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Spotlight | Bang Zoom! Studios

Animating Audio for 20 Years

When it’s time for studio owners to make some serious upgrades, they know to turn to the trusted professionals at Westlake Pro to make sure the job is done right. When Bang Zoom! Studios in Burbank needed to upgrade their 9.1 system to a Dolby Atmos 11.1.6 Home Theatrical system for mixing and rendering, Lead Audio Technical Engineer August Belfiglio contacted Westlake Professional Danny Fasold to help design, install, wire, and customize the system to their specific needs. 

We sat down with August Belfiglio at Bang Zoom! Studios to ask how their recent install went, why they’re excited to offer Atmos deliverables, and how they’ve managed to keep pumping out work through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the interview below and click here to learn more about Bang Zoom! Studios

Westlake Pro:
Hey August, thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Tell us about Bang Zoom! Studios 

August Belfiglio:
We are a recording and post production studio specializing in animated content in Burbank California. With over 15,000 sq. ft. of combined space, our facilities have eight ADR Recording Stages, six Edit Bays, five Mix Stages, and a Foley Stage. We work on everything from original animated series, animated features, dubbing, ADR for live action and video games. We have been doing it for 20 years right here in Burbank!

Westlake Pro:
We recently wrapped work upgrading your system with Atmos compatibility. Why was it important for Bang Zoom! to add Atmos to your workflow?

August Belfiglio:
With more and more clients requiring an Atmos delivery there was a significant need for an Atmos stage in house.

Westlake Pro:
What are you most excited about when it comes to working with Atmos, especially with regards to Animation?

August Belfiglio:
Animated content is a deep dive into the human imagination, so what people come up with can be pretty wild, and that’s where Atmos comes in. With the current technology and workflows to animate virtually anything you want, the ability to immerse the user in an object based sound field extends far beyond previous limitations, and allows creators to fully immerse the audience in the 
worlds they create. 

Westlake Pro:

Seeing how the addition of Atmos was an upgrade to your studio, were there any unique challenges regarding the room, acoustics, or your existing system to get Atmos integrated?

August Belfiglio:
The integration of Dolby Atmos into the existing system was actually a very painless process. Since the room was already running a Dante system with Focusrite’s RedNet products, signal flow management was a breeze. The biggest challenge was actually the hanging of ceiling speakers, you never know exactly what you’re going to encounter when rigging to existing ceilings.

Westlake Pro:
What are some key pieces of gear that make up the backbone of your new Atmos system?

August Belfiglio:
Besides the necessary RMU, 6 Focusrite HD32R make up the backbone of our system IO. We love RedNet!

Westlake Pro:
What was your experience working with Westlake Pro on this project?

August Belfiglio:
Westlake is always great to work with and for this project they were integral in getting it done on time and under budget!

Westlake Pro:
How long have you worked with Westlake Pro?

August Belfiglio:
We have been working with Westlake Pro since 2015. Shout out to Danny!

Westlake Pro:
It’s impossible to ignore the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on production for Music, Film, and TV. What changes, if any, have you had to make in order to safely navigate this and continue work when possible?

August Belfiglio:
We have almost completely migrated to a remote recording workflow, connecting talent, directors, and clients with our studio. It hasn’t been without its headaches, but very early on we really refined our process and I’m happy to say, it’s been a huge success.

Westlake Pro:
From lossy audio over Zoom to poor room acoustics, remote recording can make editing and quality control difficult. How have you been able to get around this?

August Belfiglio:
It has been a multistep approach. First we start with the talent, giving them a written guide on how to setup a DIY remote recording space in their home. We touch on everything from isolation, gear, mic techniques, room acoustics, internet stability, and remote connection software. After they are set up we then schedule an initial test and troubleshooting session. This ensures talent is comfortable and ready to go before the record session so everything runs smoothly. We use a variety of services and programs to connect talent, clients, and directors with our systems including, Source Connect, Source Connect Now, IpDTL, Zoom, Skype, Source Nexus, and Source Live LL. Since Skype and Zoom are synonymous with lossy audio, we only utilize these services for screen sharing ADR video and talent camera recording. Large discrete cast recording and loop groups are also achieved with IpDTL and a little routing magic on our end. 

Westlake Pro:
Given your success with these remote recording solutions, do you expect to continue using these workflows in the future? What benefits do remote workflows provide you and your clients?

August Belfiglio:
While I do believe most talent and clients will return to the studios, remote workflows have solidified themselves in the recording workflow and are here to stay. I think clients have already seen the flexibility to pull talent from all over the world, and I don’t expect that to go away. Working remotely allows everyone to concentrate on the creation process and not have to worry about the logistics of everyone getting together in the same space.

Westlake Pro:

Now that your Atmos system is ready to go, what are you looking forward to over the next year?

August Belfiglio:
Mixing more animated content in Atmos.

Westlake Pro:
Any exciting projects coming up that you can talk about?

August Belfiglio:
10 Episode animated series in Atmos!

Westlake Pro:
Sweet, looking forward to seeing it! Anything you’d like to say to new and returning clients?

August Belfiglio:
Atmos is quickly becoming a standard surround format reaching more consumers in their homes than ever before. With a growing number of popular Atmos soundbars facilitating ease of accessibility, Atmos is here to stay. Atmos is the best way to bring your animated series or feature to life and have that realism translate all the way to the living room.

Westlake Pro:
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today, and we’re looking forward to hearing what you and the Bang Zoom! team do with your new Atmos system!

Explore the New Atmos Mix Room at Bang Zoom!

About the Project

To meet Dolby specifications, the original placement of Bang Zoom! Studios monitors needed to be moved – which required reupholstering the walls and working with a special contractor Westlake Pro suggested. With a tight deadline and COVID-19 guidelines to adhere to, Danny and our team diligently worked to get Bang Zoom! Studios back up and running so they could continue working.

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