Films@59 was founded in 1990 and since then they have grown in size, and invested hugely in new equipment and training in order to stay at the forefront of new technology in post production. Films@59 currently use Media Composer | Symphony Option and Media Composer | Nitris DX systems, while up to 42 offline suites employ numerous local or shared storage systems.
Their aim remains the same today as when they first started… to make your pre and post production path as smooth and enjoyable an experience as possible. We talked with George Panayiotou, Business Development Manager of films@59.
Type of Content
What kind of content were you/your clients working on 20 years ago, and for what platform/s?
Primarily wildlife and factual for Broadcast TV.
What is your main genre today, and for what platform/s?
Wildlife and factual are still our main genres plus ob-doc, animation, and drama. The majority of work is for Broadcast, plus a small percentage for theatrical and big screen presentation.
What do you think it will be in 20 years and for what platform/s?
A mixture of the above: ob-doc, animation, drama – plus there will be some sort of interactive storytelling genre, possibly hologramatic viewing.
How did you create and deliver content in 1995?
Shot and delivered on tape based systems – Betacam SP and Digi Beta.
How do you create and deliver it today?
File-based acquisition and delivery – usually shot at 4K and above delivered as AS11 to UK Broadcasters as well as HDCam SR.
How do you think you will do it in 2035?
Probably very easily on 20K cameras and from remote locations as connectivity will be uber fast!
What was your main post production tool in 1995?
SD linear editing and the first Avid non-linear editing systems using 2GB drives that cost a fortune – alongside a couple of Steenbecks, Synclavier and audiofile systems.
What is it in 2015?
Avid still plays a large part in our post pipeline for craft edit and finishing, complemented by grading systems such as Baselight, Nucoda and Lustre. Sound post is all based around Pro Tools and S6 consoles.
What will it be in 2035?
We’ll probably be dealing with 32K data for giant screen and cinema presentations.
What did you want someone to invent to make things easier in 1995/2015?
1995 invention – a way of syncing up rushes more quickly and large sized drives
2015 invention – reliable editing codec recorder for location (like the Samurai) and lower cost drives.
What post services did you offer in 1995?
Offline, online, sound tracklay and dubbing AND we still offered film cutting rooms and rubber numbering!
How has that changed and what do you/your clients want/need now?
Film cutting stopped in around 2001 – now that we have tapeless fully up and running and reliable, we offer a lot of LTO back-up, media management and file-based delivery.
What will you offer in 2035?
Excellent question – we need a crystal ball! Seriously, we will probably upload straight to video on-demand servers with a special code.
What did you offer above and beyond post services (e.g. Bar, table football)?
All of our services were about providing support for producers: transcription, offices, translation, storage, etc.
What do you offer now?
Viewing facilities and option to have drinks, etc during end of production viewing is key. A supportive atmosphere is important – although we don’t have games, bar etc as we have a lot of local vendors who offer good atmosphere.
What will clients expect in 2035?
Easier ways of working from home and being able to access media from home. Parking is a real issue, so an efficient and affordable public transport system will be key!
Describe your main client base in 1995 (broadcasters? Small production companies?)
1995 – main clients were 4 x broadcasters
What does it look like today?
The majority of our work is independent production companies providing for broadcasters AND netcasters (eg Netflix, etc).
What do you think it will look like in 20 years?
I wouldn’t be surprised if producers are producing for their own channels or getting projects off the ground in conjunction with producers, post producers and channel owners.
How did you recruit and train your staff in 1995 – media school? Runners?
In 1995 – we trained one-to-one with runners and had a few close relationships with some courses (eg Old Vic. NFT).
How do you recruit and train today?
We still train runners but also work more closely with a variety of schools: UWE, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. NFT, Bristol University, Bournemouth, Salford, Newport, Cardiff, etc AND work more closely with production companies.
How will they train/work in 20 years?
Production and Post companies direct (YTS schemes, etc) and online courses. Working alongside people who are out there with kit and contributors cannot be substituted. Unless of course there is no internet in the future and we all decide to read books, work on our allotments, etc….
Who has been the most interesting/famous person to visit your facility?
Sir David Attenborough, Prince Harry and Mary Berry.
What was the best party you ever held/attended?
Our yearly Mulled Wine, which has developed into a client party celebrating Chinese New Year, is always a good event as it brings the community together. We are nothing if we don’t work together to get things done.
What has been your most unusual lunch order?
Reese Peanut Butter and wheatgrass smoothie.