Audio post company success Asbjoern Andersen


How do you build a successful audio post business? That’s a challenge a lot of audio professionals face – but one company that’s got it right is Boom Box Post.

Since launching in 2015, they’re now at 15 team members and growing. And just this weekend, they landed an MPSE Golden Reel award for their sound work on Nickelodeon’s animated TV movie, Albert.

I was curious to hear the story behind their success and approach – and here are founders Kate Finan and Jeff Shiffman with the Boom Box Post story:



 

Hi Kate & Jeff, please introduce yourself and the team at Boom Box Post

We are Kate Finan and Jeff Shiffman, the co-owners and supervising sound editors of Boom Box Post.
 

Can you give a brief timeline of how Boom Box Post (BBP) has evolved – how it all started, and where things stand today?

We have worked together since 2005, starting off in a boutique sound studio and moving on to supervising sound at a major studio. With experience in both arenas, we both felt strongly that there was a lot to bring to the table creatively by moving back to a smaller environment. We have always been inspired by ground up sound design work, which in our case means a lot of quick decisions and on the fly recording – much more feasible in a smaller more nimble environment.

We’ve always had the goal in mind of building a ‘teaching studio’ where a collection of artists could grow together and contribute to the greater creative output of the company

It was also exciting to consider building a studio where group learning and shared creativity were the focus. We’ve always had the goal in mind of building a ‘teaching studio’ where a collection of artists could grow together and contribute to the greater creative output of the company. In 2015 we started Boom Box Post and built this into the DNA of the company from day one. We started small, just the two of us. Eventually adding team members as needed. We are proud to be fifteen strong and still growing.
 

What’s the workflow typically like when a new project comes in?

The first step is always taking a look at new projects together to brainstorm a creative direction for the sound and discuss any particular challenges we may face. Every job is unique and making a plan tailored to each project is extremely important.
 

With such a growing team, how do you keep your quality consistent?

There must be hands-on involvement with the supervising sound editor at every phase of post audio. Building trust with our editors is something we take very seriously but ultimately everything flows through us to be sure Boom Box Post has a consistent creative voice.

In the end, it’s all about keeping an open dialogue with everyone on the team

We’ve also created a style-guide for the company, detailing our editorial standards, which has proven extremely helpful when working with new talent. In the end, it’s all about keeping an open dialogue with everyone on the team and making ourselves available to help problem solve. Finding the time isn’t always easy, but it’s a priority. Every day our amazing team is helping to mold the ‘Boom Box Post’ sound, making all the extra effort on our part well worth it.
 

How did you put the style guide together? What were some of the essential things to get in there – and do you have any advice for others who are looking to create a style guide for their audio post company?

Over the course of the first few years building Boom Box Post, we came across a lot of rules that we both adhered to in our editorial but had never been written down. Simple things from stair stepping work and color coding to how best to save copies of project sessions. As we worked with new editors and interns, we found ourselves running into situations where we would be repeating ourselves to get the work where we needed it and eventually decided creating a style guide where all these ideas could live in one place was the smart solution.

We came across a lot of rules that we both adhered to in our editorial but had never been written down

What started out small became quite the endeavor, with explainations from ‘What is a Radio Play?’ to ‘Creating a Digital Foley Library.’ It is deep! The guide helps us to get new editors up to speed quickly and also conforms all editorial to work best within the various practices of Boom Box Post. That’s the key, find your companies’ best practices and get them down for all editors to reference.
 

 

And again, with a larger team like yours, how do you ensure a steady stream of projects coming in? Do you have any strategies in place to insulate you from any industry downturns or quiet periods?

This is a crazy industry. We can get a call tomorrow with a new series that wants us for post just as easily as we can hear about a show ending its run. We’ve tried to insulate ourselves as best we can by always thinking roughly two years ahead. With a road map that deep, we can at least make some rough plans for how best to tackle peaks and valleys in our workload.

