TV Bay Questions


Who are you? (about yourself and Online Creative)
I am the owner of Brighton based post production facility, Online Creative Ltd. I started the company in 1999 primarily as an edit facility which has since developed further into a production company and training facility. We have recently invested in a fully equipped grading suite to add to the services we offer. We moved the company to central Brighton in 2002. Brighton has a fantastic energy about it along with a vibrant media community making it a great place to run our business. Working collaboratively with local companies enables us to work with like minded very talented people, allowing us to handle projects of any size without having to travel to London. Brighton has a fantastic pool of talented freelance editors, DP’s, graphic artists and sound designers and we now have a great award winning team.


What do you do? What does Online Creative do?
My creative role in the company is as senior editor and colourist. I have edited programmes for nearly twenty years, starting out with U-matic 3 machine suites. I have always had to ‘grade’ programmes and have used dedicated grading systems purely as a colourist since 2006. Online Creative produce broadcast and corporate programmes and offer an edit and grading facility for other production companies. Our regular corporate clients include Sony Broadcast, Grass Valley and we produce all the video content and graphics at Mercedes-Benz World. For broadcast we have edited and graded countless programmes, mainly documentary, sport (on location) and features for the BBC (1, 2, 4 and BBC Scotland), Turner, ESPN and Granada and for many of the indies. My work has taken me all over the globe and I have edited and trained editors and colourists in Australia, Africa, India, China, Russia, Middle East, Europe, America and areas as remote as Iceland and Tasmania!


Tell me a little about your previous experience, what you've worked on and with up to your current position?

With years of editing experience and using non-linear systems since 1994 I have worked on pretty much every genre of programme and nearly every editing system that has been manufactured. I switched to non-linear when it was still in very early conception back in 1994 and I haven’t done a linear edit since. I worked for German NLE manufacturer FAST for five years and became involved in the development, as an editor, of ‘blue’ which later became ‘liquid’. FAST eventually got bought by Pinnacle then Avid. After leaving FAST and setting up Online Creative I worked on the entire world ATP tennis tour editing on Avid Media Composer using the first ever networked ‘Unity’ OB system - and it worked! I then got a call to edit the 2002 FIFA World cup in Korea and Japan for the host broadcaster and subsequently ended up editing the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In between the World Cups I edited countless programmes including a history series for Granada, four short films - 2 award winning including a BBC tartan short ‘All Over Brazil’ and the highly acclaimed ’sixty cups of coffee’. We were nominated for a Royal Television Society Award for the Philip Treacy tribute documentary I edited in 2003.

What specific project(s) do you have in the works?
The BBC have just commissioned another long form colour grade in HD with us here in Brighton. The programme is the second in a series of 90 minute arts documentaries. I graded the first 90 minute programme, ‘The Art of Cornwall’, in October 2010, produced by Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fresh One Productions’ for the BBC. Director Spike Geilinger has worked with us on many projects and insisted the grade was done here as he knows the equipment is always up to date, the grade will be good and we understand the technology. Beyond what is expected, we really understand the entire workflow, keeping everyone in the production chain happy. People come back to us for this - I’m convinced it is nothing to do with the fact that the beach is 2 minutes away and a multitude of great restaurants, bars and delis surround us in the infamous North Laines!

What new technology are you working with?
We are always very open to new technologies and we have no loyalty to any one manufacturer. Initially an Avid facility, we added an FCP suite back in 2005. We used AJA cards but we had some issues with constantly refreshing the cards and I decided to go with Blackmagic design, even though everyone was buying AJA, and installed the Multibridge Eclipse - it is an absolute workhorse!
Our latest investment is the DaVinci Resolve Grading suite. My colour grading experience started with Digital Vision ‘Film Master’ and I soon became an approved trainer for them. The investment in ‘Film Master’ for us was too great for the demand here so we took to Apple Color for in-house projects. The jobs we get now are becoming too demanding for Color and so DaVinci Resolve is a very welcome addition to our facility.

What new products/technology are you looking forward to the most?
For me, when grading pictures for broadcast television (cinema excepted)I only really want to use high end CRT. I am not questioning that LCD is not good enough, I just think that the high end £7-15,000 grade 1 LCD monitors for colour grading still don’t look as good as the older high end Grade 1 CRT. We have a Sony CRT BVM D-24” HD SDI monitor here and there is not a better picture I can see on anything available today, for any money. The simple fact that manufacturers are not allowed to produce CRT anymore does not mean it is okay to say LCD has replaced all the models with a better picture! I look forward to a real replacement for the Grade 1 CRT and until such time, I keep hoping our tubes last out.
We have a very deep understanding of tapeless workflows as we have tried and tested most of them. Often the process is not quite as simpIe as the manufacturer will have you believe. I look forward to these workflows simplifying and become more interchangeable and universal in the future. By making everything more compatible I hope to save the many hours we spend talking to clients about potential pitfalls before they bring the rushes or final edit to us for editing or grading.


During your career in post what was the biggest “turning point” into new technology?
My biggest turning point had to be the five years I spent with FAST way back in 1994. The leaning curve I went on was incredible and seeing a non-linear editing system created from the drawing board to a working product, that I must have edited over 100 programmes on, is experience you cannot buy. FAST taught me a lot about technology - this was in the days when MPEG-2 was just emerging and Quicktime was just in its infancy. The one thing I still remember with FAST ‘liquid’ is that even back in 1997 we could do true background rendering with no tricks or gimmicks - this is still not possible on Avid or FCP today.

What is your favourite / least favourite things about working in post?
My favourite thing about working in post is that no two jobs are ever the same. Each job has its own unique problems which need solving - all part of the fun! I have some great clients who like the way we work and invariably come back for more - each time with a new challenge to face.
My least favourite aspect of the post industry is the time pressure we are up against. I have experienced broadcasters expecting 60-90 minute programmes to be graded in a day. Is that really what the director wants of their programme, that has probably been in an edit for 6-9 weeks, to be slashed through a grade in a day? I am fortunate to usually get more reasonable timescales allowing for a far more polished job, but I am still amazed that this is a reality.


What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to work?
My three year old daughter usually!

follow us on twitter @onlinecreative
www.online-creative.com


Tags: online creative | colourist | blackmagic design | editor | multibridge eclipse | davinci | iss048 | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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