The monthly email update from the UK Screen Association,
the trade body representing companies providing services
to the film & TV industries
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June 2016
In this month's edition:
  • BlueBolt VFX: The view from the High End
  • Media Production Show Preview
  • New Member: Flix Facilities
  • CANNES 2016 Heralds Resurgence of KODAK Motion Picture Film
Spotlight on...
BlueBolt VFX: The view from the High End

There's no denying that High End TV is big business, with stats from the BFI stating that after the HETV Tax Relief came into effect, HETV hit a record high with UK-based production spends of £615 million in 2014. Victoria Johnson (right) talks to Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor (below left), Managing Director, about the creation of BlueBolt and their success with HETV. 
BlueBolt has become a very successful name in a short amount of time – can you give us some insight into the company?

BlueBolt was started when myself and two colleagues left MPC. We all personally put in the initial investment and went without a salary for the first 18 months, and so began BlueBolt. Within the first week of business we had our first project. I would not say that we have become successful overnight, I think we have had a solid organic growth from the good output of work we have done to date and a feeling of where we fit into the vfx marketplace.

Working within a big VFX house gave us all a really fantastic grounding and it was essential to have that knowledge before starting BlueBolt.  We had a full, proper understanding and experience of how the bigger Hollywood films work as well as the smaller independents.

Along with several other medium-sized companies, we were fortunate enough to begin in 2009 during a recession. With the current Soho rents we could not have done it, our businesses all need to be in this area to be part of the VFX community. The rising rents in Soho are still a big problem and it could price the VFX community out of central London. All it needs is for 1 or 2 of the really big VFX companies to decamp outside the centre of London and I imagine most of us would follow pretty fast if the rent was competitive.


How do you see the VFX industry in the UK at the moment?

The VFX industry in Soho is doing well, its buoyant and with the HETV shows coming in, our company is positioned well.  All VFX houses have the highs and lows of continuous work which is normal, it’s just trying to get that as manageable as possible so you can ride out the lows and not have to loose any staff. Amongst the medium size companies, we all communicate and get on well. If a company can’t do a particular piece of work it wouldn’t be unusual for them to point a client towards someone else.

War & Peace for BBC One

A huge part of the success is the UK tax-breaks.  I don’t think any of us would have a business if not for the tax breaks and the work which UK Screen put in to achieve them. They have been instrumental in the business growth that we’ve seen over the past couple of years and organisations like UK Screen and the BFC are vital to the industry keeping those plates spinning!  The BFC fam trips, introducing US production companies to the work we do in the UK are so valuable too. I was contacted 18 months after one of those trips by someone I didn’t know but had been told they said “Talk to Lucy at BlueBolt, they do exactly what we need”. That’s ideal, isn’t it?


Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor will be talking at the Media Production Show on a 'VFX Masterclass: TV' panel alongside Helen Brunsdon and Marc Knapton on 9th June 16:30.

Media Production Show: UK Screen Panel Previews

UK Screen members will be making presentations and appearing on many panel discussions at this year's Media Production Show, taking place at the Business Design Centre, Islington on June 9th and 10th

Media production show

Neil Hatton, UK Screen CEO will interview a panel of leading colourists about the New creative opportunities for grading with UHD, High Dynamic Range and Wide Colour Gamut. (3:30pm 9th June)

Is it any different from grading in HD? What are the challenges of working with higher resolution pictures? But it’s not just about the number of pixels as UHD also enables a wider palate of colours and significant brighter pictures with contrast levels equaling that experienced by the naked-eye. So what will you be able to do with this creative freedom? How can you enhance the viewers’ visual experience without distracting from the storytelling?

Neil Hatton (Chair) - UK Screen
Jet Omoshebi - Encore Post
Chris Rodgers - Molinare
Alex Gascoigne - Technicolor

Neil Hatton along with Amy Smith from Framestore will be discussing The Apprenticeship Levy: It’s impact on the post production and VFX sectors. (11am 10th June)

Next year, the government will impose a levy on UK businesses to fund the training of 3 million apprentices. Smaller firms won’t need to pay but can still benefit from the subsidy. However for companies with a payroll above £3m, the costs may be considerable.

For the creative sector there are challenges to access these funds and actually to deliver the accredited training.This session will debate the impact on the current voluntary levies on production. Is the Apprenticeship Levy the most appropriate way to fund training for post-production and VFX and what changes to the proposed legislation do we need to make it truly deliver?
Will Strauss (Chair)
Amy Smith - Framestore
Neil Hatton - UK Screen Association
Seetha Kumar - Creative Skillset
Keith Smith - Skills Funding Agency

UK Screen board director and Goldcrest MD, Patrick Malone will be joining Joce Capper from Rushes and Nicky Sargent from The Farm, when George Bevir reviews Post Production: State of the Nation (11am 9th June)

To see the full programme for the Media Production Show, please CLICK HERE

Production Growth Fund supports films in Scotland

Two new movies being shot in Scotland have received £750K funding from Creative Scotland’s £1.75 million Production Growth Fund.

The sequel to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting has received £500K, while Jonathan Teplitzky’s Churchill has been awarded £250K.

The fund aims to stimulate growth in film and TV drama production and encourages international productions to come to Scotland.

Through its agencies and public bodies, the Scottish Government has increased support to the screen sector by 30% to £21.6m, compared to 2007/08 funding levels.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop (below left) said: “The Scottish Government and its agencies are working together to maximise the economic, social and cultural benefits of Scotland’s screen sector. This fund is assisting talented producers finance their projects, while investing directly in our workforce and helping to grow our creative sector.

