4/2/14 - Allen Fisher performs VO for Game of Arms
Allen visited us on two separate occasions to record voice over for AMC's new reality show. Tracking was done in Studio B via a phone patch with the show's production company, Undertow Films. The premiere episode, which debuted on Feburary 25th of this year, pulled in 1 million viewers, making it AMC's most successful weeknight unscripted series premiere ever. Many know the network for its stream of hit dramas including Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and the Walking Dead, however shows like Game of Arms may signal movement towards a more diversified media portfolio for AMC in the coming years.
Allen Fisher, now a Christian Evangelist, has won 26 world championships in arm wrestling and leads the Sacramento-based team, "the Arms Benders." In addition to being a stand up guy in the studio himself, his daughter, local singer/songwriter Megan Fisher, was kind enough to step into one of the Recording Arts Center's recent video production classes to act as the musical talent.
Game of Arms airs Tuesday nights at 10pm on AMC. Learn more about Allen and the show here.
12/13/13 - Rich Redmond returns to Studio West for 'CRASH Course' Drum Clinic
11/11/13 - Alan Arkin performs ADR for Grudge Match
"A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout -- 30 years after their last match". It was a pleasure to have Alan Arkin working at Studio West this week. Alan was looping lines for the the upcoming WB release Grudge Match in Studio C with engineer Mark Kirchner and Colin Tedeschi assisting. Along with Alan Arkin, the film stars Sylvester Stallone, Robert Di Nero, Kevin Hart and Kim Basinger.
The session was an ISDN connect to WB Studios in Burbank via a Dolby Patch from Ednet in San Francisco. Sending Dialog and timecode over ISDN, Studio West and Warner Brothers locked together for the session which went off without a hitch. The technical team at Warner Brothers made the session a breeze, and Alan, who has worked at Studio West before (The Change Up), was his witty self. As usual, he was an absolute pleasure to work with - a consummate professional.
The film is slated for release in December of 2013.
Trailer available here.
IMDB page available here.
11/02/13 - Palms Drummer Aaron Harris records with Sensory Station in Studio A
Over the course of two lockout days Saturday and Sunday, Studio West manager Hunter Levy's band, Sensory Station finished tracking a song with the production help of Aaron Harris. Harris is a drummer formerly of ISIS and currently of the band Palms (which includes members of ISIS and the Deftones) as well as a part time drum tech for TOOL and The Deftones. Sensory Station is making plans to do an EP with Aaron in either December or early January 2014.
Check out the video below for a recent McDSP profile on Harris:
10/03/13 - Universal Audio Product Demo
Jerry Antonelli came by the studio to demonstrate the new Apollo 16 interface along with some of Universal Audio's classic outboard gear. Attendees had a chance to see a live demonstration of the Apollo's capabilities and ask questions.
Pictured Above: A group of attendees following the event
In addition to the Apollo 16, other gear demonstrated at the event included the LA-2A, 1176, 2-610, 6176, LA610, and 4-710d.
More information on all Universal Audio equipment and plug-ins is available at uaudio.com.
10/02/13 - Don Miguel Ruiz records audio book for Audible.com
Don Miguel Ruiz came in to record an audio book voice-over for the 20th anniversary edition of the best selling self-help book, "Chicken Soup for the Soul." A contributing writer on this latest release, Don Miguel was a pleasure to work with. For the recording I used a U-87 into the Focusrite Red 7 with very minimal compression. The audio version of the book should be available in the coming months through Audible.
Richard Dreyfuss tracks at Studio West
Our friends from RadioactiveGiant visited last month to direct Audio Looping with Richard Dreyfuss on their upcoming film release, "Killing Winston Jones". Richard Dreyfuss and Danny Glover lead an all star cast in what we think will be hands-down, one of the best films of year. Richard Dreyfuss who lives in the San Diego area is a frequent visitor to Studio West. We've been working with him for years and we have a very comfortable working relationship.
The ADR session was conducted in Studio C. Richard was seated for most of the session and we used a Sennheiser 416 shotgunin combination with a Shure Lav. Richard was brilliant as usual, in one scene wild-looping a two minute section of the film that he add-libed on set. The session ran for about two hours and everyone from RadioactiveGiant seemed very happy with the results of the session.
Colin Tedeschi and Alec Moore assisted Mark Kirchner on the looping session. The film is currently in post production. Click here for more information.
Long-suffering gym teacher Ethan is the glue that holds his eccentric family together. But when his father (Richard Dreyfuss as Winston Jones) gets locked in a bitter contest with his old rival, Washington (Danny Glover), both former phys-ed teachers, over whose name will be on the new high school gym, Ethan finds his life -- and his family -- spiraling out of control. The fact that the school's principal, Ethan's old rival for beautiful Virginia, is conniving behind the scenes to win Virginia and destroy Ethan's family, is getting on Ethan's very last nerve. But Ethan might be just the guy to snatch victory -- and Virginia -- from the jaws of defeat.
In between soaking in the sights and speaking on panels at Comic-Con Hugh Dancy, Bryan Fuller, and David Slade came up to Studio West to record commentary to the first and last episodes of season 1 for NBC's hit TV series "Hannibal". All three of the actors were seated in our Studio B booth viewing the episodes as they talked about the production and memorable moments of the series. Studio West Manager and Engineer Hunter Levy said he used 3 Shure SM7s through a Focusrite Red-3 pre-amp with no compression. "We had a great time listening to some of the different techniques they used for filming the show and some of the obstacles they had to overcome on different sets". The commentaries will be part of the season box set available on DVD and Blue Ray.
