Todd-AO Hollywood Stage 2
Post-production company CSS Studios has completed upgrades for its two large, feature film sound re-recording stages at Todd-AO Hollywood. In a related development, the company announced that three-time Academy Award-winning Re-Recording Mixer Michael Minkler would take up residency at the Hollywood facility.
Hollywood-based CSS Studios is a wholly owned subsidiary of Discovery Communications, a nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 170 countries. CSS Studios provides creative services to major motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies and interactive producers. CSS services are marketed under the brand names Todd-AO, Sound One, Soundelux, POP Sound, Modern Music, Soundelux Design Music Group and The Hollywood Edge, with facilities in Los Angeles and New York City. With more than 50 years of experience in providing creative sound services and technical solutions, the companies, collectively, have garnered more than 50 Academy Award nominations and won 26 Academy Awards.
Re-Recording Mixer Michael Minkler
“Mike Minkler is one of the most talented and accomplished re-recording mixers working today,” says Robert C. Rosenthal, president of CSS Studios. “Mike’s decision to move to the freshly upgraded Stage 1 is a crucial step in fortifying Todd-AO’s dominant position in Hollywood’s high-end feature film market and part of a broader strategy to respond decisively to the evolving needs of our clients.”
Minkler is mixing Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds at the facility, together with re-recording mixer Tony Lamberti.
“CSS Studios and Todd-AO are committing a significant amount of resources to support Minkler and the Hollywood facility,” says Rosenthal. “Minkler’s presence in Hollywood allows us to provide filmmakers with exclusive access to top-tier creative talent, regardless of where they want to work—all seamlessly interconnected with the expansive creative and technical resources of the CSS Studios group.”
“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work on Todd-AO’s historically significant Stage 1 in Hollywood,” says Minkler. “Following the recent upgrades to the feature film re-recording stages, Todd-AO Hollywood is an extremely attractive environment for filmmakers. “
The company did not offer any announcements regarding who will be selected to fill its high-end Stage 1 at Todd-AO West in Santa Monica, which Minkler vacates after a 15-year run. Minkler’s tenure at Todd-AO West included Academy Awards for Dreamgirls (2006) and Black Hawk Down (2001). Minkler’s Academy Award-winning work on Chicago (2002) was performed at CSS Studios’ Sound One facility in New York City.
As part of its upgrade, CSS Studios installed two dual-operator Euphonix System 5 digital audio mixing systems in Todd-AO Hollywood, which brings the overall total of Todd-AO’s Euphonix consoles to eight.
Both of the new Euphonix System 5 consoles have 80 faders, include more than 400 DSP channels and come with EuCon Hybrid that enables the console to control not only the Euphonix DSP channels but also external Pro Tools HD DAWs that are installed on Todd-AO Hollywood’s Stage 1 and Stage 2. Pro Tools channels and Euphonix DSP channels can be placed anywhere on the console surface and mixed simultaneously, which Euphonix states is a unique feature of the System 5.
“One way Todd-AO maintains a dominant position in Hollywood’s high-end
feature film market is by being able to respond decisively to the
evolving needs of our clients. Euphonix consoles help us to do that,”
says Bill Johnston, SVP Engineering CSS Studios. “Euphonix consoles’
combination of integrated DSP and native workstation control gives us a
Since the installations, projects completed on the new Euphonix consoles at Todd-AO Hollywood include Crank: High Voltage and Gamer.
Mix asked CSS Studios president Robert C. Rosenthal to share his insights into these latest developments.
How have things been going for CSS Studios since it was formed last
September? How is business, and how has the autonomy been working?
than a full year from its inception, CSS Studios is strong and healthy.
Much like the rest of the industry, we are still experiencing some
anomalies in the market as a result of the WGA strike and the
threatened SAG strike. Creatively, however, we could not have asked for
a better start for our new venture, with our teams being recognized
with two Academy Awards and a BAFTA for The Bourne Ultimatum.
Our association with Discovery has been positive for us and is allowing
us to continue to develop our group as a destination of choice for
clients, talent and employees.
Regarding the upgrades to Todd-AO Hollywood’s Studio 1, why was this
particular Euphonix console chosen? It’s a legendary room and is one of
the largest rooms in Hollywood, when the trend these days is toward
smaller spaces to save on real estate. This demonstrates a major
commitment to it.
Stage 1 at Todd-AO Hollywood is an amazing
room with an incredible history. In a sense, it is fitting that someone
like Mike Minkler is now moving onto that stage. We have enjoyed a good
working relationship with Euphonix and we respect their products. We
have a number of System 5 dual-operator consoles installed throughout
our facilities in rooms both large and small, creating the capability
to seamlessly move and manage projects throughout our infrastructure.
CSS Studios has a number of stage configurations appropriate for
different types of work. In most cases, however, clients still prefer
to work within a theatrical-sized environment and love how their film
comes to life in a larger room.
How important is it to have Mike Minkler in your room?
is a unique talent and remains at the top of his game. While our
Todd-AO West facility in Santa Monica has long benefited from having
several very strong feature film mixing teams (including Minkler),
having Mike move to our Hollywood facility makes a statement about our
commitment to providing our clients working in Hollywood with that same
level of talent and sophistication.
How has the current economy affected your business, and what sorts of things are you doing to be successful?
economy affects CSS Studios similarly to any other post-production
company. We have to be methodical and smart about the choices we make
as a business, while never compromising on providing top quality
service by top quality people.
For more background on CSS Studios, read the September 30, 2008 MixLine story “Former AMG Post Facilities Form CSS Studios.”