Picture Head: Everything Post Under One Hat In The Heart of Hollywood
Picture Head’s completed ‘Sound 7’ 5.1 mix room/sound stage centers around marquee technology including a Blue Sky Big Blue 5.1 system.
As one of the leading post-production facilities, Picture Head has offered a full scope of creative solutions for the audio/video, film, television and new media industries since opening its Hollywood headquarters in 2000. For a decade, they’ve provided full-service finishing and supervision in the areas of high-definition video, sound, color-correction, advertising and promotional services, and new media technologies for a host of clients including Disney, Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros., Overture and many others.
In April of 2010, the studio embarked on the build-out of a 5.1 mix room/sound stage—Sound 7—under the guidance of Mark Herscovitz, PH’s Director of Sound. Herscovitz enlisted audio design consultant Charles Pell of Cobalt Blue Technology, along with Colin Ritchie of the Los Angeles-based full-service production design house, Aarmadillo, to specify and facilitate the purchase of much of the room’s audio and video equipment. Sound 7’s marquee technology centers around a Digidesign 32 channel Icon D-Control, flanked by a JVC DLA-RS10 HD projection system, a Stewart Filmscreen 10’ perforated screen, and Blue Sky Big Blue 5.1 monitoring system comprised of three SAT 12 mains in the front wall, a SUB 15 Universal and four in-wall I/ON surround speakers along the sides. At Right: Joe Purcell (L) and Tim Fejtek at work during initial build-out.
“Sound 7 was to designed be our premier studio for the creation and showcasing of our movie advertising projects,” explained Herscovitz, a 17-year audio post pro who helped build PH from the ground up. “One of the things we specialize in is movie advertising, which encompasses anything to do with selling a movie; from 30-second TV spots, trailers, radio, Internet pieces, EPKs, and other promotional materials. Additionally, we’ve recently gotten into TV shows and documentary and feature films. I’d researched other speaker systems and both Chuck and Colin recommended Blue Sky highly. My only experience with the speakers was having seen them in numerous studios including Skywalker Sound, and by reputation—which of course was excellent.”
Herscovitz and another senior engineer ventured over to a Hollywood Hills post-production suite that had the Blue Sky system installed back in 2008. “We were blown away! Although it was built as a DI room specifically, it sounded great, and the Blue Sky’s projected very clear sound with good, full bottom range. One of the things that is important to me is to have a speaker system that’s easy on the ears. I work crazy hours, and these speakers are very forgiving in that regard; they’re not fatiguing. I’m definitely able to go all day on them and not have the typical ear fatigue that I get with a lot of other speakers. The Blue Sky’s sound great and don’t fatigue, what more could you want?”
He was also blown away by the company’s customer service. “I can’t say enough good things about Chris Fichera and Rich Walborn. They’re very interested in the integration, setup, and calibration of the room. In fact, Dolby came out to calibrate the room and Chris & Rich were here all day to make sure everything was dialed the way it was supposed to be. At the end of the day, we were very happy.”
And the clientele have been overly pleased as well. Sound 7’s first projects included a theatrical trailer for Anchor Bay’s “I Spit On Your Grave,” as well as TV spots for Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age summer comedy, “Flipped,” and Discovery Channel’s half-hour travel series “A Place in the Sun.”
Other recent Picture Head projects include TV spots for Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 3”, a trailer for Overture Film’s “Let Me In” and the feature documentary “The Lt. Dan Band” (the band features actor Gary Sinise and follows his work with the U.S.O. to support the military – entertaining our troops around the world.)
“We’ve gotten nothing but positive raves about the room, of both the sound and the look. It’s kind of a “wow” room and the photos don’t really do it justice. I wanted a clean theatre look and the sad part is that the Blue Sky speakers are hidden—except for the I/ONs, which are aesthetically very integrated—but that’s the beauty of it. Like a theatre, you never really know what’s there, but it sounds amazing.”
“One of the bigger gear decisions in the room was to go with the perforated screen. Having that allowed me to have a much bigger screen, and secondly, allowed me to put the center speaker where it belongs—which is dead center behind the actor’s mouth. Without the perforated screen, I would have had to go with a smaller screen and put the center speaker in some weird place at top of the screen pointing down or down below pointing up. The center positioning is everything. Where you place the center holds the whole room together, and the Blue Sky’s bring it all together.”