Sponsored by The Look Post Production

The Lockdown afforded us the chance to take stock at The Look,  from how we might adapt and develop our business model to what our impact and legacy might be within both our immediate circle and the wider community, writes The Look CEO Thomas Urbye.

Despite heavy losses through 2020 we have managed to keep everyone employed and paid the bills. Every crisis offers new opportunities, we could now take stock and build a new three-year vision, embarking on a huge training campaign for our team, putting in full metrics for every task the facility carried out.

For some time, we had been looking to increase the size of our suites, as well as give more security to our premises, so we moved all our computer equipment to a secure data centre outside the M25. We also wanted a larger team to support the great work we had coming in, and to adopt broader shift patterns, so we hired five new staff in three months.

As you live through a pandemic you start to think about what your legacy might be. What impact you and your team can have on others. As such, we started mentoring college students, running employability panels and creative masterclasses with a hope that there would be significant mutual benefits. We spoke with Netflix and other independent post houses and found great support.

Over the summer term, we worked with two London colleges serving 16-18year olds, North Kent College and ELAM (East London college of Art and Music including Film & Television). We ran a Zoom masterclass on colour grading for the 50+ students at ELAM. The college’s Head of Teaching, Camilla Jones commented “it’s honestly one of the best pieces of practice I’ve ever seen”; Six of our employees provided regular one-to-one mentoring with six students from ELAM over 12 weeks. With North Kent we ran an employability panel with our own (more junior) employees who gave their advice on university vs going straight into work and long-term career choices.

The pandemic shone an even greater light on balancing the demands of work, and the health and personal development of our team. In an industry dominated with freelance crews we decided we had to do more around helping people overcome their challenges, working as closely as possible to break down the barrier of customer/supplier through better communication and empathy.

The film and TV industry struggles with change. The lack of a single clear decision-making voice on most productions means new innovations struggle to be accepted. The pandemic brought remote technology to the fore, with directors having to use iPads with Streambox and Moxion to review. Long term it should greatly improve the creative and logistical experience for everyone involved, but, like eating – we can do it at home, but there’s a reason why restaurants exist – people still want to come in and collaborate in a room, a Zoom call or a review platform doesn’t give them that. Work related memories have to be created and they aren’t generated online. Cultures and collaborations between partners must be strengthened in person, with silos of production pulled down.

The UK film and TV industry now finds itself embarking on a new revolution of high budget, VFX heavy series in ever spiralling data sizes. The UK editorial framework has to adopt an American model of VFX assistants, producers and post teams to properly support post supervisors. Teamwork makes the dreamwork, we will all need to collaborate together to streamline and reduce the headaches of this new world rather than bump against it – and each other. The routines of ever changing pencils and sessions has to be overcome, new opportunities for remote review and collaboration tools can propel us to a more efficient and harmonious end result, but it requires decision makers across our industry to be ready to adapt to these new ways of working because the landscape has changed, projects are ever more complex, budgets forever stretched, but better technology, accepting new talent, and collaboration can be a great way forward.

Those that can embrace these opportunities will enjoy a fruitful next few years, and in the long-term there may be positives from the pandemic, both professionally and personally.

The Look is currently picture posting Landscapers, Top Boy, Gangs of London & The Long Call.





Gangs of London: picture courtesy of Sky

Get in touch with Dan to find out how The Look can help you create beautiful drama and films

66-68 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SR

T 020 7287 5313

E dan@thelooklondon.com

W thelooklondon.com

Picture credit: Sex Education, picture courtesy of Netflix



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