At a time when many companies are scaling back, bicoastal Aéro Film is ramping up its NYC presence and increasing its post-production capabilities with the addition of Aéro Studios.
In the past, the New York office has been primarily for live action reports Sara Eolin, Aéro's NY EP. "Most of our live action work happens out of our LA office or overseas, but we've been increasing the amount of production we do in New York now that we have more New York-based directors."
According to Eolin, launching the CGI/Animation studio in NYC means, "being able to service clients from live-action through VFX, while also enhancing the work of all our directors. Aéro Studios will be overseen by our young New York-based director Sam O'Hare. The NY office also is home to Indrani and veteran director Gary McKendry who's just coming off his first feature, The Killer Elite."
British director O'Hare brings with him an extensive knowledge of CGI as both a CGI artist and director. "Sam can shoot all the live action, and then also act as the lead CGI artist on all aspects of a job," adds Eolin.
"With our new capabilities, our goal is now to pursue more CGI-heavy projects which we can handle under one roof and keep productions contained under the Aéro umbrella," she notes. "This extends beyond just Sam's projects, to all of our directors' work. And this doesn't just apply to live-action, we can produce full CGI projects as well - everything from end tags and project demos, to a full-up photo-real CG film."
O'Hare says that the company's expansion is "very exciting, as I balance doing CG work and live action. So it's great to have enough space to now be able to take on much bigger jobs through our own studio."
The director also sees it as a big plus that he prefers to use 3ds Max software for modeling and animation, while typically most New York post houses use Maya. "3ds Max is used far more in Europe, where I used it for about ten years, while Maya is more popular in America," he points out. "And I think 3ds Max is faster and more efficient for doing photo-real work, especially when you're on a fast turnaround, because with Maya you nearly always need a team to run it - even for very small jobs. But with 3ds Max, you only need one or two people, so there's a big savings in time and money."
All of this is highly relevant in terms of Aéro's current business plan and the overall changing demands of the business. "Clearly, not only are budgets shrinking, but so are timelines," states Eolin. "So the more that can be controlled under one umbrella and under one creative voice, the more it helps every aspect of a job. You need to know where to put the money and then make the process as efficient as possible in a timing sense, and that in turn helps both the business and creative sides of any project."
Another advantage of being able to shoot visual effects in house is that it drastically cuts down on miscommunication. "You don't run into that all-too-common dilemma of the director saying the 'post house will create that,' and then the post house saying, 'Oh, the director will take care of that in camera,' and then it just doesn't happen," Eolin stresses. "So a director like Sam goes into every job holistically, and that makes every job far more harmonious from the get go. When the director understands every aspect of the shoot and post, he can plan the shoot and post more effectively."
Eolin, who had been on the agency side for over 12 years before she started at Aéro Film in November of 2009 knows all too well about the problems inherent in any complex job. "So often I'd see conflict between the post house and the live action team as to how many shots were in the estimate and how they should best be handled," she recalls. "So now we're able to troubleshoot all those kinds of potential problems from a much earlier standpoint, because it's the same person. If Sam says it, he means it, as he'll be the one doing it."
Eolin notes that 90% of Aéro's work is commercials. "We also do some TV and documentaries, but commercial production is our mainstay, so this expansion is going to have a big impact," she states. "We do campaigns for everyone from Fidelity Investments to Outback Steakhouse, and Sam, who has worked on Lunesta for the past two years, is currently wrapping up a photo real video of the new Whitney Museum, via Ogilvy, which will show at their groundbreaking ceremony on May 24th. Needless to say, we're very busy!"
Eolin reports that the company is coming off "the best quarter of Aéro's history, so we're going into the expansion with a lot of momentum. It's a very exciting time for us."
About Aero Film:Organized to empower, and built to channel world class creative, Aéro Film is infinitely adaptable to an increasingly connected and online world. Founded in 2005 by EPs Lance O'Connor and Skip Short, Aéro is one of the world's leading integrated production companies maintaining a soup-to-nuts production pipeline and an A-level directorial talent. From offices on both coasts and via its personal helicopter and plane, Aéro - with its skilled cameramen, cinematographers, and other specialists - is poised to launch into a shoot anywhere on the planet.
Tailored to its client's unique creative requirements, Aéro is known for its ambitious, highly creative productions; including commercials, long-form content, web content, events/PR, and high-end post, animation and VFX.
The NY roster includes Gary McKendry, Indrani and Sam O'Hare, while the LA roster features Klaus Obermeyer, Ken Arlidge, James Mangold, Austin Smithard, Jason Farrand, Tim Matheson and Jacques Steyn.