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November 2018

In the magazine
Only available in print
  • The Facilities 50
    Jon Creamer launches Televisual's 31st exclusive annual Facilities 50 survey featuring the top post production houses in the UK and 48 pages of analysis of the sector
  • The Commercials 30
    Jon Creamer introduces Televisual’s exclusive Commercial 30 survey, reporting on a year of highs and lows for commercials producers.
  • The Drama Genre Report
    With competition from streamers intensifying, UK broadcasters are exploring new drama strategies. Tim Dams reports
  • Primary Colours
    Five leading movie colourists tell Michael Burns the secrets of their craft, and explain the techniques they use to grade movies like The Danish Girl, Peterloo and Baby Driver
  • Up, up and away!
    Thanks to advances in camera technology, the possibilities of aerial filming are greater than ever before. Pippa Considine reports on some of the year’s standout aerial projects
  • OB: Which Way Now
    The OB industry is embracing major change as it adapts to the worlds of UHD, HDR and IP. Michael Burns reports
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Facilities 50 2010 Back to Reports & survey Listing

1 The Mill
40-41 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7JQ. Also has branches in New York and LA.
t 020 7287 4041
Md Darren O’Kelly Head of production Ben Stallard
Genres ads, new media, TV
Credits Nike Write the Future, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Weetabix Steeplechase, Merlin
Services grading (4k), telecine (2k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, Blu-ray, camera hire
Turnover £53.9m

The Mill is currently the most admired of London’s big vfx/post houses, with its commercials clients voting it their favoured facility and its peers placing it top of the pile of competitors they most respect. It has the largest turnover of all the UK’s post houses and an enviable international reputation with huge creative offices on both the east and west coast of the States.
The company predominantly focuses on the high-end commercials market built around ads with plenty of cg/ vfx, and it also has a separate film and TV division that famously posts Doctor Who and other vfx-heavy TV series such as Merlin. Over the last year, “We’ve continued to expand and evolve, providing a diverse service range and have been forward focused, taking on new opportunities from gaming, digital and 3d stereoscopic work so we could continue to maximise our creative and competitive edge,” says Md Darren O’Kelly.
Looking to the coming year, O’Kelly says it’s a combined focus of growing its inhouse directing team, expanding its film and TV wing and moving LA to a larger home. With its attentions on directing content as well as its more traditional post offering, The Mill no longer sees itself as a post production facility. “We’ve spent most of the year talking about the death of post production,” says O’Kelly. “The Mill’s direction centres on being a production partner or vfx studio and creating our own assets and content. We’ve a lot of inhouse design talent and that particularly works with the digital side of the company.”
“An ad agency campaign will typically have five or six production partners – the client, production company, vfx/post house and so on – and we set about looking at what they need and growing our skill set to meet these requirements,” explains O’Kelly. “We enable them to get the most out of an ad’s assets, whether that’s an app, a TV ad, a digital campaign or a website.”

2 Framestore

9 Noel Street, London, W1F 8GH Also has branches in New York and Reykjavik
t 020 7208 2600
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Md, commercials Helen Stanley Deputy md, commercials Lottie Cooper Facility manager Kirsty Cleminson Customer services Jane White
Genres film, ads, new media
Credits Avatar, LG Elephant, Lure and Butterfly
Services audio (5.1) grading (4k), telecine (4k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), DVD, Blu-ray, film (restoration, recording),
Turnover £46.05m

“A lot of last year has been about keeping ahead of trends like stereo and new cameras,” says Helen Stanley. In common with other large cg/vfx houses, Stanley says, “We are doing more production. We just won quite a big job with character design and some shooting. We’re directing it with animation directors and doing the digital campaign, which includes microsites and apps.” She adds that “production companies are still our main source of work. The most important thing is the best creativity, directors, scripts, character design – creatively wins. But we’re getting much more of a look in now rather than being simply a pusher of buttons.”

127 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0NL Also has branches in Santa Monica, CA and Vancouver, Canada
t 020 7434 3100
Md Mark Benson Facility director (ads) Graham Bird (film) Christian Roberton Customer services (ads) Vittorio Giannini (film) Emma Phillips Genres film, ads, new media
Credits Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Cadbury’s Spots V Stripes, ITV The Brighter Side idents
Services audio (5.1), grading (2k), telecine (2k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), DVD
Turnover £41m

“Our creative projects over the last year have never been better,” believes MPC md Mark Benson. “The minute you compromise on quality you lose your edge.” He says, over the last year, “There’s been a desire for more photo-real character animation and more awareness of the opportunities film-style vfx provide in the advertising space”. Benson points to Cadbury’s Spots V Strips as a good example. He says about post: “The model is undoubtedly evolving – at the moment, it incorporates traditional post and partnership post, and occasionally production as well. There’s not been a seismic change but there’s undoubtedly been a change.”

4 Prime Focus
(ads) 37 Dean Street, London, W1D 4PT (TV) 58 Old Compton St, London, W1D 4UF
(film) Liberty House, 222 Regents Street, London, W1B 5TR
t 020 7565 1000
Md Simon Briggs Facility director (ads) Sam Greenwood (TV) Rowan Bray (film) Nassreen Akhtar
Genres TV, ads, film
Credits America: The Story of Us, Nokia Happy Navigators, Robin Hood
Services audio (5.1, Foley, ADR), grading (4k), telecine (4k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, Blu-ray, film (restoration, recording, cutting), camera hire
Turnover £25m

Prime Focus made significant inroads into stereo post over the last year, working on Avatar and doing the 2d-3d conversion on Clash of The Titans. It’s now focused on expanding its vfx and stereo 3d post and conversion services, as well as investment in its “global pipeline infrastructure” for shared working across its offices in North America, India and the UK. Expansion to new locations may also be on the cards: “With our global reach we’re looking for growth into territories we don’t yet work in,” says md Simon Briggs.

