At home in the grandeur of a Georgian townhouse in 16 Fitzwilliam Square since 1998 The Element post production house started off as a small business but has since gone from strength to strength.
It is known within the industry as a very competitive high end facility working in both broadcast and commercial post production. IFTN sat down with Bernard Rogan, Managing Director and founder of the company to discuss what it was like to set up the company, what facilities are available to clients and what the plans are for company in 2012.
“In the beginning,” Bernard explains, “it is difficult because obviously you are going in a very competitive market so you have to be sure you are armed with the right people and that the right team is around you so your investment pays off. We started small and built it up slowly and organically over a number of years which I think was the right way at the time.”
The Element currently employs 15 full time staff and offers a wide range of facilities. The company have a number of online Avid DS used for programming and online commercials which carries out a certain amount of graphics, titling and grading.
They also use Flame for composing commercials, two Avid Adrenaline and Final Cut Pro. The Element also has a number of suites of graphics, Softimage XSI and Maya.
In order to stay on top in the market place The Element updates its software every year and is investing in a new grading system for grading programming and broadcast programming. They also plan to upgrade their central storage system within the first half of this year.
Coco Television, one of The Element‘s main programming clients with TV credits including RTÉ’s ‘Crimecall’ and ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’, also does a lot of commercial post production with big names like Irish International BBDO, McCann Erickson, Y&R, Ogilvy & Mather and Owens DDB.
The recession has been tough on all aspects of the industry; IFTN asked Bernard how The Element manages to remain cost effective in these trying times. “Well, we kept our numbers tight during the boom; we didn’t over expand,” he says.
“The trick is to keep your costs at a level that are manageable and also that you focused on keeping the core people that can multi task for you. They attract and bring in the best clients. It was also about keeping staff motivated and keeping a good work atmosphere. The important thing was not to have over-invested in the boom years and I think a lot of our competitors were also very cautious of that too.”
The ethos of having a good environment to work in comes through in the set up of The Element, the offices are spacious, modern and inviting looking with Bernard explaining: “I think if people are happy in their work, they enjoy working at the company and get on well together. They work together and cooperate on a job which is very important; so that our clients gain the best of everything, things are efficient and things are prioritised with colleagues helping each other.”
The Element also provides some in house training for new staff members. Everyone currently working at The Element has been trained. Bernard tells IFTN how important this is, especially for graduates coming out of college.
“It is important for the industry going forward that graduates are seen to get experience in the workplace. It is something that needs to be prioritised more; that the colleges are giving proper training and the equipment students are trained on is the right equipment.
“It is hard for colleges but if you can just stay close to the industry that is the important thing. Obviously it is up to the industry as well to be able to take on people but it is harder to invest in that in the last number of years because of recession.
“I think with a combination of working with the industry and keeping abreast of the equipment, having a close eye on the technology and seeing what the future is going to offer and trying to invest a certain amount in that, students will be better briefed when they come out.”
In November 2010 The Element moved into the area of interactive web campaigns working on high profile campaigns for companies like Jameson and plan to continue in the area.
Bernard says: “We have been busy recently. It is an area that is growing. I think it has a big future in Ireland but it is developing all the time. I think we were probably the first in the market in that area. We focused on it very early on and clients became aware of that.
“I think they needed the expertise in it particularly in certain areas of the development for the web. For instance live action going onto the web is particularly tricky and has to be worked out very carefully. They are different formats to TV size so everything has to be filmed and carefully planned beforehand so that everything is correct when you get it to the post production stage. We would work closely with production companies to achieve all that.”
Although The Element may be well known for commercial and broadcast post-production but they have in the past done post production on feature films and shorts including Mark O’Connor’s ‘Between The Canals’ and recently completing the online editing, VFX and grading for Paco Torres ‘Rattle in Benghazi’ .
“With the upgrade in the new grading system that will certainly give the market another alternative in post-production,” says Chriona O’Sullivan, Facilities Manager at The Element. Bernard pipes in saying: “The film market is obviously quite dependant on section 481 but I think it is up to post houses to get out there and bring the work in, particularly in the international market.”
Speaking about what is ahead of the company in the coming year Chriona said, “We are gearing up for the broadcast transition to electronic delivery in November and we aim to be at the forefront of that hence why we are investing heavily in online grading as well as the whole electronic delivery. I feel programming will be important for The Element in 2012.
“We will also continue to offer the premium quality service that we have done to clients. The recession has hit everyone but it hasn’t hit our service.”
For more information on The Element and it’s services visit their website at www.theelement.ie.