When Jeff Shiffman and Kate Finan of Boom Box Post approached the Westlake Pro Design Services Group for help gearing up their new post-production facility, they already had an idea of what they wanted. “This was our first project with Westlake Pro, and until now we’ve been able to feel our way through things ourselves, but we really needed the professionals on this job.” says Shiffman, co-owner and supervising sound editor at Boom Box Post.
What started as a simple list of gear soon flourished into multiple mix stages in the heart of Burbank, California. This state-of-the-art facility includes three Atmos mix stages, three 5.1 surround sound suites, eight production suites, and a full host of client amenities so that you can stay focused on the creative and true to the Boom Box Post motto. “We built three stages in the Atmos format so that when the time comes, we’re ready for the onslaught of work.” says Shiffman.
Working in tandem with the team at Boom Box Post, our Design Services Group helped turn this former commercial garage into the boutique post-production powerhouse it is today. “We had a lot of brainstorming sessions with Westlake Pro early on to make sure what we were looking for was doable. They really helped us during the COVID-19 crisis to find whatever gear was available” says Finan, co-owner and supervising sound editor.
“Westlake Pro made regular site visits with our General Contractor, our Acoustician, and our Architect to make sure that everything was in line with the progress that we thought we were making, and they gave little pointers along the way with ways we could tweak the studio to make it even better” continues Finan.
Outfitting mix stages alone can be a heady, daunting task for most people. Configuring a room for Dolby Atmos adds an extra layer of complexity, which benefits from an experienced team to ensure a streamlined workflow and perfect translation from stage to stage. Our team was able to help design a familiar, efficient system based around a Focusrite Red 16Line, Avid S3, and tunable Crown DCi amplifiers. This, coupled with a Focusrite RedNet R1 in each mix stage, made the perfect monitoring solution for the Boom Box Post team.
“One of the tenets of our studio is keeping things simple, which is why we love the Focusrite Red 16Line unit. It gives you all sorts of outputs with a really simple interface. We come from the ages of having chassis’ hooked up to your computer with lots of cards and peripherals, and we were really excited about the fact that we could hook up one device with one cable and get everything we needed for Dolby Atmos,” says Shiffman.
“The Focusrite RedNet system is the backbone of our entire mix facility. In each mix stage, we use the RedNet R1 as our monitor controller, which keeps things really simple for us. We’re able to switch between our 5.1, stereo, and Atmos mixes all right there in the controller.”
Finan also noted how integral the Avid S3 has become for the Boom Box Post team. “We love it because it keeps everything right there in front of you. We also have the Pro Tools | Dock module with an iPad for things like panning and assigning all of our own quick keys.”
But what about challenges? Is building a post-production facility during a pandemic really that easy?
“One of the biggest challenges we faced when putting together this studio was that Covid-19 had just hit, which caused slowdowns across film and TV. Luckily, animation just forged through because much of our work was already happening remotely. There were tons of green lights, we had shows on top of shows, and on top of building a studio, we were constantly working on getting the content created and making sure it was Boom Box quality.” says Finan.
As construction came to an end, the Design Services Group safely arranged to have each mix stage tuned identically to one another, allowing the Boom Box Post team to have the maximum amount of flexibility working on their projects. To top it off, the entire process was future-proofed by performing the tuning via Crown DCi amplifiers so that the room tuning can be recalled at a later time, should anything need to be adjusted.
“It was really important for us that our three Atmos mix stages be designed specifically for television and streaming animation. So we brought in an acoustician who helped us to design these rooms to be tuned exactly the same so that we can move from stage to stage. Even if you’re sitting in the back, you’re getting a great listening experience here on our mix stages.”
What came to fruition is home to a bright, creative, visionary crew of sonic architects. Boom Box Post has always been dedicated to providing clients with a wide palette of colors and a one-on-one approach to every project, which is why they needed a top-of-the-line facility ready to bring life to animated productions big and small.
“We found that a lot of post facilities tend to be pretty dark. There are not a lot of windows or light coming in. However, we wanted our space to feel fun and bright, just like the industry we work in”.
“We’re about to celebrate our eighth anniversary here at Boom Box Post. With decades of industry experience between us, this new facility is the culmination of a dream that we had starting in this business. Working with Westlake Pro has been a really incredible experience. Their staff and their support have been there every step of the way with this project, from inception through execution.”
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