5 The Farm Group

13 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QF Locations in London and Bristol
t 020 7437 6677
Md Jon Macdonald
Customer services Jason Elliot Genres TV, film Credits The X Factor, This is England 86, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
Services audio (5.1, foley, ADR), grading (4k), telecine (4k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, Blu-ray, camera hire
Turnover £21m

The Farm is the UK’s biggest TV-focused post house and plans to grow significantly next year by expanding both in the UK and internationally. “Frankly, with the sort of work we do, we are a service provider,” says Nicky Sargent, refuting any move by post up the production chain. “We’re here just to serve. For anything other than character creation and animation, we are post production.”

6 Envy
50a Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1JW
t 020 7908 4600
Md Dave Cadle Facility manager Natascha Cadle Customer services Mat Appleton, Louise Willis
Genres TV, ads Credits Grand Designs, Stones in Exile, Domino Pizza commercial
Services audio (5.1, foley, ADR), grading (4k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, Blu-ray
Turnover £11m
KIT 11th= PRODUCER 1st TURNOVER 10th= PEER 4th

“Clients are driving harder deals but it’s been a good year,” says md Dave Cadle. He’s now planning one more expansion in London then concentration turns to setting up Envy outside London. “We desperately need more space and have the choice of a stunning 10,000 sq ft building or taking over a 7,000 sq ft floor in our current building,” says Cadle. “Once our new building or floor is open, we’ll be done with Envy London. Then we’ll look outside to the regions”.

7 Molinare
34 Fouberts Place, London, W1F 7PX
t 020 7478 7000
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Md Mark Foligno CEO Richard Hart Customer services Helen Phelps Genres TV, film
Credits The Deep, Cranford, The King’s Speech
Services audio (5.1, foley, ADR), grading (4k), telecine (4k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, Blu-ray, film (restoration, recording, cutting)
Turnover £14.3m

Molinare has been investing heavily this year with a brand new grading theatre the highlight of a £3.5m infrastructure upgrade. Clients, says technical director Scott Holmgren, “are blown away” by it. Another £3.5m-£4m will be spent on improvements this year too. 2010 marked the end of an era for Molinare too, with the departure of well known md Steve Milne to go into film financing.

8 Evolutions
10 Soho Square, London, W1T 3NT
t 020 7580 3333
Md Simon Kanjee
Facilities director Owen Tyler Customer services Darren Musgrove Genres TV, ads Credits The Apprentice, Top Gear, The F Word Services audio (5.1, Foley, ADR), grading (4k) vfx (2d, 3d), editing, DVD, Blu-ray
Turnover £11m
KIT 11th= PRODUCER 5th= TURNOVER 10th= PEER 9th

Evolutions has climbed one place in this year’s Facilities 50 survey. The broadcast post production specialist has a raft of big name shows on its books including The Apprentice, Top Gear, The F Word and Studio Lambert’s new reality show Seven Days. The downturn, says md Simon Kanjee, has caused Evolutions “to cut overheads to combat lower volumes and margins and invest in more efficient workflow methods.”

9 Glassworks
33-34 Great Pulteney Street, London, W1F 9NP
t 020 7434 1182
Md/Facility manager/Customer services Misha Stanford-Harris Genres ads, new media
Credits Dulux Walls, Croks Feel the Love, Vision Express Expertise
Services grading (4k), telecine (4k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, Blu-ray
Turnover £8m
KIT 14th= PRODUCER 8th TURNOVER 14th= PEER 7th=

“It’s been a good year, work has bounced back a bit,” says founder Hector MacLeod. “During the recession we reformatted the business so it’s really lean and mean. We’re all a bit cautious but the margins are now giving profits.” It’s just launched a digital production wing called Wireworks, run independently by a staff of three: “Glassworks brings the management and finance and leaves them to get on with the creative side. Where there’s crossover work we’ll obviously benefit from that too.”

10 Smoke & Mirrors
57-59 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SJ
t 020 7468 1000
Md Gary Szabo Facilities manager David Southwood Executive producer Amanda Duncan
Genres ads, TV, new media
Credits Intel Robots, Landrover Freelander
Services audio (5.1, foley) grading (4k), telecine (4k), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, Blu-ray Turnover £10m
KIT 7th PRODUCER 13th= TURNOVER 12th PEER 19th=

Largely focused on the commercials market, Smoke & Mirrors takes tenth place in the Facilities 50 – exactly the same spot as last year. But it hasn’t been standing still – it’s ploughed £2.5m into new kit including a server render farm, Da Vinci Resolve and Nuke. Smoke & Mirrors bills itself as offering “true integrated cross media creative” with the ability to “grade remotely in real time across the globe through the design and investment in our Da Vinci based workflow.” Smoke & Mirrors says the downturn has actually been a positive experience, allowing it to keep agile and re-assess workflows. It’s introduced a new creative offering called the Studio – “for those looking for creative support and a solution to tighter budgets.”

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