Surviving Borneo – Q&A with Nick Jones

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  1. What have you learned in the process of doing post-production for Surviving in Borneo series?

Editing Surviving Borneo has taught me a lot. My role in this project included a lot of post-producing, so it’s taught me a little more about how the Post-Production producers work.

 

  1. Take a look back; from start to end, what was the most memorable/valuable things happened to you during this process?

I think the most valuable thing was having the space to be creative. The Discovery team are amazing to work with; always open to ideas and new approaches. That creative freedom was really valuable.

I’m just grateful that Emile and Ira (producers), took a chance on me and brought it over here to Vietnam, I’ve learned a lot from working with them and it’s been a real pleasure.

 

  1. What struggles did you encounter?

Well this is the first time I’ve taken on such a large scale post-production project so at first it looked quite daunting, but with thorough planning, Quang Vu (the assistant editor) and I managed to organize the logistics effectively.  Perhaps the toughest thing was the initial process of getting the rushes into shape and finding the story. I tried to have an open mind with what we were doing, and let the material guide me, rather than forcing ideas or being too sentimental with certain scenes. As always, it was quite tough letting go of scenes that you had become attached to, but looking back there’s nothing that I regret removing.

 

  1. How is the feeling of seeing someone for months but he don’t know a thing about you? (Situation like you and the man in the show)

It’s quite strange really. Actually, Henry is probably the person that I’ve seen the most of in the past year, but of course, I’ve never met him. It’s also strange, because Henry’s journey sort of mirrors my own. We are both 29, with mixed heritage and were both about to get married. Editing the series, in a way, was my own ‘Bejalai’ (Henry’s rite of passage journey). Cutting the last episode was very emotional for me.

There are plans for me to meet him at some stage, which will be very strange indeed, but I’m quite looking forward to it.

 

  1. As an editor of the series, can you tell us why we should watch this series?

I think the series is a departure from the regular Discovery Channel content. I like its rawness, its humanity and pathos make it unique and I think this is what will make it enjoyable for audiences.

 

  1. If you have chance, do you want to go to Borneo and experience things that happened in the series? Why or why not?

Of course, there are already plans to hold a screening over there at some point in the near future. I’ve seen these people on my computer screen, but I’ve never met them, so I’d love to find out what they’re like in real life. I think Henry’s journey was an amazing insight into Borneo today, and I’d really like to experience it one day too.

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A new workflow at Digipost

There will be some changes this year in how Digipost operates. Instead of passing a project from one station to the next, everyone will be organized into a few small teams to take on a whole project collectively. Senior Editor Nick Jones explains the changes and why they’re good for both Digipost and clients:

As Senior Editor at Digipost, what’s the most important part of your role?nick

My role is to mentor and nurture our young team of talented editors.

In just over a year, we have members of our team working with international brands, agencies and directors and I really enjoy knowing that my team is developing and becoming more and more successful.

Who’s on your team and what are their jobs? (Name & role)

My team consists of Quang, who is a very talented storytelling editor, Laura Knieling who is our brilliant colourist (and occasional editor), Leo who is our star junior editor and mgfx guru and Duc who is also a upcoming junior editor and IT chap.

What do you think the advantage is of changing the workflow at Digipost from “assembly-line” style to small teams that take on a project together?

As the industry has changed and moved away from the traditional ways of doing post, we realise that artists need multiple skillsets so that we can work effectively in a dynamic and fluid environment.

Also, our team spirit is very strong. We have a formidable work ethic and a high standard of workmanship. In essence, a strong creative pride. As we are a small team, our work is representative of us all, so we dead-set on making it the best that we can.

Each of us are constantly developing new areas of skills and abilities, so that as each project comes in we can offer more to our client.

What are you most looking forward to in 2017 at Digipost?

I’m looking forward to taking on more and more projects. We also want to integrate a wider skillset in our team, so eventually we can handle all aspects of post production within one unit.

See Digipost’s 2017 reel and Visual Effects reel here.

Reinier Blommaert – our new Audio Supervisor

We’re excited to welcome a new supervisor to our audio department, bringing tons of experience and a new perspective to Digipost. Here’s a little about his background and his take on the potential of the audio industry in Vietnam.

