Best Recording Studios 2017: Where Hollywood Will Score Big

Filmmakers can’t reproduce the sound of a 130-piece orchestra on a laptop. These four facilities, steeped in history, are the go-to rooms for recording the soundtracks and sound effects of the latest blockbuster movies.

Los Angeles

So: Built in the 1920s on the grounds of 20th Century Fox in Century City, this soundstage was the domain of Alfred Newman, the studio’s first music director, who moved to Hollywood from his native Connecticut in the 1930s. (the uncle of pop singer-songwriter Randy Newman) has won nine Oscars for film scores, including The king and me and Camelot.

Now: After a renovation and reopening in 1997, the Newman Scoring Stage has recently been used for recording the soundtracks of films such as dead Pool and Star Trek Beyond.

Culver City, California.

So: Film set for MGM until the end of the 1920s, this room hosted the recording of film scores beginning with The Wizard of Oz in 1939, followed by music for carried away by the wind, An American in Paris and Doctor Zhivagoamong many others.

Now: Located on the Culver City lot of Sony Pictures Studios and named for singer-actor-director Streisand, the stage has been used for the music of more recent classic films, including ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s list and Forrest Gumpas good as Star Wars: The Last Jediexpected in December.

Burbank, California.

So: Warner Bros. Pictures released the first film with a synchronized sound score, The jazz singer with Al Jolson, in 1927. The company acquired its film lot in Burbank in late 1928 and the ratings scene opened the following year, eventually expanding to 5,000 square feet as part of Warner Bros. Sound.

Now: Actor-director Clint Eastwood led a restoration of the facility in 1999, and scores have been recorded here for his films, including Madison County Bridges, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Television shows have also been recorded here, including The simpsons and family guy.

Nicasio, Calif.

So: The sound force has been with star wars director George Lucas since the mid-’70s, when he hired Ben Burtt, a recent graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, to create the sounds, including the hum of lightsabers, for his epic on-screen adventures. Burtt’s work is the origin of Skywalker Sound.

Now: Since moving to Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch headquarters north of San Francisco in 1987, Skywalker Sound has hosted Oscar-nominated soundtrack work for films including The ghost, bridge of spies and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This article originally appeared in the October 14 issue of Billboard