U phasing out feature post-production sound dept.

Up to 20 jobs will be affected

Universal seems to be looking to get out of the feature post sound business, at least for now.

Wednesday Universal notified employees in its feature sound mixing department that their jobs will be phased out. Studio will stop accepting new feature sound projects and release employees as the projects they are on wrap. Up to 20 jobs will be phased out.

U said its remaining post services are unaffected, including: TV sound; projection; digital intermediate; ADR; Foley; archival; restoration; feature trailers; mastering; laybacks; picture editorial; Avid rentals and support; remote review, quality control and digital infrastructure.

It is nearly impossible to sustain a feature sound post business without mixing, however, so the move appears to be a signal U means to exit the feature sound business, at least for now.

A U spokesman issued the following statement. “We are always examining our business and responding to the marketplace. As with any business we look to align costs to strategically position ourselves for the future.”

The studio’s future plans for sound and feature post remain vague, though. U has not ruled out bringing mixers back as contract employees or finding some other arrangement to keep feature sound mixing in-house.

The majors are also known for flip-flopping on having their own post facilities, sometimes preferring to keep post spending in-house, other times preferring to outsource post and cut their overhead.