07/18/13 - Studio West welcomes Comi-Con International to San Diego! "Hannibal" and "Bender" visit our facilities.
Helping support TV & Film productions and actors visiting San Diego for Comic-Con, Studio West continues it's long history of participation in San Diego's international summer conference. This year we provided audio services for NBC and POP (Pacific Ocean Post) on Hannibal and Transformers. Studio West specializes in ISDN, Phone Patch and Dialog to Picture (ADR Looping) services.
John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time, Gears of War) was in recording dialog for another installment of a sure-to-be summer blockbuster. He's not officially announced on the project yet, so we're keeping our mouth shut. Needless to say, it was a fun session for engineer Hunter Levy.
Audio Engineer and Studio Manager Hunter Levy
with Voice Actor John DiMaggio in Studio C.
07/22/13 - Choirs tracking at Studio West.
The musical group Choirs, the self-proclaimed “original cover band” from Bakersfield, California recently spent a week in Studio A putting down tracks for their upcoming album.
This could-be comedy troupe consists of Cass on drums, Michael on bass, Tyler and Dax on guitars, and Joel on voice. This is the third time Choirs has recorded with engineer Josh Mallit, but it's their first experience here at Studio West. According to Joel, they chose Studio West because they trusted Mallit and his choice of studios. When he mentioned Studio West they felt it was undoubtedly the perfect fit of gear, room, vibe and engineer for their project. Josh Mallit has been a friend of Studio West since early 2007 when he helped manage our downtown San Diego classroom facility (Audio Education offered via The Recording Arts Center). The heavy alternative quintet brought great vibes and good humor into the studio over the past week. We're excited to hear the album’s end result, keep an eye out for the release date sometime in Winter 2013.
Choirs tracks at Studio West
Kiko Cibrian tracks at Studio West Arturo, Abraham, and Kiko in Studio B
Originally from Torreon, Coahuila, Batarse is working on his second album and currently has his song "Perdido" on the top ten in Mexico. In this additional video clip, Kiko speaks (in Spanish) about the tracking of the vocals for "Perdido". The signal chain tracked in our Studio A for Abraham's vocal was a Korby Kat System U65 Capsule to a Neve Mic pre on the BCM10 to a Summit Audio TLA compressor.
Kiko has produced and written for such noted artists as Luis Miguel, Christian Castro, Reik, Jesse & Joy and Jesus Adrian Romero. Find out more about Kiko Cibrian at: www.kikocibrianproductions.com
Mr. Gregory Page is back once again working at Studio West with engineer Kellogg Boynton on a new collection of songs including a few Irish inspired tracks. Page's Dublin born Grandfather Dave Page played the Irish bagpipes and in what Oprah would call 'A Full Circle Moment', Gregory recorded this past week with Mr. Eric Rigler on Irish Pipes. If you have seen the movie Braveheart or Titanic then you've heard his beautiful playing.
Gregory and Eric - Picture by Eva Holland
This session was as magical as it was emotional for all those who had the honor of participating. The album began in March when Gregory and his longtime time grammy award winning friend Jason Mraz recorded guitar and vocal tracks at Mraz's studio. Page took these recordings to Studio West where Peter Dyson (co-producer) along with Kellogg Boynton began to add the recordings. An eclectic collection of new original tunes (including an 11-piece authentic ragtime band) are expected for release in October of 2013.
Gregory Page wins Best Jazz Album at the San Diego Music Awards
Local San Diego favorite Gregory Page recorded, mixed and mastered his latest release, Shine, Shine, Shine, at Studio West and went on to win Best Jazz Album at this year's SDMAs. From his website: "Shine, Shine, Shine...the new original 22-piece big band album recorded live at Studio West with the Brad Steinwehe Jazz Orchestra (Aretha Franklin, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra) was entirely funded by his fans around the world and is exclusively available on his website."
San Diego Studio and Producer's Sampler
In March, 2012 Listenlocalsd asked San Diego area songwriters to
write a song to the title "Every Second" as a songwriting game.
Forty nine songwriters accepted the challenge, artists ranging in age from 16 to 60, and in musical styles from soul, pop, acoustic, jazz, Americana and rock. Then, over a dozen area producers each selected
one song by one artist (with no identifying information, just an .mp3 file) to produce.
Marti Amado, who works out of Studio West, chose two artists' songs
to produce; one track from Patricia Tacon Jetton and another from Paul Prince. "I thought this would be a great chance to meet artists I wouldn't ordinarily meet," said Amado. "Both artists are very talented and brought great voices and songs to the table. I had ideas for production for both songs the first time I heard the rough demos, even though they are such different musical styles."
Pictured above, L-R: Patricia, Marti and engineer Mike Harris.
Pictured right, from top left clockwise: mixing engineer
Kellogg Boynton, mastering engineer Caleb Keiter, Marti and Paul
Click the links below to hear "before" and "after" versions of the songs.
Studio West Does On-Site Record at the 2nd Annual Open Hearts Foundation Benefit
Mark Kirchner, Alfonso Wong and Henrique Landim were asked back to Malibu this year to do an on-site record of the Open Hearts Foundation Benefit.
