As a cinema sound enthusiast, I typically experience the most severe episodes of fangirl-dom whenever I’m in the presence of iconic sound facilities and the people who make the magic happen inside. Upon entering the lobby of Doppler Studios, in Midtown Atlanta, I was instantly drawn to a wall bolstering an array of gold and platinum records, including those by ATL music legends Outkast and Usher.
From this point, it had already become apparent that the need to contain my urge to geek out would have to soon take effect given the studio’s impressive credentials. But the specific trigger for the potential fangirl meltdown stemmed from the fact that Doppler also created the sound design for the Adult Swim animated series, Squidbillies, which is practically required viewing in my home.
Complete with industry standard equipment, plenty of know-how, and some incredibly friendly staff members, Doppler Studios has built a reputation for being one of the premier audio facilities in the southeast. During a tour of control rooms and editing suites, I was even privileged to briefly step in on a session with Squidbillies sound designer, Shawn Coleman, who dished on his approach to creating the shows signature sound effects, including the fact that some of the Foley was performed using actual fresh squid! That piece of insider scoop will certainly make it difficult not to think about my favorite gang of tentacled misfits the next time I’m having calamari.
Dynamic sounds have been flowing through the corridors of Doppler Studios since 1969, during which time the facilities were primarily used for music recording. Current owner and President, Bill Quinn, has been a member of the Doppler family since the early days, and has overseen the development of newer projects due to advances in technology and an increase in production courtesy of the Georgia film tax credits.
While admittedly hesitant about the long-term implications of Georgia’s current production spike, Bill says that he certainly hopes that Doppler will continue to be a part of the progression. With services ranging from audiobook and podcast production to ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement), sound design, and mixing for major features and television shows, Doppler has shown that it can adapt and thrive within the ever-changing media landscape. Some of their latest work can even be heard on last year’s historic bio-pic, The Butler, and on the HBO series, True Detective.
“I was just walking down the hallway one day and there was Woody Harrelson sitting down, reading a book while he waited to go perform in the studio” Bill recounts. He also mentioned that talent shooting films in Atlanta have the capability to perform ADR sessions for projects located in studios all over the globe, via a program called Source Connect.
While Doppler has seen its fair share of business from major production companies, the studio also provides sound services for commercials, documentaries and independent films. When it comes to independent filmmaking, Bill has some sound advice for Atlanta locals.
“After budgeting for locations, talent, editing, etc, sound is often an afterthought, but dialog is everything. You have to make sure that you make clean recordings of the dialog on set without excess noise. A lot of the independent films we get have a lot of things that need to get fixed in them and a film with bad sound automatically says ‘amatuer’.”
To avoid having your next project sound anything but amazing, check out Doppler Studios at www.dopplerstudios.com
Kacie has a MFA in Sound Design from SCAD and is, admittedly, still figuring out what she wants to do with it. In the meantime, she enjoys watching movies, going to museums, and meeting lots of people in the Atlanta creative scene.