Big Bamboo Post, Hawaii’s first Dolby-certified audio post-production studio, has opened on Maui. Founded by veteran sound engineers Johnny Wilson and Bennett Yashon, the studio offers sound design, sound editorial, ADR, mixing, original music composition, Foley and more. It provides sound services for all types of media including film, television, games, advertising, virtual reality and live events. In its first project, Big Bamboo provided ADR services for the new HBO series White House Plumbers.
Wilson and Yashon have been planning Big Bamboo’s launch since 2019. Wilson, who is an accomplished composer, supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer—and a resident of Maui—was frustrated by the lack of a local source for Hollywood-caliber sound, forcing him to travel to Los Angeles to finish projects, including the recent films Go for Broke and Maui. “I would much rather have completed that work in Hawaii, but there was no place with surround sound capability,” Wilson recalls. “Ben and I discussed various options and chose to build our own studio, drawing on our mutual areas of expertise. It would benefit us personally, and the Maui film community. It was the perfect solution.”
The focal points of the new facility are its two mix stages. Studio A is a Dolby Atmos Premier 9.1.6 mix stage built as a “floating room” to keep it isolated from external noise. It is certified by Dolby Laboratories for Atmos theatrical sound mixing. Studio B is a Dolby 7.1 mix stage with a vocal booth for live recording. The two stages are networked to facilitate project sharing. The facility also features office space for visiting productions, along with a conference room and other amenities.
Wilson’s background includes credits as a supervising sound editor or re-recording mixer on dozens of films and television shows. He has also composed original scores for independent features, shorts and episodics. He recently won the award for Best Composer at the Toronto-based Phoenix Shorts Festival The Tunnel, Interview with a Monster, from director David Llauger Meiselman and Boricua Films. Yashon’s experience is centred on sound for live events, including concerts, theatrical productions and corporate events. He previously spent 10 years as managing director of Event Horizon Audiovisual.
Overseeing operations is project manager Cudra Clover. She brings a diverse background in live sound, music, fine art and immersive entertainment. The studio’s staff also includes engineers Tamara Johnson and Dale Everingham.
In providing remote ADR services for White House Plumbers, Big Bamboo worked the direction of supervising sound editor Brent Findley MPSE, CAS, AMPS. “Having worked with Johnny in the past, I knew to look him up for ADR,” says Findley. “He and the crew at Big Bamboo went above and beyond in taking care of not only my needs from a technical standpoint, but also the needs of our high-profile talent. It was a positive working environment, and the recordings dropped into the mix nicely. I will definitely use them again.”
Big Bamboo expects to draw projects both from local film and television productions, and from outside producers working in Hawaii. The studio is also equipped to service clients remotely, via state-of-the-art networking technology. Additionally, the company has its eye on opportunities outside film and television. “Maui is a hub for a wide range of music and art,” Clover says. “We are personally very involved in those communities and believe we can be a resource and contribute to their growth. Art
installations, museum exhibits and virtual reality productions all need world class sound.”