West Coast News

In March, Scott Gershin ’84 became the director of sound editorial for the Sound Lab, a new department within Technicolor, a digital technology leader in the media and entertainment world. Under Gershin’s direction, The Sound Lab will meld technology with powerful storytelling to create high-quality branded soundscape experiences for 360-degree films, video games, virtual reality, augmented reality, theme parks, and special venues.

A veteran sound designer and sound editor with more than 100 feature film, TV, and game projects on his résumé, Gershin tapped experts from his network for the Sound Lab team. Among them are alumni Debbie Gonzalez ’87 (executive producer), Jesse Garcia ’15 (associate sound designer), and Chris Hegstrom ’98 (senior virtual reality audio specialist).

The Sound Lab’s focus on storytelling is home turf for Gershin. “I’ve been telling stories with sound for 30 years,” he says of his work in film, TV, and video games. “As a musician, I see a film soundtrack as an audio tapestry made up of the interaction of music, dialogue, sound design, and Foley,” Gershin says. “I capture and use those sounds to tell a story that takes the viewer through emotional peaks and valleys.” Gershin believes that the ongoing development of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed realities will change the way we enjoy entertainment. Although this technology is in still in its infancy, it promises powerful new immersive experiences for audiences.

Debbie Gonzalez built her career producing music for commercials for clients such as Honda, Lexus, and Adidas. When clients needed sound design elements she called Gershin, her Berklee classmate. Their collaborations spurred Gershin to create Soundelux Media Labs (later named Soundelux Design Music Group) a part of the Soundelux family, where Gershin worked for 27 years and became a partner.

After taking a hiatus to raise her daughter, Gonzalez reconnected with Gershin at a Berklee alumni holiday party. At the time, Gershin was working at Formosa Group, a post-production sound design company, and needed someone who understood music production and business development. Gonzalez fit the bill. When Gershin left Formosa to create the Sound Lab at Technicolor, Gonzalez followed. At the Sound Lab she oversees business development and produces projects. Her work includes contracting composers, managing budgets, networking, and recruiting talent.

Jesse Garcia also followed Gershin from Formosa to The Sound Lab. These days, he wears many hats managing and preparing all of the assets for editors and serving as first-assistant sound editor for Gershin. Garcia handles all of the logistics to serve the client’s needs.

As a new Berklee grad in 2015, Garcia entertained various career paths. He now advises new graduates to avoid tunnel vision. “There are many types of jobs within post-production,” he says. “At The Sound Lab we’re designing sound for all types of industries.”

Rounding out the team is Chris Hegstrom, who oversees the Sound Lab’s virtual reality audio. Based remotely in Seattle, WA, Hegstrom was formerly the audio director for Microsoft. “Seattle has a focus on experimentation and technology,” Hegstrom says. “Los Angeles is revenue-oriented and marketing-driven.” He serves as the eyes and ears for the Sound Lab’s clients in the Seattle VR development and audio scenes.

Hegstrom’s presence in Seattle supports current client relationships and provides him an awareness of new studios and projects in the works. It’s a competitive advantage that’s a win-win for Hegstrom and the Sound Lab.

For the new immersive experiences the Sound Lab is working on, 3D sound is a necessity according to Hegstrom. “A stereo mix would break that immersion,” he says. “It’s a 360- degree sphere of potential sound sources and your ears are mixing the experience.”

Gershin and his team are focused on the long game in immersive media. “How will these techniques play out?” Gershin asks. “That’s the art form. That’s what is going to be fun.”