Tag Archives: Sonic Union

Audio post pro Julienne Guffain joins Sonic Union

NYC-based audio post studio Sonic Union has added sound designer/mix engineer Julienne Guffain to its creative team. Working across Sonic Union’s Bryant Park and Union Square locations, Guffain brings over a decade of experience in audio post production to her new role. She has worked on television, film and branded projects for clients such as Google, Mountain Dew, American Express and Cadillac among others.

A Virginia native, Guffain came to Manhattan to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She found herself drawn to sound in film, and it was at NYU where she cut her teeth as a Foley artist and mixer on student films and independent projects. She landed her first industry gig at Hobo Audio, working with clients such as The History Channel, The Discovery Channel and mixing the Emmy-winning television documentary series “Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.”

Making her way to Crew Cuts, she began lending her talents to a wide range of spot and brand projects, including the documentary feature “Public Figure,” which examines the psychological effects of constant social media use. It is slated for a festival run later this year.

 

Behind the Title: Sonic Union’s executive creative producer Halle Petro

This creative producer bounces between Sonic Union’s two New York locations, working with engineers and staff.

NAME: Halle Petro

COMPANY: New York City’s Sonic Union (@SonicUnionNYC)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Sonic Union works with agencies, brands, editors, producers and directors for creative development in all aspects of sound for advertising and film. Sound design, production sound, immersive and VR projects, original music, broadcast and Dolby Atmos mixes. If there is audio involved, we can help.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Executive Creative Producer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
My background is producing original music and sound design, so the position was created with my strengths in mind — to act as a creative liaison between our engineers and our clients. Basically, that means speaking to clients and flushing out a project before their session. Our scheduling producers love to call me and say, “So we have this really strange request…”

Sound is an asset to every edit, and our goal is to be involved in projects at earlier points in production. Along with our partners, I also recruit and meet new talent for adjunct and permanent projects.

I also recently launched a sonic speaker series at Sonic Union’s Bryant Park location, which has so far featured female VR directors Lily Baldwin and Jessica Brillhart, a producer from RadioLab and a career initiative event with more to come for fall 2018. My job allows me to wear multiple hats, which I love.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I have no desk! I work between both our Bryant Park and Union Square studios to be in and out of sessions with engineers and speaking to staff at both locations. You can find me sitting in random places around the studio if I am not at client meetings. I love the freedom in that, and how it allows me to interact with folks at the studios.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Recently, I was asked to participate on the AICP Curatorial Committee, which was an amazing chance to discuss and honor the work in our industry. I love how there is always so much to learn about our industry through how folks from different disciplines approach and participate in a project’s creative process. Being on that committee taught me so much.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
There are too many tempting snacks around the studios ALL the time. As a sucker for chocolate, my waistline hates my job.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
I like mornings before I head to the studio — walking clears my mind and allows ideas to percolate.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I would be a land baroness hosting bands in her barn! (True story: my dad calls me “The Land Baroness.”)

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
Well, I sort of fell into it. Early on I was a singer and performer who also worked a hundred jobs. I worked for an investment bank, as a travel concierge and celebrity assistant, all while playing with my band and auditioning. Eventually after a tour, I was tired of doing work that had nothing to do with what I loved, so I began working for a music company. The path unveiled itself from there!

Evelyn

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Sprint’s 2018 Super Bowl commercial Evelyn. I worked with the sound engineer to discuss creative ideas with the agency ahead of and during sound design sessions.

A film for Ogilvy: I helped source and record live drummers and created/produced a fluid composition for the edit with our composer.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
We are about to start working on a cool project with MIT and the NY Times.

NAME SOME TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Probably podcasts and GPS, but I’d like to have the ability to say if the world lost power tomorrow, I’d be okay in the woods. I’d just be lost.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
Usually there is a selection of playlists going at the studios — I literally just requested Dolly Parton. Someone turned it off.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Cooking, gardening and horseback riding. I’m basically 75 years old.

