The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Building Post Operation from scratch.
Old 12th March 2007
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Building Post Operation from scratch.

A business person has approached me about doing preliminary research looking at setting up a Post Shop in Maine. She is part of a group of indy film makers who want to own/invest in a Post facility. Her group includes experienced composers and musicians on one end and film people on the other. They have been doing some small productions on their own but would like their own post facility as well.

They have a reasonable budget considering. But she would like me to put together a preliminary plan based on $100,000. Then she would consult with others to see if that facility would meet their expectations quality and compatibility wise.

Would you folks kick this around for a bit and help her put this thing together?
She wants to be able to have an experienced LA post guy do a project for her in the facility.

I come from a recording studio perspective with some top gear from that end. But I know nothing about post equipment. I have Genelec 1032s and good pres and mics by such as DW Fearn, Schoeps etc. So if there's any equipment from that side that can do duty in post then I may have some.

Thanks,
Woods
Old 12th March 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
soundboy's Avatar
About 100,000 is what I have put into my modest studio. I built it into an existing structure (my 2 car garage). Plus a completely a new structure added to the back of the existing for the ADR/Foley room. Room in room construction, floating floor...
If you are going with Protools, don't get anything less than and HD3 or you will run out of tracks and processing power on the larger projects.
192
Sync I/O
Plug ins
Noise reduction(could be a plug in)
Blackburst/house sync/video black (all different names for the same thing)
Tri level sync if you are working in HD
some sort of frame accurate video output device or card. (Decklink, Mojo, Virtual VTR with a Fuse X or whatever)
Video distribution amp to send pic to ADR and mix room and client monitor.
TVs, projectors/perf screens
5 monitors/ 5 amps or self powered monitors
Sub
Monitor controller(with bass management)
patch bays
Patch bay tool
racks/furniture
5 graphic eqs to dial in the x-curve and an accoustician to do it.
accoustical treatments
APS back up power supply
Power regulator
Lighting
Mics for ADR
preamps
music stands
mic stands
lots of cables
a psychiatrist
some kind of controller with faders(procontrol, icon, HUI...)
Old 12th March 2007
  #3
I would go with the following for low budget and/or indie film work

new Apple system and Protools HD3 system as suggested (with about 16 ins and 24 outs, as well as a SYNC IO) $30k ish after all said and done
5.1 Monitoring system (Genelec is my personal choice) ($15k to $20k )
a set of moderate stereo near field speakers ( $2k )
Room EQ system for 5.1 (if not programmable the a second set for flat EQ stereo) ($1,200 to $4k )
Downmixer, monitor mgmt system , or desk ($2k to $10k )
DK600m metering system ( $5k )
Some basic plug-ins for Protools ( $5k )
House Clock , like a rosenthal nanosync or similar ( $1000 to $2000 )
TC Electronic System 6000 Minimal config, but with noise reduction s/w (used $7500 )
DVCAM deck ( $2500 )
FCP bundle on a second mac with protools LE , DVtoolkit2, Digi003, external dvd burner ($ 7500 when the dust settles )
External DISKS like glyph or similar for all systems (3 system racks 10 disks to start )( $10k to $12k ish )
A video card to play video out to a screen ( $2000 ish )
VUtek microperf screen and modest projector ( $500 to $2000 ish )
CRT Video monitor ( $500 )
SYNC CHECK box ( $200 ish )
SOUNDMINER S/W and a small mac to run it on ( $ 3k give or take )
Sound effects library (plan on spending around $20 grand for a modest collection)
Software for creating Cue sheets (there are really nice free ones out there)
A small but adquate tracking room for ADR and FOLEY with a monitor, mics, headphones, and associated recording gear. Get a good mic pre. ( $10k when all said and done )
backup system for files and projects ($2k ?? )
Office computer, printer, and office supplies for running the back office ( $2k )
Internet link for data transfers, upgrades and the like.
Fridge and some sort of kitchen for clients and crew
Break room / hangout space
Mixing room and associated acoustic work ( DUB STAGE ) ( $10k to $200K )
Patchbays and cabling for analog audio / digital audio / SD Video / SYNC / etc.... ( from $3k to $10k in cabling) (normally budget from 10 to 20 percent of budget for cabling )
Power conditioners and power cabling ( $5k ish )

if you are going HD it's going to start getting seriously expensive.
HD projector with native 1080, HD deck like HDCAM, Trisync gear, etc...



