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Team Effort Makes For Best Effect

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In line with the US and European markets, the UK Post and VFX sector continues to be very competitive, says Peter Hampden, Managing Director, Lipsync.

The perennial request from our clients is to deliver better quality, faster and for less money, which has created a fiercely competitive marketplace. Reputation is everything and we rely on building and maintaining relationships with producers; this has allowed us to expand successfully into the US.

In the VFX area in particular we quite often find ourselves competing with facilities in Canada. The generous tax incentives that the Canadian government implement means it can be tough for UK facilities like us. Although sterling has recently dropped against the US dollar, the Canadian dollar has also fallen, so that adds another dimension.

Investing in new technology in the post production sector has always been essential, and remains so; it's important to invest in new capabilities that let the skills of our team shine. We recently invested £300k to upgrade our existing FilmLight Baselight Grading systems to the latest hardware and software, and added another Baselight system with accompanying Baselight Assist, to increase our capacity.

New technology investments such as these mean we can easily adapt to the latest camera formats, 4K, higher frame rates and high dynamic range as well as benefit from the latest software upgrades and features. Having the extra Baselight Assist along with upgraded storage solutions gives us the ability to prepare for grades in advance, meaning we can deliver the fast turnaround that clients demand.

On the VFX infrastructure side, we've quadrupled our render capacity and have chosen Shotgun pipeline and production tracking systems that allow us to continue the high-quality delivery we're known for. Our creativity is our major asset as a post production facility, so all our investments are about giving clients more flexibility, and ultimately allowing the team to benefit from better creative capabilities.

This is indicative of an overall shift that we're seeing across the industry as a whole. The focus has certainly shifted from kit to staff. The volume of repeat customers is testimony to the talented team here at Lip Sync.

There's no doubt that you need the right equipment, but in terms of winning work, talent and business acumen is the most important factor; that's what I have learned in my 30 years in the industry. The confidence our clients have that we can deliver on time and on budget is also something that counts for a lot.

We've recently secured two major projects. We have won the visual effects and Post contract for, Show Dogs, a family comedy that will be released in November 2017. We will also be creating VFX for the Director of Fast and Furious, in his new action film, Category 5, which will hit cinemas in October 2017.

We work very hard to keep our fingers on the pulse. As well as keeping in weekly contact with our existing clients, we circulate with other industry professionals on a regular basis. All these factors combined are what make for continued success in our industry.

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