In July 2016, our new addition Reinier Blommaert was asked to supervise sound for a Vietnamese feature film, gladly accepted the challenge and moved to Vietnam with his wife and 1 year old son. After the project was finished, he was liking life in Ho Chi Minh City so much that he started looking for new job opportunities. After meeting with Digipost’s Andy Ho he was contracted as new senior of the audio department.

Reinier Blommaert has over 25 years of experience in the sound and music industry. He started playing bass guitar at the age of 9, experimenting with computers and 4-track recorders while adding electric guitar and piano to his skill sets.

After graduating with a degree in Music Technology from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, he earned an additional Master of Arts degree through the university of Portsmouth (UK).

He started out as a post-production sound engineer at Cinemeta Studios, working for international clients such as Walt Disney, Dreamworks, Dolby and advertising agencies.

He then switched to Cruise Control recording studios to work full-time on recording, editing and mixing music, for international clients including D-12 (Eminem), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Paul Simon) and No Angels.

In the meantime, he founded Controverse Music, specializing in music composition & production, live performances, show production, musical direction, sound engineering and education.

Reinier has been a teacher and lecturer of sound and music lessons at various professional educations, including the international SAE institute.

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What’s the most important aspect of your role in the audio department?

The main goals of my function are to professionalize the audio department further, so it can meet the standards (international) clients require. And develop new business opportunities, build partnerships and a strong brand presence for Digipost in the audio/music industry.

What potential do you see at Digipost/in Vietnam for audio? Anything innovative, new, exciting to share?

I see the consumer market of the music, broadcast, games and film industry is shifting more and more to online, on-demand streaming services. I will have to do some more market research as I am quite new in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, but I believe some interesting developments and opportunities may arise in the coming years.

What’s changed about the field of audio production in the last five years?

What’s really changed in audio and music production, and post production in general, is that the technology that used to be available for high-end companies only, has gotten more and more accessible to anyone with a laptop and a set of speakers. The upside of this is that more talent can surface easier as more people can practice the art. The downside of this is that it gets more difficult to tell the pros from the amateurs for the rest of the industry (clients, consumers, et cetera). But I believe that in the end, people will always recognize quality over quantity. They will learn from wrong decisions and in the end, come back to you for your unique skills and personality, which cannot be bought.

Happy Year of the Rooster!

A new year is upon us! Here are the condensed versions of a year worth of blood, sweat and creativity:

DIGIPOST SHOWREEL 2017 from DIGIPOST VN on Vimeo.

DIGIPOST CG Reel 2017 from DIGIPOST VN on Vimeo.

 

And just for fun, a glimpse at the people behind the curtain and what they’ll be up to over the break: 

Rahul Kallankandy – Visual Effects Director

“Going to Bali. The energy around the time of Tet is beautiful. Saigon is decorated with lovely flowers and artwork. There is a very positive vibe and the general feeling is of happiness and joy.”

Tran Quang Tuan – 3D Artist

“Travel with my bike. Visit friends along the trip.”

Nick Jones – Senior Editor

“For Tet I will be in Vung Tau. I enjoy seeing families come together. I’ll enjoy trying to practice Vietnamese with my inlaws.”

Duc Duong – Editor

“I spend most of my holiday time with my family and my friends. I have a plan going out of city and climb mountain on second day of Lunar New Year, third day i will visit my old school teacher.”

Reinier Blommaert – Audio Department Senior

“Moving!”
Tu Chung Han – Online Assistant 
“I will spend several days for cleaning the house, repairing, updating stuff (computer, electronic machine…), buying new clothes, prepare money to give family, relatives.”

DIGIPOST SHOWREEL 2017

It’s 2017! It’s the time to reflect. To introspect. To look back on a stimulating year of change. Here is a quick compilation of our body of work. Excellently curated with impeccable editing to showcase just the right moments. This is how we compress a year’s worth of blood and sweat. Here are the final outputs minus the stress, drama, hate and love involved in creating our magic.

Thank you to all the clients who put their faith in us in 2016 and we look forward to more exciting collaborations.

In the words of Thom Yorke..

