Issue: March 1, 2002

Atlantis Group swims in sea of opportunities

SANTA MONICA - Recording engineer John Chominsky, president of Atlantis Group, Inc. (www.atlantisgrouprecording. com) in Santa Monica, was doing sound design before he knew what it was. In high school, one of Chominsky's buddies had a four-track cassette recorder and a neighbor had a synthesizer with sound effects. "I wound up making mini sound design scenes," he recalls. "I had no idea that I'd do it as a career."

Chominsky realized his dream of owning a company in July 2000 when he opened Atlantis Group, an audio recording and post production studio. The company offers a comfortable studio, personalized attention and a "blue-jeans atmosphere" to producers of TV and radio commercials, longform television programming, independent features, audio books and videogames.

Chominsky brings more than 15 years experience in the recording industry. He received a certificate in drumming from Boston's Berklee College of Music, graduated from the School of Communications at Penn State University, then continued his education at the Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, OH. He engineered projects at Film Space in Pennsylvania, Broccoli Rabe in New Jersey and M&I in New York City before moving to LA, where he became a sound design engineer and later head engineer at Hollywood's Waves Sound Recorders.

The multi-award-winning Chominsky netted a Clio for Nike spot sound design and London International Awards for his spot work for Diet Pepsi, the United Way, Amoco and Fruitopia in 1996, '97 and '98.

Sean Graham serves as Atlantic Group office manager and production coordinator. He started his career at Pacific Ocean Post, then went on to Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures before coming on board with Chominsky.

A partnership with Emmy Award-winning composer and producer Ron Alan Cohen now offers original music services to Atlantis Group clients and provides Cohen's clients with in-house post production facilities.

"We're really more of a boutique, but we compete with companies with bigger rooms and staffs," Chominsky notes. "Clients know when they're here they are the most important thing happening to us that day. They have the attention of the whole staff. And because we're small we can stay on top of all the little details. One of the biggest compliments we get from major ad agency clients who have tight deadlines is that they appreciate how quickly we edit, meet deadlines and stay on budget."

With post production supervisor Jeff Howell, Chominsky completed six audio novels for Alien Voices, a multimedia production company formed by Star Trek alumni Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie.

Atlantis Group hosted actress Meg Ryan for the voiceover recording of In the Wild: White Elephants With Meg Ryan, the latest in the PBS celebrity wildlife series from London's Tigress Productions. The company rented PAL decks, a sync generator and monitors to accommodate the acquisition format and eliminate the need for conversion.

A growing market for the new company is audio for videogame companies, such as Activision. Atlantis Group tracked all the voices for Activision's Return To Castle Wolfenstein. Chominsky and engineer Micah Littleton mixed the music for Activision's Tony Hawk 2 commercial, working closely with composer Steven Cahill on a blend of ska and electronica. They combined the sound design with the music tracks to create a super-energized sound.

The technical core of Atlantis Group is the main studio designed by Carl Yanchar of Wave:Space. The studio, with a soundproof control room and talent booth, features a Mackie 48-channel console; a Fairlight MFX3plus DAW; Sound Forge; AKG, Electrovoice, Sennheiser and Shure mics; Urei, dbx, Lexicon, Neve, TC Electronics and Yamaha outboard gear; Fostex, HHB, Panasonic and TASCAM recorders; and numerous sound effects and music libraries. A Digital Patch ISDN link connects Atlantis Group to studios in the US and worldwide, and the company is also an EDnet affiliate. Atlantis Group is frequently called upon to link LA-based voice talent with creatives elsewhere in the US, Canada and even Australia for commercial projects.

The main studio is 5.1 surround ready. "We thought it was smart to incorporate 5.1 when we designed the room and not retrofit it," says Chominsky. "There hasn't been as much 5.1 work as we anticipated; agencies haven't done a lot of spots in 5.1, but we can provide it. Videogames people are ready for 5.1, but our work on games so far has been more voice related. I'm eager to develop more sound design for videogames. Their level of production has grown tremendously with graphics and sound that are of Hollywood movie quality."

Atlantis Group just installed a separate Digidesign Pro Tools editing room. The portable Pro Tools system, which may also be used in the main studio, includes the Mix3 core of software and hardware, the 888/24 audio interface and USD.

"I'm a big Fairlight fan. I've been using it for years and edit very quickly on it - it's usually my go-to system," says Chominsky. "But often we're only part of a chain doing only voiceover recording or only the video sweetening and layback for a project. So it's important to be compatible with other facilities. For that reason, it's wise to be on multiple platforms. Now we have the Fairlight, which is a proprietary system, Pro Tools on a Mac G4, and a PC with Sound Forge. Pro Tools offers some features that Fairlight doesn't have so, depending on the project, we can use it alone or in conjunction with our other systems."