This is a crazy industry. We can get a call tomorrow with a new series that wants us for post just as easily as we can hear about a show ending its run

Ultimately however, we rely on the long standing relationships we have built with our clients. They know us as easy to work with and highly creative. Good work tends to breed more work and we made an effort early on to build these bonds with a diverse portfolio of clients.

Outside of our current work load, we are taking a 3D view of growth opportunities, branching out into new business lines. It’s our hope that expanding the Boom Box Post brand into new venues should be an additional protection from slower times.
 

How do you go about looking for talent when you need to bring in more people? Where do you look, how do you evaluate the candidates, and what are some of the essential skills you look for?

Referrals have been our best driver for talent. We are looking for self managed, professional editors ideally with experience in a studio environment. At the very least, they need to have worked withing a sound team with real world deadlines. Our editors know these standards so internal referrals automatically jump to another level for consideration. We also respond to every cold email we recieve (and we get a lot). We take great pride in all our efforts to help train talent through our intense intern program as well as our blog posts, but ultimately we are just trying to teach people the way we like to do things. It certainly has helped when we are searching for new team members.
 

Facility-wise, are all your talents at the same location? And if not, what are some of the tools you’re using to collaborate?

We have a mix of talent both in the studio and working from home. Ideally we would have everyone in house all the time but of course space becomes an issue. We’ve prioritized in house room for newer talent whenever possible so we can start to build that trust in person. It’s also extremely helpful for newer editors to see our veteran talent at work.

We’ve prioritized in house room for newer talent whenever possible so we can start to build that trust in person

In terms of collaboration tools, we rely heavily on Slack, Google Drive and our server for fast communication and sharing or data. These tools have become so essential to our daily work, we couldn’t live without them.
 


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Latest releases:  
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  • AUDIO LAYERING WIZARD


    SoundWeaver helps you design new sounds from existing audio material in less time.

    CREATE MORESKIP THE BUSYWORK

    USE CASES

    • Produce more assets and increase productivity on tight schedules
    • Set up your sound design session with ready-to-use sound combinations
    • Generate variations with ease instead of manually tweaking everything
    • Find new combinations, discover and create new flavors and variety within your library

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    • SoundWeaver automates and randomizes certain parts of your sound design workflow.
    • SoundWeaver searches your sound library with the help of keywords or folder paths and picks matching sounds for your project.
    • Sounds are automatically sorted, grouped, layered, aligned and split into regions (if files contain multiple variations).
    • Now you can pitch, offset, gain, shuffle and randomize individual sounds, groups or the whole project. The possibilities are endless.
    • Take snapshots of your favorite combinations and settings. Create as many variants as you like and return to them later in the process.
    • Drag’n’drop the project into your DAW for further editing or export the final mix.
    • SoundWeaver can generate countless variations from your project during export via pitch, offset and take randomization.


    HOW SOUNDWEAVER HELPS YOUR WORKFLOW

    MORE VARIETY ON TIGHT SCHEDULES
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    Creating variations in particular requires a lot of meticulous pitching, shifting and switching out elements within your original design.
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    This opens up a world of new possibilities and is a great way of starting a project.
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    Starting empty-handed? Let SoundWeaver set up your session by putting all layers in place.
    Done, but missing that special something? Try out more unlikely sounds with just a few clicks.


    SOUNDWEAVER At A Glance

    KEY FEATURES

    • SoundWeaver automatically picks, slices, aligns and layers sounds
    • Search by keywords, folders or drag’n’drop
    • Pitch, offset, gain, shuffle and switch out individual sounds, groups or the whole project
    • Each of the previous parameters can be randomized.
    • Export: Drag’n’drop the project into your DAW
    • Export as: Individual layers, groups or mixdown
    • Export features: Generate variations using pitch, offset or random takes
    • Take snapshots and return to your favorite combinations, parameter settings and sounds at will

    TECH SPECS

    Format: Standalone Application for Windows & Mac
    Required Hard Disk Space: 30 MB
    Manual: PDF
    License Agreement: PDF
    Available As: Download

    REQUIREMENTS

    SOFTWARE
    SoundWeaver is a standalone application and works without any host audio software.

