Top Recording Studios 2017: Where Hollywood Goes To Make The Big Score
Filmmakers can’t replicate the sound a 130-piece orchestra on a laptop. These four facilities, rich in history, are the go-to rooms for recording soundtracks and sound effects for the latest hit movies.
FOX NEWMAN SCORING STAGE
Then: Built in the 1920s on the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City, this soundstage was the domain Alfred Newman, the first head music for the studio, who moved to Hollywood from his native Connecticut in the 1930s. Newman (the uncle pop singer-composer Randy Newman) won nine Academy Awards for the scores to films including The King and I and Camelot.
Now: After a renovation and reopening in 1997, the Newman Scoring Stage recently has been used for the recording the soundtracks to movies such as Deadpool and Star Trek Beyond.
BARBRA STREISAND SCORING STAGE
Culver City, Calif.
Then: A shooting stage for MGM until the late 1920s, this room hosted the recording scores for films beginning with The Wizard Oz in 1939, followed by music for Gone With the Wind, An American in Paris and Doctor Zhivago, among many others.
Now: Located on the Culver City lot Sony Pictures Studios and named in honor singer-actor-director Streisand, the stage has been used for the scoring more recent film classics, including E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List and Forrest Gump, as well as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, due in December.
EASTWOOD SCORING STAGE
Then: Warner Bros. Pictures released the first film with a synchronized sound score, The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson, in 1927. The company acquired its film lot in Burbank in late 1928 and the scoring stage opened the following year, eventually expanding to 5,000 square feet as part Warner Bros. Sound.
Now: Actor-director Clint Eastwood led a restoration the facility in 1999, and scores were recorded here for his films, including The Bridges Madison County, Flags Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. TV shows also have been scored here, including The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Then: The sonic force has been with Star Wars director George Lucas since the mid-’70s, when he hired Ben Burtt, a young graduate the University Southern California’s School Cinematic Arts, to create the sounds, including the hum lightsabers, for his epic onscreen adventures. Burtt’s work was the origin Skywalker Sound.
Now: Since relocating in 1987 to Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch headquarters, north San Francisco, Skywalker Sound has hosted Oscar-nominated mixing work for movies including The Revenant, Bridge Spies and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 14 issue Billboard