On the Cover: Technicolor at Paramount

Apr 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Mel Lambert


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photo of Technicolor at Paramount

The Foley room at Technicolor.

Architectural and Acoustical
“Our original plan was to convert the existing building,” recalls Studio 440’s Newburn. “But once we had developed our initial designs for the multistage complex across two stories of the Crosby Building, we realized that to achieve the degree of sound isolation required for the various re-recording and ADR stages, another approach was necessary. As a result, after long discussions with Paramount and Technicolor, we decided to level the wood-frame building and construct a steel-framed space within that footprint. We were also able to add a third floor for offices, and which now also holds a number of Paramount’s video-editing suites.” Studio 440 also designed Technicolor’s new video/film post facility and corporate headquarters at Sunset-Gower Studios, Hollywood.

“The new steel-frame building certainly solves a number of acoustic problems,” adds Schwind. “From previous experience, we knew that we would need massive walls to reduce sound transmission between adjacent spaces. With a tight footprint and the close proximity of playback stages and ADR recording rooms, we knew that sound isolation and mechanical noise and vibration reduction were going to be very challenging. Technicolor also required that the project be LEED [Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design] certified, which verifies that the new complex was designed and built using green strategies, such as energy savings.”

Newburn and McNaney developed a plan with three of the medium-sized stages at the north end of the building’s first floor and the two double-height Stages 1 and 2 at the south end, with ADR stages located on the interior of the building; the second floor houses the remaining stages, plus the planned corridor of sound editorial suites. Central areas on two mezzanine levels are reserved for a technical machine room that houses the various S5 DSP engines, Pro Tools|HD workstations and support systems, and a climate-controlled media room that houses the facility’s LAN-based servers and spinning media.

“The walls between the larger Stages 1 and 2—which each measure 52 feet wide by 75 feet long by 29 feet high—needed to have sufficient mass to reduce low-frequency sound transmission between these two critical spaces,” Schwind explains. “[The design team] opted for a double-wall construction of 16-inch thick, fully grouted CMU with a 2-foot air gap, creating a dense masonry sound isolation envelope completed by the building’s outer walls. Within this massive shell, interior isolated gypsum board assemblies at the walls and ceilings are supported from a steel frame with 48-foot spans. Wall and ceiling sound absorbing treatments are supported from the isolated gypsum-board assemblies. Each of the larger 3,900-square-foot stages sits on its own 18-inch concrete slab with a 4-inch floating concrete floor for added isolation from the rest of the building.”

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