As small post companies get bigger, and big companies wonder what’s coming next, Derek Moore gives us 5 reasons why Coffee & TV use Autodesk Flame as the central hub of their Soho facility.
1/ Give the right people the right tools
We are lucky enough to have built up a network of amazing artists, stretching back to way before Coffee & TV was just a glint in our collective eyes. It makes no sense to mandate a company policy on which software to use when the people best placed to decide this are the artists themselves. Most of our team, both old and new (or experienced and very experienced) choose Flame as their preferred system, so we provide it for them. That’s not just generosity - it allows us to get as much value out of them as people because they work quicker and better on Flame.
2/ If you’re going to do it, do it properly
Ok, Flame can now run on an old MacBook from 2010, but that’s a false economy. We pride ourselves on having the latest cutting-edge kit, and not for vanity reasons. Our top end Linux workstations with dual graphics cards mean each artist gets almost twice as much work done in a day, and the artist is the expensive bit. So that’s a smart business decision.
There is a well-known saying in post and elsewhere, often referred to as the Iron Triangle: “Time. Money. Quality. Choose two!” In theory, you can have good and cheap, but it will take time; or good and quick, but it will be more expensive. Where the creative process is different, is that the more attempts you get to achieve something, generally the better (literally more refined) it becomes. So, if we can iterate more quickly, the end-product will almost always be improved. We choose Flame because it is simply the fastest tool for the job. Like a knife through butter, as my business partner Truss once said.
4/ You’re only as good as your last job…
…and your last job is only as good as your deliverables. Sounds obvious, but if a delivery ever gets rejected by a station, or by a channel, or by a client (which of course never happens to us!), nine times out of ten it won’t have been finished in Flame. Maybe there is a different skillset or attitude in a Flame artist generally, or maybe they have more time to check things, but we are now trying to ensure that all transmission files get a final ‘QC’ in Flame. How times have changed from when Flame first arrived in the early nineties!
5/ It’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut
There are so many great pieces of software out there that it is a genuine problem for a facility owner to know where best to hang his hat. I don’t mean this article to demean any of the other platforms, as we work successfully with most of them. But if you want an easy life, or at least you want to focus your limited time on the most important issues, I’d suggest you choose a one-box-does-it-all solution so that you can throw any project at it with confidence. Granted, most of the time you won’t use a quarter of Flame’s toolset, but now that it handles all the different CGI file formats, any colorspace or resolution, there is no harm in having a few sledgehammers around your facility, ready to smash all the jobs that come their way.
Derek Moore is Managing Director and Co-Founder of Coffee &TV. Previously he was a co-owner at Clear and has been a leading Flame Artist at many of London’s largest post companies.