One Union Recording was established around the same time that San Francisco’s Advertising Row came into its own. And while One Union’s focus remains solidly on the commercial spot market, the technological approach implemented from the moment it opened its doors in 1995 position it well on a converging media landscape.
All three studios at One Union are fully digital, from the newest suite, outfitted with the first Euphonix System 5 digital console (all surround formats), to the two stereo mixing and sound design suites, all of which are fitted with Pro Tools 5.0. In addition, every studio at One Union is designed to operate as a completely independent digital entity, right down to project-specific sampling rates, or as a spoke in a sophisticated digital environment centered on the facility’s Terabyte-sized central server system with Lighthouse K Series digital routing system, located in a central machine room. One Union’s physical layout parallels this technical design, providing clients complete privacy between studios when desired, or allowing complex projects to interact easily, both in terms of signal path and human contact.
The studios’ brick-and-wood interior motif is in keeping with the historic and colorful section of San Francisco it resides in. All the amenities one would expect from a world-class city are within a few blocks of the facility, from four-star hotels to five-star restaurants and endless shopping.
But One Union’s design is also intended to make it a hub for multiple media applications as the industry becomes increasingly global. Audio post-production for the Internet is already a standard service for One Union clients, who to date have included a broad range of U.S. and international advertising and production houses, including Pixar, Foote Cone & Belding, Warner Bros. films, Publicis Hal Riney, JWT, Weiden & Kennedy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leagas Delaney and TBWA Chiat Day.
“We’ve tried to keep One Union as flexible as possible, because we know the media industry is constantly in a state of change,” explains Facility Director John McGleenan. “As the advertising business has become more and more global in nature and reach, we’ve seen more of the major companies in that industry locate themselves in San Francisco, which has become a true media city. Combine that with our proximity to Asian and other global markets, and our implementation of high-speed broadband data systems, such as ISDN and Listen-In, and what we can offer clients is on a par with anywhere else in the world.”
As technically proficient and sophisticated as One Union is, McGleenan is also quick to point out that it’s also still an owner-operated post-production facility, where clients are known by name and the level of service that is provided is what one would expect from an experienced concierge. “The whole media industry is experiencing phenomenal growth and the technology is advancing at an amazing rate,” says McGleenan. “But that can’t obscure the fact that this is still a business based on communication – of ideas and emotions – and still a business of people. We’ve managed to strike that balance between technology and humanity very well here.”