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Fix It In Post with Department of Post

Fixing it in post is a bit of an industry joke, but there is no question that high quality post-production work can elevate how cinematic a film feels and enhance the storytelling. Show Me Shorts is fortunate to work with Department of Post as the provider of all our post-production services. This world-class organisation has earned an excellent reputation for looking after filmmakers by providing high quality services and flexible solutions. Company Directors James Brookes and James Gardner took time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions.

Please introduce yourself, tell us your role, how long you’ve worked in post and what aspects of the job you are passionate about.

Over a decade ago, we were freelance artists with a passion for being on the forefront of technology and post workflows. We thought there were ‘better’ ways to do post that could offer services to projects that aligned with international standards. So we knocked our heads together and built three facilities along the way. We’re now able to offer Auckland, theatrical far-field mix spaces and theatrical grading at it’s best. It’s important in an ever changing world that we need to be one step ahead, allowing us to create content smarter and effectively for producers.

Tell us about Department of Post’s world-class facilities and team. What is the full range of services that you provide? What makes your facilities and team special?

DOP offers almost anything from on-set to final mastering and worldwide distribution. Our specialized team can work as on-set DIT and dailies colourists or video assists from our state-of-the-art vans. From the facility, editorial suites are available for hire, and assistant editors who can provide an extra hand. Our vision department can handle everything from conform, grade, QC through to distribution. All vision services and VFX workflows conform to UHD and HDR standards. The Audio department is set up to provide sound editorial, foley and sound design through to theatrical Dolby Atmos mixing. Post and VFX supervision and workflow support are also always on offer.

What’s the industry niche that DoP occupies? E.g. king of projects you normally work on compared to other post houses.

DOP specialises in longform content as our artists enjoy the journey! Allowing our post-house to have specialised artists and tailored equipment that gives producers the best opportunity to polish anything from factual tv series, through to feature films.

What’s the percentage of local versus international projects you work on?

We work close to home and servicing the local industry is key to us, with roughly 60% of our projects being locally produced. For the other 40%, these come from studios worldwide including Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services.

Tell us about some of your favourite projects that you and your team have worked on in the last 6-months?

Our team is constantly working on varied and challenging projects as we are lucky to have such a vast range of content. Our on-set DIT team have travelled across the country to work on many genres of feature and drama productions. Recent feature documentary premieres at established festivals have allowed our colourists and mixers to stretch their creative legs. Our audio technicians have been delving into HDR and Dolby Atmos deliveries, deep into the cutting edge of technology.

How many New Zealand short films do you usually work in in an average year? What is the budget range they are normally working with? And what kinds of services do they normally require (e.g. editing, VFX, colour grading, sound mixing)?

On average, we work with up to 15 industry shorts, and 25-30 student shorts per year. As always, budgets – especially for short films – are vastly different. Some are koha or lending a hand to get them going, often with a standard budget of less than $5k. We also try to work with filmmakers to secure adequate funding to ensure it does the short film justice once it reaches the post process. These are usually around the $10k mark, but are rare.

When in the development process is the best time for a filmmaker to start talking to DoP about their post-production needs? Are you open to approaches from beginner filmmakers?

Discussing post-production needs are best done as soon as possible. Ideally, as soon as a DP is on the project so we can discuss technical specifications and colour pipeline of the entire project. And yes, for sure, we are always open to approaches from beginner filmmakers. DOP pride ourselves in giving many a leg up into the industry and fostering young blood, so we are always happy to meet with new faces.

How have you managed to keep working through the pandemic? And what changes have you made as a result that make the business more robust?

Dedicated research and development to remote post production systems, including remote Avid and Resolve which allow our artists to work from home at high speed and with content security at its core. Lightpost is also a fantastic feature which allows productions to continue to work off centralised servers securely and collaboratively from remote locations.

Where is DoP going? What are your plans for the growth and sustainability of the organisation into the future?

DOP continues to function as a facility that caters to local content and budgets, while also presenting artists and toolsets at a world class level. This is attracting some exciting international work,  benefiting New Zealand and its freelancers.  This allows us to offer those same artists and toolsets to local filmmakers so they can have access to what they deserve. Our plan is to continue striving to uphold these goals.

Based in Auckland, New Zealand and specialising in grading and finishing, Department of Post is your port of call for all post production needs. Get in contact!