Henrique's notes from the field:
Preparation began one week before the event took place in Jane and James Seymour's Malibu mansion. We were asked to be ready to track around 48 inputs. The first step was to prepare a check list containing all the equipment and different kinds of cables we would need for our mobile Pro Tools HD rig - always making sure we included some spares. Some of the things we included on the list were:
- Two 16 input Digi 192s
- Three 8 input Digi 19's
- Five 8 input DigiPres
- Two extra 8 input PreAmps (Millennia and PreSonus)
- One Splitter
- One Magma chassi with an HD Core Card and an Accel Card
- One Apple Mac Pro
- A pair of Monitor Speakers, and
- All cables needed to connect all those pieces of equipment
Two days before the event we put the whole rig together for a test run. We tested all the equipment, all the cables, and all the spares. We also recorded about 2 hours of silence into Pro Tools 10 just to make sure it was all working and storing properly.
On Saturday morning we arrived at Studio West at around 6:30 a.m. to load all the equipment into the truck. After that, we departed! Arriving at Jane and James Seymour's place, we started setting up our gear in a separate designated room, by their tennis court, where the event was taking place. Because we had a Splitter with us, we were receiving the signal directly from the stage, just like the Front of House team. It took us around two and a half hours to set up, and then a couple more hours to do the sound check. After getting all the levels we needed, we put Pro Tools on record for a couple more hours to double-check that the rig was working correctly and the files were being stored properly. Then we were ready for the event, which started at 7:00 p.m. During the event, since we had everything already set, we only had to monitor levels and pretty much enjoy the performances of Mark Cohn, LP and, of course, the great Glen Campbell who played an awesome and unexpected six song set! The event seemed to be a success, the performances were memorable, and we've got it all "on tape" :) It was a great experience for us to be a part of an event of this proportion, and it was a lot of fun. I sure hope there are more to come!
Navy SEALs Storm Studio West for Act of Valor
In late 2010, director and Bandito Brothers' co-founder Scott Waugh came to San Diego to work with four of the real-life Navy SEALs that star in Act of Valor. We completed ADR to picture over ISDN with Smart Post Sound in September of that year and are now looking forward to catching the film's debut! Opening February 24, 2012, Act of Valor presents an unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking staring a group of active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs in a film like no other. Read more about the project here.
Jenni Barber Loops for NBC's Smash!
NBC's new musical drama, Smash, premiers on Monday, February 6, starring Katherine McPhee and Deborah Messing. While the premier is still a little more than a month away, we got our own little sneak peek last week when actress Jenni Barber visited Studio C to loop lines for the show. It was an ISDN session with The Soundtrack Group in NYC. Pictured below with Jenni are Amy Ziegelman and Canon Smith of Studio West, who were on hand to assist with the session...
Jenni is currently starring in Some Lovers at The Old Globe in Balboa Park, and she had us rolling on the floor with her hilarious sing-along to McPfee's cover of Gretchen Wilson's Redneck Woman! We wish Jenni the best of luck with the show!
321 Stereo Records 6-Song EP in Studio B
321 Stereo was in the studio this past month recording tracks for their upcoming EP release, Lights & Late Nights. Their upcoming CD Release party is scheduled for Friday, December 16th, at Stage Bar & Grill from 7-10pm. The 6-song EP was recorded at Studio West and Capricorn Studios. Four of the songs were tracked and mixed with Kellogg Boynton here at Studio West, and the entire album was also mastered here by Caleb Keiter. Producer/Arranger Marti Amado produced the track Find Your Place with the band. Caleb noted, after the mastering session, "It's really cool stuff they're doing, very much a dance/rock kind of thing. Very good energy!" 321 Stereo will also be opening for Endoxi at the Endoxi Album Release Party on January 28th at The Griffin.
Dora's Diego Visits Studio West!
Jacob Madrano was in the studio this past month voicing lines for his character Diego from Dora the Explorer. We connected via ISDN with Nickelodeon in New York City and Jacob did what he does best. He's a real professional in the booth!
Studio West and San Diego Drum Lessons Co-Host "Drum Clinic with Rich Redmond"
Studio West and San Diego Drum Lessons will be hosting a Drum Clinic with Nashville session legend Rich Redmond on December 2nd, 2011 in Studio A. Sponsors include DW Drum Workshop, Sabian and Remo. Doors open at 6:30pm and the show starts at 7:30pm. The ticket price is $30 and space is limited. To order tickets, call us at 858-592-9497 or send us an email.
Rich Redmond is the drumming powerhouse behind Nashville superstar Jason Aldean, whose latest album is currently Number 4 on the charts. Redmond has played on all of Jason's Platinum selling albums, and played live in front of over a million people on tour this year. Rich is also a very talented educator, producer and writer, and his enthusiasm and passion for his work comes across in everything he does.
The drum clinic will be an intimate event for drummers, teachers and fans, and a unique opportunity see a first call session drummer up close, in a studio environment. The evening will involve performance (demonstration of techniques, playing along with backing tracks), Q & A, and a chance to mingle with dozens of other drummers and drum enthusiasts. There will also be a raffle with a chance to win drum and studio related prizes.
Scott Gordon's EP Recorded and Produced at Studio West
Singer-songwriter Scott Gordon is getting ready to release his 6 song EP, Believin' In Love, recorded and produced at Studio West. He will perform selections from the CD, which will also be available for purchase, at the Alley Cat Art Festival in East County San Diego on Friday, October 14, at 7 pm on the center stage. Marti Amado arranged and produced the CD, Caleb Keiter recorded and Kellogg Boynton IV and Caleb mixed at Studio West. The single from the new EP, also titled Believin' in Love, will play on KPRI Radio's Homegrown Radio Hour, along with an interview with Scott on Sunday, October 9 at 8:30 p.m. PST. Scott is also slated to appear on KUSI TV's morning show on Monday, October 10. Listen to Believin' in Love. Read the article from the San Diego Union Tribune here.