$100K is a small facility and probably won't go far enough to get you where you want to be, but it might get you going.

cheers
geo
Old 13th March 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

This is all great info, but you haven't told us much about the ambitions of this project and the expectations of the investors. Do they expect to make this facility available to the public? Do they expect it to turn a profit? How much work can these folks promise to this facility? What level of facility do they expect for their money--where are they used to working, and with whom? Are these filmmakers making films for theatrical distro? TV networks? Special venue? How busy are they (all)--will one room be enough? What target formats will they want to have available? HD? HDSR? D5? Will this facility be working in tandem with a picture editing facility? What formats/equipment/etc will they be using? The lists of gear that have been provided are thoughtful and current, but remember that any facility you build is really only as good as the people working in it. Are you planning for a staff? Of what experience level, and with what sort of credits? Are people with the credits and contacts needed to attract outside business available in your market, or would you have to search them out elsewhere and entice them to move to your town? Does your business plan provide for expansion? New formats? A way to pay back the investors? Who runs the show--the filmmaker/investors or a hired manager? The answers to these questions may help show you the way to the sort of facility you need and can afford.

Philip Perkins
Old 13th March 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
dr.sound's Avatar
 

Woods said"She wants to be able to have an experienced LA post guy do a project for her in the facility."

dr.sound replies:
Woods,
You should talk to the people in L.A. she is trying to attract.
My questions would be:
Who is going to mix?

One man or two mixing?

Who is going to do the Sound Editorial?

What has this Production Company done?

Is this for Theatrical or DVD/ TV mixing?

The money (100K) will not go far so I would sugest discussing this with the people she is going to attract to do her mixing.

Once you have done that please come back here and we'll spend your money for you!!!
Old 13th March 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
soundboy's Avatar
Mr. Perkins really has the best list here. He's right, end use will determine what you need. I was just trying to provide a list of the basics. In this regard, this is one of the few times I disagree with Georgia. While the TC 6000 is a great peice of gear, I don't think it essential to a low budget studio.(100,000 is low budget). You can get a few good plug ins that will perform the same functions well enough untill you can justify the expense. Surround reverb: Altiverb. Noise reduction: Waves Restoration, Sony noise reduction package, Nonoise...Up mix from stereo tracks either by clever routing or the few available plugs for this purpose. Also I might stay away from a projector or large LCD/Plasma. they all have varying levels of picture delay that will add the cost of 6 delays, one for each of your speakers in a 5.1 set up. I also totally forgot about SFX collections. You will need nore than one. Hollywood Edge, Sound Ideas 6000 series and up, etc.....As for decks, if you are partnered with film makers who are creating a post facility, then the pic editing suites will have decks to lay back to. Just get quicktimes from them. Same with the FCP System.
Old 13th March 2007
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I built a small commercial post room, and the equipment alone was $55k. for that I got

Powermac dual 2.5, 23" apple display
HD2
192, sync I/O, Control 24
U87, TLM 103, Sennheiser 416
37" sharp aquos
2 genelec 8040
edirol "crappy" speakers
DBX 386
Oxford Restoration (RTAS) Oxford limiter, Revibe, Soundminer, Pluggo
Sound ideas 6000
2 TB of firewire storage
middle atlantic furniture
furman power conditioning
headphone amp
coleman vu meters


Thats everything off the top of my head. That doesn't include a dime of build out or cabling, which in downtown chicago is out of control expenisve. It is great for commercial post, but would be inadequate for film mixing. The money goes fast, you'd be surprised.
Old 13th March 2007
  #8
Dr Sound and Philper are spot on. Find out that info and it will help you develop a business model and that should drive the equipment required. Buying Equipment without a plan is a good plan for failure...

