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Sync Sound owners sell Digital Cinema to Warner Bros.

This allows the NYC-based audio post house to strengthen its core focus: television.

By Randi Altman

Warner Bros. Studios now has a permanent audio post-production presence in New York City, following their purchase of Digital Cinema LLC from owners Ken Hahn and Bill Marino of Sync Sound.

Sync Sound had been an audio post-production institution in New York since opening in 1984, working heavily on television over the years on such classics as 30 Rock, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Homicide, The Barbara Walters Specials, Oz, Pearl Jam Unplugged and long list of others. And “television” remains the studio’s key focus going forward.

In 1997, Hahn and Marino (pictured above L-R) opened Digital Cinema LLC featuring New York’s largest mix stage and focusing on the feature film market. Over the years, the company’s talent would move from one entity to another depending on needs and projects. About three years ago, Hahn and Marino decided to build out the two remaining floors at the Digital Cinema location, adding a second mix stage, ADR stage and editing rooms.

That got Warner Bros.’ attention. The film studio, which was looking to do more work in New York City, took use of the editing suites, adding their own wish list of consoles and an HD projector to the big mixing stage along the way, bringing in talent as needed and providing audio post for feature films.

So why was now the time for Hahn and Marino to sell off Digital Cinema? As technology progressed and years passed, the tools used to post features and television became the same, and having two separate facilities with similar resources made less and less sense, according to Hahn. “They overlap, now more than ever. It’s simple… one of the reasons we sold Digital Cinema was because we had more facilities than we needed.”

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Studios at Sync Sound.

All in all, Hahn and Marino believe this sale is good for everyone, including the city of New York. “We can focus on one facility and the television and video world, so it’s good for our clients, and it’s good for the city — this is the first time in many years that a major film studio has had a facility in the city.

You might be asking the question, well are these two facilities now competitors? Not really, says Hahn, explaining that the relationship between WB and Marino and himself has shifted. “It used to be they rented the studios and facilities from us; now with the sale, that relationship has been reversed. If we need to use the big mix stage or anything else, we’ll have access to it. We’ve had a good working relationship with the folks at Warner Bros. and plan to continue it.”

Hahn wants to re-emphasize that nothing has changed with Sync Sound proper. They have kept their staff of talented mixers, editors and recordist, and will continue to work on shows like Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and FX’s The Americans, both of which have been picked up for another season, as well as their ongoing work for the Metropolitan Opera, a job they have been working on since 2007, posting them for DVD, iTunes and rebroadcast.

“We want to make sure that people know that Bill and I are still very much in the audio post-production business, and are excited by our plans for the future. If this was a book on Bill and Ken’s work, this is a new chapter written with Sync Sound as its focus,” concludes Hahn.

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