Name & Title
Christopher Pitbladdo, Creative Director at DB Creative TV
Who are you? (about yourself and DB Creative)?
I'm an editor who's been cutting broadcast television documentaries and commercials since 1997. Having spent time living and working in London, I decided to make a lifestyle choice, and go back to my hometown of Edinburgh. DB Creative TV was formed a few years ago, when London production companies still wanted to work with me in Edinburgh. From there, things grew.
What do you do? What does DB Creative do?
We specialise in off/onlining long-form documentaries for a network audience.
Tell me a little about your previous experience, what you've worked on and with up to your current position?
I studied photography, then worked in print design for five years, using applications like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Quark, but I always had a passion for the moving image. By sheer serendipity, I landed a job with a post-production facility, working in their design department. From there, I was able to jump onto their Avid AudioVision, Media Composer, Quantel Editbox, cameras and anything else that had a power switch on it! In terms of projects that I've made, I've edited Channel 4 documentaries on The Enfield Poltergeist, The Yorkshire Ripper Hoaxer, Princess Margaret's liaison with a London gangster, and of course the unforgettably-titled Robochick and The Bionic Boy. For the BBC, I've edited a Timewatch documentary on a respected Scottish businessman who fought another man to the death, with pistols, in The Last Duel. The man also happened to be his bank manager. In total, I've edited around eighty hours of network television.
What specific project(s) do you have in the works?
We're currently working on five one-hour docs for BBC One. It's an observational series called Motorway Cops, shot for the first time on HD. Camera directors shoot for three months with the Central Motorway Police Group in Birmingham, and we take the hundreds of hours of footage and weave it into five engaging, high-octane programmes.
What new technology are you working with?
We've recently upgraded our Avid Media Composer's to version 5.5, with 'PhraseFind'. This technology allows us to search through an entire project's rushes, searching for a spoken word, or sentence phonetically. The whole process is very useful, and hundreds of hours can be searched in just a few minutes.
We've also recently purchased BlackMagic's Ultrascope card, which we've been able to build very easily using a cheap PC and a spare monitor we had kicking around. Hey presto, we've got a very nice set of HD scopes that didn't cost the earth, and is being continually improved upon by BlackMagic Design. And in a world of crashing kit and rebooting, it's a remarkably stable piece of kit.
We're also currently mid-way through post-production on our first HD job for the BBC, with hundreds of hours of footage having been shot on Sony 700 XDCamHD cameras, and the whole job being offlined at full resolution.
What new products/technology are you looking forward to the most?
As a business that's located outside London, the Internet has been instrumental in our success, bringing us closer to our clients. We have the ability to have live remote viewings with Executive Producers, with them watching a sequence in London, as we play it out here in Edinburgh. Our ability to upload large files quickly will help build on our success, and I look forward to ever faster connections. I'll be very interested to see where we are in the next ten years.
During your career in post what was the biggest “turning point” into new technology?
For me, it was Avid's release of XPress DV, which gave people the ability to edit with the world's most popular editing interface, for a fraction of the cost of hardware-based kit that cost tens of thousands of pounds.
What is your favourite / least favourite things about working in post?
On the plus side, it's all about telling stories; I love being able to craft a story from a pile of clips that on their own don't say much.
What irritates me is when things crash, and give no explanation as to why. I can't stand the guesswork that follows; if only the kit told you what it was that went wrong, and gave you some pointers on how to fix it, that'd be swell. It's so often the case that everything goes belly-up at the end of a project, usually around 9pm the day before you're taking your wife away for a long weekend.
What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to work?
Knowing that the work we do here will educate and entertain others.