Captain America Video Game Trailer
Studio West strikes big completing the soundtrack and mix to Sega/Marvel's game trailer for Captain America! Brought in again by our favorite San Diego based animation studio, Pendulum Studios, our own Gary Miranda completed the audio for this 6-week game trailer project in both Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound. Read more about the project and Gary's experience on our blog.
This year we're celebrating our 40th anniversary!
Pictured above, left to right: Current studio owners Amy Dyson, Mark Kirchner and Peter Dyson; Peter with original owner Lee Carroll. The San Diego Union Tribune has written an article on the studio's history and future - check it out here!
Viva Brother in Studio A
Slough, UK, band Viva Brother was in Studio A last week to record voiceover cuts for Slacker Radio, where they will have a featured station. They also performed a 3-song acoustic set for Slacker and our crew. Watch their live performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live here!
Actors Record ADR for Feature Film
Alan Arkin and his wife, Suzanne, visited us last week for ADR on the soon to be released Universal Picture, The Change Up. Alan and Suzanne are in San Diego visiting from New Mexico where they live. Both Alan and his wife have parts in the film and both were an absolute pleasure to work with! The film, which stars Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, is slated for an August 5th release, and is described as a comedy in which a married guy switches bodies with his best friend in order to woo his co-worker.
Anoushka Shankar Mixes Latest Album in Studio A
Anoushka Shankar recorded her newest album, Traveller, in recording studios around the world but chose Studio West and staff engineer Kellogg Boynton to mix the record! Her sixth full length album focuses on her stellar sitar work and features guest appearances by world renowned players Shubha Mudgal, Concha Buika and Pepe Habichuela. The flamenco inspired album was produced by Grammy Award winner Javier Limon. Traveller is scheduled for an autumn 2011 release on Deutsche Grammophon.
Anoushka and Javier came to Studio West earlier this year to mix the project. Below, Kellogg details some of the highlights from the sessions held in Studio A from January 19th through January 27th:
There were 11 songs total on the album. As far as work flow goes, Javier brought in a drive with all of the Pro Tools sessions recorded at 24/96. I then spread all of the instruments across the SSL and many of the songs had a full 64 faders up. Each song varied in track count but the average was about 80 tracks a song. Some instrument groups were submixed back through the console when it was needed in order to get all the tracks showing up at the desk. Anoushka's sitar mix chain was an API 5500 for EQ, a Manley Vari Mu for compression and a Bricasti M1 for reverb (the best sounding reverb ever in my opinion!) All vocals went through a Tube Tech PE-1C for EQ and an 1176 or Tube Tech CL-1B depending on the vocalist. There was also a bit of subtractive EQ and multiband compression for dynamic frequency control being done in Pro Tools with the Waves RenEQ and the Waves C4. Vocals also saw the Bricasti M1 for reverb. I used the 1272 line amps and the EQ on the BCM-10 for the piano to keep it dark and ominous which was one of their requests. Most of the other instruments saw onboard processing such as EQ and compression from the SSL. Across the mix buss on the SSL I inserted a pair of Pultec EQP-1As for a bit of added low frequency and a Focusrite Red 3 for compression with about 1-3 db of gain reduction for a bit of "sonic glue." It helps bring everything forward in the mix, which I love. As far as plug-ins go, it was pretty minimal. There were a few EQs and comps here and there but mainly what I would reach for were effects that I couldn't get in the analog domain like the Waves RBass. Anoushka really loved what it did to the low end of the tablas and cajon. The output of the console was then recorded through a Burl B2 A/D converter back into Pro Tools at 24/96. I think the input was lowered to around -14 so I could really hit the transformers hard on the way in, adding an extra bit of sonic character to the mix. We averaged mixing about one and a half songs a day. We would finish one in the afternoon, start another one and get it close to being done and come in the next day and finish it, and repeat the process. There were no overdubs during the mixing sessions.
The coolest part of the project was the project itself. Just being asked to mix the record was an honor. The style and genre was definitely different than I usually get here in San Diego, but it was an interesting challenge and I think the project turned out sounding fantastic!
On a side note, Anoushka and I went to the same high school! She was a senior when I was a freshman, but we didn't know each other at the time. Small world!
Thor: God of Thunder Video Game Trailer
"And know that whoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall posses it's power! "
Studio West is proud to have partnered yet again with our friends at Pendulum Studios on the release of the game trailer for Thor: God of Thunder. Pendulum, a rising force in the animation industry located here in San Diego produced the two and half minute spot for Sega/Marvel. Quickly becoming known for their spectacular life-like facial animation, every piece they produce seems to be exponentially cooler than the last!
"We were involved from the very beginning of the project," says Mark Kirchner of Studio West. "We've been working with Pendulum for a couple of years now and we have a pretty good understanding of their workflow. We get roughly timed out animatics about a month before the project is due. With that we're able to sort out musical cues and dialog. It gives us time to work out effect bed concepts for each individual scene." At Studio West, Sound Designer Gary Miranda took the lead on the project and produced realistic atmospheres and thunderous sound effects for the spot. "The music and dialog were provided in rough form initially," says Miranda, "so a fair amount of work went into adjusting and polishing the music edits and cleaning the dialog. The folks over at Pendulum are really good at what they do. The complexity and detail of their animation rivals that of companies 20 times their size. What this ultimately means for us in the audio department is that final renders don't get to us until the very last minute. It's a hazard of the industry (long, long nights), but we wouldn't have it any other way. In the case of Thor, we didn't actually mix to a final render. Several of the last shots left to render did not affect audio, so we were able to mix and print stems from an almost complete version of the trailer."
