SPECIALIST PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR BROADCAST SERVICES AND POST PRODUCTION
East On Media Solutions was brought in to oversee building works at both Splice Post’s Nile Street and Perseverance Works facilities in 2021 and 2022.
Splice Post’s Co-founder Duncan Western recounts the experience of working with Darryl Easton and East On Media Solutions and the difference a project manager with M&E experience can make to what can be a fraught and diverting series of challenges.
“Darryl’s a project manager who understands post production
“We’ve always worked with the very best builders who understand picture and audio post – from the acoustic treatment and insulation to the flooring. We’d been doing it ourselves from sourcing everything to running the build. In reality, you’re learning on the job and making errors as you go. The builders build what you ask them to build and don’t really ask much further or look at the bigger picture.
“We’d always thought it was cheaper to employ and manage our own builders and to employ a project manager was unaffordable and that’s what we’d done for the past 20 years.
“But it turns out that it isn’t.
“Darryl Easton was recommended to us by Jerry Bennett when we were most of the way through the new Nile Street build but had hit a couple of snags.
“Darryl immediately made a difference and made his presence felt.
“He took over project managing the top floor where we have 11 offline suites, a grade room, kitchen, meeting room and production offices. You can see the difference on the finish of the parquet floor. (It was already there but he got it renovated perfectly.) And he managed the bathrooms in the basement, which needed some attention.
“After that we brought him in again to revamp and refurbish the basement at Perseverance Works. We have three audio suites and we wanted new flooring and fabric throughout. On top of that we had two voice over booths, grade, online, kitchen and bathroom and a really complex sanitary flow. There was a lot of work to get completed while the rest of the facility was still running.
“Darryl saved money by keeping the budget down and scrutinising, questioning and finessing the quotes. He looked at everything we were paying for and made sure our money was spent in the best possible way.
“We were working with all of the same people. Nothing’s changed there. It’s s small world of suppliers. But for the first time in a long time, we could sit back and get on with our jobs without micromanaging the build. And it was getting done a lot faster.
“I wouldn’t do another job without a project manager like Darryl and I’d prefer that project manager is Darryl.” Duncan Western, Splice Post Co-founder
A POST PERSPECTIVE
“When it comes to post production, you’re building something which is quite personal. It’s not just that it’s your own company. It’s not just building a shop, a hairdresser or even a hotel. Everyone’s got to be happy to sit in our suites for very long periods and be comfortable working, to have a good experience.
“Splice is a working facility and we’ve got to be sensitive working around our customers and making sure we’re not disturbing them and that takes planning and forethought. It might be what hours the builders need to work or at the weekend and yes, you might have greater costs, but you’ve got to think about your customers first.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
“Darryl’s the point person who brings it all together – the builders and the suppliers while listening to and understanding what we need – and making sure it all comes together in the right order and at the right time.
“We had worked with a project manager before, but they didn’t understand post production. They didn’t understand the important details around brickwork and air gaps and rubber insulation. We ended up being here every day trying to sort it out when we had better things to be doing with our time. (And you end up feeling like a bit of an idiot running a company when you’re on the stairs telling builders to tidy up after themselves.)
“Darryl knows what fibre and CAT6 we need and how that all comes back to the server rooms and machine rooms. But he’s more post friendly than that. He knows about how sound insulation works and should be installed. And he understands our specific industry requirements, like the heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the server room and getting fresh air into our edit suites. He already understands those details and the right order of events that you learn over the years by getting it wrong.
“If you get the right person, they become self-funding. Darryl’s more than paid for himself. I wouldn’t do another job without a project manager like Darryl and I’d prefer that project manager is Darryl. Darryl’s pretty laidback and nothing is ever a problem. He just gets the job done.
“With Darryl managing the project, you can get on with your life.”
“Darryl is my go-to Project Manager for projects that need that extra level problem solving and client support over and above good project management, handling complex deliverables to tight timescales. I have recommended him to a number of clients in the Broadcast / post production sector and will be doing so again.” Jerry Bennett, Westwood Joinery Services
ABOUT EAST ON MEDIA SOLUTIONS
East On Media Solutions offers a specialist project management service to the building of M&E facilities services, working with some of the highest profile UK broadcasters and post production companies. The ‘specialist’ aspect of this service is understanding M&E’s unique requirements from how acoustics treatments impact architectural realisation to server room HVAC and clean air across a facility to delivering a timetable that minimises disruption within a live working environment.
Managing Director, Darryl Easton sees his role as being, “explainer, interpreter and sometimes mediator” across all the stakeholders. A successful project is the result of a, “cohesive team bringing in contractors and clients and finding the enablers to unlock any challenges as they develop – sometimes, those enablers are not the first people you would imagine”.
Darryl brings a calm, affable and measured approach to problem solving and comments, “that to achieve your goals, you need to be able to filter out the noise and remain clear, focussed, fair and supportive when required but ruthless when cock-ups arise”.
Darryl’s mantra is “adaptability”. All complex projects have their own challenges and bottlenecks where skilled tradespeople are focussed on their craft and not always the bigger picture. Darryl believes that his role is to “always be looking three months down the line and thinking backwards to define the best approach and the correct order of work and overcome obstacles before they arise”. As we like to say in television, ‘you start by looking at the deliverables and only then work backwards.’
RECENT EAST ON PROJECTS INCLUDE
- the new ITV Newsroom at 200 Grays Inn Road
- Expanding the ITN Post facilities including the new Atmos Home Entertainment suite
- The new NEP studio gallery and post suites also at 200 Grays Inn Road
- The final stages of Splice Post’s new Nile Street building
- Refurbishing the basement suites at Splice Post’s Perseverance Works site
- The Channel 4 News centre in Leeds – including two studios, edit and graphics – coming in May
- Newsroom migration, media management, edit and graphics for Channel 5 News
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