Left: Studio B with SSL C300 and Dynaudio speakers
One doesn't ordinarily think of Nashville as a hotbed of film and video post-production activity, but for one of Music City's major players, that realm has become increasingly important the last few years, to the point where they are now attracting post work from all over the world. Fred Paragano's Paragon Studios, which is situated in a wooded area in the Nashville suburb of Franklin, still does plenty of music projects in its beautiful and spacious “A” Room (equipped with an SSL XL-9080K). However, these days it's the “B” post room in the 22,000-square-foot Russ Berger-designed facility that's attracting a lot of the work and buzz.
According to Paragano, the move into post happened naturally over time but accelerated as the fortunes of the music business changed and diminished the past few years. “We started getting post-production projects just naturally because all three of our control rooms are set up for mixing to picture — they're all 5.1-capable — so we were in a good position to start from,” he says. The studio attracted a lot of concert DVD sound work, “and then we started getting into the shooting side of it, too, so we were doing sound and picture and posting shows, as well. Then, as we started doing a lot of this, I thought, ‘We've got to step this thing up,’ so that's when we purchased and installed the SSL C300 for Studio B. It was kind of frustrating mixing larger projects on a single Pro Tools [Pro Control] system, so the move to an actual film-dubbing console two-and-a-half years ago made an enormous difference. It's been awesome. It's a two-seat console and it's been a great calling card for a lot of cool projects.”
How does it make his job easier? “The extensive busing structure and the ability to easily route things to and from wherever and still be able to monitor multiple sources and stems properly makes the whole process so much easier. It has sped up my workflow dramatically.”
Which is a good thing, since Paragon's post business has increased significantly since they installed the C300. A couple of regular gigs have kept the room humming: Over the past year Paragano has recorded and mixed eight episodes of the brand-new PBS series about songwriters called Legends and Lyrics, including segments shot in Louisiana and Nashville featuring such artists as Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx, Three Doors Down, Kris Kristofferson and Phil Vassar. And for the past five years, Paragon has practically been a one-stop shop for the popular award-winning animated children's TV/DVD series Veggie Tales. (If you don't know who Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber are, ask your young kids!) “We've done all their episodes,” Paragano says. “We shoot all the dialog, deal with all the editorial, get it back from the picture editors, put it all together. It's great to see it go from storyboards to finished animation.” Paragano also recorded the dialog and some of the music for the irrepressible vegetables' 2008 feature film, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, as well as mixing the foreign versions of past shows.
Paragano was the re-recording mixer for the bonus features on the Rolling Stones' multi-concert DVD set, The Biggest Bang, and has worked on many other documentary-style shows. Last year he was the ADR mixer for Nicole Kidman's extensive ADR for the film Australia (she has a home in Nashville with husband Keith Urban), hooked directly into the film's post-production studio in Sydney (see Mix, November 2008), and completed ADR with Ashley Judd on the forthcoming Harrison Ford-Sean Penn drama about immigration, Crossing Over. Meanwhile, on the music side, “we just remixed six Roy Orbison songs for Guitar Hero II, which was a lot of fun. We've been archiving, restoring, repurposing and remixing for the Orbison estate for almost nine years now.”
With Nashville's film and television industry continuing to expand, Paragano sees his facility growing, as well. “In the past year we have added a fourth room,” he says, “a picture-editing suite which allows us to have in-house editorial, graphics and DVD/Blu-Ray authoring capabilities. I'm also hoping to expand into our adjacent 3,000 square feet and put in more editorial suites and a dub stage/screening room. None of that is definite yet, but I do believe there is the work to support that kind of expansion.”
And if it comes to pass, it will be good not just for Paragano and his studio, but for Nashville in general.