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December 2014
Issue: September 1, 2005

THE NLE RENTAL BUSINESS

By: Marc Loftus

I've noticed an interesting trend in the post business recently among companies that rent editing facilities - both fully-equipped rooms or field systems. They are busy!

A little over a year ago, I visited LA Digital Post, which was gearing up for the grand opening of its new Manhattan location. The company already had successful operations in Toluca Lake and West Los Angeles, and with the opening of the 42nd Street space, secured its position as the largest Avid-authorized rental center in the US, with more than 170 systems.

Recently, I was back at LA Digital and caught up with director of business development Nick Marucci, who went on to tell me that they had just taken over another floor in the same building. Things, he says, are going well.

City Lights Media Group is another Manhattan facility offering Avid rooms for rent, in their case, more than 30. In fact, when I spoke with company president Danny Fisher, City Lights had just purchased its 31st Avid. The studio also recently opened two new Digidesign Pro Tools suites (see News on page 9) and more audio suites are planned for the future.

Fisher says they're at a point where City Lights has to take on more space or risk having to turn away business. Many of the facility's clients are cable programmers who book anywhere from three to 10 rooms at a time - and for months on end. The studio also produces its own original, unscripted cable programming - 61 episodes this year - so, Fisher notes, there's no shortage of content that needs editing.

Fisher has a theory on why City Lights has been so successful: Unlike the older breed of post houses, they never got bogged down in analog technology, making the transition to digital relatively painless. They've also stayed away from a high overhead model - much of the work that comes through the facility brings its own editors, so there's no need for a large staff. And they've gone with a mid-level of comfort. The space is nice, but not over the top, he says.

It's obviously working for them. Fisher believes they could easily fill new rooms, should they decide to build some. "Absolutely," he says of the idea, "there is a demand."