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Page 30 of 51 January 2010 • Post 29 tween a job that makes money or loses it. I don't think they will get back to levels they were three to five years ago, but they have to come up a little bit to get back to the work people have come to expect. " So surviving in this economy means finding different ways to work, and Mass- Market is doing that by taking advantage of cheaper platforms to do the work on. "We now look at a few different platforms when it comes to crewing each pro- ject," he says. "We now use Nuke, After Effects and Flame together to complete a job and to help minimize the job's overhead." While MassMarket has been asked to get involved earlier in projects, Lane wishes it would happen more. "It would be nice to see the industry go in that di- rection more often.You pull in the team you want much earlier so they can help you develop the look and concept. It is a collaborative process and it helps the project and doesn't hinder it at all." He references a recent job for LG, which had a very short turnaround and tight budget."We discussed some of the shot elements we needed with the director and production early on, but the reality was they were being squeezed just as much on their numbers, so we decided to create some of these elements in CG while shoot- ing others in camera. In the end, this type of pre-production discussion helped every- one keep an eye on creative and budget." And in terms of taking on more than just a visual effects role, MassMarket, a sis- ter company to production and animation house Psyop, has chosen to be careful. "We found, just having a relationship with Psyop, has created a lot of questions.You don't want to bite the hand that feeds you, and working with outside directors is key for us," explains Lane. "At this point many of the VFX houses are directing spots and jumping into the production arena, a reality of budget climate and where the industry is heading. We of course will entertain the idea when it makes sense for the project [i.e. full 3D, heavy design], but when there's a decent amount of live action, we'd prefer to work with a production company and director. "The reality is that we all have to embrace these changes and choose the best teams for the job. We can't be so precious with who's competing with whom and who won the last job. If the people are talented and they can deliver what you need for the right budget, as long as everyone is honest, the job will beautiful and as important, fun." T H E M I L L "Because budgets have been so constricted, people can't actually figure out how to make productions work, so they are coming to us much earlier in the process to figure out creative solutions in terms of how to shoot things," reports Angus Kneale, creative director at The Mill/NY. "So we are a lot more involved, a lot earlier on and it allows companies to get a better idea of the production costs." He feels this hammers home that post production has become an essential part of production. "Projects that were previously thought impossible, you realize are possible by consulting post first." Right after the recession hit, Kneale saw a big move away from glossy, visual ef- fects-heavy spots because advertisers didn't want to look like they were spending loads of money on adver tising. "There were lot of projects that we had finished, that were big, epic visual effects spots, but they were actually held back until the right time to be released." Now, with the economy showing signs of an upturn, he sees things loosening up and references a recent Cadillac spot they did with direc- tor Peter Thwaites called Re-ignition. In the piece, there is a Cadillac being launched through the desert and NASA-type engineers are monitoring the situation.The car drives, it explodes, and another kind of Cadillac comes out of it and that one ex- plodes and another model Cadillac comes out of that and the car is in outer space. This kind of effects-heavy advertising, which is slowly making its way back again, is a far cry from the straightforward selling and minimalistic work created during the downturn. "There was a Barclay spot called Fake, which was about financial collapse," he describes. "It was this chap running around New York City and the city was fake; the people were mannequins. It was a simple acknowledgement of the financial crisis that we had been through but in a stylish and clever way." There has been an industry-wide trend popping up since the economy tanked, where budget-strapped clients are asking for more to be done under one roof and The Mill, NY has seen their share of these requests. "People are coming to us and saying we have X amount for post, how can we make this work and is there a way you can help us turnaround the whole project? This all-in-one solution is happening on work that is highly graphical, especially things that have a lot of visual effects or design," explains Kneale. Kneale acknowledges that it's a different kind of work and not one that The Mill has been seeking out. "The last thing we want to do is compete with our clients, but we do realize that there is a lot of work out there that needs a solution that can encompass the whole project. We approach it in a case-by-case basis. What's nice is you get more creative control on those projects and you are a lot more careful on those budgets, but the bigger, juicier, higher-end things are still our main stay and still who we are." Kneale is an optimist who expects budgets to return — not to what they once were pre-recession, but they will get better. Another trend is companies asking for integrated work."You see a lot more clients wanting to use their media budgets, but not fragment it, not spend it in television, then digital and then print," he explains. "We are bidding for a project at the moment where they are wanting us to do the commercial and the print. It would be a project with multiple delivery platforms." The Mill used one of those platforms to shoot a pro bono PSA for Draftfcb and City Har vest, called Apples. They shot it on an iPhone 3GS. "We needed something that looked obser vational, so instead of treating footage to make it look like we shot it on an iPhone we actually shot it on an iPhone," describes Kneale. "We set up a relatively elaborate tracking rig for it and populated subway cars full of green apples.When the doors open, apples fell out of the subway on to the platform." The Mill's Angus Kneale: This Barclay's Fake spot is an example of how one advertiser dealt with the recession.

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