Alvernia Studios

Dan Poland (2010)

Built only about 2 years ago, the Alvernia Studios is the dreamchild of Stanislaw Tyczynski, the man who founded RMF Radio in Poland.  At its core, it’s a state-of-the-art production and post-production facility, with the most bizarre design scheme of any studio. Ever.

The drive there took about an hour; we went the back-roads way, through the rather scenic Polish countryside.  The weather had cleared up a bit, and while there were still patches of rain, it was turning out to be a rather sunny day. Unfortunately, the two weeks of rain had definitely taken a toll on the region, and the results of the flooding were everywhere.

When we got to the studios, the first thing we saw were the domes.  Yes, each aspect of the facility is housed in a futuristic-looking dome that connects to the other domes via clear tunnels.  It looks like something out of Woody Allen’s Sleeper, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The decor inside was clearly inspired by H.R. Giger’s work on Alien.  Weird biomechanical shapes adorn everything, all the doors slide open like on Star Trek, and it’s a truly unique and other-worldly vibe that you get when you go inside. Honestly it was the most psychologically uncomfortable studio space I’ve ever seen.

First we had lunch – a nice casual meal consisting of Polish onion soup (delicious!), a small salad that had little onion balls in it, and the main course was roasted duck served with a type of stroganoff sauce that was excellent.  We then got a tour of the facility – and everything was state of the art.  From a central machine room “dome” housing all of the tech gear, connected to the other domes by fiber optics, to a rather impressive backup generator system, this place is totally self sufficient.  And all of the gear is top of the line, state of the art hardware.  The scoring stage is a nice size, has great acoustics, and movable panels to adjust the reverb. The dubbing stage has a top of the line 4k color correcting suite.  There are sound mixing rooms, small recording rooms, VFX suites, editing bays, and more.  They have two large soundstages,one of which has the largest bluescreen in the EU. It was also currently rigged for motion capture for a video game.

They can certainly handle anything they’re asked to do, and the Alvernia Studios was a rather impressive post facility.  But the decor was just too bizarre to even wrap my head around. Even the bathroom was creepy!

On the drive back to Krakow, we hit a few torrential downpours, but then it got more or less sunny again.  However, we had to take a bit of a detour since one of the main roads was flooded. We made it back to the hotel around 4pm or so, and that gave me about 4 hours to explore on my own before being picked up to go to the Shigeru Umebayashi concert.  My destination: the Jewish quarter.