Acoustic and technical design company White Mark Ltd is celebrating its 10th anniversary by completing its 100th audio post production control room in London‘s Soho.
By the end of November, Envy‘s Studio D will be open for business. The studio, which is the sixth audio room at the White Mark designed six floor complex north of Oxford Street, is configured to work in surround sound with a separate booth for voice over contributions. It complements the full range of suites originally built into the complex, which range from the two track laying rooms to the Dolby licensed Studio A. All are equipped with White Mark woven screens chosen for their acoustic transparency and full surround monitor systems by Exigy.
Established in 1997 by David Bell, John Dunnill, Derek Buckingham and Alan Cundell, White Mark Ltd specialises in production facilities for music recording and the film and television industries. Over the last decade it has designed and supervised the construction of over 170 audio production suites worldwide.
The company‘s impressive client list encompasses some of the world‘s most famous music recording facilities including Peter Gabriel‘s Real World Studios in the UK, Hit Factory in New York (for which the company won a coveted TEC Award for Best Acoustic Design), Hit Factory/Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, Strongroom in London and private studios for producers and musicians such as William Orbit and Damon Albarn. More recently, White Mark has designed facilities such as Kore, Modern World and Blast that have defined a new benchmark in performance while reflecting the current conditions in the UK recording market.
Although music studios remain central to White Mark‘s business, it is in the area of audio postproduction that the company has excelled - not just in terms of the number of studio built, but also in terms of their quality.
“London‘s Soho is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for the audio and video post production industries, for both television and film programming and associated commercials creation,” White mark‘s managing director David Bell explains. “To date, we have worked for over 40 companies in Soho, including Grand Central, Hackenbacker, Envy, Scramble, Lipsync, Molinare, Ascent Media, Wave and Boom. These companies are working at the top of the world‘s production industry and have produced numerous ground-breaking and award-winning films, television programmes and commercials. We are very proud that a significant proportion, if not the majority, of mainstream British television output passes through rooms designed by White Mark.”
White Mark‘s respected position in the audio post community that it serves, recently led David Bell to act as an expert witness for Grand Central Studios at the UK Parliamentary Enquiry into Crossrail.
“The studio was seeking to maximise protection for Soho‘s audio post industry against the damaging noise issues that might well have arisen,” he explains. “Success was achieved when a promise was made by Crossrail to float the tracks for the trains on decoupling mounts for the entire distance beneath Soho. Let‘s hope we can be equally as successful with Crossrail 3, which may also threaten the post production industry if plans for it go proceed as has been suggested.”
As White Mark enters its second decade, it is well positioned to capitalise on the UK‘s burgeoning audio post production business and is also seeing significant demand from the film audio community.
“Much of our success is down to the way we run the business and approach projects,” David Bell says. “Foregoing the idea of a central office has helped us keep operating costs to a minimum and encouraged regular site visits, which are vital for customer satisfaction. We spend a great deal of time talking to clients so that we can assess the basic feasibility of a project and what the facility owner wants from his or her investment before a commitment is made. We believe it is very important to win the client‘s trust and we don‘t start charging for our design input until we have agreed the basic layouts, costings and performance aspirations.”
Collaboration with architects, as part of larger design teams where specialist input is required, has seen White Mark work with world-class architects such as Aedas, Feilden-Clegg, AEM, Capita Symonds, Bayer Blinder Belle and HWL LLP on projects as diverse as Film City, Glasgow; Community Music East, Norwich and the NYU School of Music, New York.
David Bell also regularly lectures on acoustics and studio design at various colleges, including LIPA in Liverpool.