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Behind the Title: Light Iron finishing artist Katie Hinsen

Katie Hinsen, finishing artist at NYC’s Light Iron, brings a diverse creative and technical background to her job, and a background that includes offline and online editing, visual effects, stereoscopic 3D and color.

A native New Zealander, Hinsen began her career in the late ‘90s as a lead DI editor at Park Road Post in Wellington, working on Knowing, The Lovely Bones and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. She was also part of the Oscar-nominated team for Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects on District 9.

In 2010 she moved to New York, taking a position at Goldcrest Post where she worked on feature films and documentaries as a finishing and visual effects artist. She landed at Light Iron in January of 2014. Let’s find out more about Katie.

NAME: Katie Hinsen

COMPANY: Light Iron New York (@light_iron)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Light Iron New York covers the entire post production process, from mobile dailies to offline editorial to finishing and archiving. We are a small team, but we’re all big nerds who love the challenge of staying ahead of the newest technology and finding creative ways to put it to us — pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and constantly re-defining workflows so our clients can reclaim control over the storytelling process.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Finishing Artist

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I am a specialist and a generalist. My job is to take technical responsibility of the picture side of a project, from receiving it from offline through to deliverables.

I’m the holder of the master project, a sort of hub. I conform it and prep it for the colorist whom I support, I do VFX and beauty work, last-minute changes, technical fixes, titling, cut in visual effects and final audio, QC and deliver the final product.

Katie at work.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
That it’s a thing. It’s hard to explain what a finishing artist does and why it’s important… trust me. It’s not as easy as it looks.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
I’m a Quantel specialist. Although I will bounce aspects of shots around other tools as necessary, I’ve been using Quantel products since 2000, and I’m currently driving a Pablo Rio.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
That moment where the client sees the magic in what we do.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Paperwork.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
8:45am, when the whole team sits around the breakfast table and we catch up before starting our workday.

As a team we discuss all the work that is going through the facility that day, and also chat about our lives and what’s going on. That’s the moment that really brings us all together before we disperse in to the chaos of each day.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I’d probably be a high school teacher, or focusing full-time on one of my many side projects.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
From a really young age I knew I wanted to do something that was both technical and creative. I started working in television at the age of 16 and followed my passions from there… to here.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
We just finished Fathers & Daughters, which was a full Light Iron start-to-finish project. This film used a lot of new tech — the new Canon C500 camera and the Movi rig — but also has a fantastic cast (Russell Crowe, Aaron Paul, Amanda Seyfried) and compelling story.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
This year I worked on Paul Bettany’s film Shelter. It’s a beautiful film with a compelling and heartbreaking story. They had a very indie budget and a first-time director. Of all the films I work on, the ones I’m most proud of are often the low-budget films with an important story like this. I love feeling that I have contributed to making sure these unique stories are told.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Anything that plays music, any sort of calculator and my phone.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
I can’t work without it! Every day is different depending on my mood. On Fridays at Light Iron New York we have ‘90s Friday, which I love.  All of the music played in the office on Fridays are hits from the 1990s.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I make sure that there’s plenty of variation in my life. I try not to get in to any sort of repetitive daily pattern, so that I’m always being challenged and amused in some way.

I tend to get more stressed by boredom than by having too much on my plate. But the one thing that makes me the happiest and melts away all my worldly woes? Ice skating.

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