Hot House: Clatter&Din
A Matter of Site and Sound
WHAT’S THEIR GIG?As its name implies, Clatter&Din started as an audio post house when Barnes founded it along with partner Vince Werner nearly 16 years ago. With their combined talents and established reputations-Barnes was a professional musician with extensive facility management experience and Werner a renowned audio engineer and sound designer-growth was immediate. “Vince was probably the busiest post-production engineer in town and I was certainly the second busiest, so we hit the ground running,” says Barnes. Although they started out determined to be a boutique, Barnes says “the next thing we knew we had eight employees, and then we had 15 employees and we were busy all the time.”
Clatter&Din’s specialty remains high-end sound design and audio services, and its bread-and-butter clients continue to be advertising agencies, but their expanding portfolio ranges from internal corporate communications and independent films to recording rock & roll bands.
THE COOL FACTORIntegral to their transition was creating an appropriate environment within the 100-year-old brick and beam building that now houses Clatter&Din. With the assistance of the Russ Berger Design Group (rbdg.com), a firm specializing in acoustical and architectural design of recording studios and broadcast facilities, Clatter&Din was able to design two large 5.1 surround sound recording and monitoring studios for what Barnes describes as ” a most accurate and inspiring acoustic environment.”
To handle the workload, additional spaces were designed to serve as both Final Cut Pro video rooms and Pro Tools audio rooms. “We felt that flexibility was the way the world was heading. If I have five audio jobs, I want to be able to accommodate them all. If I have three video jobs and two audio jobs, I want to be able to accommodate them as well. We actually shrunk our square footage, and vastly increased our ability to generate revenue,” says Barnes. In addition to the three rooms that are “switch hitters” between video and audio, there are the two identical, large surround mix rooms and a smaller dedicated audio room.
“As part of our strategy to become a full-service media company, we had to have the ability to record music. We really needed a wonderful-sounding music room, so we decided to build out a large booth that could accommodate live musicians,” says Barnes. This room was also designed with a separate entrance so they could use that room while both mix rooms were also in use.
Prior planning paid off as demonstrated by one of the company’s first projects in the new facility, created for the Washington State Lottery. For the project, they brought in a greenscreen (seen below) to shoot an a cappella group singing, recording the audio to one of the Pro Tools rooms and shooting the visuals in hi-def video directly to one of their Final Cut suites.
While Barnes and Werner and their employees are technically savvy as a matter of course, a better way to describe the Clatter&Din approach is generous and enriching, with an eye as much on the next generation of audio pros as on the development of its current staff. The company has one of the largest internship programs in the country. A former instructor at the University of Washington, Barnes is passionate about teaching and providing a fertile ground for young talent, so for the past 10 years Clatter&Din has played nurturing host to about 30 or 40 interns a year. Interestingly, the internships don’t focus on the gear because, as Barnes notes, students get plenty of training in that area in their regular university classes. “What they don’t learn about is how to run a session, how to deal with clients, how to deal with all the social and psych issues. There’s a tremendous amount of social skills necessary to be a successful audio engineer.” Judging from the trajectory of Clatter&Din, that 100-year-old building that is home to world-class audio is an excellent place to start.
THE GEEK FACTOR
WHAT THEY DOOffer full-service media creation, including sound design and recording service,s as well as video editorial, Web, DVD and business affairs services
WHO THEY AREPeter Barnes, principal (below, right)
Vince Werner, principal (below, left)
TECHNOLOGYAdobe After Effects
Apple Final Cut Pro
Digidesign Pro Tools
Full array of plug-ins
Proprietary software tools
1518 First Ave. South
Seattle, WA 98134