The icing on the cake is the recent news that this video game trailer will be included on the Thor DVD release in United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Pretty cool!
Other projects Studio West has completed with Pendulum Studios include cinematic and game trailers for Red Faction: Guerilla, Singularity and Iron Man 2. We're happy to say that the relationship continues and soon after the release of Thor, well, you'll have to wait and see what comes next....Stay tuned for details!
Click here to view the trailer.
Solomon in Studio C
Solomon and engineer Ian Sutton take a break from mixing in Studio C.
The musical journey of rising pop star and New York based producer/songwriter Solomon hasn’t exactly been a typical one. Born in San Diego to a half Puerto-Rican, half African-American family, he has had to live through some of life’s hardest challenges. Solomon moved to the east coast to write for Def Jam records in 2009 and currently lives in New York City. And although he collaborates with some of the hottest DJs on the east coast, Solomon does most of his vocal tracking and mixing here on the west coast. We've enjoyed having his music oozing through the door jams of Studio C, and wish him all the best on his summer tour! Look for Solomon in San Diego and San Francisco clubs this June and July.
Check out more of Solomon's music here.
Avid's "Hear What You've Been Missing" Tour Stop
On Thursday, April 28, Avid's Jon Connolly stopped by for the evening to demo Pro Tools 9 paired with HD|Native. Local audiophiles filled Studio A to learn new and more flexible ways of working with Pro Tools HD 9 software and the performance advantages of using Avid hardware and software together. Our thanks to Mike Krewitsky of San Diego Professional Sound and Music and all the folks at Avid for making this a fun and informative evening!
Open Hearts Foundation Inaugural Event
Four hundred people attended the event that was held at the private residence of award-winning actress, artist and philanthropist Jane Seymour and her husband, director, producer and writer, James Keach. The Open Hearts Foundation, founded by Jane Seymour, is a nonprofit charity established to raise funds to enrich the lives of children in the areas of health, arts, sports and education. The Foundation’s goal is to bring the Open Heart movement into communities worldwide by providing funds to children’s charitable organizations. The evening was hosted by CNN Anchor Christi Paul and included musical performances by William Joseph, Katharine McPhee and Jakob Dylan.
The 48 channel record was a last minute request to Studio West. We received the call for help two days before the event. Making things a little more interesting was the severe weather that was pounding the West Coast that weekend. Record low temperatures and thunderstorms didn't dampen the event turnout, but did knock out the main generator in the middle of the auction which was after dinner and held prior to the night's musical performances.
Fortunately, the power that went down temporarily was feeding lighting, so the sound-side of
things was not affected. There were a few moments during Jakob Dylan's performance when we could hear the rain on the tent roof - it sounded like white noise and it threw us for a loop momentarily during that performance. In the end, the event was a huge success raising money
and awareness for children's charities. Our thanks and support go out to Jane, James and their foundation.
Click here to listen to tracks from the event.
Engineers' Extracurricular Activities
Gary Miranda and Mark Kirchner got a chance to chat with the folks at POST Magazine about what it's like to work on video game audio. One of the questions asked was: "What are some of the hurtles you face in doing sound design and scoring for games?" In our case, one of the biggest challenges is the ever-changing duration. A few seconds added here, a few frames removed there, this phrase added here, and so on. These changes can happen right up to the moment the project is due - so you learn to expect that they're going to happen and you roll with it. It's actually part of what makes audio for games such a challenge. (Stay tuned for a link once the article has been published.)
Kellogg Boynton's new mixing site, The Mix Factory Online, is up and running! Drop by to listen to samples and get a quote for your project.
Kidnap + Rescue Voice Over and Dialog Recording
Congratulations to Brad Barker, Halo Corporation and the folks at Go Go Luckey for a successful launch of Kidnap + Rescue on January 29th. Over 1 million viewers for the pilot episode - way to go!! Brad has been a frequent visitor recording all of the show's voice over dialog at Studio West. Thes new series uses actual footage, first-hand accounts and dramatic re-creations to tell the stories of kidnap victims and their heroic rescuers (10 pm, Discovery).
Kidnap + Rescue is a provocative new series about kidnapping and the rescuers with the courage to go where no one else can - risking violent reprisal to reclaim innocent victims, inside our borders and beyond. The first episode of Kidnap + Rescue features HALO Corporation, a San Diego-based security firm founded by Brad Barker and his team of former Special Ops, National Security and Intelligence personnel. Together they work to provide security and humanitarian aid along the U.S./Mexico border. This episode tells the story of two kidnappings to which HALO responds. Watch video.
