One of these days, someone is going to make a movie about Vine Street Studios, because this leading provider of dubbing, ADR and Foley services in Hollywood also has a history that would make for a great story. Renovated and reopened in 1997 as an extension of the acclaimed Soundelux audio post-production company, Vine Street Studios’ three buildings all have their own Hollywood tales to tell – for example, the building that houses dubbing Stage 3 was a Prohibition-era speakeasy, complete with a bar where the machine room is now. On the technical side, one of Vine Street Studios’ buildings was the site of the first independently owned dubbing stage in Hollywood, started by Loren Ryder in 1948. In fact, in a section of that building now used for offices, the original studio and custom-made Ryder Sound Services console still sit.
Vine Street Studios, now a division of Liberty Livewire Audio, is dressed as a film set might, with original artwork adorning the colorful walls of its corridors, each leading to the facility’s two dubbing stages, the ADR suite and the Foley studio. And the Vine Street staff has one of the lowest turnover rates in Hollywood, so they get to know clients and their requirements in an intimate and friendly way. “Coming here is like coming back to a small but grand hotel where the staff, from the concierge to the bellhop, all know your name,” observes Heidi Arnold, Vine Street’s general manager “This is a small, very knowledgeable and highly dedicated staff, one that this industry has learned to rely on. We even have valet parking.”
The acoustical design of the dubbing rooms was done by Cooper & Associates, with technical direction from Bill Johnston, chief engineer at Soundelux, now Liberty Livewire. The studios at Vine Street offer a high degree of privacy, accommodation and security to clients. Each of the dubbing stages has a 144-input, three-position Harrison Series Twelve mixing console, and the JBL Theatrical systems allow film mixes to be monitored in any format currently in use.
“Two of the benefits to the client of having the same technology and monitoring in both stages is that projects can move easily from one stage to the other, which really helps with scheduling and client service,” explains Pat Stoltz, Vine Street chief engineer. “A single project can also be done more efficiently utilizing both stages at the same facility simultaneously.” Even as Stoltz spoke, a major studio feature project was having its dialog predubs done in one stage while its sound effects predubs were under way in the other.
Vine Street Studios’ Foley stage offers a Neotek Elite console and lots of outboard gear, which runs in conjunction with a WaveFrame digital audio workstation. The ADR suite has a Lartec console, which has the ability to record a multitude of formats, and also has a sizable client lounge. Vine Street Studios continues to be a pioneering facility – it was the first to implement the Tascam MMR-8 and MMP-16 digital dubbers (serial numbers 001-008), a lead followed by the rest of the Hollywood post establishment. And that technological leadership shows in the studio’s credits, which include films from every major Hollywood studio. “This facility has a history of innovation,” says Stoltz. “We don’t see any reason to change that.”