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How to make suggestions for A/V suite design

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Matt Killmon
How to make suggestions for A/V suite design
on Dec 19, 2008 at 5:39:08 pm

Hey all, I know this topic has probably been done to death in here, but I'm posting anyway.

My company (a top-tier video game development studio) is currently planning a move of our team from the basement of our building to the top floor. Currently my space is shared with the audio producer and has a number of problems—it's cramped, the recording booth has two glass windows in parallax, my space is full of shelves of videos, software, boxes of cables and adapters, is ill-lit, has loud and hot equipment (notably RAID arrays for video capture), the HVAC has to be turned off to record in the booth because there's a loud vent in there... essentially, it's not ideal, or even "great," but merely "passable with workarounds." I'm looking at the move as a potential way to address some of the shortcomings of this setup and perhaps also move our spaces a little into the future (we're working on games and video assets that are designed for surround sound but are still monitoring in stereo).

To that end, I'm trying to brush up on the design of these sorts of spaces—acoustic concerns, lighting, HVAC, layout, etc. I'd like to be able to make the space we end up in as future-proof and high-quality as possible. My reasoning feels like common sense: the better it is now, the less the company will have to spend in the future enhancing or fixing it. After all, solid studio design principles don't really change much, even if the technology used to produce assets does—the physical realities of sound and picture are pretty constant.

The one hang-up in this process is, apparently, corporate management reluctance to spend much. I know this is a pretty constant reality, fighting budget constraints, but it's also enhanced by a certain individual who fancies himself an architect. Problem is, he has no formal training (insofar as I'm aware) in A/V space design, and seems to be largely responsible for the current space's shortcomings.

I was wondering if anyone has some suggestions for books about these subjects so I can educate myself enough to make some reasonable suggestions/requests and be able to back them up with solid facts, justifying the up-front expense of building proper A/V space such that the costs are amortized over time. Also, if anyone is aware of architects/studio designers in the Washington D.C. area who might be good contacts for this process, that'd be helpful. Google searching has been... iffy at best?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to make suggestions for A/V suite design
on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:22:28 pm

[Matt Killmon] "My company (a top-tier video game development studio) is currently planning a move of our team from the basement of our building to the top floor.... To that end, I'm trying to brush up on the design of these sorts of spaces... The one hang-up in this process is, apparently, corporate management reluctance to spend much.... it's also enhanced by a certain individual who fancies himself an architect. Problem is, he has no formal training (insofar as I'm aware) in A/V space design, and seems to be largely responsible for the current space's shortcomings. "


Does this "certain individual" also happen to 1) be your supervisor or 2) sign your paychecks? If so, I fear you're hosed.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Matt Killmon
Re: How to make suggestions for A/V suite design
on Dec 19, 2008 at 8:00:23 pm

Yeah, I know what you mean... fortunately he's not directly my supervisor(s) and he doesn't sign my paychecks. Strictly speaking he's lower in the company than the president (whom I'm on good terms with), but higher than my supervisor(s). So, I'd imagine politics will come into it somewhere... I do get the impression that he can be rational when confronted with facts, especially if I can make a case that a larger up-front expense in (if nothing else) room design will save further expenses down the road.



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Bob Zelin
Re: How to make suggestions for A/V suite design
on Dec 20, 2008 at 2:00:05 am

you write -
My company (a top-tier video game development studio)

REPLY - so, you have a lot of money, in other words, because TOP TIER video game companies make a lot of money (millions).

I am the systems integrator for a "top tier" video game developer in Florida. If you want a "top tier" systems integrator to do your new video facility, hire these guys in your town -

http://www.commeng.com/

bob Zelin




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Matt Killmon
Re: How to make suggestions for A/V suite design
on Dec 20, 2008 at 2:47:16 pm

Well, we are top-tier in that our last two games have sold millions of copies and been named games of the year by many publications... but we're still a pretty small company, all things considered. We only have one internal development team so it's 2 to 3 years between major title releases. Our parent company has other publishing imprints but those are mainly for much smaller games for handheld/family platforms.

I don't know. I don't have a good handle on what our financial situation looks like because we're a private company, so that stuff isn't published. My GUT says yes, we ought to be going to a good systems integrator (and judging by your link, those folks are certainly good). I just can't see management agreeing with me, since their goal seems to be to spend as little as possible (and in doing so, tend to do things wrong). And considering I only came on in May of this year (and am pretty young), I don't have quite as much pull as I think would be necessary.

I guess that asking for advice for how to navigate that political solution would be outside the purview of this forum. :P



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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to make suggestions for A/V suite design
on Dec 22, 2008 at 5:24:19 pm

[Matt Killmon] "I guess that asking for advice for how to navigate that political solution would be outside the purview of this forum."

Yes, you're right. Personally, I'd hate to think that the political advice I gave to someone resulted in a lost job.

It sounds like your company's in the Growing Pains stage of life: too big to continue working as it has in the past, and too small to have experience in working with reputable outside consultants.

I'd say that the ONE thing you'd benefit from is a good announce booth or audio studio, if you use if frequently. How about a video studio? Go out of house and use a good one.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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