There’s a new post production facility in town and we caught up with Colourist Susumu Asano to learn more about their unique offering and how they’re settling into their new digs in Covent Garden.
We first met Susumu during his time as Nucoda Specialist and Colourist at Digital Vision — a world leading developer of colour grading, restoration and film scanning solutions for the broadcast, film, commercial and archive industries. During that time we were supporting Digital Vision with the hardware for their grading system — supplying KONA 4 for high quality video playback, Eizo displays for guaranteed colour accuracy and a Pixit Media storage solution, ideal for 4K workflows. At that time they were servicing clients BFI, the Hong Kong Design Institute and the New York based post production facility Final Frame — to name but a few.
Final Frame had plans to open a facility in London and it was Susumu and Simon Marbrook, Director of Film services at Final Frame, who made it happen. Now nearly a year in, the venture has been hugely successful. Based in the heart of Convent Garden, Final Frame Post London are set up to cover a variety of picture post production services which include their specialism colour grading and finishing, as well as film scanning and digital restoration for film and video originated material. They also offer services from conforming through to deliverables, including in-house HDR, DCP and transcoding, and they have the capacity to accommodate full post production requirements from dailies through to editing and DI finishing.
Introducing us to his awesome team of post production professionals, Susumu explains, “the team has a diverse background with a wealth of experience in different areas of post production ranging from analogue film to the latest colour spaces for cinema. Each of our key operators is recognised as a leader in their field with consulting and teaching experience.”
If you’ve worked in post production for any length of time, no doubt you’ll already recognise some members of the team. Simon Marbrook, who heads up the restoration and scanning side of the business, has over 20 years experience in post and lab services, having worked at Telecine Ltd, Dubbs-Eyeframe, Premier and Cinelab London. Senior Colourist, Kevin Shaw, has been colour grading for 30 years across the globe. A specialist in his field he also consults for a range of clients and organisations; notably Dolby, BBC Digital Media Services, Intel, Kodak labs, CBS Broadcast, Digital Vision, NARA and National Film Board of Canada. Peter Lynch, a highly respected colourist in the industry with over 30 yeras experience, has freelanced at nearly all of the UK’s most prestigious post houses. His experience spans across film, tape and digital for television, feature film and concerts.
When we asked what’s under the hood in terms of tech, Simon explained “we have a GoldenEye film scanner which allows us to scan any type of film from regular 8mm up to 70mm. We have a Barco DCI projector with a 15ft cinema screen in our grading theatre. It's equipped with Dolby surround sound and has the ability to screen DCP's for clients. We have another grading suite which is a kitted out with a Dolby PRM + Sony BVM X300. This room is where we are able to do HDR grading at 1000nits brightness with our clients”.
The London team continue to work very closely with the New York team, and are able to share knowledge and experiences between the two teams. With emphasis put on having a fast fiber connection between the offices from the get go, they can transfer files very quickly between locations.
On this topic, Susumu adds that “on larger projects we have the ability to use resources from both offices. On a recent restoration project the original elements were being stored in the US, so we digitised the assets in New York, then transferred the files over to the UK for restoring and making deliverables for the client based in London.”
It hasn’t taken long for the London facility to fill their work schedule. Under a year in operation, they are busy working on the delivery of Bugsy Malone, which involves scanning the original film negatives at 4k and doing restoration to remove any artefacts from the film before the final grade – all achieved in-house.
Kevin Shaw is overseeing the Namibia project — a 50 minute HDR documentary for Dolby Vision and HDR10 with stunning photography shot on Red cameras. Final Frame were asked by Dolby to make a showcase Dolby Vision version, and an HDR10 blu-ray master. The project was conformed from the original Red .r3d files and graded for Dolby Vision in ACES on the 4000 nit Dolby HDR reference display, Pulsar. The team also created trim passes for HDR10 and regular television versions. Working this way allowed Kevin to see the richness of colour and contrast in the source material, optimise it for HDR and then tone map those benefits for a better SDR version.
Final Frame may be a new player in the London post production community, but with the team’s diverse background and experience they have the ability to work with a variety of clients from different fields.
“On one day we could be working on a new feature film, the next could be a restoration or TVC. So the work is very diverse which means that the days are always interesting for us.”
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of this impressive new facility and as we neared the end, it was great to hear Susumu’s enthusiastic plans for the future.
“We are keen to build a reputation where Final Frame are a team that will go the extra mile for our clients to get the best results for their productions. In common with the New York team philosophy, we are especially suited to productions that need personal attention and priority treatment.”
Take a closer look at Final Frame London >>