The X Games in Studio C
Chanauk Records Debut EP
San Diego-based heavy rock band Chanauk recorded their debut EP in Studio A last week. The band chose Kellogg Boynton IV as their recording engineer, based on his reputation and extensive Pro Tools expertise. Here’s what the band had to say about the recording process:
“While most engineers use a direct signal for recording, Kellogg utilized a collection of microphones that gave me a great sound - big, growly and thick, it really provides a solid foundation for our songs.” -Rob Jones, bassist
“The best equipment combined with Kellogg’s knowledge at the helm enabled me to really dial in great clean and overdriven tones. This was definitely the most comfortable and non-intrusive recording experience I’ve ever had.” -Tyler Alvord, guitarist
“Kellogg was a very compassionate and welcoming engineer. It really helped having an engineer that understands the difficulty of having to record first out of the whole band. I also didn’t expect to be able to get such a great sound from my kit, which is optimized more toward a live setting.” -Nic Gentilella, drummer
“I love recording guitars at Studio West because they always turn out professional, especially compared to recording at home. You know you’re at an awesome studio when the studio owner’s wife brings you pastries in the morning.” -Hunter Levy, singer/guitarist
Plain White T's Record in Studio A for Slacker Radio
This past Friday Slacker Radio brought Plain White T's into Studio A to do some voiceover recording for their personalized radio station. The band performed a 3-song acoustic set for an intimate gathering of 40 fans, closing with their biggest hit "Hey There Delilah". The session was also streamed live over Slacker Radio and recorded for a potential future broadcast.
The five-member band brought in three acoustic guitars and a ukulele, and shakers and tambourines for the percussionist. All of the instruments and voices were recorded in to Pro Tools HD 8 at 24 bit/96Khz and returned to Studio A's SSL 4064E Console for mixdown. Each vocalist sang through an SM7b microphone except for lead singer Tom Higgenson, who sang through a U87 into a Teletronix LA-2A. Every microphone was routed through a Neve 1073 Preamp before being sent into Pro Tools.
Studio West works with Sprout/PBS and Pat Monahan of Train
You know him as the unmistakable voice of Train, and now your kids will know him as the voice of Driver Dan. Monahan was picked to re-voice the lead character in Sprout's new kids show targeted at teaching preschoolers the values of sharing, listening, and singing. The show was originally produced in the UK, and the folks at Sprout decided they wanted to replace the British voice of Driver Dan with an American voice. When asked how he was picked for the lead, Pat replied that the producers really loved the connection between the train in the show and his band Train.
Train was playing shows in San Diego just prior to leaving the country for Spain and their current European tour. The folks from Sprout/PBS contacted us about arranging time for the weekend sessions but we were completely booked. It was critical that they get Pat into the studio while he was in in San Diego. To solve the problem, we actually ended up booking time at another studio in town and brought all the equipment needed for the two days of looping sessions. The hardware consisted of adding an Avid Mojo to the studios existing Pro Tools system. We set up viewing monitors for both Pat in the booth and the engineer and producer in the control room. The sessions were sent out from Philadelphia earlier in the week and prepped ahead of time at Studio West. In all, it was a very productive weekend for Pat and Driver Dan.
Click here for more on Pat and Driver Dan.
Matt Costa Records Voiceover for Slacker Radio
Singer/songwriter Matt Costa was in Studio C recently, telling stories and talking about his musical influences. We captured every word for Slacker Radio, so now Matt's fan's can listen to his songs and find out about their origins, too!
Primo Post Projects of 2010...So Far!
Olivia - Nickelodeon
RED - DC Entertainment
MTV’s Made reality series
Driver Dan - Sprout, PBS TV
Dora the Explorer - Nickelodeon
Star Wars, The Clone Wars - Lucas Arts
Star Wars, The Old Republic - Lucas Arts
Into the Wormhole - Science Channel
Terriers - FX Network
The Big C - Showtime TV
Iron Man 2 video game trailer
Richard Dreyfuss in Piranha 3D
Olympic Snowboarder Mason Aguirre for Nike
NBA Hall of Fame Announcer Eddie Doucette
Dettol commerial series for Angel Sound Studios, London
A Way With Words (75 Episodes!) for NPR Radio
Straw Dogs – Screen Gems; pre-production for musical score with composer Larry Groupe’
Artist Paula Prophet Hits #7 on the UK Soul Chart
Pop/R&B artist and songwriter Paula Prophet (San Diego) recently finished a six song EP "From Me to You" at Studio West. Paula's label, Pacific Coast Jazz, released the EP's songs via digital distribution. Last month, the title cut was #7 on the UK Soul Chart, a radio program airing in the UK and hosted by James Lewis. Paula was also a featured artist in Tunisia! Congrats to Paula, the soulful songstress. Marti Amado arranged and produced the EP with arranging/production assistance from Allan Phillips. Engineer Caleb Keiter recorded the project and Kellogg Boynton mixed at Studio West. Mastering was done by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab. Click here to listen to "That Man", or listen to Paula's music on her site.
Eva Alexander Records at Studio West
Emerging artist Eva Alexander (San Diego) finished a three-song EP (all originals) here at Studio West in late August and she's already generating a buzz with her music. Two of the tunes, "Let's Roll" and "Make My Day" have received airplay on San Diego radio stations, Sophie 103.7, owned by CBS, and KPRi 102.1. Click here or Visit Sophie 103.7 to hear an audio take of "Let's Roll". Marti Amado arranged and produced the project, Caleb Keiter was tracking engineer and Kellogg Boynton was mixing engineer. Eva has recently been invited to perform in a ReverbNation showcase in Florida later this year; congrats, Eva!
Studio West Featured in the August 2010 Edition of MIX Magazine
Follow this link read a write-up about Studio West in MIX Magazine. Owner Peter Dyson was interviewed about the recent renovations throughout the facility. The new look reflects an increased interest in audio training, growth for game audio in San Diego, and our desire to be a leader in post-production sound for picture.
Taylor Swift in Studio A....well, sort of.
