Rob Browning, executive producer of Sound Lounge’s Film + Television Division (soundlounge.com), was born in Washington, DC, towards the end of the last century. After moving to upstate New York for his primary and secondary education, the new millennium found him in New York City, striving for rock stardom. With a degree in English Education and a slot as one of the million bass-playing music journalists in Gotham, Browning looked for a path that fulfilled his passion for sound. He started at Sound Lounge when the doors opened in 1998, and he steadily moved up through the company in the years that followed.
“Sound Lounge is known worldwide as a top-shelf mixing facility for commercials,” says Browning. “But when the opportunity to grow the Film + Television Division presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity to foster an equally vibrant and well respected long-format division.”
Sound Lounge has a fully 7.1 Dolby-certified room that has seen the likes of the Oscar-nominated documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, and Alex Gibney’s recent documentary,
Going Clear, in addition to projects for DreamWorks and Parts and Labor. The stage features a dual position mix console that facilitates the engineer and sound designer working in tandem.
Sound Lounge’s mission was to reinforce collaboration between mixer and sound editor. “As an artist-owned studio, the sound editor is held in high esteem here, and we celebrate their role in the creative process,” explains Marshall Grupp, managing partner and sound designer of 30-plus years. “We believe the sound editor brings an important voice to the mixing process, articulating our highly-collaborative spirit to the audio post community.”
Sound re-recording engineers Tony Volante and Steve ‘Major’ Giammaria handle the bulk of editorial and mix duties for long-format projects at Sound Lounge. Volante has a rich reputation in audio post production, having worked on such lauded projects as the Oscar-winning Alex Gibney documentary Taxi To The Dark Side, and features by Jonathan Demme and Derek Cianfrance. Giammaria has been a part of the division since its inception via sound supervising, as well as mixing on an ever-growing list of feature and documentary projects. This year has seen Major attached to three projects for the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, as well as the upcoming Broadway video comedy Brother Nature, among myriad other projects for Glyph and ESPN.
“Stepping into the lead role for the Film + Television Division was like stepping onto a train at full speed,” explains Browning. “Working with Tony and Major on highly-acclaimed documentaries by directors on the level of Alex Gibney and Liz Garbus, and working on features likeLimitless and
Blue Valentine, immersed me immediately in projects with the biggest names in the film world. With such high profile work, it was important to me that Sound Lounge match the passion and professionalism of our peers.”
Sound Lounge has a TV presence on par with its work on feature films, mixing series like Damages and The New Yorker Presents. Recording ADR is another huge part of the puzzle. Engineer Pat Christensen records for all film projects when he is not working on an extensive and expanding list of TV shows like Power and
Limitless. Video game recording for the likes of Blizzard Entertainment (
World Of Warcraft) and SideUK (
The Division) fills up the rest of the stage schedule. Browning says Christensen’s personality and professionalism are the bedrock of a successful division.
Volante, Giammaria and Christensen continue to garner accolades and gain notoriety both individually and as a team. Sound Lounge is in its second decade as one of the top audio post production facilities in the US, and Browning asserts its aesthetic remains unchanged. Maximizing team resources has always been a fundamental part of Sound Lounge’s success; from the early days of seven staff members and two mix rooms, Sound Lounge has always felt that the size of the team should not reflect the quality of the work produced.
“Most of those initial staff members continue to be valued parts of the team today. Our eight core rooms remain vibrant and the two theatrical mix rooms and ADR stage are among the busiest in NYC,” says Browning. “We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to accommodate the ever-changing demands of the artists we are lucky enough to work with, whether it be technical or logistical. I am pleased that we have a formidable presence at Sundance, Tribeca and the Oscars to show for it.”