One of the most respected and considered the only true Dolby feature sound studio in South Africa re-launched recently at The Sasani Studio hub in Highlands North.

In a case of out with the old and in with the new, top post production company V-Lab (formerly Video Lab) revamped an industry stalwart as a 21st century powerhouse.

The studio now boasts the ability to record the legal 5.1 size with correct Dolby certification. Previously known as the Chris Fellows Sound Studios, and which housed the talents of the late Jeremy Saacks, the studio has undergone a major cosmetic upgrade and is again open for business.

Charlotte Buys who had worked closely with Saacks for the last four years now steps into the spotlight at AREA 5.1 as head sound engineer, ADR engineer and editor.

In Focus spoke to Buys:

“Not enough time is spent laying sound correctly. Adding layers and complexity to your sound is what takes your work to the next level, and that is what AREA 5.1 is about. AREA 5.1 will continue their sterling work on feature films, but we are also actively branching into television and corporate work with a specialised rate card.”

Buys, one of a handful of female sound engineers in the country, will thus oversee a range of offerings including the traditional 5.1 Dolby work, the ADR, track lay and more.

Tracey Williams, General Manager of the V-Lab under whose wing AREA 5.1 falls, comments: “Charlotte’s experience in working on feature films can now be translated to television, documentary and even corporate work. Our quality control process at AREA 5.1 and V-Lab has seen our feature work meet international distribution standards every time – that says a lot about the level of professionalism and experience we have here. Broadcast standards are getting higher too and not a lot of sound engineers understand those standards or have experience with them.”

Some of the productions Buys has worked on include Tsotsi, Oil on Water, the Heartline SABC series, Crazy Monkey and Yesterday.

V-Lab feature producer Lauren van Rensburg concurs, “Work with someone who knows the difference between good sound and okay sound – don’t rely on your editor to do it in his or her Final Cut.”

AREA 5.1 is a full production and post production audio facility offering mixing studios, sound effect libraries, track laying, sound post, folley and ADR studios with Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital and Dolby SR mixing capabilities for feature films, commercials and television work.

All final sound mixes and stems can be supplied on multiple digital formats and Dolby Digital or Dolby SR optical sound negatives can be shot on the LLK3 digital laser camera at V-Lab.