Staff engineer Kellogg Boynton recently recorded the UCSD Tritones in Studio A for Taylor Swift’s performance track at the 2010 ACM Awards where she won Album of the Year for her latest release Fearless. The Tritones were in studio live while Taylor and her producer, Nathan Chapman, listened in and made suggestions via ISDN. Kellogg then mixed the choir recording into previously recorded tracks and did some additional audio sweetening. Taylor’s production team was so impressed with our studio and with Kellogg that they invited him to attend the dress rehearsal and performance in Las Vegas on April 18th.
Ironman Game Trailer Mixed In 5.1 Surround Sound
The 5.1 sound design and mix for Sega's Iron Man 2 game trailer was completed last month by Studio West. Starting from scratch, with only dialog supplied from the mocap stage, our sound design team produced the music, sound design and 5.1 mix for this 2:30 game trailer. We worked with this same animation studio last year to do 17 minutes of in-game cutscene for Volition's Red Faction 2, and we're happy that they continue to call on us! Sound design was completed by Brandon Papsidero while Gary Miranda handled all scoring and the final mix.
Studio C Upgrade
We've just upgraded and re-opened Studio C and can't wait to show it off! Contact us to find out about our rates and specials!
Studio B is Online!
Studio B is up and running with a shiny new ICON worksurface and everyone is raving about how great the room sounds. Our audio engineering school, The Recording Arts Center is now offering ICON mixer courses. We've also started work on Studio C and should be complete with everything by the end of the year. Please pardon our construction while we work to make StudioWest even more beautiful for you!
Local band Seenless, completed their second record in Studio A. San Diego local Larry Robinson stopped by to do a tune with his musical son, Evan Robinson (War Stories) and James Woodard came in to mix music into the soundtrack for his children's book, When Rebecca Woogie Came to Town, a very cute story about a young girl who discovers she can play music and is a "cool cat with crazy fingers." Studio C has seen the likes of Richard Thomas for Mercedes, Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond) for her movie Another Harvest Moon, Emily Gray for Nickelodeon, and pro skater Chad Bartie for X Games.
Local singer/songwriter Paul Cannon finished his latest EP. SD band My Family locked out days to complete their full record release. They hired Mike Cooper (Transfer, Hyena) to play drums on their entire record. We can always find the right players for you if you need studio musicians! Also, one of the nation's most established Irish/ American folk bands, Skelpin, is close to finishing their next full release with engineer/producer, Alan Sanderson (The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Weezer).
Local Film Mix Wraps at Studio West - Well Done Hits the Festival Circuit
Local San Diego film producers Amy Boles and Kyle Wagner recently finished their second film Well Done at Studio West of San Diego. Shot and edited locally, it seemed a good fit to have them stay in the area for the audio post and the final mix.
Much of the film takes place in a working restaurant's kitchen. With hood and fan noise present almost all the time, as well as periodic kitchen noises happening in the background during the shoot, it was nearly impossible to use production dialog for about 60% of the film. Because of this, we decided early on to replace all dialog from the kitchen scenes, and this eventually led to replacing all the dialog in the film. "I think there may have been two or three lines that we used from original production sound", said Mark Kirchner, the film mixer. The actors came into the studio over a period of three weeks and all the principal actors parts were re-recorded. Most of the background audio was also replaced thoughout the film. In all, we spent close to 150 hours in audio post. We're very happy with the final mix and we think the client is too. "It's really amazing what artful sound design can do for a film. I had read that before, but now I'm a believer", says Amy Boles of the finished mix. Primary dialog recording (ADR), Foley and Sound Design were completed by Gary Miranda and the mix was done by Mark Kirchner. Interns of the studio and students from The Recording Arts Center helped with the Foley recording on the three month project. Thanks to Brandon Puda, Edgar Robledo and Craig Olson for their help. For more on the film, check out... http://www.bluegradient.org/movies/WellDone/production.html
Internationally re-nowned producers Kiko Cibrian and Alan Sanderson have both done work here over the last few months with various clients. Tim pyles, DJ for The Local Show on 94/9 stopped by to do a "Pyles Session" with local band Worthy Gubbins. Local artists Allegra, bluesman Johnny V, and Josh Damigo with producer Jeremy Rubilino were in studio recently. Plus, actress Susanna Thompson from the NBC series Kings has been in studio to do dialog for a handful of episodes.
Love-In Recorded by Studio West
Love-In, the theatrical musical celebration of The Summer of Love, was recorded by Studio West at the Birch North Park Theater in San Diego over four evenings in September of '08. The HD show is now available in DVD format and features electrifying live performances by legendary artists interwoven with rare historic footage. 128 tracks were required to capture the show each night. While the visual element of the show was edited in Los Angeles, the massive audio project was assembled at Studio West and premixed for ADR, vocal and instrumental overdubs. Editing and overdubs took the better part of 3 months. The show is mixed in Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound. Tony Award-winning Broadway star Ben Vereen takes viewers on an exciting musical journey through the explosive 1960's. The DVD contains performances featuring Grammy Award-winning guitarist Eric Johnson, Jesse Colin Young, Peter & Gordon, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Vince Martell (Vanilla Fudge), Earl Thomas, Kartik Seshadri and the late, great Buddy Miles in his final recorded performance. For more on the DVD, check out... http://loveinthemusical.com/
Studio West: Serving Your Audio Production Needs for Video Games, Film, TV and Radio!
