Earlier this month, SIM Group opened the doors to its newly completed West Coast headquarters, which houses SIM Digital, Bling Digital and Chainsaw. It’s located on the historic Eastman Kodak campus in Hollywood.
“We’ve got everything a production needs under one roof,” says SIM Group chief strategy officer James Martin. “You can prep and test cameras and lenses on the first floor, and the rest of the building can handle every aspect of post, from dailies and editorial offices all the way through final color and deliverables.”
This new space represents a big expansion of SIM’s camera rental business in Los Angeles. SIM Digital offers an extensive inventory of digital camera systems and related gear, internal space for camera testing and preparation, and multiple loading docks for streamlined fulfillment. All prep bays have fiber connectivity to the second and third floor where workflow specialist Bling Digital and post services provider Chainsaw live.
Resources include dailies processing, quality control, editorial finishing, color grading, visual effects, sound mixing and deliverables, as well as a new theatre that includes a 4K Christie projector. The first shows to prep in the new space include American Horror Story and Just Add Magic.
The new complex’s networking and storage infrastructure includes nearly one million feet of fiber and copper cabling and can accommodate productions of all sizes, including working in 4K, HDR and beyond. “We’ve built an open pipe that can handle the challenges of today and prepares us for the future. When new technology becomes available, we’ll be able to plug it right in. As the industry moves beyond 4K, we’ll be ready,” says SIM Group president of post and Chainsaw founder Bill DeRonde.
We recently followed up with DeRonde to find out more.
Can you talk about the thought process behind co-locating your three brands, and how you will keep them connected but separate as well?
Chainsaw, Bling and Sim Digital are independent companies. By combining the workforces into one location we are able to offer our clients control over their entire image chain and build a dynamic workflow amongst our groups.
SIM Digital’s camera prep bays are connected to both Bling’s dailies’ workstations and Chainsaw’s final color bays. This allows cinematographers to conduct tests, set looks and be immediately able to see the results in our facility. With the advent of new technologies, like HDR, it is more important than ever to understand how images flow from the camera all the way through final delivery.
Our concept-to-completion offering allows our three distinct teams the opportunity to collaborate yet maintain their professional identities and gives clients one point of contact all the way through their production. Although more and more shows are gravitating towards our complete cameras-through-post service offering, SIM Group will continue to offer the flexibility of a la carte services to satisfy client needs and respect and nurture those relationships.
SIM Group now has a presence across the US, as well as Canada. How do you walk that line between growing just enough but not too much?
The SIM group teams work very hard to maintain extremely high levels of client services. As we work together and continue to grow, we will make every effort to maintain both our personal levels in client relationships and our boutique feel as vendors. Our “college campus” feel across all our locations promotes collaboration. Our staff across all cities and services love to feel connected, and it’s this enthusiasm and dedication that has allowed us to maintain the identity of a high-end boutique shop but with the ability to service shows no matter where they want to shoot or post.
Our plan is to continue our measured and organic growth.The industry is more nomadic than ever, and we’ve expanded our service line and geographic reach due mainly to our clients’ requests to provide our expertise across major production and post production centers throughout North America.
Main Image: The DI Theater.