Logo Rob Buckley – Freelance Journalist and Editor

In-house outed

In-house outed

As another in-house facility throws open its doors in Soho's crowded marketplace, Rob Buckley looks for the unique selling point on offer from a company set up to make trailers.

A Kylie Minogue record isn't something you'd expect to find at a facility, but Dean Street-based LipSync has decided to buck that trend, and has even mounted one on the wall. It isn't for darts practice, mind you, but a reminder of the company's history as it opens its doors to outside clients for the first time.

LipSync has, until now, produced only movie trailers for cinemas and video: “We did the trailers for all the posters you see around the building - Star Wars, Rugrats and so on,” explains the new facilities and sales manager, Jason Elliott. Elliott's appointment in August was aimed at getting other companies to use the facilities Set up by ex-Stock, Aitken and Waterman associates, Jon Diamond and Peter Hampden (hence the Kylie record).

“The last few months have been a learning curve for everyone,” he says. “We've had to look at how we work and change things to make them more efficient.” These include persuading LipSync's production arm that it is now just another client of LipSync Post, as well as expanding the graphics department with the appointment of Elliot's former colleague from Fountain TV, Howard Watkins, at its head.

“We can do anything you want, right from scratch,” says Watkins. “What we offer above other facilities is that, when we take the job on, we put all our effort into it to make it our creation as much as the client's. And clients really like it when you know what they're after, without having to be told exactly what you're supposed to do.”

Elliott maintains, however, that the graphics department's key selling point is Watkins' ability to speak English, rather than jargon - something many graphics people lack, he believes.

The firm needed very little new kit to enter the facilities market, having already acquired it for its own projects. To make those big, booming trailers (that invariably spoil the plot of whatever they're promoting), LipSync needed a good audio suite. It upgraded its existing suite six months ago - keeping one eye on the future, it made sure it would be DVD capable - and has had it blessed by the various Hollywood directors for whose films LipSync has created trailers.

It has also just upgraded its Avids to use the Meridien system, giving them uncompressed, single-stream editing capabilities; the company will be switching to G4 Macs and Millennium edition Media Composers next year, to add a dual-stream option. And, with LipSync's directors giving Elliott a licence to buy almost anything if the demand is high enough, they're unlikely to be the only upgrades due.

Still, LipSync Post is relatively small as facilities go - it has a “friendly feel” according to Elliott - so will it survive when pitched against more established names?

Elliott hopes so. It's already working on the latest series of Bazal's Food and Drink as well as new titles to relaunch Action Time's perennial quiz-show Catchphrase. “I had my reservations about another post-house in Soho, but there's obviously a need for it. People want to be looked after, and my philosophy is that facilities are all the same; it's how you treat the clients that makes the difference.”

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