“I’m pleased filming is underway on both productions. Film-making, animation and television production make an important contribution to Scotland’s rich and diverse cultural life.”

Natalie Usher, Director of Screen at Creative Scotland (below left), said: “The response to the Production Growth Fund has been brilliant and Creative Scotland’s Screen Commission has seen a huge increase in enquiries from UK and international productions.

“Since the fund’s launch in October last year, we have proved that the Production Growth Fund has significantly increased production levels and provided significant opportunities for Scottish craft and technical talent.”

Joanna Dewar-Gibb (below left), of UK Screen affiliate, Screen Facilities Scotland said: "As the local trade body, SFS represents and collectively promotes facility and service companies based in Scotland and we advocate and encourage local spending for visiting productions as this is vital to support a healthy local ecosystem of production talent. SFS welcomes all increased production activity in Scotland and Creative Scotland’s Production Growth Fund offers great opportunities to support more activity."



New Member: Flix Facilities
UK Screen are delighted to welcome Flix as a new member!


For over twenty years, Flix has been led by its passion for programme making with a service that is both personal and professional across animation, documentaries and drama. 

With facilities at MediaCity, central Manchester and Space Project, Flix have a combined offering of 23 offline suites, 6 online suites including DS Nitris, 6 dub theatres including two high end 5.1 theatres, three spacious voice over booths and a bespoke Da Vinci Resolve Grade suite.

Molinare Hoxton Opens New Suites

Molinare has now completed the next stage of its expansion plans at their recently acquired Hoxton facility, Molinare Hoxton.  Set in the heart of the flourishing East End production village, on Hoxton Square itself, Molinare has opened seven new offline suites to meet an increased demand for post-production services by local production and agency clients.  

This increased offline capacity complements the existing  online, grade and sound services already on offer.  With balconies overlooking the leafy Hoxton Square and quiet cobbled streets, these suites offer shared storage on Avid, or an Adobe package, to meet varying client needs. 

Ellie Stanway, Facility Manager at Molinare Hoxton said: ‘We are delighted to be able to increase the suites we offer, with such lovely airy rooms and state-of-the-art technology, in light of recent demand from our clients.  Embracing our East End persona, each suite has been named after distinctive local landmarks.’


CANNES 2016 Heralds Resurgence of KODAK Motion Picture Film

International artists and industry investments breathe new life into the classic medium

Real film is back. With multiple premieres at the 2016 CANNES Film Festival shot on Kodak film, including four features in competition, as well as increased investment across the motion picture film production ecosystem, 2016 marks the moment when film is not only still a viable creative choice, but thriving again.


Speaking at the Festival, Academy AwardTM-winning director and Cannes 2016 Jury Member László Nemes (SON OF SAUL, shot on Kodak 35mm motion picture film) said, “The magic of cinema lies in the craftsmanship. Real film prepares the mind in a different way and prepares the audience for the magic as well. You get less with digital video and this is a regressive step. I want to make sure new generations understand what it means to shoot on film.”

Acclaimed director Jeff Nichols, whose film LOVING (shot on Kodak 35mm motion picture film) premiered at Cannes to a seven-minute standing ovation on Monday night, said, “I’m so glad Kodak is here and committed to film. Shooting film is the best way I know to make a movie.”

In addition to Nichols, the Cannes 2016 films in competition include new works shot on Kodak motion picture film from celebrated directors Olivier Assayas, Xavier Dolan, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Ken Loach.



Adrian Bull, Managing Director of Cinelab, said "Cinelab London, probably the newest lab in the world celebrates its third birthday in June. Already in 2016 it has processed more film this year than it did in 2015. In part this is down to a known increase in film stock sales but also a significant amount of international work coming into London for processing and telecine/scanning. As well as blockbuster features, many independents are shooting film and we have seen an increase in commercials and pop promos also. The 4K UHD delivery interest has seen high end TV dramas shooting 35mm knowing that they can meet a 4K delivery requirement if necessary. We are now regularly remastering archive 35mm content at 4K resolution proving that film continues to prove its value as both an archive and current acquisition format."

Of late there has also been a tremendous resurgence of micro-budget features shot on film, including the Sundance standout OUTLAWS AND ANGELS, directed by JT Mollner and starring Luke Wilson and Chad Michael Murray; the one-of-a-kind TOO LATE by director Dennis Hauck; and LIKE LAMBS, the brilliant feature by Ted Marcus.  All three films have also been projected on film.  Ti West’s IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE, starring John Travolta and Ethan Hawke, was also shot on film and a big hit at South by Southwest.


The television series THE WALKING DEAD, shot on Super 16, was as the most popular Cable TV and social media draw of 2015. Major recording artists are also migrating to the medium, as Adele’s record-breaking music video for HELLO and much of Beyoncé’s visual album LEMONADE were shot on film.  Last month, Paul Thomas Anderson directed Radiohead’s new short film DAYDREAMING and shipped 35mm prints to be projected in theatres all over the world.

Adrian Bull will be talking at the Media Production Show, discussing 'Film: the come back King!' on 9th June 17:00



Award-winning Michael Eames joins Framestore as Global Director of Animation

Molinare at the Sheffield Doc Fest 2016

SAM Announces New Division

Deluxe’s Rushes New Head of Creative Colour: Simona Cristea

BBC White Paper

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