Filed in: Facility in Focus

SonicPool’s “Superior” Service

November 8, 2008 01:35 | By

Since opening its new Lake Superior Room earlier this year, Hollywood-based post facility, SonicPool has seen a steady stream of work ranging from independent feature films, and TV shows to commercials.

The Lake Superior Room is built around an Avid DS/ Symphony Nitris Dual-Boot system with 15 terabytes of storage, which allows editors to use either the DS or Symphony toolset with the Avid Nitris hardware. The room offers 5.1 surround sound, and a 16-foot screen with a Sony SXRD projection system.

Jason Yanuzzi is the lead online editor and colorist at “Superior.”

“It’s capable of onlining, color correction, conforming, compositing, and titling for feature film, television shows, or marketing materials like trailers and promos,” said John Frost, co-founder of SonicPool. “We have 5.1 surround playback capabilities in there so we can also use it for client screenings. So we can do 2K, 4K and HD in there.”

The company, which started out in 2001 with one 5.1 audio suite, has grown into a 20,000- sq.-ft. post facility offering 15 SD and HD offline and online edit suites (both Avid and Apple FCP suites), two Dolby-certified theatrical mix stages and two additional mix suites, as well as complete machine room services with all the standard SD and HD decks, including HDCam SR with 4:4:4 capabilities. The company’s services include audio and video finishing, edit suite rentals, and media duplication. Additionally, the company offers its clients production office space rentals to accompany offline edit suite rentals.

“We get to work on films, TV shows, trailers, commercials, DVD behind-the-scenes stuff, you name it,” said Frost. “It’s pretty evenly spread, and of course, each market segment has its seasons, which is nice because we get to work on all these different things throughout the year and it keeps everything fresh for us.

“Our bread and butter is the finishing side, which is all the online, color correction, sound design and mixing, but we also have all the offline rental bays and office space. It makes it convenient for people. They can come in, rent some space, work off shared storage and do a TV show or a film,” said Frost. “They can do their offline here totally self-contained and of course all their finishing is right down the hall for them. If they’re a company that’s just starting out or they’re an established company that’s expanding, they can expand and contract and use our services to help them take care of some big jobs that might come in all at once.”

The company can also provide assistant editors to digitize footage as it comes in, so the primary editor can get to work.

SonicPool’s clients run the gamut of the entertainment and broadcasting industries, whose projects range from major studio releases, independent feature films, TV programs, and radio, to DVD menu sound design, TV commercials, gaming, mobile and internet projects.

Company co-founder Patrick Bird reported that filmmakers are starting to show up at the door with footage shot on RED cameras. “We’re really geared for that kind of stuff because we don’t handle physical film here,” he said. “So when people can bring in that kind of resolution, we can work at 2K and 4K directly, and then if they choose to go back to film, everything can be done in-house, from beginning to end, before the filmout.”

Recent projects have included the independent features Lonely Street, The Hustle, Chain Letter and Weather Girl as well as a spot for Ford Flex Crossovers.

One recent project was Edgar Allan Poe’s Ligeia, directed by Michael Staininger, based on the classic Edgar Allan Poe short Story. The film called for roughly 2,500 effects shots. SonicPool’s lead online editor and colorist Jason Yanuzzi handled the online and DI.

“They shot on film and then instead of having the expense of 2K, this was scanned to D5 tape,” explained Yanuzzi. “And then from there we did a full color correct on the feature and had to rebuild the editor’s effects. Normally, that would be a simple thing. But in this case, he had done about 2,500 effects in the film, everything from inverted solarized picture, where the whites become black and the blacks become white, to speed ramps, to animattes, where we were taking a performance from one actor on one side of the screen and a performance from another actor on the other side of the screen, and basically pasting those in together.

“The majority of it was done in Symphony, because it translated from Media Composer and since they were already working in 4:2:2 there wasn’t a lot of advantage to go to the DS,” he said.

Regarding the new Lake Superior room, Yanuzzi said, “The room is just fantastic, and it’s incredibly helpful to have such a big projection system that is so capable of pointing out minute errors which would be easy to miss on a much smaller monitor.”