Post Magazine

July 2015

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Page 37 of 51 36 POST JULY 2015 aving the ability to offer person- alized service and more flexibility seem to be huge factors in why boutique shops have been able to keep up with the big guys. Not to mention the democ- ratization of technology, as tools become more powerful and affordable. Here are some viewpoints from four accomplished post boutiques on their strategies for continued success. BRICKYARD VFX By Steve Michaels Managing Partner Boston/Santa Monica When Brickyard VFX first opened in 1999, post houses both small and large aimed to offer seasoned expertise in a world of complicated, expensive VFX tools and techniques. What set boutique shops like ours apart from larger com- petitors was our ability to offer person- alized service and a truly collaborative creative process. Over the years, the industry has changed, but I think our cre- ative team and our unique service model are more relevant now than ever. For smaller VFX shops like Brickyard, success and longevity all boil down to the unique personalized service we offer, which has proven to be a steady advantage. We can foster a fulfilling col- laborative process with clients that large facilities can't duplicate. Our studios are comfortable and inviting so that clients can visit and review work directly with artists. Our clients bid with the same art- ists that they will work with throughout the course of a project — the work isn't handed off to a new team just seeing the project for the first time. We're also quite nimble and can easily adapt to changing project needs, and often, our clients are dealing directly with owners, so the approval chain is easy and timely. If a project will be best served by adding more value than anticipated, we can make it happen quickly and painlessly. One major trend over the past few years is the desire to package production and post services together under one umbrella, with one team overseeing the entire scope of a project from start to finish. Together with our sister company Troll Pictures, we can easily address this need and keep everything well coordi- nated from conception to delivery. Our production-through-delivery offering takes away the stress of moving shots between production and post by allow- ing our team to utilize what is best for the project and client. Also, technology has become much more democratized; as tools become more affordable and manageable, everyone from edit houses to ad agencies are adopting VFX tools in-house. That can certainly seem like a cost-saving option, but for higher-end, realistic visual effects and design, an experienced artist, who has mastered the tool and the craft, is the best option. At the end of the day, boutique visual effects shops still serve an important role across commercials, TV and film, pro- viding as high a level of service as larger facilities but with more flexibility and personalization. It's a simple formula, but one that has proven to be both success- ful and reliable. MIXTAPE CLUB By Chris Lenox Smith Partner/Executive CD New York There seems to be a lot of anxiety around the rate of change in all aspects of our industry these days. Clients are bypassing agencies and going straight to production companies. Technology is uprooting the archaic and incredibly ex- pensive luxury systems of the past. Small companies (like mine) are offering A-to-Z services that are actually up to par with the traditional "string of specialty shops" approach to filmmaking. The good news is, everybody wants video content these days. The bad news is, many of them don't have the ability or desire to pay the rates traditional to this process. Being a small company (13 people), one of our biggest strengths is our ability to be nimble — to evolve at the pace of technology, and to build custom teams and workflows for virtually every project that comes through the door. If a project has an aspect we can't learn, we partner Boutique shops continue to thrive, despite competition from the big guns BIG SMALL PACKAGES THINGS, H

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