White Mark Designs A New Facility For Spool Post

A five-storey 1920’s Art Deco building in Nottingham city centre is currently being transformed into Antenna, a state of the art digital media business centre, complete with dedicated meeting spaces, offices, bar and restaurant.

The centre, which is due to be completed this summer, is also the new home of Spool Post, an audio post production facility that specialises in sound-to-picture for film and television.

Spool’s new facility has been designed by acoustic and studio design consultancy White Mark Ltd, which specialises in creating production facilities for music recording and the film and television industries. Over the last decade White Mark has designed and supervised the construction of over 170 audio production suites worldwide, including more than 100 audio post production control rooms in London’s Soho alone.

The construction of Spool’s new facility is now complete and the team has had to work quickly to meet the deadline of their first mix.

Greg Marshall, Spool’s Technical Director explains: “Spool and Antenna are part of the Confetti Media group developed and owned by Craig Chettle. The group also includes one of the UK’s leading centres in Creative education, the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies. This is a Nottingham-based music and creative technology training facility, which runs courses in music technology, digital video and broadcast production, games, audio and recording technology from diploma to degree level, in conjunction with Castle College and Leicester De Montfort University.

“When the Confetti group acquired the Antenna building next door to its existing premises, Craig saw the centre as an ideal home for Spool giving us the space to create a state of the art film dubbing and mixing theatre. Our old studio was decommissioned in September 2008 and we moved into a temporary studio while the new facility was being built. This allowed us to continue working on editing projects but it wasn’t suitable for mixing. As we had a major film mixing project booked for May, we faced a race against the clock to get the new facility finished in time for us to fulfil that commitment.”

The new-look Spool incorporates a Dolby Digital 5.1 approved film dubbing and mixing theatre, a stereo mixing suite, a voice over booth and Foley stage as well as three additional editing suites, all of which are linked to the main theatre so that projects can be easily transferred from one room to another. The entire facility is equipped with Pro Tools HD throughout, while the main dubbing theatre also incorporates an Icon D-Command mixing desk and a custom designed Exigy 5.1/6.1 monitoring system.

“We are absolutely delighted with the new facility, and particularly with the work White Mark has carried out,” Marshall says. “We chose White Mark for this project on the recommendation of Nigel Heath at Hackenbacker in London, whose facilities we had used in the past for projects. The rooms at Hackenbacker are all White Mark-designed and sound phenomenal. Having experienced that kind of quality, we knew there was only one company in the running when it came to choosing our acoustic consultants. Throughout this project the White Mark team have been fantastic and have spent a great deal of time here making sure we got the room absolutely right. The fact that we were gutting the entire building and effectively starting from scratch made it much easier to design our facilities to ensure we achieved the layout we wanted, as well as the right acoustic performance.”

David Bell, Managing Director of White Mark, adds: “This project was a joy to work on because we were starting with a blank canvas. The fact that the premises were being gutted meant the acoustic and technical requirements of the new facility were not compromised by the existing layout of the building. This was important, particularly when you bear in mind the more stringent requirements now specified by Dolby for certified film rooms. The new Spool is a spacious facility with very efficient workflow thanks to the meaningful layout of the support rooms. We worked very closely with Spool’s structural engineers and also with their builders who did a fantastic job in creating a truly beautiful facility that easily rivals others on the market.”

Spool, which began life as a music recording studio before moving into sound to picture, has worked on a wide range of projects including award-winning feature films, documentaries, commercials and shorts. Its client list includes Universal Pictures, BBC, Warp Films, HBO, UK Film Council, Warp X and Film 4, along with BAFTA winning film makers such as directors Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine. Spool have also just completed the final mix for Justin Molotnikov’s feature: Crying with Laughter, co-produced by Wellington Films.

Marshall says: “Clients come back because they recognise our passion for sound and our commitment to excellent customer service. Although London has always attracted the lion’s share of the film dubbing projects, we feel we can offer a personalised bespoke alternative, especially in these cost-conscious times when producers and directors are looking for quality and value for money. Nottingham is less than two hours from London and benefits from much lower overheads. With our new facility, we can now offer a service that is comparable to anything a London studio can offer at much more competitive rates.”

As well as film and television dubbing and mixing, Spool also offer sound design services, a library of over 450,000 sound effects, film dialogue, ADR services and Foley recording. It can also handle deliverables in all formats including M&E, Dolby SR and Digital Stems.

For more information about Spool Post telephone 0115 859 9806 or visit www.spoolpost.com