THE NEXT GENERATION POST HOUSE
Digital Octopus is a young company that sees the post industry changing. You can't call them a studio, because they don't have a traditional storefront. Instead, Emmy-nominated editor Peter Dunn has put together a roster of equally talented editors — 20 pros who are all available to contribute to jobs from remote locations, many being their homes.
Dunn sees this virtual set-up as the future of post. Overhead is drastically reduced, commuting time — particularly in the LA area where his team is based — is eliminated, and clients benefit from considerable savings.
As technology has improved for delivering files over long distances, Dunn says it's become easier to set up these remote post locations. "We're all running Avid Media Composer, from Version 2.8 to Version 3.5. Through storage DNA, everybody can log in with software and the media can go out to their individual hard drive."
To date, Digital Octopus (www.digitaloctopus.tv) has posted 30-minute series (TLC's Saw For Hire, CMT's Wedding Day Disasters), "but there's nothing that we are not capable of doing," says Dunn. "We can do the same thing that you can do in any post facility. If we don't have the equipment that we need, we have the connections around town."
Those connections help with final delivery for any of the various HD formats clients require.
But are traditional post houses eager to work with this new form of competition? "They love it," he notes. "A lot of the post houses, at least the ones that we deal with, they aren't doing the editing. They are doing more of the finishing and transferring. In this economy, they are happy with really anything they can get. We don't get any backlash."
The biggest challenge Dunn has faced is getting clients to try this new model. "It is such a new concept, especially for those who have been around." Some clients still want a traditional set-up, "and that may never change," he says. "But I think the newer wave and younger generation are the ones that are like, 'Go for it! When you have a rough cut, send it to my iPhone. We don't need to be in the edit bay with you.'"