Move your thinking out of the rut, writes Anne Miles, general manager at DMCI. (Note: this article was incorrectly attributed to Krupa Uthappa-Myers when first published).
Many in the advertising industry have been under pressure for some time and my heart is with everyone. News of good companies closing down is really sad. They’re friends and colleagues and well respected for what they do. In my experience, there are many factors that can tip a good business off the cliff.
I feel that one of the major hazards to creative businesses is the chain reaction that the typical production process causes.
It seems that many do not think innovatively around their post-production processes at the moment, and are stuck on doing things the way they always have.
There are two areas that require innovative input they are not getting - the current grading process and an over-reliance on Flame. These are influenced both by agencies' and film companies' adherence to one entrenched way of working, as well as by the suppliers themselves.
I’ve always been aware of having to be ahead of the market to keep afloat and to find new ways to work to get more value on the screen. I call this working for the idea. This is partly about investing in a production process that serves the idea at hand and not following a uniform process for the sake of it. I’ve certainly been involved in some controversial changes over the years, being one of the first to bring production in-house in agencies, to bring editing in-house and to work with newer digital formats (mastering and shooting digitally). While I rattled many cages at the time, some of these activities are now commonplace. My motivation each time was to get work on air that wouldn’t otherwise make it. Now we need the next innovation.
I realise that thinking about new ways to grade or to composite and master our precious TVCs could unnerve some. But, in fact, it is even more important to be open-minded and flexible, to produce great work in new ways, more affordably – without being cheap and without the stresses.
There is a time and a place for the current process of moving from shoot to offline, to grade, to online then to mastering in Flame. What I would like to encourage is that Flame is selectively chosen in order to get the best value on screen. Many suppliers are simply being screwed on price rather than innovating new ways to work.
The key is to have more multi-talented people, use new grading tools and existing tools in new ways, and to only grade selectively with existing systems. We need to rethink the process of compositing or mastering in Flame - where it is making tasks faster and better - but not as an automatic or default process. There are other tools available now that, with the right operator can achieve the same result. This could also have a knock-on effect of reducing time on the agency’s time sheet too.
Darren Woolley, marketing and management consultant from Trinity P3 shares this view, "Production technology is used to broaden the creative palette and this we support, except when technology is being used simply for ego-gratification. Directors sitting in Flame suites for hours on end, when other more cost effective solutions are available, is not responsible use of the marketer’s budget. Even if it is creative experimentation, it should be done prior and in a much more controlled fashion."
Future Proof, recently produced by DMCI is the result of a highly collaborative environment and an example of how creative standards can be maintained while innovating. The award-winning project was done by a team of talented people, with a range of skillsets, without following either a standard grading process or mastering process. Flame was not used for any of this project to composite the live action and 3D design elements in this case either.
There is a solution for every budget and we should be able to achieve this comfortably for all, regardless of market conditions. We should be able to achieve a sustainable business profit. That has been my mantra for a lifetime in this industry, and innovation has always been the critical factor of my survival.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY ANNE MILES of DMCI AND IS A BLOG.
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