We recently finished sound design and 7.1 Surround Sound mixing for 13 minutes of in-game movie for a major video game developer. The cut scenes were designed and animated by a local San Diego animation studio. With Mark Kirchner supervising the audio project at Studio West, intern Brandon Papsldero took the lead with help from intern Gary Miranda on Foley. During the seven week project we maxed out the HD 5 system in Studio C on several of the sequences ending up well over 150 tracks of sound design and foley. We were also asked to complete editing and mixing of dialog stems for localization in Russian, Spanish, French, German and Italian. In the end, the animation turned out looking fantastic and the client was very happy with our sound design and final mixes. We've got two more film projects in the pipeline. If you're based in the San Diego area and you produce video games, television, film or radio spots, we'd love to have you stop by for a tour of our recently upgraded facilities. Ask for Peter or Mark for more on our audio post production facilities and audio to picture.
Studio West partnered with XETV San Diego 6 – New Home of the CW, San Diego City Beat, KPRI Radio/The Homegrown Hour and 91X Radio to promote a city-wide music contest for an original song about San Diego – the Your Song for San Diego Contest. The winning song will be used by XETV as a theme song for San Diego 6 and the prize package for winning writer(s) includes $2500 of studio time at Studio West, radio air-play and appearances on SD 6 TV. Original songs may be submitted in person or by mail, on a CD, between 5:00 am, October 27th, 2008 and 5:00 pm, January 30th, 2009 (PST). The winner will be announced in February, 2009. For more details or to download an official registration form, visit: www.SanDiego6.com.
Freedom Sessions winner, Circa Now, have finished their latest track to be included on the next Staring at the Sun local San Diego artist compilation. L.A. rock band Sturgeon just mixed their record with on staff engineer Kellogg Boynton. Young up-and-coming songwriter, Luke Walton, is back recording some more tracks, and the horn section from local heroes Slightly Stoopid were here recording tracks for Apollo 8.
We have recently begun a relationship with the folks from The Ex List, a TV show soon to launch on CBS.
The Jazz Ensemble, a project showcasing San Diego's most gifted youth, finished their album project with engineer Caleb Keiter. Local pop/punk band Radio Racer finished their latest single here and is planning on coming back soon.
Studio West owner and drummer Peter Dyson finally found some time to record some tracks with his English buddies. Congratulations, Peter!
San Diego Music Awards!
Congratulations to all nominees including our own studio manager, Astra Kelly, who's nominated in the "Best Acoustic" category! Vote for all your favorite local talents now. Click their logo to vote.
San Diego rock band CircaNow will be coming in soon to record after winning two days of studio time from local band competition, "The Freedom Sessions." Bands performed and the winner was chosen by a panel of judges at Canes on August 6th. Staff enginner Kellogg Boynton was one of those judges...they even dragged him up onto the stage!
Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar, Olivia Harrison, engineer Paul Hicks and crew locked out two days in Studio C for a listening session. Keep an eye out for their upcoming live DVD release in surround sound! Songwriters Nathan James and Erick Macek, metal band Mordium, and punk band Seenless all finished recording with us this past week. Other sessions of note include voiceover sessions for NPR, upcoming film My Life in Ruins (Richard Dreyfuss) and Trading Spaces (Paige Davis).
NBC along with Holden Production Group booked Studio West's post room, Studio C, to voice and mix The US Open Challenge, a celebrity golf event played at Torrey Pines a week prior to the US Open. Celebs included Tony Romo, Justin Timberlake and Matt Lauer of The Today Show. The marathon 26-hour session started with NBC announcers Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller coming in early to add prerecorded commentary for the event. An evening of mixing followed and the final mixes were driven back to the NBC compound at Torrey Pines, laid back to tape and flown to New York to get into the broadcast cue. The hour-long show aired on NBC in HD one hour before the opening of the final round of the US Open.
Local artists Nathan James and Erick Macek have both recently begun album projects in Studio A. Dayton Hicks continues laying down tracks for his upcoming release. Local band Christopher, Cole and Campbell start their demo this evening with production assistance from Astra Kelly. Christina Einsel, an upcoming singer/songwriter from Nashville finished her record with in-house producer Marti Amado and a band of pro San Diego session musicians. Richard Dreyfuss is in Studio C recording voiceover to play the role of Moses for a forthcoming audio release of the Bible. Other sessions in C include voiceovers for Comedy Central and BBC, ADR for Paramount Pictures/Marvel Comics forthcoming Iron Man film and editing for episodes of Blue Planet.
Dion Graham (The Wire) was in this week recording voiceover for The First 48. Also in Studio C, post sessions for Starship Dave a film out soon via 20th Century Fox, and Cartel. And San Diego's Mayor, Jerry Sanders, stopped by to do a session just moments ago! Local artists DJ Marx, Candice Graham, Goodnight Caulfield, Chris Fitzsimmons, and Josh Franks are all working on record projects in Studio A right now.
Studio West and The Recording Arts Center are sponsoring the KPRI Homegrown Live concert series. The first concert was a smash success! Congratulations to Ken Rahn for winning the studiotime and to Chris Leyva (Blizzard) who won the Pro Tools plug ins and a discounted Pro Tools training class!
Orange County rock band Using Gray finshed tracking their record after two weeks of lock-outs in Studio A; they'll be back to mix soon. We are proud to have A Way With Words in Studio C every Friday recording their radio show for KPBS. Local producer and musician Jeff Pekarek is currently working on two large projects. Local bands: Broke on Friday will be back to mix their record, Bill stopped by to record some piano tracks, and Abigails Attic recently performed and recorded with a live audience!