Post Magazine

December 2013

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AUDIO OUTLOOK SWOT: Audio Audio post studios see opportunities in mobile work, and by diversifying their business. More affordable technology was the By Je nnife r Walde n highlight of 2013. As budgets shrink, and time schedules get tighter, having more powerful and affordable audio tools has helped audio pros across the industry deal with client expectations, and meet deadlines. Scott Jones, senior re-recording mixer at Molinare in the UK, sums it up nicely: "Technology keeps advancing as the budgets keep lowering, so it balances itself out a bit." Audio post pros from across the industry — in television, commercials, films, and games — share their 2013 experiences, and give us an outlook for 2014. Tom McCarthy Executive Vice President Sony Post Production Facilities Culver City, CA Sony Pictures Post Production offers world-class post production services for film, television, and interactive entertainment. Recent projects at Sony Pictures Post include Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, This is the End, and The Simpsons. STRENGTHS: "Sony Pictures is very unique in that we are tied into Sony Electronics. Our studio has a great relationship with that company. Several times a year, they bring over new products that they're developing. They're not finished; they're in the works. They ask us to bring sound engineers, technicians, sound re-recording mixers, and sound designers into a room where they are having a demonstration, and ask for professional input on the product. Over the course of the year, that creative talent is helping Sony Electronics develop technologies that they're planning to put out in the marketplace. This helps ensure that the sound quality of what is provided to the consumer is on par with what we have on our mix stages. There's this tie-in between the creative talent that's creating the content, and this hardware company that's developing the technology. There is a collaboration between the business units, which I [did] not seen years ago that is very prevalent now. I find that very impressive. In fact, they are coming out again in the beginning of December for a headset demo that is just amazing. It's a 5.1 channel headset. "Other strengths are the technological advancements that are taking place throughout the industry that are helping us remain competitive. It's a different marketplace than what it had been in the past. There are fewer productions [taking place]. There are a lot of films that are under 24 Post • December 2013 that $40 million price range. To be competitive and to be able to give the filmmakers what they need, and to put their expectations on the screen, we are relying on the technology that is coming out. In regards to audio, the advances that they're making help us to streamline the operation and workflows so that they make more sense for us and also for the filmmaker. I think those are extremely important strengths." WEAKNESSES: "Post facilities are now like a global market. They're not just centrally located in Los Angeles, New York, or Canada. It's worldwide. Because it's such a global marketplace, it's become oversaturated. There's also a reduction in film production. I don't know if that's going to be a continued trend but it seems in the past couple of years, there has been some reduction in the amount of films that take place. And of course there's been a further reduction in post production budgets." OPPORTUNITIES: "For us at Sony Pictures, it's all about the consolidation of services that we have here on our lot. Our new management team, Bob Osher and Randy Lake, they're in charge of Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Sony Pictures Interactive, and as of last April they are now in charge of Colorworks, which is our digital intermediate facility. All the aspects of post production filmmaking are now tied under one team. That's been really beneficial for us. Also, there has been a merging of the processes within post production. New technologies allow the blurring of lines between all post processes, whether it be picture editorial, or sound editorial and mixing, the technologies are allowing the creative talent pool to blur and cross the lines between the different areas of the operation. As we move forward, I see that as an opportunity because the filmmakers coming up today, that are being educated in college, are shooting their own films, and directing, and editing, and sound editing, and mixing.They are used to this new process. This way of filmmaking might be somewhat outside of what we have seen as the norm over the course of the past few decades. So, technology is allowing us to start to consolidate and become a more collaborative environment, and I think that's an opportunity." THREATS: "I look at threats simply as challenges that have solutions. We need to look at workflows and maximize the uses and values of technology to overcome what might be perceived as a threat. Threats to our business go back to the idea of post production being a global marketplace, with so many different places now outside of the United States, where you can go to complete post services. It's much more competitive. Because of that over-saturation of post facilities within the global marketplace, you have to look at ways to attract as many films as you can that are posting in the Los Angeles area. That's

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