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And then there's the move away from venerated film stock and over to digital acquisition — on any- thing from a high-end Red camera system to a con- sumer Canon — often in the name of authenticity (as well as time and budget). Post spoke with some adver tising professionals right in the thick of these changing times. E U R O R S C G The relationship between agencies and post houses is changing on two levels, says Clare Donald, head of broadcast at Euro RSCG. "Firstly in that technology is forever reaching new levels of com- plexity, which enable new levels of service and cre- ative excellence. This has meant that post produc- tion, rather than [ser ving merely as] a tag-along at latter stages of production, is more often one of the key factors in production and agencies commence their dialogue at a much earlier stage." Donald adds, "Post production, one could argue, is not even an appropriate term — visual effects need to be planned and overseen before budgets and boards are even submitted to clients." The second way the agency/post production equation is changing involves "the financial con- straints we are all under." She says, "Clients and agencies are searching to find new ways to make work more transparent and economic. Gone are the days of rate-card budgets. One potential way to ensure cost effectiveness is to centralize work through one post house. This makes for a much closer relationship, although some would argue a potential curb on creativity as different post techni- cians offer different skills." Despite a focus on finances, Donald is not a big proponent of agencies' bringing in-house some post duties, such as offline editing or perhaps Photoshop work. "The [post] specialists are the people who I would choose to work with on any complex cre- ative job. I would say that, for any broadcast com- mercials that require more than a simple conform, a better result would be achieved through working with a specialist company with regards to online. Online is a whole different ballgame." How profoundly is new technology changing the process and the agency/post ser vices relationship? One huge development is the overall speed of pro- duction. "Everything is faster," Donald says. "Expecta- tions for delivery times have changed. Producers and creatives no longer sit in edit suites for days watch- ing each frame change. We pop in at appropriate moments to assess progress." Remote review-and-approval is now common,"but the detail we work to is sometimes hard to appreciate when judging on different monitors. I once had a direc- tor trying to judge a [telecine session] from his laptop on the other side of the world. It didn't work as, of course, the screens were set very differently. The wonders of VFX can also have their draw- backs, Donald says. "Creatives occasionally abuse the 'we can do anything' mantra — there are time and budgetary constraints that need to be taken into ac- count when working with increasingly tight budgets. Good productions discuss and allow for such even- tualities during the initial process." Digital acquisition — HD and the Red cameras — have made dramatic inroads in commercial produc- tion in the UK. "I would say that approximately 50 percent of commercials are now shot digitally," Don- ald says. "The Red camera had previously had techni- cal problems — more with the transfer of material than data capture — but these problems seem to be largely resolved and it is an increasingly popular cam- era.The digital cameras allow for a more direct rela- tionship with post production. More of the material can be transferred and more quickly, changes are eas- ier, moving from one shot to another is faster. "Photographically there are many people who feel that film gives more depth and subtlety, but as film lenses are used on most digital formats, the difference is diminishing and there are many people who prefer the slightly more defined image that HD provides." 1 8 0 L A Creative directors Gavin Milner and Grant Hol- land have worked together for years as well as on their own on TV campaigns for agencies such as Ground Zero and Ogilvy in Los Angeles, and they now form a team at 180 LA. This agency ( is the Los Angeles branch of Amsterdam-based 180, a 200-person creative agency with clients like Adidas, Sony, Boost Mobile and Bombay Sapphire. Milner and Holland were busy throughout 2009 on three campaigns for Adidas.The campaigns might offer six traditional TV :30s but, these days, that work can extrapolate outward to numerous longer and shorter promos for use on the Adidas Website. If you couple the exponential growth of the Internet with the recent down economy, Milner says, viral market- ing has become "more than just a force; it's a neces- sity now. It's a faster, more budget-friendly way for me to get my message out there to a lot more people a lot more quickly. We talk around here about pushing information out 24/7/365 — something you would- n't be able to do with traditional media." Holland concurs, adding that the budgetary con- straints that marketers are experiencing could be seen as a good thing for advertising."A lot of advertis- ers have half the budget and half the time, yet they still have high expectations, as they should.They still want great work, so we have to be more creative in how we approach the assignments and talk to production companies [who also] have to be more creative." One simple answer is the one-stop-shop. Milner and Holland chose to do "everything in one place" on their extended Adidas campaign, using Santa Monica's Rock Paper Scissors for editing and a52 and Elastic for effects (they are all co-located). "They shot it and did all the special effects," Holland says, "and they killed it.They did a great job — the line produc- ing, the editing and the visual effects." "There are absolutely more tools and more clever ways to get things done than there have ever been before," Milner says. "The weapons in your ar- senal are so varied now. We're talking to directors [who suggest] we shoot this on the new Canon still camera [5D] that shoots HD. Who'd have ever thought of that a year or two ago? People are a lot more flexible, versatile and open to new solutions. Clients are the same way too, [though] some of it is born of necessity." Bringing to life a new Adidas "off cour t" shoe called Equation called for a different approach to show off the stylish footwear : animation. Milner and Holland used only about :05 of live action in their Lessons in Style spot. "We had [NBA stars] Kevin Garnett and Derrick Rose having a conversation about what it means to be styling off-court," Holland January 2010 • Post 33 Euro RSCG's Clare Donald: "Visual effects need to be planned and overseen before budgets and boards are even submitted to clients." Local Hero Post uses Assimilate Scratch on spots like this one for Panasonic's 103-inch plasma TV.

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