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Broadcast TECH


year or so ago, you might have thought that the market for dedicated broadcast

post-production facilities was under threat. With tapeless workflows, slashed budgets and a production sector enticed by cheaper editing kit, it appeared facilities were ripe for a kicking. Production companies, we were told, and indeed sometimes observed, would be handling their own in-house editing, thank you very much, while dabbling in motion graphics and VFX. It was said that offline editing in par- ticular would no longer be the pre- serve of post facilities alone. Facilities would have to offer more specialised boutique services that would rise above the editing capabilities available to anyone with a Mac workstation and a copy of Final Cut Pro. Return to the present and things

The number of new offline suites opened in 2011 by Envy to meet rising demand


haven’t quite worked out as feared. Not only has offline editing remained a staple of post facilities, but many have taken the bou- tique idea and folded it into the new and com- plementary range of services. Envy, for one, says that rather than experi- encing a slump in business, it has had to grow to meet rising demand. “We have expanded, with another building in 2011 with another 23 offline suites, making a total of 77 across Envy,” says founder and managing director Dave Cadle. “With apologies to Mark Twain – the

Studio 66: clients can walk away with assembled offline projects loaded onto their laptop

reports of offline’s death are greatly exagger- ated,” says Julie Sangan, resource manager, BBC Studios and Post Production (BBC S&PP). “I haven’t seen the big move over to desktop editing as something that creatives or clients are actively pursuing. Clients still want the cheaper suites to cut and make edit decisions, but [on suites] that are fully

Post-production facilities are reinventing their technical and creative offerings in a bid to stay ahead of the curve in a new era of tighter budgets, desktop editing and digital formats. Michael Burns reports

supported within a facility. Even more so now that budgets are squeezed, clients need the reliability of a post-production service – they haven’t got the time or budgets to get any- thing wrong.” Prime Focus Broadcast managing director

Rowan Bray has seen an increase in demand for offline. “Many of the main post houses were actually outsourcing extra suites to cope with demand in the autumn,” she says. “The anticipated drop in demand has not yet been felt on the ground, although it would seem likely that, in the long run, clients will opt to manage offline themselves. “The initial flow of work to in-house facilities was ham- pered because it coincided with the transition to tape-

less. Pro-active production houses have brought in the

technical and support staff to man- age their in-house facilities, while others

have been put off even trying to establish facilities until the workflow and skill base has settled down and a model has been estab- lished that they can copy.”

Offering something new Both sectors are becoming more tightly knit, but that doesn’t necessarily come at the dis- advantage of facilities that can provide new, creative offerings. James Niklasson, executive producer at Studio 66, says it opens up a host of new opportunities. “Studio 66 was established to take advan-

tage of these desktop solutions,” he says. “We are not an offline facility or a traditional post- production facility. The fact that some of our clients have invested in their own kit is an advantage for us; we work with them as a partner and are able to offer the additional services they do not have in-house.

January/February 2012 | Broadcast TECH | 17

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