By Sonic Union in The Core

A discussion on Artistic Narrative featuring VR directors Lily Baldwin & Jessica Brillhart

March 6, 2018 — Sonic Union Bryant Park was delighted to team up with StoryCode, a global community for immersive storytellers, to host a special networking event and panel discussion featuring VR directors Lily Baldwin and Jessica Brillhart. VR consultant and founder of Friends with Holograms, Cortney Harding, moderated this informative and inspiring discussion.

Baldwin and Brillhart, both groundbreaking filmmakers; discussed their styles, techniques, and experiences in filmmaking. The directors’ spoke of their artistic processes and how VR can be used to elevate a story. They also explained what it’s like to be a director in the rapidly growing VR industry.  Brillhart said, “Each of us makes art differently and powerfully, but as long as we stay true to ourselves, there is no wrong way.”  We may have also asked a thing or two about sound.

Following the panel’s Q&A session, the directors’ films were showcased on VR headsets and in our new Dolby Atmos® mixing rooms.  (Oh, and if you still have not seen the space, come on up for a tour!) Each attendee was transported to a variety of VR experiences including; a globe-trekking world tour, a magical macaron trip in LA, a passionate burning fire of couple love, and what it sounds like to be in space while sitting first chair in London’s Philharmonia Orchestra.


Get to know the directors

Baldwin fuses her years of experience as a professional dancer into her filmmaking. She uses the body as an instrument of expression and communication. In a recent interview with Medium Magazine, Baldwin explained, “Spoken words can be complicated in 360 immersion, as they are on stage. I always felt bodies say more”.  Named by Independent Magazine as one of the “10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2017,” her latest VR film titled Through You (co-directed with Saschaka Unseld) premiered at 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Brillhart, former principle VR film director for Google, has gained recognition for her pioneering work in virtual reality. She has since founded Vrai Pictures an independent immersive content company and recently signed on as VR director with Mssng Peces. Her latest VR film, Beethoven’s Fifth, is in partnership with Google and NASA to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Voyager Golden Record. Beethoven’s Fifth won the 2017 Raindance Award for “Best Music VR Experience” and premiered at this year’s 2018 SXSW Film Festival.

Sonic was thrilled to host these talented directors, we can’t wait to see what new VR adventures they take us on next!

Picture 1: Check out a 360 video time lapse of the event at Sonic Union Bryant Park Studio!

Picture 2: Moderator Cortney Harding with Directors Jessica Brillhart and Lily Baldwin

Picture 3: Through You directed by Lily Baldwin and Saschaka Unseld

Picture 4: Beethoven’s Fifth directed by Jessica Brillhart

By Sonic Union in Announcements


New York, NY, October 25, 2017: ​New York audio powerhouse ​Sonic Union is expanding with the launch of a new studio and creative lab overlooking Bryant Park to further accommodate clients’ evolving needs. The uptown location will focus on growth in the emerging spatial and interactive audio spaces, as well as continued work with broadcast clients. With its expanded capabilities, Sonic Union continues its passion for everything that is and involves sound. The expansion is led by principal Mix Engineer/Sound Designer ​Joe O’Connell, ​now partnered with original Sonic Union Founders/Mix Engineers Michael Marinelli and Steve Rosen and their staff, who will work out of both locations. O’Connell helmed award-winning sound company Blast as co-founder, and has now teamed up with Sonic Union for the next step in his successful and​ ​entrepreneurial​ ​career.

Mix Engineer ​Owen Shearer advances to also serve as Technical Director, with an emphasis on VR and Immersive Audio. Former Blast EP ​Carolyn Mandlavitz has joined as Sonic Union Bryant Park Studio Director. And Executive Creative Producer Halle​ ​Petro,​ ​​formerly​ ​Senior​ ​Producer​ ​at​ ​Nylon​ ​Studios​ ​will​ ​support​ ​both​ ​studios.

The four-room audio lab affirms the studio’s continuing evolution into new and emerging audio technologies and creative work in sound. Three rooms are built for Dolby Atmos​®​, with​ ​the​ ​first​ ​room​ ​slated​ ​to​ ​be​ ​certified​ ​by​ ​Dolby​ ​for​ ​Nov​ ​13​ ​bookings.

“We feel really fortunate to encounter good people like Joe, who invest in themselves in so many ways. He has a real affinity for becoming nuanced in these new formats and our all-encompassing approach to audio post, which fits in solidly here,” says Sonic Union Managing Director and Co-Founder Adam Barone. O’Connell adds, “Adam, Mike and Steve have built something very special. I’ve had a great time working with the crew out of the Union Square location and can see the tight-knit staff and top-notch work are very much a result of what these guys are about. From the beginning, the focus of our collaboration was to build a dynamic, more diverse toolbox for future projects. With the new immersive capabilities and such a talented team on board, I am really excited about​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​creating​ ​together.”

