I started as a runner at SVC in Wardour Street, then one of best post houses in Soho, writes Danny Davis. On my first day there I was making coffee for George Michael and running out and getting his lunch.
I absolutely loved running and decided I would be the best runner in London! After a year as a runner I was given the opportunity to become a tape-op/assistant editor and that introduced me to the wonderful world of onlining and finishing.
I’ve been onlining for 20 years now and it’s flown by. Grading in Avid Symphony and DaVinci Resolve has become an integral part of my workflow for over 10 years. When I first started, offline as it is now was not the norm. Often a client would come into the online suite with a paper cut or a u-matic with BITC, or with absolutely nothing. This meant a lot of time was spent in the online cutting at online rates. The post houses thought it was Christmas! Those days are long gone but the online/finishing suite is where I started. I enjoy the challenge of onlining and grading programmes of whatever genre and will realise what the client wants on screen, hopefully adding a lot creatively to the project myself.
The decision to setup my own suite at home near Camden was pretty much made for me after the rents went up in Soho where I had been for over four years. Not a lot has changed apart from location. The quality of work is the same as is the kit that includes: Avid Symphony 6.5, FCP, DaVinci Resolve and a cracking piece of software called Mocha that will track anything.
I recently onlined and graded a six part series for the Africa Channel (African Masters) at my studio and am just finishing a BBC4 doc for Dartmouth Films to be aired on the 5th of November at 9pm AUTISM: CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR.
I have also been cutting and finishing a corporate job for Ford to celebrate 20 years of the Mondeo. Forward planning and a very good chat with the client has worked marvellously. I get a sequence or project from AVID or FCP, nearly always given to me on a drive. I can grade Log or RAW up to 4K. Clients come round to review and make any changes. When everybody is happy I can either make a high resolution file or arrange for layoff to tape. Molinare are great!
One of the main benefits of freelancing for me is the flexibility. This does not mean dragging myself out of bed mid afternoon and eating biscuits all day. It means I have the chance to talk about an upcoming job to the client and, if need be, do tests on looks and FX, at no charge by the way. The greatest thing though is I can more easily sort out time to have with my beautiful 7 year old daughter.