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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    • Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI – 73 files – 73 minutes
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  • City Life Nature Ambients Bundle Play Track 263+ sounds included, 683 mins total $160 $80

    This bundle includes 4 different libraries.

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    You can see the metadata and sound list below.

    50 %
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    Ends 1574463599
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  • Environments Rare Winds Play Track 102 sounds included, 233 mins total $149 $74.50

    From all 4 earth’s corners, air streamlines the environment and shapes our stories. Discover the cinematic world of rare winds!


    This sound library is the ultimate achievement of a really ambitious project of recording winds from very remote places across the world.

    Included are authentic recordings from the Boreal region (North hemisphere: in Canada and Iceland), from the Austral region (South hemisphere: Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Last Hope province in Chile), on Islands in Mediterranean region (Thira in Greece), in the Sahara desert (Marocco), Isle-aux-Grues (Canadian winter), and more (see file list for more details)


    These were recorded either in urban settings, countryside, or complete wilderness.

    Included is a set of useful synthesized, tonal, and designed winds.

    The sounds are categorized into 3 folders: Designed, Indoor & Outdoor.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:

    • 102 stereo files
    • Highly focused and meticulously edited sounds
    • Ready to use Loop
    • Urban area and Wild area
    • Useful Designed & Synthesized Wind Sounds
    • Recordings from the Boreal region (North) in Iceland & Canada
    • Recordings from the Austral region (South) in Argentina & Chile
    • Recordings from Islands in Greece & Canada
    • Recordings from the desert in Marocco
    • Abandonned houses and shelters
    • Marina, lake, forest, car, flags, arctic, metal pole, prairie, street, mountain, grass, …
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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

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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A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
 
 
  • Environments Rare Winds Play Track 102 sounds included, 233 mins total $149 $74.50

    From all 4 earth’s corners, air streamlines the environment and shapes our stories. Discover the cinematic world of rare winds!


    This sound library is the ultimate achievement of a really ambitious project of recording winds from very remote places across the world.

    Included are authentic recordings from the Boreal region (North hemisphere: in Canada and Iceland), from the Austral region (South hemisphere: Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Last Hope province in Chile), on Islands in Mediterranean region (Thira in Greece), in the Sahara desert (Marocco), Isle-aux-Grues (Canadian winter), and more (see file list for more details)


    These were recorded either in urban settings, countryside, or complete wilderness.

    Included is a set of useful synthesized, tonal, and designed winds.

    The sounds are categorized into 3 folders: Designed, Indoor & Outdoor.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:

    • 102 stereo files
    • Highly focused and meticulously edited sounds
    • Ready to use Loop
    • Urban area and Wild area
    • Useful Designed & Synthesized Wind Sounds
    • Recordings from the Boreal region (North) in Iceland & Canada
    • Recordings from the Austral region (South) in Argentina & Chile
    • Recordings from Islands in Greece & Canada
    • Recordings from the desert in Marocco
    • Abandonned houses and shelters
    • Marina, lake, forest, car, flags, arctic, metal pole, prairie, street, mountain, grass, …
    50 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574463599
    Add to cart
  • City Life Nature Ambients Bundle Play Track 263+ sounds included, 683 mins total $160 $80

    This bundle includes 4 different libraries.

    The Baltic Sea sound library is compilation of 56 WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, Sony PCM-M10, two Oktavas MK012 set in MS, XY and ORTF setup. All the sounds were recorded far away from the cities and roads. Since most of the sounds were recorded in late winter, there are no insects or birds in background. There are few files that includes the sound of birds, but I left them on purpose, because of the overall feel of the files. In this library you will find beautiful sound of waves crushing on the rocks and shore, recorded from different perspectives in different stereo configurations, during calm and windy days. In addition to those sounds, there’s foley like walking, running and swimming in the water.

    The Harbours Of Norway sound library features 25 files with ambients recorded in Myre, Sto and Nyksund, very small towns with direct access to the sea. Most of the sound effects were recorded at night, but since it’s a polar day time of the year, it was very pleasurable to walk and look for convenient places to set up my gear. Everything was recoded with ORTF setup built from two Sennheisers MKH 8040. Inside this library, you’ll find a lot of seagulls, waves crushing on the rocks and plants, windy ambients from the cliff, industrial sound from port in Myre with ship unloading the cargo, walla with steam engine boat and additional sounds from boat engine market and air cooling aggregates from food containers. Every file was recorded in 96kHz, edited (i removed any unintentional bumps, pops and unwanted sounds). I limited EQing to removing harsh frequencies, or enhancing a little bit the good sounding ones. At the end of the chain there is a small compression, for louder sounds.