Composer and sound mixer Rob Ballingall joins Sonic Union

NYC-based audio studio Sonic Union has added composer/experiential sound designer/mixer Rob Ballingall to its team. He will be working out of both Sonic Union’s Bryant Park and Union Square locations. Ballingall brings with him experience in music and audio post, with an emphasis on the creation of audio for emerging technology projects, including experiential and VR.

Ballingall recently created audio for an experiential in-theatre commercial for Mercedes-Benz Canada, using Dolby Atmos, D-Box and 4DX technologies. In addition, for National Geographic’s One Strange Rock VR experience, directed by Darren Aronofsky, Ballingall created audio for custom VR headsets designed in the style of astronaut helmets, which contained a pinhole projector to display visuals on the inside of the helmet’s visor.

Formerly at Nylon Studios, Ballingall also composed music on brand campaigns for clients such as Ford, Kellogg’s and Walmart, and provided sound design/engineering on projects for AdCouncil and Resistance Radio for Amazon Studios and The Man in the High Castle, which collectively won multiple Cannes Lion, Clio and One Show awards, as well as garnering two Emmy nominations.

Born in London, Ballingall immigrated to the US eight years ago to seek a job as a mixer, assisting numerous Grammy Award-winning engineers at NYC’s Magic Shop recording studio. Having studied music composition and engineering from high school to college in England, he soon found his niche offering compositional and arranging counterpoints to sound design, mix and audio post for the commercial world. Following stints at other studios, including Nylon Studios in NYC, he transitioned to Sonic Union to service agencies, brands and production companies.

Sonic Union adds Bryant Park studio targeting immersive, broadcast work

New York audio house Sonic Union has launched a new studio and creative lab. The uptown location, which overlooks Bryant Park, will focus on emerging spatial and interactive audio work, as well as continued work with broadcast clients. The expansion is led by principal mix engineer/sound designer Joe O’Connell, now partnered with original Sonic Union founders/mix engineers Michael Marinelli and Steve Rosen and their staff, who will work out of both its Union Square and Bryant Park locations. O’Connell helmed sound company Blast as co-founder, and has now teamed up with Sonic Union.

In other staffing news, mix engineer Owen Shearer advances to also serve as technical director, with an emphasis on VR and immersive audio. Former Blast EP Carolyn Mandlavitz has joined as Sonic Union Bryant Park studio director. Executive creative producer Halle Petro, formerly senior producer at Nylon Studios, will support both locations.

The new studio, which features three Dolby Atmos rooms, was created and developed by Ilan Ohayon of IOAD (Architect of Record), with architectural design by Raya Ani of RAW-NYC. Ani also designed Sonic’s Union Square studio.

“We’re installing over 30 of the new ‘active’ JBL System 7 speakers,” reports O’Connell. “Our order includes some of the first of these amazing self-powered speakers. JBL flew a technician from Indianapolis to personally inspect each one on site to ensure it will perform as intended for our launch. Additionally, we created our own proprietary mounting hardware for the installation as JBL is still in development with their own. We’ll also be running the latest release of Pro Tools (12.8) featuring tools for Dolby Atmos and other immersive applications. These types of installations really are not easy as retrofits. We have been able to do something really unique, flexible and highly functional by building from scratch.”

Working as one team across two locations, this emerging creative audio production arm will also include a roster of talent outside of the core staff engineering roles. The team will now be integrated to handle non-traditional immersive VR, AR and experiential audio planning and coding, in addition to casting, production music supervision, extended sound design and production assignments.

Main Image Caption: (L-R) Halle Petro, Steve Rosen, Owen Shearer, Joe O’Connell, Adam Barone, Carolyn Mandlavitz, Brian Goodheart, Michael Marinelli and Eugene Green.

