Films @59 is a pre and post production house for film and television, I had previous had the opportunity of gaining a weeks work experience here in 2009 and I loved the chance to get a tour of the facility seeing how they’ve changed and developed alongside technology. The house is definitely bigger than before, having spoken to a few employees they explained how they expanded, including buying out ‘Little Pink House’ next door as both companies needed to invest in backup technology.
Films @59 is definitely a company I would happily work for in the future. They have always had a firm and dominant presence in the Bristol media landscape, with strong connections with the BBC. With my keen interest in Colour Grading I would relish in the opportunity to work with this company. Their ‘Career’ page appears to be open to hearing from newcomers, along with informing and advertising in publications such as Bristol Media, Creative England and The Guardian.
There are currently 8 colourists employed by the company – James Cawte, Tony Osborne, Chris Short, Alex Moffatt, Simon Bland, Adrian Rigby, Franz Ketterer, and Lynne Hailey. Chris Short was actually the colourist I was able to shadow during my work experience in 2009, unfortunately then I didn’t have my eyes set on grading as a potential job, now if I got the same opportunity I would keep building upon my knowledge and make myself an employable opportunity for the company.
It was interesting to tour around the building and see the range of post-production suites they had available. There is a general blend of all the editing packages (Adobe, Final Cut & Avid), but Avid is the preferred cutting tool. However for self-contained projects, or where you might need to edit the picture or sound in edit Final Cut Pro & Adobe prove stronger. In terms of codecs they had this to say:
- XDCam – Recommended for HD export workflow. Common for daytime and low budget programs, measuring approximately 23Gb per hour).
- MXF – Preferred format.
- Quicktime – Not great as it seems to edit the colour space. It’s designed around an RGB space whereas you film and work with clips in video colour space, this can cause unnecessary clipping of levels.
- DXP/Tiff/JPEG/Etc – Anything that’s not too compressed and can allow time coding and unique file names.
On the topic of unique file names, they cannot stress the importance of unique names and logging everything you file (even if it looks no good). By creating an in-depth library it makes things much easier when you are looking for clips, or if someone else comes to the project. They’ve had cases where people have wanted to remaster projects from 5 years ago, by that point there are different editors, but thankfully due to logging it means the team know exactly where to look before even leaving the comfort of their desks.
The other important thing about unique file names is relinking media. If you have duplicate names or something too vague (could be the same across different projects – i.e. ‘voiceover001’) it can causes issues where you copy across the wrong media or if the program crashes it could salvage the wrong files. Once again this makes it easier when other people work on the project, not requiring prior knowledge of the content.
In terms of grading the website states they have three suites, two are Nucoda Film Masters whilst the other is Final Cut Pro Colour, also being able to offer Symphony and DS Nitris grading. The way they approach software is allow everyone to work in the package they know best, this way you have people with in depth of each application rather than a handful of people who know the basics of each software. They mentioned using Smoke and Flame when blurring the lines between grading and compositing. I did query about DaVinci Resolve and by the sounds of it they do feature it, however it is more of a pre-grade tool as it is great for conform and prepping for grading in other applications.
I feel I can use my working knowledge of DaVinci Resolve to get my foot in at a company like this, however I need to make sure I have collected a huge database of knowledge. To have simple knowledge of the application will not suffice. By the sounds of it I need to sharpen up on Nucoda and Smoke/Flame to better my chances in the professional industry. Currently the problem is purely financial so I will continue to pursue DaVinci Resolve, but I can still research and gain some knowledge in other professional grading packages.