Issue: December 1, 2008


LOS ANGELES - The mark of a successful compositing session is when a client looks at the screen and says, "I don't even remember shooting that scene." Freelance artist Alison Andoos remembers hearing a line just like that after she finished working on a music video for Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artists Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (Young Thugs) at the brand new Los Angeles facility In A Place Productions.

Andoos was working hand in hand with colorist Paul Bronkar and the client. "There were a few greenscreen shots, so we imported the foregrounds and the backgrounds that they wanted to work with and I did the compositing," she says. "What was great about having the colorist and the client there was that Paul came in right away and did a seamless finish on the shot, color correcting the foreground and the background layers in context of my composite. It made it look like it was actually shot that way."

What made the workflow smoother, she states, was the Quantel Pablo system that had been installed at In A Place. "The Pablo is a completely integrated post system," notes Andoos, "combining editorial, visual effects and color capabilities."  That's great for a place like IAPP, because they are a boutique facility and they want to be able to handle whatever comes in and keep it there.

That was exactly why the Pablo as selected to anchor the facility, says co-owner Dominique Martinez. "We were going to start relatively small with Final Cut Pro and a D-5, but then we started doing research," she says. "When we found the Quantel system and what it can do, we decided to go all the way."

All the way included turning the guest house on their Hollywood Hills property - once a speakeasy - into a post production suite. Silent film stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford owned the property in 1917.

Martinez and her husband/partner Salvador Lleo (both are cinematographers by trade) tapped Colin Ritchie of the Los Angeles-based design house Aarmadillo for guidance on gear. Richie recommended the purchase of the Pablo editing system, along with a SIM2 Pro5000 projector, Cinetal LCD reference monitor and a Blue Sky Big Blue 5.1 monitoring system. Charles Pell of Cobalt Blue Technology did audio design and studio contractors Ray Bermudez and Chris Robideaux handled construction.

The build ran from the middle of February to April 2008. During that short timeframe, a central workspace was buffed out to house the facility's computers, a tiny closet was converted to accommodate two equipment racks, and a room was outfitted to be the main viewing and listening client room, which is centered around a 10-foot screen that displays images from the Pro5000.

While some post facilities might take the short view on an audio system, Martinez and Lleo decided to provide an environment where their clients could experience every aspect of the project in the clearest detail. That's where the Blue Sky Big Blue 5.1 monitoring system came into play.

"The Blue Sky system was is great because it sounds big but it's not obtrusive," Martinez says. "That is good for us because our room is not the biggest around."

Before the system itself was installed the walls were insulated, a bass trap was incorporated in the floor and in the rear corners, and two Auralex diffusers were mounted at the rear wall of the room. The Big Blue SAT 12 satellite speakers for left-center-right coverage were hidden in a speaker wall encased in a soffit along with a Sub 15 Universal subwoofer. The rear left-right speakers are Blue Sky's new I/ON passive studio monitors.

Because both Martinez and Lleo are cinematographers and film buffs, they paid careful attention to the quality of gear that was installed at the studio. "We've been to a lot of post houses and we know the ones we like and the ones we probably would go back to if it was up to us," she says. "We figured the best thing to do was to put our past experiences of going into these post houses and doing work to use."

In just a couple of months since opening, a number of music videos have been finished at IAPP. In addition to the Bones Thugs-N-Harmony project, the team has worked on videos for Chris Brown (Forever) and on Switchfoot's This is Home video, which was a single from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian release.

People are starting to find out about the facility, Martinez says, because of their reputation and their philosophy. "We are not a place where we are constantly looking at the clock," she says. "We are a business, but we wanted to make our facility comfortable, with the highest quality machinery available. We are interested in working with people who want to be in a boutique setting with a powerful set of tools."