New Normal: October, in their new production landscape

October

Editor’s Note: The world changed right before our very eyes. We now work, live, exercise and entertain ourselves in our homes. This is the new normal. In this new on-going series, we check in on ad agencies, production companies, post-houses, and anyone else who wants to talk about their personal experiences during this coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.


October Production & Post is a global production and post studio with nearly 30 years experience in shooting, editing, stop-motion, animations, graphics, kinetic type, copywriting, storyboarding and more. They are located in a 5,000 sq. ft. building in the West Loop of Chicago at 400 North Paulina St. 

For us, the new normal is more similar to the old normal than you might expect. October’s commitment to our clients over the years has always centered on service, scalability and quality.

October
Murphy – Shop Dog for 10+ years

Storytelling and creating content for clients that range from big brands and agencies to mom-and-pop businesses is what we do. And being nimble and flexible to adapt to the changing needs and wants of our clients has always been our model. We have always taken pride in being able to do everything from A to Z for clients, or just L, M, N, O, P if needed.

October
Chris Palese – Managing Partner
Managing the operations, the books and the selfie!

ALSO READ:  MORE NEW NORMAL


While all of our producers, editors and animators are now working from home for the first time, it’s already second nature to some of our team. Executive Producer, Chris DeWinter was already splitting time between our Chicago headquarters and our satellite office in Utah. What started as a strategic move to better serve our growing roster of clients in California, Colorado, Texas and Utah is now also paying dividends in that fact that we were doing a lot of virtual collaboration already.

October
Chris DeWinter – Executive Producer | Partner
Always looking for a good Zoom background — this memory from a shoot in Munich 2018 works

Our Partner and Senior Editor, Ash Nath leads all our editors and our IT/media infrastructure team. We are also lucky that he had already put a work process in place for his team. It has quickly gone from a “nice to have” process to a “need to have” one. 

October
Ash Nath – Senior Editor | Partner
Three Monitors – Two Computers – One Man

What is changing the most for us now in the COVID-19 world is HOW we create content and tell stories. We already had a good amount of live-action content shot for some current client assignments. Whenever possible, we’re complementing that work with kinetic type, stop motion and graphics animation to complete these projects.

On the production side, creating safe, clean edit suites and production sets with a small, conscientious crew will be the new standard.


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October
Zach Moore – Creative Lead/Editor/Stop-Motion
Movies, Toys, Miniatures, Stop-motion in no particular order

In fact, we recently shot a stop-motion animated piece using a limited crew of talented filmmakers observing quarantine protocols. We used only a director, DP, gaffer and hand model and went beyond current social-distancing protocols to ensure that no one got within 10 feet of each other at any time. Everyone was wearing N95 masks and gloves. We also observed the same kinds of cross-contamination protocols that the food industry does. We made sure that only one person was assigned to and touching each piece of equipment throughout the duration of the shoot. 

Michelle Kratzer – Senior Producer
Workspace AND Classroom combo

We are working right now to formalize a “clean production” protocol that will be our standard when production recommences. It will involve smaller crews wearing gloves and N95 masks, remote access to the video village whenever possible, and ongoing deep cleans of the set and gear. We’re also looking at measures like temperature taking prior to set access, use of an onsite med tech or nurse, and even new surgical-grade sanitation solutions. 

production
Laurie – Office Manager
Minimalist Cubs fan

On a recent shoot before lockdown we live-streamed the studio monitor picture to a weblink and enabled chat/talk back capabilities; somewhere between 7-10 client and agency folks were able to be a part of the shoot, input, collaborate and not have to travel to set. The producer on the job joked that the small bump in budget for web streaming was nothing in comparison to what they were saving in travel costs.

production
Victoria Messina – Producer
Very purrducitve

We want to be ready to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our clients while keeping our clients, agency partners and crew safe as we emerge slowly out of this lockdown. In the meantime, we’re relying more on Zoom and WebEx for things like expert testimonials and interviews that don’t lend themselves as easily to alternative solutions.

production
Michael Concialdi Jr.
On brand and on beer!

At best, these options are an imperfect solution in terms of production quality. So for things like WebEx and Zoom interviews that need to look better, we’re also working to provide our clients shipped-case and virtual-studio options. The shipped-case option includes a camera, light and mic, video streaming system, webcam, encoder, laptop, storage, cables and case that we can help individuals with limited technical ability set up remotely. 

production
Nyq Bonventura – Editor
“Live long, and prosper”

For more advanced users, we will provide a virtual-studio option that’s more complicated but that offers huge possibilities for ongoing content creation. It would include vMix Pro Software, a live-streaming computer, storage, encoder, cables and case.

production
Paul Chen – Editor
Did you fill out your Census 2020 Form yet?

All of our cameras, lights, grip equipment is owned by us and kept in-house.  Owning all of the gear needed to produce a wide range of shoots and productions helps us know that our gear is clean, safe and ready to go.  Having a shoot kitchen and back studio that we know is clean for a tabletop, stop motion, or testimonial shoot is proving to be a great asset now and moving forward. We can even live stream the shoot from there…that is something that will be part of the new production landscape.

production
Joe Witkowski – Editor
“All work and no play makes Joe a dull boy”

We are ready to collaborate and create content from afar right now — and we’re doing everything we can to prepare for the new normal in production as we emerge from this crisis. 


What’s your New Normal? Send your story to editor, barb@reelchicago.com. We want to hear about it.

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