Despite the pandemic, NoiseFloor, the full-service audio facility located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, has had a year full of growth. At the beginning of 2021, NoiseFloor’s 8 full-time employees returned to their studio at 308 West Erie St after working from home in quarantine. They were excited to get back into the studio, but they immediately got some bad news. Due to new construction in the building, they would have to leave the studio they called home for the last 10 years and find another location.
Moving was no easy task. The NoiseFloor team had to pack up and relocate their entire 4100 square foot studio before their lease had even expired. They managed to find a new location, 6000 square feet of space at 320 West Ohio Street. Still, the new space would need a lot of demolition and construction to become the facility that NoiseFloor needed. As was the case everywhere, getting materials delivered for construction during the pandemic was extremely challenging. Despite these challenges, NoiseFloor would have a new state-of-the-art facility and 5 new full-time employees by the end of the year.
And now… let’s take a tour of the new studio! Here is your pictorial tour of the dynamite digs…
Here’s What’s New
NoiseFloor’s new space comes with several exciting changes and new services. One of which is their Dolby Atmos theatrical mixing stage. The stage features a 7.1.4 speaker system, 10,000 watts of amplifiers, and a Yamaha Nuage Controller/Mixer. All of which runs on Dante, a networked audio system. For video playback, the room features a Christie 4k laser projector. Most noticed in the room, however, are the 2000 fiber optic lights in the ceiling that create a custom, moving starfield. The stage also converts into a 30 person screening room with cinema-style seating. Noisefloor’s room is the only one in the Midwest custom-built to mix in Dolby Atmos.
Another upgrade, NoiseFloor is now home to Chicago’s only permanent foley stage. Before moving into their new studio, foley was done wherever there was space. Katie Waters, NoiseFloor’s foley artist, remembers hauling the wooden pits and other props from room to room, depending on what was available that day. Waters feels “euphoric” about having a permanent foley studio to call her own, she says walking into the studio every day is “a similar feeling to walking onto the baseball diamond or basketball court, there’s a weird energy right before the game starts and a lot of focus and sweat is about to pour out of you!”
NoiseFloor now offers a new service, DCP creation. A Digital Cinema Package (DCP) is a collection of files that allow movie theater servers to recognize and play a film on the big screen. Now, NoiseFloor can create DCPs, and after the DCP is created, it can be screened right there in NoiseFloor’s Dolby Atmos equipped screening room.
The studio also has 3 more production-style rooms, a music composition studio, 3 fully equipped sound booths for VO, ADR, and Loop Groups, and more rooms dedicated to audio editing. According to co-owner and supervising sound editor Cory Coken, “The new space was designed with everything we had learned about workflow over the last 15 years, so it’s laid out just right for our team.”
Growing the Roster
NoiseFloor’s team has seen considerable growth this year as well. Katie Waters has been promoted from Creative Producer to full-time Foley Artist. They’ve also hired 3 new Production Sound Mixer/Sound Editors; Joseph Vnuck, Skyler Gram, and Noelle Daniels. Laura Rouser has joined the team as an Associate Creative Producer. Shannon Riley has been hired as Marketing Strategist.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be a part of the NoiseFloor team,” says Noelle Daniels, “I get to be surrounded by super talented people that allow me to grow my skills as a sound editor and I can’t wait to see how much I can keep improving here.” Joseph Vnuck adds, “It’s a very exciting time at Noisefloor as the team is growing, and there’s a wide range of projects coming in.”
The Year Ahead
Moving into the new year, NoiseFloor hopes to continue their momentum. According to Bryen Hensley, co-owner, “We have no shortage of ideas for 2022.” They even expect to hire a few more staff members before the year is through.
NoiseFloor is committed to growing the creative industry in Chicago. Coken says, “We hope this studio takes the midwest to the next level in sound.” He adds, “We want there to be no need to go to the coasts when we have your solutions right here.”