News 22.05.20

CUTTING EDGE: A MESSAGE FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS



“We are still working. We are just working differently.”

So far, 2020 has been a year like no other, with uncertainty and many businesses adapting and shapeshifting to the new business climate we all find ourselves in while continuing to ensure the health and safety of staff, colleagues and clients. Cutting Edge is no different.

When COVID-19 started to unfold earlier in the year, Cutting Edge kept a close eye on the evolving situation overseas and wonder not ‘if’ but ‘when’ it would come to the shores of Australia and the impact it would have.

By mid-March, many fears came to reality with high-profile COVID-19 cases dominating the news and both the federal and state governments implementing new social distancing and workplace regulation which would take effect immediately to help control the spread. All of which resulted in the shut-down of major productions across Australia. The dailies team were the first to be affected. While other shows in post-production were not hit as hard as shows in pre-production or principal photography, it was only a matter of time before the knock-on effect continued to trickle down into the post-production sector.

Cutting Edge, like other Australian companies, was faced with crucial questions ‘What does this mean for our work family? What does this mean for our clients and colleagues, both in Australia and internationally? And what will be the long-term effects on our beloved industry?’

The COVID-19 pandemic does not discriminate. It transcends borders and industries. Cutting Edge were fortunate to work in an industry that combines creativity with the latest technologies and innovation.

Cutting Edge and their clients are “Forward Thinkers”, making the necessary transition to remote workflows and social distancing practices within their facilities as seamless as possible. They have successfully continued to provide post services across many shows.

However, it has not always been smooth sailing. It required ongoing patience, tenacity and hard work from both internal staff at Cutting Edge and from colleagues and clients.

At the height of the restrictions in Australia, Cutting Edge moved several shows across the Sydney and Brisbane facilities to remote workflows and implemented restricted access to the facility. Every project was different, as was their needs. What the client and the project required varied and they needed to find ways to continue to work effectively across editorial, picture and sound post-production, while adapting to the new working norms.

While Cutting Edge had to ensure the delivery of client’s projects, they also always kept the health, safety & wellbeing of staff and clients at the front of their focus.

This included staggering staff’s access to the facility and where possible staff were encouraged to work from home. Stringent hygiene practices were enforced in addition to social distancing restrictions. Implementing these practices gave clients the option to continue coming into Cutting Edge for reviews if required and where clients felt comfortable doing so.

These restrictions were managed and overseen by producers and senior management. They are incredibly grateful to clients for going on this journey with them, one that is not over yet.

Into the second series of the acclaimed franchise Mystery Road, Cutting Edge and Bunya Productions were deep into post-production and delivery. On the cusp of an international health crisis and with a set transmission date from ABC TV, Cutting Edge was ready to implement and deploy remote workflow solutions to stay the course and deliver the series. While their hands were forced to grade remotely, they were lucky that government regulations allowed for the series to be delivered in-house at the Sydney studio, with proviso social distancing guidelines adhered to. The series was able to be delivered without further concerns and delays caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Mystery Road: Aaron Pedersen as Jay with Jada Alberts as Fran

Meanwhile, the Brisbane facility was also busy looking at alternative solutions to continue editorial and post-production on the third series of Harrow. When restrictions started to come into effect in Queensland, day-by-day assessments were being made on how best to proceed in consultation with Hoodlum. Ultimately, Cutting Edge were required to assist with deploying remote editorial workflows for the series to continue. It required coordinating kit offsite, utilising secure cloud systems and permitting remote access to systems still being housed in the facility.

COVID-19 not only impacted the way Cutting Edge worked in post-production, but the way audiences were able to view content. On Monday, February 24th Cutting Edge attended the world premiere of The Invisible Man in Hollywood at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre. The decision for Head of Features and Television Marcus Bolton and VFX Supervisor Jonathan Dearing to fly to LA as the first reports of a possible global pandemic began surfacing was not an easy decision for Cutting Edge to make. But having the opportunity to attend alongside prolific Australian Director Leigh Whannell and the stars of the film Elisabeth Moss (Cecilia Kass) and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Adrian Griffin) and celebrate months of hard work was a momentous occasion for the team.

The Invisible Man: Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass

Before the crippling events of COVID-19, Universal released The Invisible Man on over 3,600 screens in the US and 48 markets worldwide. It was well-received by critics and audiences alike, with many ranking it in the same calibre as Us and Get Out.

However, shortly after the release of the film, social distancing restrictions took place in many countries, forcing cinemas to shut their doors. Universal was quick to respond, making The Invisible Man accessible to audiences in their living rooms. The film was soon made available to rent & buy from digital retailers – Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Xfinity, Vudu and FandangoNOW.

During these unsettling times, there are some positives to surface within the post-production sector. Cutting Edge are fortunate to have technologies available that make remote workflows and staying connected with colleagues across the globe possible.

And they are incredibly lucky to work in an industry full of passionate people who are excited about what they do and who are willing to think outside the box.

They are so pleased to have been awarded a brand new show by ABC TV called At Home Alone Together during the pandemic. It’s a survival guide people need right now: a lifestyle show for a world where nobody has a life. Beloved national treasure Ray Martin joins Australia’s best comedians to share advice on living your best life in the COVID era.

At Home Alone Together with Ray Martin

The project reflects the best of creatives all working in a remote sense with Cutting Edge facilitating bringing it back together and delivering weekly to ABC TV for its 9pm Wednesday timeslot.

Cutting Edge will continue to adapt and evolve as the impact of COVID-19 continues to develop and shift. They are appreciative to have been able to continue working. It has not been business as usual, but they have been able to keep moving forward.

As is now their mantra, We are still working. We are just working differently.

They acknowledge this may not be the case in other film sectors, industries or countries. COVID-19 is a reminder of how connected everyone is as a global industry and how important it is to stay connected. One benefit for Cutting Edge that came from COVID-19 was the launch of a newsletter, FINE/CUT. Their way of keeping in touch and reaching out. Having this platform to connect to valued colleagues and peers has never seemed so crucial.

They believe that as a global community, we will come out the other side stronger and evolved.

Cutting Edge look forward to having colleagues back in the facility and return to the new normal. Until then, they will continue to support the domestic and international industry the best they can, taking advantage of the remote workflows they have been able to implement.

We are all in this together! We hope everyone is staying safe and looking after themselves, families and work families.