 

Behind the Title: Sonic Union studio director Justine Cortale

NAME: Justine Cortale

COMPANY: New York City-based Sonic Union (@SonicUnionNYC)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We’re an audio post production company. We mix sound for commercials, with a dash of documentary and feature work.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Studio Director

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I assist with all scheduling needs before, during and after sessions. I try and listen to our clients’ needs and help them problem-solve whenever I can. Within the studio, I act as a sounding board, troubleshooter and cheerleader to every one of our team members. Sometimes, I’m also the comic relief!

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I have two seats near my desk and, unsurprisingly, they are always filled. They are in many ways like a therapy couch. No one hesitates before sitting down and telling me his or her life stories, dramas and troubles. And I love it. Fortunately, we have some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met who have come to work here so it’s a real treat for me. I enjoy hearing their stories or just being an ear when they need someone to listen.

It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a kid, and now that I’m an old fart, I mean, more experienced, people actually want to hear my advice. So for me the most surprising part of my job is the amount of time I spend talking to people about anything but projects/work. I’m considering a future in psychology.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
Farmerswife. Facebook. Email. Instant Messaging. Most of all… my big, loud mouth.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Juggling! My favorite part of the job is scheduling on days that seem almost impossible to sort or turn around — when there are a ton of scheduling conflicts and there doesn’t seem to be a way to fit everyone in. And then, with the help of a flexible client (we love them!), and some brainstorming with the staff, it all comes together and everyone is happy. That makes me happy. And it’s during those moments that I feel a real sense of accomplishment.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
When Cheres, our chef, or Jen, our client service person, makes something so incredibly irresistible — fattening — in the kitchen and I’m here and just cannot resist. Let this article serve as a documented record. “This will be the cause of my heart attack one day.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
The moment I have my first sip of coffee in the morning.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I assume by now I would have accomplished my lifelong dream of winning the lottery or one of the many sweepstakes I like to enter. This job thing is slowing down my entry/play time.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I actually thought I would be a celebrity/movie star for most of my life. I had a brief career as a hand model. No joke! It wasn’t until college that I even considered not being in the limelight… and least of all working in audio post. Audio!? No one can see me! But when I found Sonic Union, I was instantly sure this is where I was meant to be. It just fits.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Sonic Union recently worked on some really visually intricate spots for Game of War, mixed by Brian Goodheart and directed by MJZ’s Fredrik Bond, out of Untitled Worldwide; an athletically and aesthetically inspiring spot for Under Armour, mixed by David Papa with music by Phillip Glass, out of Droga5; and a PSA for Above the Influence, also mixed by David Papa, out of Hill Holliday that was directed by Vine star Maris Jones.

We are also really proud of the 2015 AICE Award that mixer Steve Rosen earned for his work on the Adidas Superstar spot. This is the third time that Sonic Union has won for “Best Mix” in the four years that it has been a category at the AICE Awards.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
We are so lucky to be able to work on so many fun projects, that it’s hard to pick just one! But, over the years, we have had a lot of fun working on a number of Super Bowl spots and hearing the buzz about them once they’re released — both positive and negative!

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My phone/Internet/iTunes. My Television/Netflix. My Keurig.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
It’s always playing in the office, so yes. At the end of the day, after Pat my co-scheduler has left, the office has pretty much gotten used to me playing Zumba music until I leave. I need to get pumped and ready for my class after work. It’s not easy motivating to go exercise at 7:30/8pm at night — ever — so they’re all pretty forgiving in letting me “Zumba out” as they like to call it. I work with some pretty tolerant people.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I’ll let you know when I figure it out. I’m certain it will involve vodka.

Main Image: Juan Patino Photography

Behind the Title: Sonic Union’s Steve Rosen

NAME: Steve Rosen

COMPANY: Sonic Union (@sonicunion)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Sonic Union is deeply experienced in audio post and we are proud of our extremely good-looking team of 20 in New York City.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE? Partner/Mixer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
The mixer part of my title is what made the partner part of my title a possibility. I’ve been involved in the New York advertising audio post business for 30 years, and consider myself very lucky to be doing something that I really enjoy every day.

Continue reading