Working as one team across two locations, Sonic Union is inspired to expand their creative sound capabilities. This emerging creative audio production arm will also include a roster of talent outside of the core staff engineering roles. The team will now be integrated to handle non-traditional immersive VR, AR and experiential audio planning and coding, in addition to casting, production music supervision, extended sound​ ​design​ ​and​ ​production​ ​assignments.

It all got started when Steve Rosen, Michael Marinelli and Adam Barone met for a few pints in 2007, after discussing some mixes they were exchanging in the early days of surround. One day, they hatched an audacious plan that would eventually give rise to Sonic​ ​Union​ ​in​ ​2008.

The new sunlit studio, with sweeping views of Bryant Park, was created and developed by Ilan Ohayon of IOAD (Architect of Record), with architectural design by Raya Ani of RAW-NYC. Renowned for her visionary and unconventional design, Ani, who also designed Sonic’s Union Square studio, brought forth a feeling of dimensional interconnectivity through a bold, origami-inspired functional finish. Its generous rooms

with plentiful windows, and workspaces for clients to inhabit before and after sessions allow​ ​for​ ​creativity​ ​to​ ​flourish.

Over nine years, Sonic Union has steadily grown its staff and abilities, earning its role as one of the premiere 100% owner-operated and independent audio boutiques in the industry.​ ​The​ ​second​ ​Manhattan​ ​location​ ​with​ ​be​ ​their​ ​first​ ​expansion​ ​since​ ​2014.

By Sonic Union in Announcements

Joe’s residency at Sonic Union this summer is in full swing, until his new home is completed this fall, we’ve made room for Joe and his following here at Sonic Union.



By Steve Rosen in Dad Pride

It’s been a good couple of weeks! A bunch of Sonic Union work was shortlisted by AICE and AMP, and we shared the AMP Award for Outstanding Mix with our friends at Sound Lounge. It means a lot coming from AMP. And while it’s great to be recognized for work you submit to awards committees, it’s somehow more a point of pride for me how much of the work nominated in other non-sound-specific categories had Sonic Union’s imprint. In a prior AICE awards show, every Sonic Union mixer was represented in different categories. That felt good.

We can all maybe agree that shiny things are nice, but knowing that we’ve built a company and a culture to be proud of on every level is what’s made this journey matter for me. Here’s some of the award winning work we were a part of this season;


AICE Award Winners

Color Grading – Over :90

Squarespace – John’s Journey

Digital Content – :90 and Under

Adidas Originals – Original Is Never Finished

National Campaign

Under Armour – Make That Old


AMP Award Winners

Best In Show

Adidas Originals – Original Is Never Finished

Outstanding Adaptation/Arrangement

Adidas Originals – Original Is Never Finished

Most Effective Music In A Campaign

Google Pixel – Made By Google

Outstanding Mix

Under Armour – Make That Old

And one additional finalist that makes me especially proud…

Sound Design

Adidas Y-3 – Adidas Y-3 Spring/Summer Collection

With sound design and mix by our own Owen Shearer and Brian Goodheart.

That’s the stuff that keeps me going…

By Pat Sullivan in Announcements

I don’t think I’ve eaten as many grilled cheese sandwiches as I did last night. Maybe I was nervous for Owen, or overly excited. Each year, AICE hosts Camp Kuleshov, a showcase for assistant editors and engineers. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends from both the editorial and audio worlds and see some really creative work from some really talented people.

Assistant editors have the prompt to either cut a trailer from a selection of films and turn it into a different genre, or use two films to create a trailer for a completely new movie. Some of the film selections this year were Wet Hot American Summer, A Clockwork Orange, Eraserhead, Dances With Wolves, and the original Doctor Dolittle. We were happy to see our bud Tommy Button of Crew Cuts take first place by turning Wet Hot American Summer into a Scorcese film. It even got mention from the AV Club as well as Michael Showalter himself!

Assistant engineers were asked to take any continuous :90 seconds from Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” or Buster Keaton’s “The General” and provide all the sound design for one of the silent films. Our own Owen Shearer took a fight scene from “The Gold Rush” and used his sound design and music editing chops to make a tense, and at times, comedic atmosphere. With the help of his VO talent, his girlfriend Claudia and our own Nate Bennett, the finishing touches were added. We’re so proud to announce that Owen took home 1st Place in the Sound Design category! There were a lot of great entries this year and we want to send out our congratulations to everyone who participated. This was such a fun night to be a part of. You can check out all the entries here and you’ll find Owen’s submission and some pics below!


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