“This goes
Beyond me
Beyond you

We are
Just happy to serve
Just happy to serve
You”

Hit the full screen button and grab a cà phê đá.

Editor Quang Vu: one year on at Digipost

What’s your role at Digipost? Where were you before here?

Now I’m an Editor in Digipost, I used to work as a freelancer when I was a student, then I became an editor for a small company for a year. One day I got to know Digipost, and now Digipost has become part of my journey.

How have you grown in the past year?

I’ve made films, and learned about the world of filmmaking.

What’s been the biggest challenge? Or the biggest learning experience?

Every job has its own challenges and also has a different experience, it’s not easy to compare, but I’d say the biggest challenge would be when I work with great filmmakers in a project with a tight deadline.

What’s been the most fun?

The most fun thing is when I feel happy with my film editing and when I see an audience enjoying my work.

What advice would you give to fellow editors or people aspiring to be editors?

Be patient and believe in yourself, trust your film and trust your feeling, sometimes you make a bad decision but you will learn from that and grow your skills as well.

What are you looking forward to this coming year? 

I’d like to learn more about filmmaking and I’m still waiting for the chance to make a great emotional film.

Check out some of Quang Vu’s recent editing work here:

And learn more about this video here.

‘It’s like having a dress tailored for you’

DIGIPOST’s music composer and sound designer Lucia Violino talks about the role of music composition in films and commercial videos.

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Lucia Violino working at DIGIPOST’s audio suit

Can you tell me something about yourself?

I first learned playing violin and piano, when I was 9 years old. From playing music, I gradually moved to composition. I held two degrees in violin and composition at the High Conservatory of Music of Málaga. Later I studied piano and electro-acoustic composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts of Vienna.

After graduation, I started freelancing as an orchestra violinist, a music teacher, a music composer and a sound designer for short films, TV series, video games and web series.

As both a music composer and sound designer, what do you think is the difference between the two jobs?

I don’t think there are many differences between them. Music is an international language allowing people all over the world to communicate. And, sound, in a sense, is also music.

However, when it comes to films, music composition is more about storytelling, reflecting the mood of a specific scene. So, it’s more abstract and freer. Meanwhile, sound reflects a specific action in a specific scene such as opening a door, raining and hitting.

In your opinion, why do we need music composition for commercials?

Although it is common that people use copyrighted music libraries for commercials, I think that practice may compromise the identity of their works.

If you want the best for your works, you have to ask professionals to compose music specific for them. It’s like having a dress tailored for you – you are the one and only person who can wear it beautifully.

However, in order to create a perfect music score for a commercial, it is not easy. Music composers need a good reference and understanding about the product and commercial in question. They also need to bond with everyone involved in the process, including clients and directors, to understand what they want. Open and good communication may help a lot.

Once they know what people are expecting from them, music composers will find slots in the expectations to fit their ideas in. It may sound time-consuming but it’s the best way to find the best solution in post-production industry.

Meet DIGIPOST’s newest colorist

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Please tell me something about you.

My name is Laura F. Knieling. I’m from Spain, where I finished my study in Audiovisual Media. I came to work in Vietnam about one month ago.

Why Vietnam?

I first visited the country on a vacation five years before and loved it so much. So, I decided to come her to start the adventure of working far away from my hometown.

It’s nice to work at DIGIPOST, where people are very open and helpful like a family. I think that homey feeling is very important in such a demanding environment as a post house.

Do you remember the moment you decided to become a colorist?

I always love painting and colors, so when I watch films, I often found myself wondering how that scene could have such a specific look. I was especially intrigued by the cheeky grade of “Drive” by Nicolas Winding Refn, and the elegant, discreet and effective grade of “There Will Be Blood” and “The Master,” both by Paul Thomas Anderson.

I assumed the impressive looks were created by the Director of Photography until one day I realized that they were the creation of colorists. I also realized that I wanted to and could become a colorist.

Is there a gap between your imagination about the job and its reality?

It is more difficult than I thought at the beginning. Once I started doing the job, I realized how many techniques and work are involved. I also realized that there are many ways to do things in color grading. In other words, it is much more complicated, but also more exciting.

