Screen Magazine – Lucky Seven

Screen Magazine – Lucky Seven
June 1, 2007 brian

– Brian, Dave, and Johnathon –

Lucky Seven: BAM Studios Celebrates Seven Summers In The Production Community

The summer of 2007 marks the seventh anniversary of BAM Studios, a Chicago-based commercial audio boutique. BAM was founded by veteran audio pro Brian Reed back in 1999 and has developed a national clientele over the course of its years in business.

Among BAM’s credits are Leo Burnett’s Altoid’s spot “Land of Sour, People of Pain,” (winner of a 2005 Gold Cannes Lion) as well as Oprah’s recent “ABC Primetime Oscar Special” and “Building a Dream, The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.”

According to Reed, the key to BAM’s success is flexibility and staying ahead of the curve. “We’re constantly doing research and investigating new products,” says Reed. “And since we operate as a boutique, we’re able to maintain a close one-on-one relationship with our clients. It allows us to anticipate the technology and services they need and react before they need them.”

This approach has brought both internal and external growth over the last two years. In 2005, Reed teamed with audio engineer Dave Leffel – an active member of SAG/AFTRA who is also a producer and director of voice-over talent.

Together they transformed BAM from a one-room studio to a facility with two full-service surround sound suites, a large voice-over studio with a floor-to-ceiling window and an extensive online music and special effects library. In 2006, they added more staff and unveiled BAM’s DreamServer, a proprietary SFX and music data retrieval system.

DreamServer proved invaluable on BAM’s latest piece for Harley-Davidson. The yearlong project resulted in an 18-minute internal sales video that includes over 15 compositions. Created by Brandtrust (Chicago), the video contains 11 sections, each with its own unique soundtrack. Production encompassed a sizable amount of music searching and narration recording.

“The music search spanned the entire year,” says Reed. “We were constantly looking for new pieces to accompany the ever-changing video. DreamServer tracked all of our searches and the items used and allowed us to quickly compile the final license.”

And while technology is important, longtime client Ted Wahlberg, Senior VP/Group Creative Director for Bagby and Company (Chicago) says creativity and expertise have helped build BAM over the years. He has worked with Reed and his team on projects for SONY and International Truck Co. since the beginning of BAM.

“Brian and Dave are very talented and intuitive engineers,” says Wahlberg. “No matter what’s scripted – whether it be for a scratch track, a pitch, radio or broadcast, they’ll bring sound samples to our first meeting that match perfectly with what is in my mind’s eye. It’s not easy to recreate a stormy day with motorcycles being overrun by a big rig, but they pull it off with amazing results.”

As media continues to evolve, BAM is seeing a broader spectrum of needs in the industry. Web development, video games, and multiple spot versions (as many as 300 versions for one spot) are staking claim in the market.

“It’s interesting to see how differently our variety of clientele work today,” says Leffel. “Each media type carries its own requirements. For instance, with video, sound effects are locked to the picture. In web design, sounds have to work together in many combinations. Every user will navigate randomly and hear and see the action in a different order.

“With an upswing in integrated media I predict creatives will be getting us involved with sound earlier in the process. They’ll see a significant advantage to creating the imagery and audio to work together across all venues. Diversity will be the key, and I think our shop pretty much has that covered.”