By Marc Loftus
Issue: July 1, 2004


Just about every month, somewhere in Post, there is a story about a facility that is using powerful desktop tools to provide its clients with affordable, high-quality post services while attempting to keep internal costs down.

PlasterCity Digital Post in Hollywood is one of the latest to follow this trend. The studio just moved into new space and is using off-the-shelf hardware and software - Macs with Final Cut Pro - to post both standard definition and high definition projects, passing the savings from its low overhead on to clients, and in turn, attracting even more. The studio recently completed work on a number of pilots for the upcoming television season, including "Chopper Rescue," which will air on The Discovery Channel.

LA Digital Post is another studio that recently opened up a new shop, this one in Manhattan, complementing existing space in Santa Monica and Toluca Lake, CA. But the low-overhead/ desktop model doesn't apply here. In fact there is nothing "cheap" about the way president/CEO Gary Migdal and the team at LA Digital are doing things.

The company's West Coast operations are home to approximately 150 Avid systems, which are available for field or in-house use. Clients can edit themselves or call on the studio's roster of talent to assist on a project. The new Manhattan location follows a similar concept.

After securing 16,000-square-feet of space on two floors overlooking the excitement of Times Square, Migdal then ordered 40 more Avid Meridien systems, most running on HP PCs. Twenty of the "On-Location" systems would be installed in custom, mobile wood cabinetry - no black road cases here - and the other 20 would be installed in comfortable studios, many with windows, at its 42nd Street location. Additionally, an Avid DS Nitris and a Sony Xpri NLE were purchased for clients looking to tackle high definition projects.

On a tour of the space, as installers were setting up 50-inch plasma screens and the client lounge, I asked Migdal why he chose the more expensive route in building a new studio? His answers made sense. The location, for example, had to be where the clients are. And gear had to be top shelf with the highest level of support. Avids are what his clientele are asking for, and Unity, he feels, is a proven solution for networking. And, he adds, you can't call Apple for service when things break down.