    SYSTEM
    Windows 7 (64-bit), 8 GB Ram, Intel® Core i5
    Mac OS X 10.9, 8 GB Ram, Intel® Core i5

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    Available licensing options:
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    Buenos Aires Ambiences includes 3 hours of beautiful ambiences of downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a massive variety of locations and times of day, this album will not dissapoint!

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    Recordings were made inside carriages, inside a compartment, down gangways, across the ever-dramatic space connecting railcar vestibules, and also less glorified but vital locations, e.g., the loo. All relevant background sounds are there, including door movements, passenger chatter, objects in motion, and the sounds of the restaurant car. For the characteristic sounds of a great ‘iron horse’, inside and out, this is it. Flysound… Putting the ‘track’ into soundtrack!

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What have been some of the highlights so far for you running BBP, both in terms of projects, and on the creative and business fronts?

Early on, we set out with the goal to work with all of the major animation studios in town. We’ve come very close to accomplishing that in a much shorter time frame than we had expected. With the addition of Netflix and Amazon Studios, our clients come from all over. It’s also been great to have been nominated for a combined 11 Daytime Emmy and MPSE Golden Reel awards, two of which were wins. For our short three year history, that has been so exciting.

In the end however, our biggest point of pride has been watching our team grow, sharing their talent and skills with one another. You put a plan like this in place hoping for the best but truly seeing that collaborative creative spirit come alive every day here at the office just amazes us.
 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned running BBP – and what’s your key advice to others considering setting up an audio post company?

Creating a business plan was the smartest move we made. This road map took our ambitious ideas, organized them and helped us implement them even as things moved significantly faster than we had planned.

Creating a business plan was the smartest move we made

To that same end, planning and organization for each and every project – days of work before that first sound is put to picture – has really helped us to grow organically. Without these practices, the studio would be chaos and we would never be able to consider expanding into new business lines.
 

 

What’s ahead for BBP? And looking at the audio post industry in general; anything in particular that excites you, and do you see any challenges ahead?

We are very excited to be entering the original sound effects business with the Boom Box Post Sound Libraries. All our hard work building an amazing team of talented editors and designers has given us the ability to draw from that pool to create highly unique original sound effects.

In addition, we have mined the shared knowledge and collective experience of our team to plan these libraries to be not only creatively interesting but extremely useful for the working sound editor. We believe that our point of view in the world of sound design – the focus on both creativity and real world results – sets Boom Box Post up to be a very strong new entry into the field.

A big thanks to Jeff Shiffman and Kate Finan for sharing the story behind Boom Box Post. Find out more about the company here, and meet them on Twitter here.

 

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  • British Stately Home is a collaboration between two award-winning sound designers, Stefan Henrix (Chernobyl, Batman Begins) and Steve Fanagan (Room, Frank). It is a collection of 256 files recorded at 24bit/96kHz, totalling 18.6GB. The recordings are a mixture of mono, stereo, LCR and 5.0 files. In some cases there are multiple perspectives on the same recording (close, mid and wide). There are also Impulse Responses from several of the building's more characterfully reverberant rooms, which have been recorded from different perspectives and edited for use with Altiverb.

    Sounds for this library were recorded over two days in a beautifully maintained rural British Stately Home; a late-18th-century neo-classical mansion. We set out to record any and all aspects of the building and its surroundings. The collection includes doors, windows, fireplaces, clocks, drips, keys and various unusual, period specific props we came across.

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    Equipment Used: Sanken CMS-7S, DPA4060, Sennheiser MKH60, Rode NT4, Sound Devices 702T, Sound Devices USB Pre-2, Roland R26

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  • Environments Sci-fi World Swarm Play Track 141 sounds included, 120 mins total $39 $34

    The latest installment in the Epic Stock Media Sci-fi World Sound Effects Series has landed on planet earth. Sci-fi World – Swarm presents a meticulously designed ambience loop library inspired by an insect-like alien race and their quest for dominance in the galaxy. Sci-fi World – Swarm is a collection of over 2 hours of interior and exterior sci-fi background loops.

