Post Magazine

August 2012

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vide an added level of customer and technical support on the larger projects." One of the reasons B&H has been able to remain successful in a tenuous economy is they have recognized how the industry has changed — from large post houses to more boutiques and independents. Although, Suissa points out they still do work closely with the big guys; he offers Technicolor/Postworks as an example. "Today, there are so many independent productions outfits — they are shooting on a lot of different formats, including DSLRs, they edit it and finish and post it somewhere, and it becomes content. That is a vibrant, developing market that we have tapped into; they come for their production needs but then realize they also have to edit, finish and actually deliver the product. We can help them build that environment because we have a large variety of solutions to offer — from the very high end, to the very low end or somewhere in between." They have also extended their reach internationally, with Studio team members like Suissa traveling and participating in shows all over the world in addition to local NY events, like a recent technology panel talking about on-set workflows with DPs and DITs. "We are very active in our community," he reports. This not only helps keep B&H's name out there, it also allows the engineers to remain current with technology and users' needs. "We are no longer just resellers of products; we have also become technology consultants to our customers and manufacturers alike. In PIVOTAL POST Pivotal Post, which opened in 2001, is well known among feature film editors. They specialize in servicing and supporting Avid rentals — as well as the occasional Final Cut set-up — to feature film and television productions. In addition to 50 rooms in their LA headquarters and 20 rooms in New York, Pivotal (www.pivotal- has offices in New Orleans, Toronto and London. It's what owner Jeff Buchignani calls being strategically located in all major production zones. But Pivotal will go where you need, office or no office. "We focus on being mobile and provide on-location, portable, rentable editing systems. Even though we have editorial rooms in our facilities, we can provide our gear anywhere in the world" he says. "It's a 24/7 operation, whether a production shoots locally in the States or abroad." Pivotal actually moved the entire editorial team for Bourne Legacy to the Philippines. Currently they are working on Kathryn Bigelow's Bin Laden proj- ect, which included a trip to Jordan. "Location doesn't matter…" While their main business is in renting equipment, Buchignani sees the actual gear as "secondary" to their quality of service. "The systems these days are pretty cookie cut. Our product is our service and support expertise. Our clients have come to expect the very best from us and we understand the technical needs, requirements and demands of working in the film business. Our systems are finely tuned. With today's editorial crews being so savvy and skilled, we provide the added assurance to keep the cutting room running smoothly.". Equipment specifications vary from production to pro- duction, so Pivotal provides a variety of different types of gear. From monitors, to sound mixers, to speakers, to shared storage, there are all types of configurations, and they take requests. "Most assistant editors will provide us with their 'wish list' of equipment. We take that list and build it for them," he says. While most of the shows are almost always identically configured, some are a little different in that one editor will want a 42-inch plasma with LCR sound and another will want a 65-inch mounted on the wall with 5.1 surround sound. "We tailor our equipment configura- tions to our customers' needs." He points to editor Dylan Tichenor (The Town, Doubt, There Will Be Blood), he likes to use a projector mounted on the back of his ceiling and then project his media on a wall across the room. Since keeping up with the latest gear and technology is part and parcel to its business, Pivotal has alpha and beta relationships with many of the vendors, and especially Avid Pivotal Post specializes in providing Avid editing systems to feature film productions. return, some of these manufacturers encourage us to be a part of their beta and even alpha testing programs." The Studio at B&H also has a sophisticated schedule of events, workshops and training sessions put together by manufacturers, as well as by trained B&H engineers and prominent members of the community — a calendar can be found on their Website. He points to a recent Sony camcorder technology presentation that allowed users to interact with Sony's technical staff and also experience workflow environ- ments designed by the Studio team. For in-house staff, there is training available every day on a wide range of prod- ucts. Recently Avid was scheduled for advanced sessions and there is an upcoming Cinedeck presentation. "It's about getting as much exposure to what is happening in the community as possible because nothing replaces the hands-on knowledge." Some of B&H's newer events are not only going to include manufacturers talking about the technology but also leading professionals who have hands-on experience with the latest tools to talk about their real-world experiences. And speaking of real-world experience, Suissa is doing his part. He is a working com- mercial director — something B&H encourages by providing him time off to do his own projects. "It allows me to bring the perspective of a working professional to the equation of providing a service to the customer. " Finally, for those who are thinking of investing in equipment and talking to a reseller, Suissa encourages them to do some research first. "That allows us to be more efficient in how we support people and their needs." and other software-related technology companies. "We have great relationships with our vendors. This allows us to know what software is coming down the pike, what features and benefit sets will be offered. We test this software ourselves to see if something is stable or buggy, because the last thing anyone wants is a prema- ture release of a software version that is functional but causing a lot of problems." In terms of the Avid vs. Final Cut vs. Premiere (and maybe even Smoke) debate, Buchignani makes it clear that they are an Avid house, but that doesn't mean they don't use other gear. He points to Disney's John Carter of Mars as an example of providing a large Final Cut Pro configuration in both the States and in the UK simul- taneously. Buchignani is not clear on where Adobe Premiere Pro will fit in, but is keeping an open mind. "If it's something we can make part of an editorial combina- tion of equipment, then we will integrate it…as long as it functions properly." With new gear comes older or outdated gear, and Pivotal keep things rolling in and out of the company. "Equipment evolves, and a lot of our shows pound on it for months or years at a time," he says. "Computers have a one- or two-show lifespan before going obsolete, so we are constantly purchasing and acquiring new equipment and rotating it in." When it becomes obsolete for the post pro, Pivotal Post will donate equipment to schools and other educational institutions. Recently, Pivotal has been embracing the world of on-set data capture and digital dailies. "Editorial has moved closer to capture, so Pivotal has adapted. We are positioned perfectly to provide on-set dailies workflow for films and television. It's about managing the dailies process and having the expertise to understand media capture, color correc- tion and data management. Today, dailies are captured on a disk pack or card, and that media needs to be managed properly and securely. It's a new era in technology. It's a Post • August 2012 39

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