SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:
As many freelance editors will report, one of the hardest and most exciting aspects of the so-called “gig economy” is that they have to go wherever the work is. Africa Post Office (APO) was partially born out of founder and chief editor Franki Ashiruka’s desire to settle down in one place but, more importantly, to bring the creative industry and opportunity to Nairobi, which – as she sees it – will become the post-production hub of Africa.
Prior to opening APO in February 2017, Ashiruka had been working as a freelance editor with well-established global media houses including Channel 4 (UK), Fox International Channels (UK), 3D Global Leadership (Nigeria), PBS (USA) and Shadow Films (SA). In Kenya, Ashiruka worked with a number of production houses including Quite Bright Films, Fat Rain Films, Mojo, MultiChoice, Zuku, Content House and Ginger Ink Films, meaning she was already well-entrenched in the local creative community when she founded APO.
“When we first opened, our workload was predominantly comprised of big brand commercials. However, due to shrinking budgets in the ad industry, the commercial work has steadily declined, freeing us up to sink our teeth into an exciting mix of documentaries, short films, feature films and multiple television series,” says Ashiruka. “We are now incredibly fortunate to be able to select projects that align with our beliefs and passions, and we believe that this has partially contributed to our success.”
APO is a complete, end-to-end post-production house, consisting of offline and online editing suites running 24 hours a day, offering colour grading, animation, visual effects, motion graphics and compositing. “We have a proven track record of successful delivery on hundreds of film and video projects for an extraordinarily diverse range of clients and collaborators, including major corporate entities, NGOs, advertising and PR agencies and television stations. We also have plenty of experience mastering according to international delivery standards and we maintain the most thorough database of the post production community in Kenya.”
One aspect of the business that was a bit intimidating for Ashiruka was selecting the right tools for APO’s workflow. As with any post-production house, an organised workflow is absolutely critical for quality output. For APO, this has been greatly streamlined and simplified with the implementation of the EditShare EFS 200 shared storage nodes. Ashiruka brought these on board so that the APO team could access footage from anywhere, in any edit suite. She adds, “The rate at which APO has grown over the last two years has required us to add an additional overnight shift in order to make sure we’re able to hand off projects on time. The introduction of the EditShare system made this additional shift possible. All projects start with ingest directly into the EditShare server. Once the footage is there, the entire team can share projects and collaborate in real time at any stage of the post process including colour grading, visual effects, editing, audio fine tuning etc. This means that we can get on with the things we’re good at without having to sweat over the tedious back-end mechanics.”
to centralising APO’s content, projects lived on individual hard disks. This
meant that if Ashiruka was editing and needed her assistant to find a scene or
a clip or that needed VFX, she would have to export individual clips to
different workstations. This created workflow redundancies and increased
potential for versioning issues which is something APO couldn’t afford to be
weighed down with.
“The remote capabilities of the EditShare system were very appealing as well. Our business partner who oversees colour grading is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and from there he can access the footage on the server and grade it while the client reviews with us in Nairobi. Flow media asset management also helps in this regard. We’re able to effectively organise and index clips, graphics, versions, etc. into clearly marked folders so there is no confusion about what media should be used. Collaboration among the team is now seamless regardless of their physical location,” says Ashiruka.
She concludes: “Another reason for choosing EditShare was its scalability. We didn’t want to purchase a shared storage environment that we’d quickly outgrow and, conversely, we didn’t want to spend astronomical sums of money on a solution that was overkill in terms of storage bandwidth.”