Periscope Post & Audio handles a lot of tasks in the production industry, and many of them don’t begin until after 5 o’clock. Today is no exception.
“We work on all different size projects,” says founder Mike Nehs. “From tiny indies and music videos up to multimillion-dollar features. Tonight, we have dailies going on for The Chi.”
Before getting to the other jobs — and there are many — visitors may pause to admire the sprawling facility’s bold and dynamic interior.
A wall of stone tiles in multiple shades of brown complement a sculpted version of the company’s logo in the reception area. Bathed in super low light, they exude ambience several shades more relaxing than a regular office.
From there, it’s a procession of rooms decked out in separate themes by Chicago’s Karp Designs. Victorian-era wallpaper, steam punk, and 300-pound steel doors are just a few of the details that create a breathtaking experience.
The audio room is exceptionally cool. Foley Pits built into the floor open up like trap doors. Walls covered in absorption material transform, when necessary, to enhance different effects
“We can hard-surface the entire room, ” says Nehs. “Which gives us the ability to make it sound two-and-a-half times larger.”
Down the hall, in a a space inspired by the movie Tron, colorist Ryan Stemple works on a project for Digital Hydra.
“This is an independent feature that we just got in,” he says. “It’s supposed to be like an 80s/90s period piece, so we’re kind of going for like a little bit of a desaturated-like pastel feel.”
Elsewhere in the office, there is another coloring job, two editing sessions and a client due any minute. Not bad for a guy who says that he “got in this industry by mistake.”
“I started financing films for a guy out of Evanston,” explains Nehs. “We did a bunch of movies together, then I moved on.”
But first, of course, his entrepreneurial gears started to turn.
Remarking that he “always liked post-production,” Nehs says that he proceeded to call on producers he knew around the country to learn about the industry.
“Through conversations with friends of mine in post in LA and NY, I just literally started absorbing everything I could from everybody I knew,” he says. “If you have the right relationships, they’ll talk.”
He also wanted to understand the reason that none of them had permanent offices in Chicago.
“I said, ‘you guys all come here and film and then you leave,” he recalls. “Why?”
He was told that Chicago was an amazing commercial city, but these producers mostly worked on features and television.
“I said, ‘well, what if I built a post-house aimed at features and television?’” he continues. “They said, ‘give me a call.’”
To read more “Day in the Life of Cinespace,” click here.