just such a deal.


Photo Alan Amato
(L-R) Sound mixers Scott Millan and Greg Russell; Randy Baumberger, president, Paramount Studio Group; Frédéric Rose, CEO, Technicolor; sound mixers Terry Porter and Anna Behlmer. Photos courtesy: Alan Amato





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