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Post Down Under



Fin Design’s Kim Wildenburg on budgets, Asia and healthy competition

Post Down Under

When it comes to post production, Australia and New Zealand have a world-leading reputation – and deservedly so. While the local industry has not escaped the squeezed budgets suffered by VFX comrades elsewhere in the globe, developments in real time technology and a buoyant market in neighbouring Asia has opened up a whole raft of new opportunities. We caught up with Fin Design’s Kim Wildenburg to take the temperature. 

LBB> How would you characterise the health of the post industry in Australia & New Zealand in 2013?

KW> Very healthy. The quality of the scripts and creative coming out of the agencies has been extremely impressive so far this year. And there appears to be a huge trend back to a lot of high end VFX, design and animation projects. So in that respect, it's a really exciting time for the post companies in our region. 

We've had the opportunity to work on some of our best work in the past four months, collaborating with some amazing directors and creatives, so for us it's been a very healthy start to the year. With that said, we are constantly striving to top the last job; fingers crossed this continues throughout the remaining of 2013. 

Also from a competitive standpoint, there are so many top post shops in Australia and NZ right now, which hopefully will be a catalyst to raise the bar in terms of the quality of work within our region.

LBB> What are the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment?

KW> Competition is pretty fierce at the moment. There are new players and existing shops that are growing and strengthening. So it's a matter of staying focused and really showcasing our company's strengths. Which is primarily about our wonderful talent base and high end quality of work. 

The tightening of budgets has been a bit of a challenge over the last few years. It's a matter trying to be as efficient as possible, by devising solutions to create the most streamlined workflow possible for a project. And working closely with both the director and agencies to openly communicate what is achievable within the given parameters and ultimately creating a spot that looks just as amazing for the final output. 

LBB> In terms of technology, there are so many exciting developments and trends, from real time interactive & motion capture to new platforms to create for. Which developments are getting you guys most excited?

KW> (Written by Stuart White - Head of CG) For a long time now, the video cards that power computer games have been increasing in strength faster than almost any other piece of hardware.  We are in an era now where this highly specialised computing power has started to leak out from the video games world into many other industries, including VFX.  So now we are starting to see the fruits of that everywhere you look.  

Right now we are pre-visualising three 30-second commercials using a video game engine right within Maya's interface.  So we've got shadow casting lights, depth of field, motion blur and massive texture maps - all in real time at 80 frames per second.  It's going to be a very slick looking previs!  Turn around time on a new shot is very quick and when the spot goes out for market research, the audience will see something that resembles the final product much more closely, which will certainly benefit our client. 

LBB> A lot of Australian post and production companies have been looking to work with Asia in recent years. What has been your experience working with the Asian market? How do you see the relationship between Australian & Asian markets developing in the future?

KW> We've already done a fair bit of work originating from Asia, however we are also currently expanding our presence and offering within this region. Given our close proximity to Asia and our similar timezones, combined with the growing Asian economy and population, it would be silly not to explore this market. As part of Fin's recent growth strategy, we brought on Stephen Douglas, as our Head of Business, Asia. Stephen has been primarily focused on this region for over 10 years now and comes with a huge network of potential clients and relationships within this market. We are really excited about the possibilities this may bring in the year ahead.  

LBB> The last few years have been pretty difficult for production companies and post in terms of falling budgets – do you see light at the end of the tunnel?

KW> Yes and no. Budgets certainly are not what they used to be 10 years ago. And I can't really see that ever going back to that stage. We were all very spoilt back then! 

I guess there’s always a bit of ebb and flow, and it definitely does depend on each job requirement or situation. The economic climate is slowly improving compared with when we were in the middle of the global financial crisis period, so yes, there is definitely some light at the end of the tunnel. Luckily we've got amazing clients who we work very closely with, and together we devise solutions to come in on budget whilst also maintaining a high standard of output. So it's a matter of being aware, collaborating closely with your team, having open communication channels and being able to offer up creative and efficient solutions.

view more - Trends and Insight
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Fin Design + Effects, Tue, 30 Apr 2013 16:30:30 GMT