tv-bay questions


James Tonkin; Director of Hangman Studios, London UK


Who are you? (about yourself and Hangman Studios?)
I am a director/editor who over the last few years has also turned to DP'ing and producing. I trained originally in music technology for my degree at Rose Bruford College in London but I soon moved into editing and directing after graduating in 2000.
In 2001, I set up Hangman Studios for management company IE Music to facility editing and producing content for their roster of artists. In 2009 Hangman Studios became independent but still keeps a close affiliation with IE Music and their artists.


What do you do? What does Hangman Studios do?
Over the last 11 years I've had the opportunity to direct music videos and for Robbie Williams, edit documentaries for Bjork and the Libertines and work for companies as varied as Coco De Mer to John Lewis. Hangman Studios has always worked as a 'one stop shop' for producing projects from inception to completion and I believe our best work has been the projects which we've conceived the initial idea for and then delivered entirely in house. We've always had a wide range of core services from offline and online editing, motion graphics, composition, sound design, DVD authoring, directing, shooting and producing. Working in all of these fields over the years has not only kept me constantly interested and fresh to learn different things but also has given me the experience and knowledge to work better as a director and producer, because I have an understanding of each of the processes which contributes to a finished project.


Tell me a little about your previous experience, what you've worked on and with up to your current position?
Prior to setting up Hangman, I worked for a year with a band called '1 Giant leap' on an audio/visual album/DVD project. They where very generous and allowed me to work on many areas of this project from editing, creating motion graphics and even art directing a couple of singles. Around this time I also edited an award winning short for Adobe and designed my first DVD menus for Fat Boy Slim. Above all, my time working with '1 Giant Leap' gave me the confidence and skills to set up a studio and instilled the attitude of not only being hands on across all areas but keeping everything in house.


What specific project(s) do you have in the works?

Right now I've just finished installing a new grading system (DaVinci Resolve) into our studios to aid in finishing projects faster and to a higher standard. I'm also promoting a live DVD I directed and produced for a band called Archive which we filming last September and goes on sale in March. Filming live shows for bands brings together both my love and background in music with my interest in filming and using new technology to achieve the most cinematic looks I can produce.


What new technology are you working with?

I've completely embraced using DSLR cameras for filming with over the last few years and am now pairing this with our new DaVinci Resolve for colour grading, finally allowing us a realtime workflow and not having to wait hours for projects to render.


What new products/technology are you looking forward to the most?

Our studios have been built around Apple's Final Cut Studio applications and Final Cut Pro is the reason I started out as an editor, so I'm eagerly anticipating the next version of Final Cut Studio and whatever workflow enhancements it will bring.
I'm also a huge fan of RED and literally can't wait to work with and hopefully at some point own a new Epic camera as I know this will revolutionise the way we will work in the same way DSLR cameras did when the Canon 5Dmkll came out at the end of 2008.


During your career in post what was the biggest “turning point” into new technology?
Apart from the birth of desktop video software with Final Cut Pro the next biggest developments for me have been the RED One camera in 2007 and the Canon 5Dmkll in 2008. DaVinci Resolve also coming to the Mac platform is a major progression for us as a studio and for me as a 'part-time colourist'.


What is your favourite / least favourite things about working in post?

My favourite thing is when a new piece of software or hardware is release which completely changes the post world and allows someone like me to fore-fill the creative ideas I have in my head but within a realistic budget. My least favourite thing is letting my wife down and having to work late when something somewhere has crashed and lost work. I hate redoing anything I've done right the first time.
What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to work?
When the project I'm working on is so rewarding that I can't wait to get in early and start working on it again... even if I've only had 4 hours of sleep.

Tags: iss051 | hangman studios | blackmagic | davinci resolve | grading | dslr | realtime workflow | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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