    With a selection of 141 designed sci-fi loops, you’ll be able to create new worlds effortlessly. Dramatic room tones, custom sci-fi interior and exterior scenes, ambient sounds like; alien cave, energy lab, transport hangar, termite mounds, and Queen’s chambers are all ready to mix, match, stack and layer for the perfect vibe in your production.

    Loops are approximately one minute in length and the ambience loop files include one or two minimal or alt mix versions. Also, sounds are pre-mixed and mastered to high volume so you can mix your tracks for optimal immersion and sonic dynamics without losing fidelity.

    Product details:

    • Sci-fi Ambience Loop Library
    • Includes a variety of locations, tones, and ambiences
    • 24 ambiences loops like alien cave, energy lab, hangar, sub bay & more
    • 49 minimal versions or alt mixes of full loops
    • 68 loop-able layer loops like Queens Chamber, Termite Mounds, Insect Engines & more!
    • All royalty free SFX

    Of course, it’s ready to use in any multi-media production. All of the recordings are royalty-free and RTU-OTB. Need more ambience loops? Be sure to check out Swarm sister sound libraries – Sci-fi World Colony and Sci-fi World Guardians Ambience Loop Libraries.

    13 %
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    Ends 1580511599
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    Sci-fi World Guardian is a library geared towards multiplayer games, space, dystopias, utopias, fantasy, magical places, serene game moments, RPG, MMO, and sci-fi games all alike and showcases sounds like automated shipyard, electron flow, data mining, engines, mothership hums, conversions, moons of Venus, deserted area, bioengineering lab, desolate space, holy house, a variety of pulses, tech-based loops, winds, & more.

    Each loop is game ready, seamlessly loopable and around 1 minute in length. Each main ambience includes 1-2 alt mix versions + you get a variety of layers to accent your scene and games ambience. Having both full ambiences, alt mixes and layers allows you to truly orchestrate your game’s background sound how you want it. If the full loop has too much going on, then try using the minimal version without the sound you don’t like or by stacking a layer loop to boost the dynamic of the atmosphere.

    Product Details

    • Sci-fi Ambience Loop Library
    • Save time, energy and get quality game audio assets!
    • Includes a variety of locations, tones, and ambiences
    • 25 ambiences loops like an alien cave, energy lab, hangar, sub bay & more
    • 50 minimal versions or alt mixes of full loops
    • 66 loop-able layer loops like Queens Chamber, Termite Mounds, Insect Engines & more!
    • All royalty free
    • RTU-OTB (ready to use out of the box)

    13 %
    OFF
    Ends 1580511599
  • AUDIO LAYERING WIZARD


    SoundWeaver helps you design new sounds from existing audio material in less time.

    CREATE MORESKIP THE BUSYWORK

    USE CASES

    • Produce more assets and increase productivity on tight schedules
    • Set up your sound design session with ready-to-use sound combinations
    • Generate variations with ease instead of manually tweaking everything
    • Find new combinations, discover and create new flavors and variety within your library

    WHAT DOES SOUNDWEAVER DO?

    • SoundWeaver automates and randomizes certain parts of your sound design workflow.
    • SoundWeaver searches your sound library with the help of keywords or folder paths and picks matching sounds for your project.
    • Sounds are automatically sorted, grouped, layered, aligned and split into regions (if files contain multiple variations).
    • Now you can pitch, offset, gain, shuffle and randomize individual sounds, groups or the whole project. The possibilities are endless.
    • Take snapshots of your favorite combinations and settings. Create as many variants as you like and return to them later in the process.
    • Drag’n’drop the project into your DAW for further editing or export the final mix.
    • SoundWeaver can generate countless variations from your project during export via pitch, offset and take randomization.


