Presenting Clear Cut Pictures Nominee for Best Post House at Broadcast Awards

By in Video Editing
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According to Clear Cut Pictures, the lines between production and post production are increasingly getting blurred. They are a constant source of knowledge, able to advise on cameras and workflows in conjunction with the production team. Whether this is in partnership with production companies’ inhouse facilities, or as a full post facility; Clear Cut has the experience to offer their clients the best advice to suit their workflow needs. We asked our questions to Horacio Queiro, CEO of Clear Cut Pictures.

Bear Grylls

Type of Content

What kind of content were you/your clients working on 20 years ago, and for what platform/s?
As a fledgling company we were working for UK TV, the BBC almost exclusively, on high budget documentaries, much of which was science and history.

What is your main genre today, and for what platform/s?
Now we work mainly with independent production companies as well as local producers, and we also work with international production partners. We do a lot for the American market, big glossy factual and factual entertainment series, but our skill set has always enabled us to work on feature films, drama productions, comedy, fast turnaround current affairs, corporates, commercials and also the ever growing online content market – the proportion of work we do in these areas is constantly growing. We were privileged to recently grade both Pink Floyd’s recent release and also Queen’s latest release.

What do you think it will be in 20 years and for what platform/s?
When I set up the company 23 years ago, our core remit was to use technology to benefit production and to combine it with the best creative, production and technical talent, always putting the interest of production first, over our own when introducing technology. I am sure that by continuing to do that we would be a successful post production company. We will continue to offer our expertise, resources and services to aid the production of content in whatever form.

I think that technology and software will continue to become easier to use, faster, more powerful, more accessible and it will mean that many more people will produce content and the effect will be that many more people will produce content to be viewed by a wider audience on both old and new platforms of delivery. Producers will be liberated by the democratisation of technology and they, and us, will become broadcasters of our own material and there will be a way to monetarise it. The key for us as seasoned professionals is to ensure that this revolution maintains the highest possible standards for new content.

Workflow

How did you create and deliver content in 1995?
We still used film then – we telecine it, synced it, digitised and cut it. At the end, we either neg cut or onlined the cut. We were one of the pioneers in cutting film and developed a way to sync up the 1/4 tape Nagra rushes digitally: we used a music mastering system called Sadie; the labs were trying to make digital editing to go away by making it too expensive and we helped to break the monopoly they had.

How do you create and deliver it today?
Today, content is generated and delivered as virtual assets in the form of files. File-based workflows have been a huge cultural shift and many professionals in production have struggled with the concept of not having a physical asset. Our role in post production has been to aid our production partners by designing simple, safe and reliable workflows that maximise the efficiencies that file-based content creation offers. Rushes now come on all formats, frame rates and codecs. We deliver files of whatever formats and frame rates the end user needs. The removal of physical assets has driven the need for high speed data networks to deliver the virtual assets. We have invested in multiple dedicated and secure networks to deliver content all over the world in a fraction of the time it took to deliver a tape.

How do you think you will do it in 2035?
Impossible to say, but by 2035 there may not be a need to store data locally or move data at all (using high speed networks). Shared storage may take on a whole new meaning with high grade cloud storage replacing internal storage devices at facilities and broadcasters. This would mean that access and permissions to data would become user based and with this in mind, content could be edited, finished and played out for transmission from the same shared cloud storage device.

The same may also be true for the systems used to create content. Cloud-based rental models of creative software are already in place with platforms such as Avid and Adobe but the next logical step will be the rental of technical resources. This model would mean that any workstation could be assigned the power required to perform any task, regardless of the demands, providing technical resources in the cloud have been allocated.

Post Equipment

What was your main post production tool in 1995?
We had two Film Composers, 4 Media Composers and two Sadies. We were also an early adopter of Audio Vision – Avid’s tracklaying tool.

What is it in 2015?
Avid still is our main software and hardware, though we are platform agnostic. We have about 97 Avids, 30 FCP, 10 Pro Tools, Adobe, a Nucoda Film Master, a Baselight Two and two Da Vinci Resolves.

What will it be in 2035?
Avid will be there, I am sure in a cloud-based software and technical resources capacity.

What did you want someone to invent to make things easier in 1995/2015?
In 1995, everything needed great improvements. We really needed an online tool (it came in 1998), an Avid grading suite (never done) and more efficient, faster storage that could be shared between suites.
In 2015, a system that can do much faster file exports would be appreciated!

Facilities

What post services did you offer in 1995?
We were just a company that specialised in offline, track laying house.

How has that changed and what do you/your clients want/need now?
We are now a company that can service all of our clients’ post production needs. From ingesting a range of formats, providing the resources and creative talent to grade, mix and online their production, right through to an inhouse design studio to design motion graphics and title sequences. There is no limit to what our clients need us to provide for their productions.

Our clients also require internet-based collaboration tools which would’ve been a pipe dream in 1995. Alongside that we also now offer long-term data archive services for our clients that can also be accessed remotely. Having three sites all linked by a fibre network also gives our clients geographic flexibility and the ability to split their production across multiple sites according to each team’s convenience, with everyone being connected together.

What will you offer in 2035?
Creative talent and high quality facilities in multiple locations across the globe, bolstered by cloud-based services available anywhere.

Queen

Differentiating Yourselves

What did you offer above and beyond post services in 1995 (e.g. Bar, table football etc)?
Tea and coffee; we may have had the odd biscuit.

What do you offer now?
A multi-location, fully networked innovative post production with client service and technical stability at its heart. This includes food from any local restaurant, patisseries, wine and champagne, delivery service, runners and workflow consultation.

What will clients expect in 2035?
I would hope that we are the best in the business that way, our clients’ expectations of our services would be high and we’d continue to have the ability to deliver.

Clients

Describe your main client base in 1995
It was mainly broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel 4 and the odd production company.

What does it look like today?
We work for over 78 companies of all kinds in any one year. Our client base is as varied as the work that we do.

What do you think it will look like in 20 years?
I expect to be working for more clients, in more areas and countries.

Cyberbully

Staff

How did you recruit and train your staff in 1995 – media school? Runners?
When we started there were no trained staff as we were one of the pioneers of digital. So we picked bright people with a good work ethic and together we worked out how to do things and then how to streamline them.

How do you recruit and train today?
We like to promote from within the company so we have a training scheme: We call it the Clear Cut Uni and we have a selective process to ensure that we put the right juniors through it. We also have a centralised knowledge base of information and training videos accessible via the cloud. But, in an old fashioned sense, there’s no substitute for on-the-job training.

For when we recruit from out of house, we always look for the best talent, but working at Clear Cut they also need to share our vision of how post production should be. We strive to meet our client’s needs and by being proactive ensure that our client’s delivery is always met.

How will they train/work in 20 years?
We will continue to adapt what we have to the market at that time as it is ever changing, but will have more online training courses and our workforce would possibly be based internationally.

Random Questions

What was the best party you ever held/attended?
We did our own parties in our 12,000 ft warehouse until this year; 2010 was legendary and the pictures and videos of what went on will remain locked away.

As a Field Marketing Director for Program in EMEA I am lucky enough to work with some of the most interesting and inspirational artists, content creators and distributors in the media industry. Follow me on Avid Blogs for industry news and updates from across EMEA.