Cheers
geo


PS: A poke to soundboy.... yeah,you're right.... I just never really liked the quality of noise reduction from any of the plugins and the CEDAR is way out of their proposed budget. So, although I agree with the issue concerning dollars, if they are going to do indie stuff you can bet the ranch that noise reduction is one of the critical capabilities they will need, and I think $ for $ a used 6000 with noise reduction is a smart move. They can even purchase a basic 6000 and rent to own the s/w thay need on it. The 6000 will also give them a platform for expansion of capabilities via the 5.1 sweet reverbs, room ambiences, effects, unwrap, calibration tools, and the like....Non the less, between Waves and OXford noise reduction there are s/w plugins available that do the same thing... ( more or less )

I always do love a good debate...!
Old 13th March 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
soundboy's Avatar
It's funny, you took the words out of my mouth. I was going to say (but didn't) that if independant films and reality programming are their target, a better investment would be one of the Ceder DNS boxes. 'Cause the DX is going to be ugly! I'm thinking thats going to be my next major purchase.
Old 13th March 2007
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Do you folks mind if I pursue specific areas of all your responses by starting new threads for those questions? I don't want to clutter this discussion by shifting focus.

TTo carry on here: My underdstanding is that the propsed facility would be run as a commercial venture. Does anybody know is there an industry average (net, gross) profit margin for post shops? return on investment? Sales ratios etc?What are they?

I also understand that there were some Hollywood B movies shot in Maine and the directors opted to go out of State to do Post work. The investing group would like to see the work remain in State. So I think that would be part of the business that would be pursued. Also TV series and Movies.

Apparently the aforementioned LA sound mixer is a relatively prominent person and is a friend of the principals and would consider working out of the facility (occasionally).

W
Old 13th March 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 
minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by woods View Post
I also understand that there were some Hollywood B movies made in Maine and the directors opted to go out of State to do Post work. The investing group would like to see the work remain in State. So I think that would be part of the business that would be pursued. Also TV series and Movies.
being in one of those similar states with an initial 'M'...i would say : DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!

when you say 'made' i think you would more precisely say, 'shot' in Maine. there is a whole state-funded organization here that does nothing but try to attract films to shoot in Minnesota -- like Grumpy Old Men, Fargo, Beautiful Girls, Feeling Minnesota, The Might Ducks, etc... but it is ONLY for production savings and location.

there is NO WAY any of thos films are going to POST here...or, i am sorry to say, in Maine. why? well, infrastructure, location, and talent...and yes, somewhat becasue oif comfort and tradition. but getting something to Post outside LA is a really hard sell. in fact, more and more commercial stuff is posted in LA too -- even if the Agency is in MN, or IL, or MI, or ME, or wherever. most studio and film people are in LA and don't want to sit in Maine or MN to go through the 12 or more weeks of POST. AND, the 'proven' talent is not there, nor are the Facilities. even an independent place like Dr. Sound's has few parallels outside of Hollywood -- I am talking in the U.S., not the world. (Sure Sound One and Magno in NY are excellent facilities with a long history and good talent) But Dr., Sound gets work because of his abilities, talent, track record and connections. plus, he, and others like him are THERE. Take Sony Stages or Universal or any other big place. no way anything in Maine or MN will rival that. and no way the Mixers will have the kind of Major film track record that makes studio executives comfortable spending, $350, $400, $1500 an hour.... in fact, less and less, film people in LA are going to a World-Class facility in San Fran! (at least it is always a sell if they do.). also, the Labs are in LA, the other support services - color correction, special effects, graphic, compositing... Maine would have to have Pix facilities that also rival that. and you would have to find a maverick director willing to do it...

if your investors think they will lure Major Motion Pictures Post work away from LA becasue one Mixer will mix there 'Occasionally', then they are throwing away their money. if they want to open a facility that caters to regional independents and ...maybe the very occasional odd-ball Hollywood film, then fine.

i will also say that the industry is changing. more and more is being done on the Internet. some directors do bring their small films to me humble facility from New York, Chicago, Seatlle, and oter parts of the globe. one director just called to say he won't come, but will still have me mix and i will FTP the mixes.

i support you,m and they could have a good business plan, but they might need to reign in their ambitions a bit. sure, Bob Ludwig does it in Maine. But he needs less infrastructure.
Old 13th March 2007
  #12
BTW: where in Maine do you want to put this? My family is from Portland ME. I grew up on Peaks Island... so I was just curious...


