As one of the oldest buildings on the Walt Disney Studios lot, the Sound Transfer Bungalow is chock full of history. The bungalow was originally located at the same place Mickey Mouse came to life – the Hyperion Studios in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. When Walt’s operation started to outgrow their space in Silver Lake he started work on studio space in Burbank. In December of 1939, Disney and his team began the move to the new Walt Disney Studios – along with four historic buildings, including the building now known as the Sound Transfer Bungalow.
Initially the building served as a sound engineering shop and in the late 1980s was used as a hub for the studio’s audio department. The Bungalow’s most recent refurbishment, also in the 80s, housed the team that provided audio and video services including the production of video dailies and other videotape services. This team were active participants in the industry transition to digital formats for 35mm theatrical release prints. New digital sound services featuring Dolby SR-D and Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS) were provided in the bungalow until this operation moved to its own space in the Camera Building.
Always a staple on the Studio Lot, the Bungalow served as a flexible space that met the ever-changing needs of the business as the industry saw a massive shift from physical to digital media. Disney’s Digital Studio Service’s team recently realized the business needed more practical office space and reached out to the Facility Services & Support team for help in renovating the space while preserving the Company’s treasured history.
In February of 2014, the Sound Transfer Bungalow received a major renovation and facelift. The Facility Services & Support team collaborated with the Digital Studios team to create a modern digital media space that served the Studio’s needs to service both legacy audio and new digital sound formats. Amongst other refurbishments, an old dark room was renovated into a new kitchen with storage space. A wall was demolished to create additional space – new carpet, lighting, and ceilings were installed for a more modern look and feel. Outside, the building got a fresh paint treatment, a new awning, and picturesque landscaping to restore it to its bygone luster. More importantly, than the esthetic features, the digital infrastructure was transformed with modern file management systems and networking and security upgrades. Now, the Sound Transfer Bungalow provides innovative office space for the technical talent in Disney’s Digital Studios.
The Sound Operations team moved into the space in late February and will provide creative sound scheduling, new feature audio mastering, and digital audio and sound preservation services. In addition to the day-to-day management of the sound services operations, the team is also managing the project of migrating legacy audio formats to the new digital masters. Additionally new title audio deliverables for Disney, Pixar, Feature Animation and Marvel is another important role and service this team provides. Updated for a future worthy of its past, the Sound Transfer Bungalow will continue to serve the Studio and serve as the central hub for all of Disney’s on-lot sound operations.
The sound bungalow, located southwest of the water tower, has found a new home in Burbank after its move from the former Walt Disney Studio on Hyperion Avenue. Pictured to the right of the bungalow are the “box car” buildings, also moved from the former studio, that would later host offices for the Publicity Department and WED Enterprises.
The bungalow, seen in the center of this 1940 photograph, has moved to its new location at the Walt Disney Studio in Burbank. Formerly the special process lab, the bungalow would serve as a useful facility for the Sound Department.
Special thanks to the Walt Disney Studio Archives for the contribution to the story and photos