Another day in the life of Andrew Emmerson – Post-Production Engineer

Andy Emmerson4

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Last month, Andrew Emmerson spoke to us about how Gravity Media’s remote editing service works and is set up at our clients’ preferred place of work. Today, he tells us about the other side of his role: supporting clients with the post-production aspects of their projects, and being a general sounding board when clients have questions. 

Project delivery 

We provide several levels of project support. Theres the dry-hire work, for which we prep the kit to make sure its suitable and in good working condition, and then send it out. Theres also the engineering support, where well be onsite to get everything hooked up, rigged up and talking to the OB companys equipment. One of the advantages of fully preparing the kit before it goes out  and making sure it’s software-compatible with the OB company’s setup – is that we can know for certain that, when it leaves the warehouse, its all working and able to do what its supposed to do. Once onsite, itthen just a case of connecting it to the equipment thatalready in place. That equipment has yet more people looking after it, so itunlikely there’ll be any issues because weve got support on the other side, if needed.   

Being involved in the content acquisition and creation side of things is a different level of reward; being part of the output thats created gives me a real sense of pride and accomplishment. I feel very fortunate to have gone from someone who sent in a CV for a driving job to prepping stuff for the Boat Race; going down to Maidstone Studios to help record a game show; engineering EVS/Avid workflows for Arena TV on the FA Cup; or being involved with The BBC Proms. I was one of the two day-shift engineers at Wimbledon 2019 for ArenaEvery time Im onsite, I think: “This is brilliant.  

I find it really satisfying to be able to achieve so much within a single day. Being able to take a van-load of kit to site, set it all up, get a TV programme made in 3-4 hours, pack everything up to return to base, knowing that the job is complete and the client is happy – ultimate job satisfaction from a personal and professional point of view.   

When a new project comes in, we plan the workflows by taking a top-down view at what the client is trying to achieve. The Projects or Sales departments will be the first point of call, and the client will usually have a good idea of what theyre trying to do, so can specify the items of kit theyll need. Thats when well get involved by making contact with the client and talking through their requirements, simply executing what they’ve asked for, or suggesting areas where the project can perhaps be more efficiently achieved by offering proven alternatives, if appropriate 

This is a service business 

From the clients perspective, this is quite a valuable part of the overall service. Everyone knows what theyre doing, so it’s rare that the amount of kit going onto a job will change significantly, but when it does, it’s rewarding to be able to advise the client that something theyve requested really wouldnt be suitable for the job theyre doing.   

Being able to offer this level of experience and advice is crucial to maintaining goodwill within the industry – and it doesn’t stop there. Earlier this week, I spent some time talking through our new remote offering with an editor weve worked with before on a number of jobs. He wanted a better understanding of how it worked and why it was relevant, and I think he really appreciated me taking the time to explain it to him. We’re always happy to spend time chatting to clients ‘off the clock’; it’s a great part of the job.  

After Id explained how our remote editing solution works, I agreed to send some kit out to his office, so he could experiment with it and experience the benefits first-hand, without any suggestion he would then need to sign up to a new rental deal. Generally, were more than happy to give demonstrations on any of the workflows that are either already on offer or are in development. Everythings possible. If you want the capacity to edit in the middle of nowhere, wed be able to make that work for you.   

A culture of innovation 

I love that we’re constantly evolving our offer as it really keeps things interesting. Everybody at Gravity Media is always open to suggestions, so if you have an idea for doing something new or better, someone will at least hear you out. Nothing gets shot down; its a very supportive and enabling environment. You have to make a convincing case, but if youre able to demonstrate that what youre trying to do will work, then there will be the potential to spend time investigating those things.   

To find out how Gravity Media can help you with your next production, email enquiries@gravitymedia.com.