As to looking at numbers for a post production corporation. There are no standards. You can range $300k to millions annually. It's all about capability, knowledge, industry contact, capacity of the facility, burn rates, including overhead,Equipment insurance, mgmt & accounting, Errors & omissions insurance, libality insurance and the like...

Also, a commercial facility is expected to have a certain level of capability and quality...

If you are really trying to set up a "COMMERCIAL" facility vs a "PRIVATE" facility you have an entire different set of numbers.

cheers
geo

PS: Dr Sound is out on the Left Coast... ( I wish he were out here on the East Coast !)
Old 13th March 2007
  #13
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
...there is NO WAY any of thos films are going to POST here...or, i am sorry to say, in Maine. why? well, infrastructure, location, and talent...
The thing to understand is that post is the very last part of every production. This means you can't accurately predict how many rooms and people will be needed in order to meet release deadlines. There are a few neighborhoods in the LA area where literally you can go from two or three people working on a picture to twenty overnight. There is nothing comparable anywhere else in the world and this depth of facilities and talent leaves every other city in the world playing second-fiddle to LA. The introduction of portable editing gear to sets has eliminated many regional and mid-level facilities making post an even more LA-centric business than it was a few years ago.
Old 13th March 2007
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Minister-

You're right. Here in chicago, more and more movies and TV shows are being shot, but nothing gets posted here. Heck, I saw you're working on "5-25-77" (funny looking movie BTW), and that was shot here! The best we ever get is ADR sessions, which frankly, aren't very much fun.
Old 14th March 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
 
minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundguydave View Post
Minister-

You're right. Here in chicago, more and more movies and TV shows are being shot, but nothing gets posted here. Heck, I saw you're working on "5-25-77" (funny looking movie BTW), and that was shot here! The best we ever get is ADR sessions, which frankly, aren't very much fun.
he he...yeah, we're a little closer to Hollywood than you. so films shot in Chicago that can't make it to H-Wood end up here... I jest! one of your regularly scheduled mixers was unable to do it. 5-25-77 is VERY funny movie and smartly edited, well-acted, and well art directed i might add.

i am starting to get more and more out of town work here. but i can guarantee you if Grumpy Old Men III were shot here, i wouldn't be mixing it...

the world may be expanding outside of H-wood .. but not at any rate that i would put a lot of money into. i know Georgia works hard to get her share of NY and regional films. and she continues to grow and improve her facilities (not that they were ever bad). but, she is in a big city. Sure, Larry Blake is in The Big Easy, but he seems to be entrenched with Steven Soderberg (whose Schizopolis is my favorite).... it can happen. and it is the way things are going in some respects.

i just wouldn't build it expecting that they will come. unless you land a big film or a director who has a multi-picture deal.
Old 14th March 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
 
minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The introduction of portable editing gear to sets has eliminated many regional and mid-level facilities making post an even more LA-centric business than it was a few years ago.
Ironic, Innit?

Thanks for your, as always, wise words Mr. Olhsson.
Old 14th March 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 

A bitter truth is that many first time directors will post their first film where they live if there is any infrastructure at all. When (if) they get to move on to film number two and beyond...they go to LA. (Seen it happen, a lot.) In any case, I can think of many more potentially lucrative investments to make than a post facility (where breaking even and surviving another year is a laudable accomplishment). So unless you/they really want to BE audio posties themselves, it really isn't worth it, and makes very little business sense
unless they are wanting to become a "cable-TV" factory and are producing several finished hours of programming per week. I'm not really sure it would be worth it even then. As for building a serious theatrical dubstage outside of NY or LA.....well, I know there are slow periods even at Skywalker Ranch.

