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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : July August 2007
T V C PO ST P RODU CT ION won’t be just one facility p itching for and winning work, i t’s going to have to be a combination of facili- ties that have the skill-sets required to meet some of these very di fficult briefs where the client do esn’t just want a TV commercial he wants an online sol uti on, t o wo rk on a mobile phone and on the web.” For Iloura the big shift in the past 12-18 months i s in moving f rom a compan y th at primarily d oes T V commercials to one that also does film projects. Recent work i ncludes Where the Wild Things are and The Bank Job. On the commercials side, it i s att racti ng more wor k fr om China and Taipei having st eadi ly built up Iloura’s reputation in these markets over the past few years. “The bigges t cultural i ssue is a time issue in that the dema nds are reasonably high and time frames are reasonably condensed, they are still coming to g rips with the ex pecta- tions or the understanding that we tend not to work 24/7 i n Australia, they can push their own facilities as hard as t hey l ike but once they get into Australia and I a ssume it’s the same fo r most Australian f acilities, there’s different work patterns and different methods of produ ction,” Rosenthal s ays. “We are fort unate because th e people we ar e dea ling with in China understand that and the budgets that we are dealing with tend to all ow t hat to happe n, but we are talk ing with the top twenty percent of the market over there, I think if you were dealing wit h the bottom twenty percent it would be a different story.” The lesson s le arnt from the local industry have also helped it become extremely competitive in chasing ove rse as wor k, says Ray Sm ith, CEO of the Brisbane -hea dquar- tered Cutting Edge, which also has a fa cility in Sydney. As muc h a s 30% of it s television commercial income i s now from out side of Australia, but its main focus contin- ues to be Sydney and Brisbane. Smith says this is an industry that is c ontinually evolving, whi ch i s a good th ing because t he more his firm is challenged in busin ess the more it h as an opport unity t o evolve: “The more the visual effects capability, t he more tal ented film graders, the be tter our sound a nd editors, the more clients realise new frontiers in c reative exc ellence and service for their budgets. This is an industry that expects excel lence in creativity and service, and they are the very challenges that push us t o do better. Everybody has to make a dollar, w e real ise t hat. We al so realise that it is up to us to continu- ally improve if we wish to get a larg- er shar e of budgets and more importantly g et superior proje cts. The better the projects the more we grow ou r peopl e, our major strength, and the longer we hold on to them in what can be a transie nt industry”. One thing Cutting Edge is keeps an eye on i s out side talent. Says Smith: “ Our c urrent t alen t is responsible for our growth, for that we are most grateful, and w e a re 50 CAM PA I GN B RIE F Rebekah Hay (Perceptual Engineering): “For us there is a merging between shooting, 3D and 2D - no longer is it a linear process, we often approach projects using a range of techniques.” Geoff Clow (Emerald City): “agencies aren’t the sole domain of ideas. Anyone submitting stuff to YouTube has shown that ideas can happen everywhere” always looking to add new s trings. However, in Australia there is a labour sh ortag e, s omething t hat erodes loyalty. We are more subject to poaching than we par ticipate in it, however our people are our strength and our staff retainment is hi gh, a nd tha t ha s to r ema in a major focus.” That said, the biggest challenge to post prod uct ion compan ies is undoubtedly equipment and pe r- sonnel costs: “Being a completely privately owned c ompany me ans that we must have shor t p ockets and long arms. We must pour prof- its back in to our peo ple and th e changing landscape that post equip- ment delivers monthly. “The upside of being r esponsible to the needs of our clients everyday is that we can ma ke fas t decisions about equipment and we can make more emotional decisions about the people we need rather than worry- ing about whether we need to sell ‘profitability ’ to a large board of directors. Yes the resu lt i s we ar e often not going t o be awash wi th prof it, but postpro duct ion i s o ur passion.” Rick Schweikert, managing di rec- tor of Sydney-based facility Frame Set & Match, says that there’s been a lot of talk about alternatives such as br anded en ter tainmen t, bu t there’s still a lot of uncertainty sur- rounding it, something he exp ects will clear up in time. Howe ver, he warns that it is important not to see this, or viral work, as a c heap form of entertainment. “There’s no reason it shouldn’t be the same standard as the TVC, the quality of the delivery might not be as good as TV, but the actual con- tent needs to be just a s p owerful and whether it has a larg e v isua l Danny Tait (The Tait Gallery): “If I was a young editor getting starting out I would be worried about the long terms prospects. Most of the good young ones seem to head overseas as soon as they have a half decent reel.” effects component or its materia l well produced and well written, it’s still got to ha ve the same produc - tion values spent on it. The client’s benefit is they don’t have this large media spend, s o it ’s a n onsense argument to me that viral and new media production wor k sh ould be done at low or no cost,” Schweikert says. The other issue h e s ees f rom a post perspective is agenc ies takin g work in-house, for e xample, doing some of their own editing or doing their own finishing for broadcast. “This is problematic because their technical standards a re n ot to th e level they should be and it’s not an area of expertise. We see work that we might have h ad i nvol vemen t with and it might come back having been worked on by an agency and there have been t echnical i ssues with it which is d isapp ointing to see. We h ope that trend does n’t continue because I think it will only devalue the work we all try to do, whi ch is to a hig h pr odu ct ion value,” says Schweikert. Schweikert expects to make some major announcements r egarding some new colour grad ing equ ip- ment in the later part of the year. It also expects to be applying non-lin- ear grading, which has been used in features for the past two and a half years, to its commercials work. “There are still cheap and cheerful editing suits you can buy, and visu- al effects packages, it’s just a matter of how fast and quick and sophisti - cated you want to be. If y ou want to be fast and sophistica ted you have to spend a bit of money on it, you can’t do it cheaply,” he says. “Updati ng, maintai ning equip - ment and recruiting top level staff make it difficult to maintain profits, especially conside ring we haven’t been able to increase our rates as we spend more to provide our ser- vice,” says Andrew Robinson, man- ag ing di rect or of P os tmod ern, which had a change of ownership last September when long-t erm partner Danny Tait left to start his own boutique editing firm The Tait Gall ery. Visual effe cts supe rvisor James Rogers and facilities manager Angus Reid stepped up to become partners and the company has since expanded into feature fi lms. It’s first two are Gillia n Armstron g’s Death Defying Acts and Daybreakers, directed by the Michael and Peter Spierig. “Generally speaking, the best way to describe th e industry is ‘flaky’, everything at once or nothing at all, I think most people would have experienced a quiet start to local work this y ear with it being full on now,” says Robinson. “I guess we will always say there are too many companies in the market, it would be nice if t he re wer e les s but I wouldn’ t like to se e anyone go down. Competition keeps us on our toes.” Internat ional wor k mak es up about 60% of its business with jobs coming in from China, Japan, UK and the States. Robinson says it’s always difficult to f ind good people – Postmodern recruits nationally and internation- ally and runs a training programme for juniors hoping to unearth local talent: “Budgets are getting more and more challenging; while there are big budgets about they are still a challenge to get in on budget. A bigger problem than budgets is actually getting the time to do a job justice, quite oft en turnaround times are tight a nd it isn’t possi- JU L Y /AU GUST 2007 (
September October 2007
May June 2007