    The Summer Ambients sound library contains 33 beautiful WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, two Oktavas MK012 in MS and stereo XY pattern. All sounds were gathered in different and beautiful places like forests, lakes, meadows or swamps. You can expect amazing ambients, textures, different birds, insects, forest during rain, calm and windy days. It’s a perfect library for designing background sounds. Everything was recorded in amazing Masuria in Poland.

    Summer ambients Update – library got 2x bigger and heavier than the original library. 59 additional files, 123 minutes of high quality audio recorded with Sennheiser MKH 8040 ORTF setup, Rode NTG3, Oktava MK012 XY setup plugged into SD702 and Sony PCM-10. It features ambients from the forests, ponds, swamps, meadows, lakes and suburbs recorded is very quiet locations, mostly just before the sunrise, during the day and before sunset far away from the cities.

    Water Flow sound library took me about six months to record, consumed about 15 thermoses of tea and 42 litres of gasoline to get to all locations. It offers 90 BWAV files recorded in different locations. Huge part of this library is based on the recording sessions on the rivers. Two completely different locations, recorded regularly for the last 5 months allowed me to create this unique sound library. Most of the recording sessions took place during winter just before the sun was rising to reduce the amount of unwanted sounds. Almost all recordings are completely clear and only few have birds in background, since it was my intention to record some location ambients with natural backgrounds.

    You can see the metadata and sound list below.

    50 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574463599
    Add to cart
  • Cars Cars In Motion Play Track 561+ sounds included, 340 mins total $150 $75

    The Cars In Motion sound library gets you exterior sounds of cars driving at different speeds, slow/medium/fast/very fast pass-bys, reverse sounds, accelerations, braking sounds and a lot of additional files. You’ll find different engines, and cars with different character.

    From a small BMW 114i through to a powerful Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 V8 with Magna Flow exhaust, up to a fast twin turbo BMW 640D F12. In addition to cars there are also files covering big machines like tractors and excavator.

    The library features 561 WAV files with total length of 340 minutes, recorded in 96kHz and 24 bits with a Sound Devices 702, two Sennheisers MKH 8040, Rode NTG3 and Sony PCM-M10.

    Here are the cars included in this library:

    • Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI – 73 files – 73 minutes
    • Audi A4 B8 2.0 TDI Avant – 11 files – 10 minutes
    • BMW 114i E87 – 20 files – 10 minutes
    • BMW 530D E60 – 55 files – 21 minutes
    • BMW F12 640D Gran Coupe – 87 files – 49 minutes
    • Excavator MF 860 – 30 files – 20 minutes
    • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 V8 – 62 files – 51 minutes
    • Renault Kangoo 1.6 16V – 71 files – 32 minutes
    • Renault Master II 2.8 dTi – 21 files – 13 minutes
    • Renault Master F3500 dCi135 – 30 files – 12 minutes
    • Tractor Case II CX90 – 15 files – 10 minutes
    • Volkswagen Golf II – 26 files – 13 minutes
    • Other Cars – 60 files – 23 minutes

    50 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574463599
    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Game Audio Packs & Bundles Dirt & Asphalt Series: Motorbikes Bundle Play Track 365 sounds included, 305 mins total $116.66 $99.17

    Dirt & Asphalt Volume 1 is the first addition of vehicle and transportation recordings from Output Audio. This library contains a selection of recordings from 3 road bikes, with additional bonus content from other road motorbikes. The library also contains acceleration ramps for use in granular playback engines.

    Road bikes included:
    • Yamaha 450cc Thumper
    • Triumph 600cc Dual Fuel Injection
    • Aprillia RST 1000cc Futura
    • A selection of bonus pass-bys and externals from a range of high performance bikes

    Dirt & Asphalt Volume 2 is the second addition of vehicle and transportation recordings from Output Audio. This library contains a selection of recordings from two motocross events and two practise sessions, with additional bonus content provided as race atmospheres.

    Library highlights:

    AMCA Motocross Classes Included:
    MX1/MX2/Experts/Seniors Unlimited classes

    Engine Sizes Included:
    85cc/125cc/250cc/450cc engines

    15 %
    OFF
  • User Interface (UI) Ui Two Play Track 377 sounds included $45 $30

    Ui Two is the sequel to our overwhelming popular Ui One collection, this collection contains 377 original sounds uniquely crafted for creating user interfaces, telemetry, gadgetry and more.

    Empty Sea’s Mark Camperell, carefully crafted these sounds using a variety of beepers, boopers and other sonic tools. A sample of which include synths, samplers, spectral editors and more. Each sound was recorded at 48k/24bit. Planned, processed, mangled and otherwise destroyed, every single tone was tweaked until it was something new, original, and exciting.

