Big Apple post scene


New York's West Village and SoHo are known for their art galleries, sex shops and eclectic restaurants. But those storied neighborhoods have recently acquired an enormous new neighbor. Deluxe, one of the entertainment industry's best-known brands in posting, has moved right in, with services slated to roll out later this month.

"We took a look at the market and said, 'There's business here,'" says general manager Michael Jackman. "Deluxe Toronto is really busy and getting a lot of work from New York. So why not keep the New York work in New York? It's been long, long overdue."

The new 40,000-square-foot Deluxe New York facility features 35mm and 16mm processing and printing; E-Film (a Deluxe company) for digital intermediates; a 40-plus-seat screening room with two Kineton film projectors and a Barco DLP Digital Cinema projector; two telecine rooms (a third will be added); video duplication; and shortly, capacity for digital dailies.

Until now, Deluxe's primary presence has been in Los Angeles and Toronto (adjunct facilities reside in London, Madrid, Rome, Barcelona and Vancouver). But the New York facility actually brings the company closer to its roots: William Fox, of the Fox Film Co., founded Deluxe in 1915 in Fort Lee, N.J.

Deluxe is counting on synergies between Deluxe New York and the Toronto and Hollywood facilities, and Jackman says the company is looking into a high-speed fiber connection between E-Film Hollywood and E-Film New York.

"We'll have to have tremendous flexibility, with people being able to look at the DI in both places and then be able to move back and forth seamlessly," he says. With the recent purchase of Vancouver's Rainmaker -- which has morphed into Deluxe Vancouver -- Jackman also hinted at future synergies with that facility's VFX capacity.

The company estimates that approximately 60% of the work will be feature films, with the remainder being television and commercial work. But the opening comes at an odd time for production in New York: Work has been up thanks to the tax credit system, but the recent writers strike put a crimp in almost everyone's long-term projections. Can the Big Apple provide enough steady TV work for Deluxe New York and its chief competitors, PostWorks and Technicolor?

PostWorks currently gets the lion's share of episodic TV work, and exec vp sales Joe Caterini is sanguine about sharing the local work pool. "It could have the potential to bring more work to New York," he allows, noting that when things are really ramped up, he hears complaints that New York doesn't have enough capacity.

"We feel the entrance into New York of a world-class brand and film lab is only a good thing for New York," Caterini says. "It'll help New York become more of a destination."

Not everyone is that agreeable: Charles Herzfeld, Technicolor New York's senior vp sales and marketing, thinks that Deluxe New York is "an injection of service that's beyond the overall demand in what is a fairly dilute, dissolved marketplace.

"Deluxe represents another global brand like Technicolor, which is good," he says. "There may be adequate enough work for all of us with front-end services. But for films that will finish in New York, there is probably too much capacity here."

Technicolor content services president Ahmad Ouri, however, has a wait-and-see attitude. "It's difficult to tell until Deluxe opens the doors," he says. "We'll see how the market reacts. We continue to invest in New York."

LA Digital Post New York opened in 2004; president and CEO Gary Migdal credits the rise in production not just to tax incentives, but to the Steiner Studios soundstages, which also opened that year. "If Deluxe is entering the market, they must see that there's great opportunity," he says. "There's a lot more work than there was three years ago."

Deluxe's bite out of the Big Apple's TV post market remains to be seen, but the company's entry has put its competition on full alert. "Deluxe will add more competition, and it will also keep work in New York that might otherwise have gone back to Los Angeles," Caterini says. "Deluxe continues to legitimize New York City as a place to do post."