TRACKDOWN SCORING STAGE
The missing link in Australia’s film production facilities chain is no longer missing: the Trackdown Scoring Stage at Fox Studios is operational and humming like a bird, reports Andrew L. Urban, as well as user friendly.
It’s been (sound) test driven by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and declared “fit for a Mahler symphony”: Australia’s best equipped, purpose built scoring stage is now open for business, and the missing link in Australia’s film production chain is no longer missing. It’s also geared to ensure the musos who play here are happy: the cappuccino van is parked right next to the green room.
The Trackdown Scoring Stage is within the precincts of Fox Studios; in fact, it sits on what used to be the Simpsons Theatre, the stage where the public came to see shows based on Homer and his family when Fox operated a backlot entertainment area. “The centre of what is now the concert hall,” says Guy Gross, composer and one of the directors, “had a three metre deep well, which is now covered with the polished Tasmanian oak floorboards. This is perfectly positioned for strings, while the timpani would be placed at the rear, sitting on the floor under which is concrete.”
"The resultant sound is “gorgeous”"
The resultant sound is “gorgeous” he says and so say the people at the SSO, good enough to not only keep our best filmmakers here, but to attract international productions. “Until now, we in Australia have provided every other service in film production and post production, but had to send films overseas to record the score,” says Gross. Not any more: “and it’s close to the airport and city, but unaffected by traffic or flight paths.”
The stage makes Trackdown a “one-stop film shop able to provide music services for every aspect of film and television, from creation of “temp” scores through to the editing, recording, mixing and final music delivery,” says Gross.
Officially opened this week (September 9, 2003) by Federal Minister for the Arts Senator Rod Kemp, TSS is already negotiating for a couple of major international productions out of Los Angeles. “We’re very good value,” says Gross with a smile.
The large concert hall can handle a 100 piece orchestra and has been fitted out to ensure there are no reflections of sound off parallel walls; that sight lines are clear from the control room to see not only the entire floor but the two separation booths which are used for singers & choirs, drums or non-orchestral elements. “It’s really user friendly,” says Gross, “with easy access from both the public and professional areas of the Fox complex. There’s great access for musos and their gear . . .and we reckon happy musos play better.”
"A full complement of equipment as standard"
The Trackdown stage comes with a full complement of equipment as standard, ranging from appropriate chairs for the orchestra, to stands, microphones, headphones and video playback.
“There is also a complete lighting grid so it can be used to enable filming things like special material for DVDs, TV specials … and we can even stream concerts on the internet,” says Guy Gross.
And if you think this is all for a few high falutin’ movies with orchestral scores, you’ll be surprised to learn that one of the Stage’s first clients is the Rugby World Cup.
Published September 11, 2003