It is also different when you are a professional colorist. My first-ever project was a short movie. As a freelancer, I had total control over the work and schedule.

Now, as a professional colorist, I have to meet the expectations of all people involved in my project, including directors and clients. But, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t nice. In fact, it is more challenging and demanding. It helps shape my grading skills and ideas about colors. When people feel happy with the results I deliver, I do too.

I want to keep running and running, improving and improving my skills. I want to make the best.

So, to you, what is color grading and colorist?

As a kid I used to paint, but for different reasons I stopped it and for many years I didn’t took a pencil again. Now, years later I see the color grading as a second opportunity that was given to me to get in touch again with the world of color, accompanying another passion: the audiovisual world.

To me, color grading is a craftsmanship. It’s like molding wax or carving wood. You get the “raw” (in a color meaning) product and you polish it with discretion and care.

You can watch Laura’s showreel here:

3 things CG artists wish people knew about the job

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A CG artist working at DIGIPOST

As CG (computer graphics) is practically everywhere these days, there comes a question: are we taking it for granted?

Therefore, we sat down with Sophon Seangkaew, a senior 3D and VFX artist at DIGIPOST, asking him to share what he thinks people are likely missing about CG.

Timing can make it or break it.

Creativity and techniques aside, timing is very critical in CG.

Depending on effects and techniques, the whole process – modeling and texturing, animation and rendering – can take you some time between a few days and a few months.

For instance, rendering a CG that is three seconds long, the shortest possible length to show the effect, can take up to six days.

Without giving a careful consideration to timing, you may find yourself waiting for years before your dream project can be finished.

Good references are a key.

Unlike other artists who thrive on spontaneity, CG artists cannot go into creation without a proper plan for execution.

Starting a CG job headfirst is a recipe for disaster.

Sooner or later, you will find yourself working on something without having a clear idea what it is going to be or when it is going to end. Even if you can finish it, what you get in the end will hardly justify all the time and efforts you have spent.

That’s why a good CG artist will spend time finding a good reference before starting anything. References can give you ideas about what you want to achieve and how long it should take.

CG is a fun job.

Unlike many other jobs, CG artists watch cartoons and films to do their job. It is one of the most fun jobs in the world.

Unfortunately, many artists are suffering from it, because due to unclear reasons, people mistakenly think CG as a tool not an art. They think CG people are there to create what they want, instead of discussing about what is possible and what is not in a given schedule.

When artists are not allowed to have a say in what they are creating, especially what they have expertise on, it kills their creativity and energy.

‘O Color, Why Should I Bother?’

Here’s the reason why you need to hire a professional colorist to grade your works

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A screenshot from Bobby Nguyen – The photographer, a short film produced by RICE and color graded by DIGIPOST

Since “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” was released in 2000 and became the first feature film to get fully digital color grading, color grading techniques have gone through a huge evolution.

Nowadays anyone can color grade their works quickly and effectively like a pro with the assistance of advanced software. Or, so the software marketers have been telling you.

That has raised a critical question: if color grading sounds that easy, do you still need to pay high prices to hire a professional colorist to do your works?

Definitely yes. Here’s why.

In order to add the emotional engagement to your works, and big one at that, you do not need someone who masters grading techniques only.

You need someone who is also an artist, or a painter in particular. Someone who has a taste and an eye for colors. Someone who knows how to choose the right color to provoke desired emotions from audience.

And, that taste is something natural. Either you have it or you do not. Just like in arts, it’s one thing that you can paint, but whether you are a talented painter is another thing.

“Color grading is about shaping the emotional effects of a scene, rather than just fixing technical errors happening during filming such as lighting,” Laura, a colorist at DIGIPOST, said.

“It’s like sculpting,” she said.

In an old interview on the breakthrough color grading of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Randy Starr, VFX producer at Cinesite, which did the film’s VFX, once said color was like a character in a movie.

“As a character, it let you feel the period of time. It let you feel the heat in the air. It let you feel the sweats on the body. And that’s something a filmmaker couldn’t capture on a camera.”

In other words, without a professional colorist who plays as a good director to bring out the best of that character, your works are never complete, emotionally.