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the trade body representing companies providing services
to the film & TV industries
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UK Spotlight (Masthead)
March 2016
In this month's edition:
  • A new look for Spotlight
  • Milk and Dneg are honoured at the Oscars
  • Re-brand and Award for Halo
  • New chair for UK Screen's VFX HR working group
  • Quantum becomes new UK Screen sponsor
  • Platform Post Production joins UK Screen

The 88th Academy Awards - UK VFX companies triumph

Another incredible evening unfolded for the UK VFX community at the OSCARS ceremony on Sunday, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Maintaining the UK's reputation as a foremost destination for VFX work, congratulations go to the teams at UK Screen member companies Double Negative and Milk, led by Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett respectively. They won for their sterling work on the psychological sci-fi film Ex Machina, penned and directed by Alex Garland.

Bringing to life Ava and her kin in this tightly-budgeted film, shot mostly at Pinewood Studios, was no small feat and we're delighted that the teams at Dneg and Milk were recognised.

Spotlight on...
Halo: a winning rebrand

Take a walk down Noel Street, Soho and you can’t fail to notice the chic new logos on Halo’s windows. UK Screen’s Victoria Johnson (right) asked Halo CEO John Rogerson and Head of Business Development Matt Locke, what has been behind the rebrand?
John Rogerson (right): It was time, really. Halo hasn’t had a rebrand in the 11 years it’s been going and it’s a different John Rogersoncompany now. It’s grown from originally just me, working on my own to about 70 people. We decided that the older brand needed something fresh. Will Garbutt [previously Head of Production, now MD] led on the charge for teal instead of purple, which he disliked intensely!
Matt Locke: Personally, I had heard some feedback that the website and brand didn’t really represent Halo as it is now, and I wanted to rebrand. When Will was made MD he was really behind the change as well. This website and branding is a real coming-of-age for an independent like Halo and marks it as a grown-up company.
JR: The rebrand process started last summer and it was launched on 8th February. It was good timing for the Broadcast Awards actually, as the new brand was on the big screens and it looked really clean.
Congratulations on your Best Post House win at the Broadcast Awards. What do you think clinched it for you?
JR: I haven’t a clue! You may have to go and ask the judges about that! But really, Halo has a friendly ethos. I think it’s nice to work for a company like that, with good people who really want to be there. I was going to say that awards don’t really mean a lot, but really they are nice to win! It’s great for the talented people working at Halo to be recognised – they deserve it.
ML: It’s the sheer talent we have employed here, coupled with the vast variety of projects that we take on. We do have our passion projects that we fight for, but everything from large theatrical releases to feature documentaries, to the bread-and-butter, daytime TV that’s watched by millions.

Halo @ Broadcast Awards

JR: We always have two tables at the Broadcast Awards and have a lottery for the seats amongst everyone in the company – so anyone has the opportunity to go and celebrate. Just because someone is a runner, for example, doesn’t make them less important than a CEO. In fact, they represent Halo to clients on a daily basis and face-to-face more than I can. It’s great to see people in Halo start from the junior positions and work their way up – I’m very proud of them all. 

So what else might be on the horizon for Halo?
JR: More of the same hopefully. We enjoy what we do and I would say we get 80% repeat business, so if we continue our slate of doing projects of big films, to TV dramas, docs etc. I’d be happy. We’re at the level we want to be there. I would say now that Halo is more likely to diversify; probably more into film production and film-financing.
Matt Locke - HaloMatt Locke (left): There are improvements in the works, such as the new high-end finishing facility, freeing up some space for new cutting rooms in our main Noel Street building. We’ve had a great run with comedy, like Boomers and Murder in Successville, and day-time shows at Halo, so more of the same is the plan. Really good projects at the moment include the second series of The Missing coming here for post, ITV’s Doctor Thorne and the new David Mitchell comedy, Upstart Crow. Halo has also continued to deliver some of the best high end factual shows such as Earths Natural Wonders and David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef and we have a number of new factual series booked in for the summer months.


Framestore's Amy Smith to Chair UK Screen VFX HR Working Group

UK Screen's VFX HR Working Group deals with all aspects of staffing and training within the VFX industry. Framestore's Global Head of Recruitment, Amy Smith, has said; "I really look forward to chairing the VFX HR Working Group and continuing the fantastic work that has been done in recent years to identify and promote the skills agenda for our industry. I hope that by combining my existing work on the Creative Skillset VFX Skills Council with the HR Working Group we will be able to further align our activities and develop a strong strategy for skills development at all levels going forward. In the current climate of apprenticeship reform and reduced funding streams there are lots of opportunities for the group to explore new avenues and collaborations to ensure that we continue to have a pipeline of productive and talented individuals, maintaining the UK’s position as a world-leader in visual effects production."

Amy has worked in a number of HR and recruitment related roles within the visual effects industry, in both the UK and Canada. In each role she has had responsibility for working with schools, colleges and universities to provide careers guidance and support educators with content. Amy is the Chair of the VFX Skills Council at Creative Skillset and, working with the council, has been providing input to the skills agenda for the industry. She is also the lead employer of the NextGen Skills Academy who, with industry, launched a Level 3 Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills last year and is currently developing higher level apprenticeships in VFX and Games.

Quantum becomes UK Screen Sponsor

We are delighted to welcome international data storage vendor Quantum as sponsors of UK Screen.Quantum is a leading expert in scale-out storage, archive and data protection, providing intelligent solutions for capturing, sharing and preserving digital assets over the entire data lifecycle.

With a comprehensive portfolio of best-in-class disk, tape and software solutions for physical, virtual and cloud environments, Quantum enable customers to address their most demanding workflow challenges and opportunities.
Platform Post joins UK Screen 
platform postWe are exceptionally pleased to gain Soho-based post production company, Platform, as a member. Platform specialises in graphics-heavy and VFX finishing work for broadcast producers. 

Originally an editing house for sports & children’s programmes, the facility now covers audio, voice-over, offline editing, online editing, grading & graphics for all types of long-form and short-form broadcast programmes, promos & commercials.

A Word from Neil
My first month in the hot-seat at UK Screen has flown by and it’s been great to get out to meet so many of our members and hear what you want from our Association. I hope to see more of you at next week’s All Members meeting on Thursday (March 3rd) when I’m going to lay out our plans for the coming year.

One request that I have had is to do more to promote our members, so you will start to notice some subtle changes to our website, comms and social media output, starting today with a refocusing of our Spotlight newsletter. It will be more outward facing and will celebrate our members many successes.

In this edition we feature the award-winning Halo Post Production. If you want your business to appear in future Spotlights please keep sending us your press releases or let Victoria know your news, and do let us know what you think about the new strategy.

Neil Hatton,
CEO – UK Screen


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