    As usual, we meticulously edited, mastered and embedded the files with metadata. This collection is priced to move, so don’t hesitate. If you’re tired of the your same old UI inspiration, Ui Two from The Library by Empty Sea is a great addition to your library.

    33 %
    OFF
    Ends 1578005999
  • Cars Hyundai Kona Electric Car Play Track 428 sounds included, 98 mins total $100

    An electric car sound library with a range of FX from the Hyundai SUV, Kona.

    The library includes numerous driving FX on both gravel and asphalt including pass-bys, take offs, corners, approaches and skids.

    It also contains a large range of interior recordings from driving at highway speed all the way to buttons and switches.

    Multiple FX on each track – recorded in Sydney, Australia

  • Cars Car Interiors Play Track 430 sounds included, 14 mins total $69 $55

    car interiors library is a great supplement for all the car engine sounds that you already own. That way the action on the inside of the car is not stale at all. Dashboard buttons, seatbelts, automatic windows, switches, switching gears, brake, clutch and gas pedals, vents, turning signals. They’re all here!

    Got a whole bunch of roaring car engine sounds but then realised that you’re not equipped with all of the boring stuff like:

    car door handles, seatbelts, turn signal, air vents, buttons and switches, seats, storage compartments, horns, windows, pedals (gas, brake, clutch), handbrakes wend

    and all other Car Interior sound effects? Well then.. look no further! This is just the pack for you.
    160 wav files with over 400 single sounds in total. Car Interiors will spice up that car interior scene with real, crisp sounds, recorded from over 6 cars in total!

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574981999
  • Destruction & Impact Cinematic Strikes Play Track Up to 4140 sounds included From: $119 From: $95.20

    ENORMOUS SOUNDING PERCUSSIVE HITS

    CINEMATIC STRIKES joins the BOOM Library Cinematic Series – and it focuses on big sounding drums. A whole world of cinematic percussive sound design lies a few clicks away: From devastating cracks and stomps over crisp swells and rolls to epic ensemble hits – you will be sure to find and build just what you are looking for.

    With the ultimate flexibility of different microphone positions, single and ensemble hits, flams and swells using various drums and beaters, you couldn’t be better equipped to design huge blockbuster and trailer hits – or simply place ready-to-use DESIGNED sounds into your timeline and feel the earth shake.

    CINEMATIC STRIKES – CONSTRUCTION KIT:

    FLEXIBLE SOUND DESIGN TOOLKIT

    The Construction Kit offers you one of the most comprehensive drum hit packages ever recorded. Carefully planned to satisfy and complement every spot in the frequency range, you will never run out of low end booms, aggressive cracks, mid-range body impacts, reverberant tails and excellent sweeteners to top it off.

    PERSPECTIVE & RHYTHM

    Not only are you able to produce impressive sounding hits, but also transition into, out of and between peaks. Control the attack and release of each sound, using rolls, flams, double hits and other meticulously performed techniques. Three coherent microphone positions make spatial adjustments a breeze.


    Files: 618 • Sounds: 3708 • Size: 13 GB


    CINEMATIC STRIKES – DESIGNED:

    MAXIMUM PUNCH – AND THEN SOME

    CINEMATIC STRIKES – Designed is what you get when layering and processing Construction Kit sounds BOOM Library style.

    From rumbling low-end BOOMS, soft and natural sounding WHOOSH HITS to aggressive, frontal CRACKS and PUNCHES, the Designed library showcases what’s possible, while saving precious time and budget on a tight schedule.

    This package is particularly useful for filmmakers and trailer sound designers.


    Files: 108 • Sounds: 432 • Size: 1.4 GB

    CINEMATIC STRIKES BUNDLE:

    THE BUNDLE – The best of both worlds at a discounted price.
    The Bundle gives you the full sound design power as it contains both – the DESIGNED and the CONSTRUCTION KIT edition at a discounted price.


    Files: 726 • Sounds: 4140 • Size: 14.6 GB
    Included sounds – keywords:

    BASS DRUM, BOOM, BOX, CAJON, CONCERT TOM, CRACK, CRASH, DAIKO, DOUBLE HIT, ENSEMBLE, FLAM, FOOT, GONG, HARD BEATER, HIT, JAM BLOCK, KICK, KODO, LOG, MALLET, BIN, PUNCH, ROLL, SINGLE, SNARE, SOFT BEATER, SPLASH, STICKS, STOMP, SWEETENER, SWELL, TABLA, TAIKO, TAMBORA, THUNDER SHEET, TOM, WHIP, WHOOSH HIT, WOOD PERCUSSION, WOODBLOCK
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1575500399
 
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