    HOW SOUNDWEAVER HELPS YOUR WORKFLOW

    MORE VARIETY ON TIGHT SCHEDULES
    We all know the situation: A client has asked for 100 new sound assets, 10 variations each, delivered as soon as possible.
    Creating variations in particular requires a lot of meticulous pitching, shifting and switching out elements within your original design.
    With just a few commands, SoundWeaver will automate all of those time-consuming steps for you and generate as many suggestions as you like – so all that’s left for you to do is have a quick listen and keep the ones you like best.
    Focus on your creative process while SoundWeaver takes care of the rest.

    INSPIRATION THROUGH NEW COMBINATIONS
    Speaking of creative process: Once your library has grown beyond a certain point, there is only so much experimenting you can do manually. SoundWeaver’s powerful Randomize feature often generates combinations we’d never think of trying in the first place.
    This opens up a world of new possibilities and is a great way of starting a project.
    Already have an idea? Tell SoundWeaver to build on it and create different flavors.
    Starting empty-handed? Let SoundWeaver set up your session by putting all layers in place.
    Done, but missing that special something? Try out more unlikely sounds with just a few clicks.


    SOUNDWEAVER At A Glance

    KEY FEATURES

    • SoundWeaver automatically picks, slices, aligns and layers sounds
    • Search by keywords, folders or drag’n’drop
    • Pitch, offset, gain, shuffle and switch out individual sounds, groups or the whole project
    • Each of the previous parameters can be randomized.
    • Export: Drag’n’drop the project into your DAW
    • Export as: Individual layers, groups or mixdown
    • Export features: Generate variations using pitch, offset or random takes
    • Take snapshots and return to your favorite combinations, parameter settings and sounds at will

    TECH SPECS

    Format: Standalone Application for Windows & Mac
    Required Hard Disk Space: 30 MB
    Manual: PDF
    License Agreement: PDF
    Available As: Download

    REQUIREMENTS

    SOFTWARE
    SoundWeaver is a standalone application and works without any host audio software.

    SYSTEM
    Windows 7 (64-bit), 8 GB Ram, Intel® Core i5
    Mac OS X 10.9, 8 GB Ram, Intel® Core i5

    ILOK
    SoundWeaver requires a free iLok account

    Available licensing options:
    Machine License activation and USB Dongle (iLok 2 or higher)

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1581116399
  • City Life Buenos Aires Ambiences Play Track 71 sounds included, 200 mins total $39.99

    Buenos Aires Ambiences features 71 beautifully and professionally recorded ambient sounds of downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, with their rich and unique Spanish dialect, a variety of perspectives, locations, and times of day, everything is categorized with metadata input via Basehead Ultra, and mastered in Protools HD.  We originally recorded over 80gb of data which translated to 42 hours and meticulously cut it down to 6.5gb/3 hours and 20 min of the best and most useful ambiences.

    Included is: City airs, botanical gardens, parks, markets, cemetery, city plazas and squares, nature reserve, busy and quiet streets, traffic, crowds, early morning bird chorus, evening airs, construction, airport, department stores, cafes, restaurants, library, church and cathedral, train station, public transit, museum, roomtones, rain.  And a variety of each, with different perspectives and amounts of walla and voices.

    Thank you and we hope you enjoy our recordings

    Buenos Aires Ambiences includes 3 hours of beautiful ambiences of downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a massive variety of locations and times of day, this album will not dissapoint!

  • The Siemens Valero is a high-speed train that is an engineering marvel and a staple of modern high-grade national and transcontinental rail transport, with various versions zipping across the UK, the EU, Russia, and the far reaches of Asia including China. This is a train capable of 290 kilometres per hour (180 mph), it is the high-speed joiner of distant cities such as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. For our recording project, we captured it across a comprehensive range of its speeds. Sennheiser Ambeo microphones were used throughout.

    Recordings were made inside carriages, inside a compartment, down gangways, across the ever-dramatic space connecting railcar vestibules, and also less glorified but vital locations, e.g., the loo. All relevant background sounds are there, including door movements, passenger chatter, objects in motion, and the sounds of the restaurant car. For the characteristic sounds of a great ‘iron horse’, inside and out, this is it. Flysound… Putting the ‘track’ into soundtrack!

 
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