Philip Perkins
Old 14th March 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by woods View Post

I also understand that there were some Hollywood B movies shot in Maine and the directors opted to go out of State to do Post work. The investing group would like to see the work remain in State. So I think that would be part of the business that would be pursued. Also TV series and Movies.

Apparently the aforementioned LA sound mixer is a relatively prominent person and is a friend of the principals and would consider working out of the facility (occasionally).

W
Good luck.

There are a ton of movies that get shot here in Vancouver. And pretty much none of them, except the low budget ones ( $15-35k CDN for full audio post) stay here for post. The facility I work at has been getting features with better budgets than that as well, but then one of our mixstages has a Euphonix System 5.

And think about it, if the aforementioned prominent mixer thought it was a wise move, he would open his own shop, or get involved as an investor/co-owner.
$100k will get you a small, basic room. Certainly not a room you can mix theatrical features in.
You really need an established, large client base to start your own facility.
This business is not one where "Build it and they will come" works.

Now, if they've got $1million+, and a name mixer attached to the studio that will bring all his work there, then away you go.

But $100k won't even buy a fullblown 2 person Icon mix setup. It won't even buy a one man mix set-up.
Old 14th March 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 
dr.sound's Avatar
 

Minister and Georgia,
You two are very kind!
I must say that it takes a lot more than a 100K to build a "Feature Stage.” It is a full time job and fortunately I love what I do.thumbsup
Old 14th March 2007
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Kuba_Pietrzak's Avatar
 

Hello everybody,
I do not think, that building feature dubbing stage by indie production house is the best way to spend the money. Unless there is an enthusiactic mixer hired who might bring other clients next to internal productions and work there around the clock...
If the investors want to have their own sound services, I would recommend to build good and pro-designed post rooms as well as adr/foley stage. This way there could be solid tracks prepared, which would be mixed in the dubbing stage somewhere in the town...
If there is still some money to spend, I would buy some location sound equipment;
But dubbing stage - the most important is the person, who establish, build and mix there; this is the mixer, who bring the clients and make them happy.
Just some thoghts
All best from Poland
Kuba
Old 14th March 2007
  #21
Gear Nut
 
Sound Chaser's Avatar
 

A name mixer will not tolerate.......

I think what people forget is that equipment is one thing, a proper room another thing, but getting it all to interface and work right the biggest thing!

The client base is everything. Gear is the smallest thing. As previously mentioned, this is not a "build it and they will come business."

One thing that I learned the first time around building in succession 3 different music recording facilities, and now going the post route...as Georgia has related, it is a gradual learn and grow curve.
Old 21st May 2007
  #22
Gear Addict
 
magnet's Avatar
 

Quote from Soundboy: "Also I might stay away from a projector or large LCD/Plasma. they all have varying levels of picture delay that will add the cost of 6 delays, one for each of your speakers in a 5.1 set up. "

Regarding the above statement : What type of 40" - 50" display could be used without incurring the delay of a LCD/Plasma?

Please advise

magnet
Old 21st May 2007
  #23
Lives for gear
 
soundboy's Avatar
Well, it would have to be a CRT. I don't know if they ever made them that big. Or maybe the older style projection TVs. You should ask Richard Fairbanks, he makes that nifty Syncheck box. He knows a lot about this. I'm still saving my pennies to get one of those.
Old 29th May 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
 
hociman's Avatar
 

Post CRTs are Dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy View Post
Well, it would have to be a CRT. I don't know if they ever made them that big. Or maybe the older style projection TVs.
The largest consumer CRT ever produced was manufactured in 1989. I don't know about professional CRTs, but if I had to guess, I would guess that they haven't been made much larger (around 40"?) in about the same amount of time. CRTs are like audio tape in audio post.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Matthew Murray / So Much Gear, So Little Time
53
demel / So Much Gear, So Little Time
8
Matthew Murray / So Much Gear, So Little Time
3
alphajerk / Q+A with Alphajerk
15

Forum Jump
Forum Jump