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A Change of Pace in Hollywood

By Steve Harvey. Pace Pictures has just opened in Hollywood in the former Soundelux building, which is now IgnitedSpaces, a shared work/media facility. Oscar-winner Mike Minkler, a partner, designed the Atmos dub stage.

Hollywood, CA—As previously noted in the pages of Pro Sound News, the demands of the streamers—Netflix, Amazon and their ilk—have brought about an evolution of the media production process. One independent post house, Pace Pictures, has responded with a new business model, offering on-demand production workspace that can scale with the needs of the project and—oh, by the way—a fully equipped picture and sound post shop, including a Dolby Atmos mix stage.

The idea, says Heath Ryan, the Australian founder of L.A.-based Pace Pictures, is to bring the office space-on-demand model to the media production and post-production community. “The concept, in tandem with IgnitedSpaces, is to have offices upstairs that allow a film or TV show to come in and start a production with one desk, then grow as their production grows.”

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Approximately 45,000 square feet on two upper floors of the high-rise on Hollywood Boulevard that previously housed Soundelux is subdivided into private offices, conference rooms, shared areas, breakout rooms and events spaces with views of Hollywood and downtown L.A. Space is available on monthly contracts. “It’s a lot higher-end with a lot more consideration for the needs of entertainment clients—content security, privacy—than a normal office-on-demand concept,” says Ryan, whose 15-year-old company previously offered editorial services out of Studio City and Westwood.

The scalable and flexible production workspace concept appears to dovetail nicely with the way that Netflix, located about a mile away, and Amazon work, says Ryan. “They have so much going on, they’re not interested in setting up offices and bays all the time.”

The concept includes the use of the lobby for those renting space upstairs. “We deliver a concierge experience. Even if you’ve only got one desk upstairs, you can make this a landing place for your clients.”

Pace has moved its picture and sound services into the first-floor complex built out and formerly occupied by Soundelux. Once production work is completed upstairs, says Ryan, “they can come downstairs to do their post as needed.” As upstairs, the downstairs facilities can also be scaled to meet demand. “And this can be four-walled,” says Ryan. “Bring your own mixers and whomever you need for your production, and we provide the very best as far as the rooms go.”

The 20,000-square-foot first-floor site is outfitted with a variety of services, including several Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio color grading suites. One is equipped with a Barco 4K HDR digital cinema projector and doubles as a small screening room; another is used frequently for VR, including music concert and festival projects from a production company renting offices upstairs; and a third supports Dolby Vision, specifically for Netflix projects. Four Avid edit bays will soon be joined by a five-station, headphone-only editing bullpen.

The company’s sound division has partnered with re-recording mixer Michael Minkler, a three-time Academy Award-winner for Dreamgirls, Chicago and Black Hawk Down, who took the lead in designing the Dolby Atmos room together with staff from the Formosa Group and Westlake Pro, which supplied and installed all the equipment. The room features a dual-operator Avid S6 mix system and a 24-speaker array—including six overhead—of 5-inch JBL 7 Series reference monitors with Meyer Sound cinema speakers behind the screen.

“I don’t think there’s a single analog audio cable in this entire rig; everything is run over Ethernet and MADI,” says David Tichauer, Pace’s mix technician and re-recording mixer. The machine room racks are crammed with Focusrite RedNet boxes, including nine HD32R units bridging the three Pro Tools HDX rigs—two 64 I/O playback machines and a 128 I/O recorder—to the Dante network. RedNet AM2 headphone boxes are also available around the mix stage.

“I have a soft spot for Dante. I used to work for Focusrite,” says Tichauer, who was previously employed in technical support for the company. He joined Pace just as the Dolby Atmos room was being completed.

“It’s an amazing-sounding room,” he says. “It sounds much bigger than it is. In fact, people who have walked into this room say it’s way bigger than they remember.”

Three additional JBL 705i speakers and stands are available for nearfield mixing. “We set those up and roll in a TV. It works amazingly well,” he says.

Minkler did some predubs for Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again on the stage before moving to Universal for the mix. “He called me and said it translated perfectly,” Tichauer reports.

Pace Pictures has already hosted numerous projects in addition to the Mamma Mia sequel mix and VR concert films. Finished projects include indie feature films Silver Lake, Flower and The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, the CW TV series iZombie and a Mariah Carey music video related to Sony Pictures’ animated feature, The Star.

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“It’s been a dream of a system to work with,” says Tichauer, who notes that the facility passed with flying colors when the security auditor came by before the Mamma Mia predubs. “We just installed a new central server. It’s very secure—everything is offline, the RAID arrays are encrypted, and everything is password-protected.”

An ADR/voiceover recording room and adjacent booth are also nearing completion. “I’ve done a little bit of work in there already,” he says. “I tuned the room with the JBL Intonato box with no acoustic treatment and it was usable. Once we get the treatment in there, it’s really going to shine.”

Pace Pictures •

IgnitedSpaces •