SoundSoundfirm, Deluxe and Adelaide Studios are among the top of the remaining sound post production facilities still standing. These established sound post houses are slowly fading away due to falling production budgets, other low cost technology and the incline of small start-ups.

Soundfirm has been able to stick around by widening its operations in Sydney by offering a wider range of sound post production services. Roger Savage, the studio’s chief executive, says that focusing only on sound post production is a thing of the past. He said, “Basically there’s no money in sound,” referring to declining budgets and the decline of the filming of Hollywood productions in Australia.

In today’s market you have to change with the times in order to keep your business going. Soundfirm is doing an excellent job of keeping up with the changes. Savage said, “To change from grading to sound mixing is technically quite easy now. You just change the controller. It’s again, moving with the new times, and grading is very similar to mixing. It’s the equivalent process in the picture side so we think there’s a market for it.”

In 2008, Deluxe Australia launched one of the most advanced sound facilities in the country: Stage One Sound. It then moved on to convert its Stage One console to a three DC console and Dolby Surround 7.1, then to stereoscopic projection. Anthos Simon, general manager of creative services said, “Those three upgrades cost a bomb. It is very difficult spending hundreds of thousands of dollars when the (feature films) budgets aren’t generous but in terms of credits we’ve had a relatively good year.”

The $48 million Adelaide Studios complex is home to approximately 25 production companies and individuals. This complex has a mixing theatre and two sound stages.

Richard Harris, the chief executive of the South Australian Film Corporation, said the studios are aiming at high end productions. He said, “We’re imagining that most people will use other post production facilities and then use our room for a couple of weeks for the final mix.” Harris says the studios will give the state a bargaining chip. The new TV series Resistance was offered an incentive package including $130,000 worth of free rental at Adelaide Studios.

Huzzah Sound is making plans to upgrade its mixing and ADR theatre to be 7.1 surround sound compliant. Sound designer Andrew Plain said, “Dolby in the United States sees it as the next step in sound. It’s being pushed by big studios like Pixar and sooner or later it’s going to trickle down.”

Huzzah is currently working on the film version of the musical The Sapphires. Songs were first recorded in the studio, and then treated as ADR for the musical acts performed live on the set. Plain said, “All the music was recorded on separate tracks, which means you can work on each element individually. I wish there was more of that kind of planning in films.”