Editor, After Effects Artist and General Tech Guy at Basement Multimedia

Basement Multimedia is a small post production house in Salford, just outside Manchester city centre. They were based in a big old terrace town house but they had only just moved there a few weeks before I started with them. They were previously based in an actual basement next to the BBC building in central Manchester.

The facility consisted of three Avid edit suites, a Mac for graphics and encoding, and a small machine room with a good selection of tape decks. There were only four members of staff. Jim, who owned and ran the company, Anna, the full-time editor, Kyoko, the office manager/accountant and myself. As well as the full-time staff, there was a bunch of regular freelance editors that would come in when needed.

There was a good range of work. The biggest client was a marketing agency based just down the road. They did a lot of event planning so we did lots of videos for conferences, trade shows and launches, as well as the usual corporate videos. We also worked with other small production companies and directors on a range of projects including TV commercials, music videos, TV shows, short films and market research. Jim would also produce the odd commercial or music video himself and we would obviously do the post for these.

I was hired as a technical guy who could support the editors. This included logging and digitizing footage into the suites, conforming edits, mastering tapes, encoding MPEG files and DVDs, converting media files to be imported into the Avids, creating graphics, dubbing tapes and providing general IT support for the office. I learned a lot about the Avids, editing workflows, tape formats, considerations for broadcast and dealing with clients.

Ever since I got into media I had always enjoyed the editing process and I had always thought that it was the thing that I could get good at. I had used the edit suites a bit in my previous job at Centre Screen, but they had two full-time editors so I didn’t get to actually cut much. My hope was that I would get my chance at The Basement.

I used the Avids every day. Initially I was just doing edit assistant jobs, logging and digitizing, but after a while I got to start cutting a few things. What I got wasn’t the most exciting stuff – that would either go to Anna or one of the freelancers. The problem I had was that I could do all the other jobs, as well as editing, and I was too useful in those other roles. During the busy times, when all the edit suites were booked, it was easier for Jim to hire a freelancer to edit and have me support all of the suites.

As a consequence of this, I started using After Effects more than I had done before. I first used After Effects at university and then a little at Centre Screen, but they had five dedicated graphic artists so anything remotely complicated went to them. Here it was all up to me. If I couldn’t do something, there was no one else to do it, I had to figure it out. The stuff I was doing was mainly simple motion graphics but I did enough that by the end of my time at The Basement I felt that I could be hired as an After Effects artist.

I’m not bitter that I didn’t get to edit more. It made sense for me to support the other editors in the way that I did. I do think that if I had done more editing, my career would have gone in a different direction, but I’m happy with the direction is has gone. I really enjoyed my time at Basement Multimedia and the things I learnt there have had a huge positive impact on my career since.

This is my reel of work from Basement Multimedia. I did a mixture of jobs on these projects, editing, graphics and conforming.

General Showreel 2007 from Conrad Olson on Vimeo.