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Widget Post Puts Bark into "Hotel for Dogs"

Re-Recording Mixer Kevin O'Connell Mixes Family Comedy in Legendary Studio D (January 14, 2009)
DMN Newswire--2009-1-14--HOLLYWOOD- Academy Award-nominated re-recording mixer Kevin O'Connell recently employed the facilities of Widget Post Production to prepare the final mix for Hotel for Dogs, the new family comedy from DreamWorks Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. O'Connell and his partner, re-recording mixer Beau Borders, performed the work in Widget's Studio D, using a 96-fader Neve DFC-2 console supported by several Pro-Tools HD audio workstations. The film, directed by Thor Fredenthal and starring Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Don Cheadle and Lisa Kudrow, is set for release by Paramount Pictures this month.
O'Connell, who has a record 20 Oscar nominations to his credit, including most recently last year for Transformers, said that as a family comedy, one might expect Hotel for Dogs to have a simple mix, but nothing could be further from the truth. The sound design is extremely complex and nuanced, the result of an intensive collaboration between O'Connell,Borders, and supervising sound editor Elliott Koretz and his crew.
In particular, O'Connell and Borders took care in developing cues for the film's very large cast of canines. "We might have from three to 150 dogs running around at any one time," O'Connell recalls. "Beau meticulously built out the sound for each one. Every dog has his feet. Every dog has his breath. And every one has his own chain or bell jingling around his neck as he runs by. And all that stuff had to be panned. When you have one or two dogs, it's one thing, but when you have 100 dogs going by it's quite another!"
O'Connell also credits supervising sound editor Elliott Koretz, who spent months during production preparing original sound elements, and Ivan Reitman, the film's producer, who, he says, had a clear vision for how to use sound in the film. "Elliott delivered exactly what Ivan asked for, so it was really fine tuned before it arrived on the mixing stage," O'Connell notes. "What we did was apply the finishing touches. It was a labor of love."
O'Connell's stop at Widget Post Production was actually a return. Some 30 years ago, he began his career at the facility, then part of Samuel Goldwin Studios. "As a young recordist, I worked on Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Empire Strikes Back and Grease in the same room," he recalls. "Later on, when I became a mixer, I mixed films such as Beverly Hills Cop II, Top Gun and La Bamba there. When someone suggested it would be a good facility for Hotel for Dogs, I jumped. It brought back a lot of fond memories."
Although, from a technical standpoint, the mixing stage has undergone considerable improvements, it still retains the ambience that has made it popular for decades. "Widget has done an amazing job of bringing the room up to date. It is very current, and it still sounds great," O'Connell observes. "And this facility has always had a family atmosphere. It's not like a corporate-run studio. It's exactly what mixers and filmmakers want. We want the freedom to do what we want to do. That's the creative environment that Widget provides."
About Widget Post
Widget Post Production is the largest independently owned sound studio in the Los Angeles area. With world-class facilities in Hollywood and Culver City, we offer complete sound editorial, re-recording, Foley and ADR services. In addition, Widget Post operates one of the largest Audio Restoration divisions in the industry; overseeing more than 2,500 titles per year. Widget Post provides an award-winning creative staff, six dubbing stages, two ADR stages, two Foley stages, sound editorial suites and a 130-seat screening room. Our unrivaled talent and state-of-the-art facilities make Widget Post Production the place to craft the perfect soundtrack to any project.



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