By Kyran Speirs, Head of Post Production, Arrow

Before the pandemic hit, if Dan Carew-Jones and I had proposed to the Board that, in less than three years’ time when the company peaks at it busiest ever year of production, we would output almost 100 % of Arrow’s post workflows from the same basement space in Fitzrovia, and to a world class standard, I think we would have been politely told to take some time away from work.

Yet here we are, running up to 30 offline suites, full online finishing, grading, graphics and 5.1 audio. Nominated for numerous awards and winning one. Sky, BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery, Disney and Nat Geo all being on the credit list. It has been a high octane adventure!

Do not get me wrong, I will always believe in, and want to work with, external facilities. Soho has the pick of the world’s best tech, creatives and management, however with so much content being made by the little internal post house now has a place amongst the big guys.

Being able to scale up without the impact of real estate through technology – like high-powered blade computers with Terradici/ HP RGS connectivity set up in a machine room – was a game-changer. A room that used to house one edit now hosts 20 edits all working remotely. The pandemic really has advanced post-production both in the cloud and remote world.

In house post of course brings its own challenges and opportunities. Having a single client means that we need to be versatile and agile in our capacity management, but it also means that we can be involved in the process from the very early stages, which adds to the efficiency of the process as a whole. We never want to cut corners or compromise the level of output, so we are smart in buying what we need, making it work efficiently for Arrow.

We employ a core team and partner up with freelancers who complement our ethos, loyalty and level of service which the core team adhere to.

Arrow Post’s drive is not profit but efficiency. We make archive heavy shows and deadlines get tighter so being able to design the facility around our specific requirements is a definite benefit and a core value.

We have been looking at cloud solutions for many years now using Microsoft SharePoint, Teams and Azure before the pandemic as well as using cloud-based viewing and media management platforms like Limecraft Flow. Leveraging developing technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has also been a part of our mindset and seeing how these technologies can be used to drive efficiency throughout the supply chain.For example, we use AI to tag our footage as it is ingested, using GrayMeta’s Curio platform, as we understand that storing footage holds no value if you cannot find it!

What started as a vision for a streamlined and flexible inhouse workflow collided with a world emergency, and the need to keep people working has shaped a potential future for internal post.

The remote process is now a proven working model here at Arrow without massively increasing our space. It did not happen overnight and has had investment, thought, and some unfortunate events to push it along. Can it replace Soho post houses? I truly hope not, and do not believe it can. Internal facilities will not be able to offer the breadth of technologies that Post Houses can offer and that will be important as the pace of technological change increases. There is room for both, however, and we share an ultimate aim – to offer 7-star service to production!

What started as a vision for a streamlined and flexible inhouse workflow collided with a world emergency, and the need to keep people working has shaped a potential future for internal post. With the fast emergence of cloud and remote post-production technology it’s not just Facility vs In-house post anymore there is a new kid in town, in-[your own]house post-production!

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