In Hollywood, if you want a theatrical trailer mixed, Martell Sound is the place to call. Over the three decades since Eric Martell inaugurated the business, the full-size soundstage at the historical Lot Studios on Formosa Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard has become a staple of motion picture advertising. Since Martell’s retirement, the brand’s reputation for excellence has been carried forward by sound mixer and company owner Marcus Zalewski.
“Everyone in town who has ever mixed a trailer knows Martell Sound,” Zalewski says. “Over the last 30 years, every major studio and a good number of the independent studios have taken their work here. Our main business remains mixing theatrical movie trailers in 5.1 , Dolby Atmos and IMAX for theatres and TV but we’ve evolved to also mix for digital platforms whether that’s iTunes or other streaming distribution services.”
Along with the rest of the industry, Martell Sound was forced to shut down in the second week of March in 2020. With movies theatres closed and theatrical releases suspended or pushed back, it didn’t reopen again for two months.
“By the end of May, some work started to return but understandably no one wanted to come to the mix stage,” he recalls. “I tried remote working on a couple of projects by sending QuickTime files along with stereo audio to clients. I’d have to wait a day to receive sound mix notes. Then I’d make the adjustments and resend the file. It was a three-day process just to get anything done and was effectively unworkable.”
That’s where Sohonet’s ClearView Flex came in.
“It was Disney who recommended it to me,” Zalewski says. Disney is one of Martell Sound’s main clients. “They had already started using it and let me check it out. Immediately, I could see that this was a game changer. All of a sudden, we could review mixes in real time and bring everyone in on ClearView to look at material at the same time as if they were in the room.”
He explains that he typically hosts between three and 10 people on the mixing stage for approvals. “I continue to have three to 10 people watching and listening during approvals, but they are all in their own homes.”
He says, “It’s so important to give people the sense of what they need to see and hear in order to get product to market. I’m lucky to have a great relationship with my clients who also all have tremendous experience in working with sound. They know how consistently I mix between 5.1 and stereo and they were confident that what they heard via ClearView Flex would be a great representation of the theatrical presentation.”
Zalewski himself went into the soundstage to work on the final mix and to stream sessions from there to clients using ClearView Flex including trailers for the second season of The Mandalorian for Disney+.
“Because of continued lockdowns, most of my clients are stuck at home and we’ve been doing everything over ClearView,” Zalewski says. “ClearView is now my ‘go to’ equipment. Trailers are always against the wall when it comes to timeframes and release dates and a three-day turnaround was making it exceptionally tough. It would have been extremely difficult to get work done without ClearView Flex.”