Sonic Fuel

Oct 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Hurwitz

CHRIS LENNERTZ/TIM WYNN

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The Avid System 5 control room.

The Avid System 5 control room.

With both composers living in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, they looked for a 5,000-10,000 square-foot site in that region, eventually settling on a two-story building, three times their previous studio’s size, in Smokey Hollow, an industrial section of El Segundo just south of LAX. “Aircraft noise isn’t a problem,” says Vaughn. “The runways are east-west and a half-mile north of us. To be honest, we were more worried about trucks outside. Thankfully, none of our neighbors are running any big stamping machines!”

Vaughn helped lay out the building, having worked with Lennertz and Wynn since 1995. “He’s been around the film and TV world for much longer than we have,” Lennertz says. “We trusted him and his experience.” The engineer worked closely with Frank Glynn, AIA, of El Segundo-based Saga Architecture. “We wanted a local architect, first, because we wanted to support the community we were moving into, and, two, because he already had established relationships with the city’s building department, which helped streamline the process.”

Lennertz wanted a live room that could hold 30 to 40 people, for a typical rhythm section or even a string section. “If you get any bigger than that, then you’re talking about a full orchestra, and we weren’t looking to compete with a Fox or a Warner Bros.,” Lennertz says. The team does record separates, when needed, such as for Lennertz’s score for the pilot for NBC’s new Revolution.

The studio, constructed by studio builder Progressive Design, features loads of eco-friendly materials, including reclaimed scrap, light tubes and reclaimed carbonized bamboo flooring in the live room and two iso booths. “We call it ‘Industrial Zen,’” notes Lennertz. For additional protection from noise intrusion, the studio floor is built up on 4-inch rubber isolators, and its walls are stud-separated from the exterior walls.

As in the studio, Lennertz wanted a control room that could comfortably handle a larger group—directors, producers and the like—who often visit a composer at work. “There’s sometimes 13 or 14 people that need to be there to watch and make comments,” the composer explains. “Plus, we knew were going to be there 24/7, so it needed to be a place we would want to spend weeks on end.”






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