Q&A with CEO Steve Bannerman and President & Supervising Colorist Leandro Marini

Posted on Monday, March 26, 2018

Inside a Post House: Local Hero Talks Exclusively  About Adapting to Hollywood & More
ProductionHUB: I see that Local Hero has worked on a plethora of high-profile film and TV projects. How did it all begin? 
Local Hero: Like any post house starting out, you work on really small projects and as your clients get bigger you get to work bigger projects until you build up your credit list. And then they referred us to their friends and colleagues and our business took off from there.

PH: Post Houses are a very competitive space — how have you adapted to all of Hollywood's changes?   

Local Hero: We evolved from solely a color house to now offering a comprehensive end-to-end suite of post services including workflow consulting, dailies, DI, VFX, mastering, trailers and edit suites. The other key way we’ve adapted is by structuring our team to be more flexible, utilizing a freelance pool, to help weather the inevitable ebbs and flows of doing business in Hollywood.

PH: What are some of the projects/clients you’ve been working with?

Local Hero: We are super grateful to be working on a wide range of really interesting projects spanning film, TV and documentary. Some of our favorite TV projects include working with Jean-Mac Vallee on Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects, and also working on shows like Mr. Robot. In the Film space, we recently finished Home Again for Nancy Myers, LBJ for Rob Reiner, and we’re currently working on a project for legendary cinematographer Dean Cundey, ASC. Other current projects include a feature with director/producer Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Nutty Professor), and a documentary by Oscar-winner Lesley Chilcott (An Inconvenient Truth). 
PH: You’re in the VR space too, correct?

Local Hero: Indeed, we are. We’ve done some fascinating VR projects including Invisible — the first-ever narrative project by an A-list director (Doug Liman) with a real Hollywood budget. We’ve also finished some groundbreaking VR work with companies including Intel, Google and Warner Bros.
PH: What kind of tools and technologies do you use to do your work?

Local Hero: At the heart of our facility are two Silverdraft Demon Ultra-workstations. These systems power our DI (DaVinci Resolve), VFX (Adobe After Effects) and VR (ASSIMILATE SCRATCH VR) workflows. We rely heavily on plug-ins like Boris FX Sapphire, Neat Video and Beauty Box. Our dailies pipeline is SCRATCH-based, coupled with YoYatta for reporting, and our deliverables are mostly created on our Clipsters.
PH: What kinds of trends are you seeing? Where do you see content creation going in the next 3-5 years?

Local Hero: We’re starting to see a lot more non-linear content, and we’re working on projects for less traditional clients such as Facebook, YouTube and Apple. We’re also starting to see clients experimenting with 8K and HDR workflows. The shifts that we’ve seen in the business are trending towards independent features with smaller precuts (2.5MM and below) distributed in these non-traditional places. We’ve also seen many of our classic film clients migrating to the prestige TV space. And that’s opened some wonderful new opportunities for Local Hero.
PH: So, what would your clients say they like most about working at Local Hero?

Local Hero: They love the premium boutique experience. They find our facility a beautiful, comfortable and relaxing place to work. And since many of our clients live on the West side, they value the fact that we have a partnership with a sound house (Smart Post West) right next door. So, they can do picture and sound all under one roof, without constantly schlepping across town. 
PH: Do you also work with indie filmmakers — content creators on a budget?

Local Hero: We absolutely do. We’ve been able to stay true to our roots and continue to support indie filmmakers with some amazing movies  Some of our projects include Dope, shot by Oscar-nominee and Black Panther DP Rachel Morrison, ASC; The Female Brain, Whitey Cummings' directorial debut (produced by Erika Olde); and Alex of Venice, directed by Chris Messina. At any given time, we have several of these projects in-house alongside the bigger ones. We actually employ multiple pipelines to optimally serve differing budget levels.  
PH: How has VFX changed the typical post process?  

Local Hero: Every movie now has some sort of VFX. There’s an entirely new industry around what’s called, invisible effects. These include beauty work, sky replacements, relighting scenes, rig removal, and a whole host of other effects that aren’t your classic CG effects. They are really a natural extension of the DI (some are actually done in the DI bay) and represent a significant portion of the post budget. Part of the value that we bring as a boutique is to help educate the filmmakers how integral these effects are to the story, and how many they should expect while creating their post budgets. 
PH: So, what are your plans for Local Hero in the next year or two?
Local Hero: We obviously want to continue to grow with our clients as they move into larger projects and new mediums. We pride ourselves on offering in-depth workflow design and consulting before they ever shoot a frame, and shepherding their project all the way through post to the final delivery.
As new tools, cameras and software emerge, we want to keep our clients on the cutting-edge so they can continue to push the creative envelope while living within the realities of their budgets. We’ve also got our eye on expansion into markets like Atlanta and Canada so that we can leverage lucrative tax credits for our clients. I think this is imperative to relieve some of their budgetary pressures and stay competitive.  

PH: I understand that you guys are hosting some cool industry events — can you tell us about this?
Local Hero: Indeed. We’ve hosted several workflow events recently where DPs and DITs have come in to explore the benefits of things like fully-graded dailies, look development and LUT creation. We do these events every quarter or so, and they’re really well-attended. Keep your eye out for the next one! 

Founded, co-owned and operated by colorists, Local Hero has been supporting the feature film community since 2006. With over 150 feature and TV credits, Local Hero has built a loyal following of directors, DP’s, producers and post supervisors, who rely on us to help them map out their entire production chain, from what cameras to shoot, through onset services, to dailies and finally DI, finishing and delivery.