Washington DC-based post boutique K Street Post, which opened its doors in April 2004, provides editing, audio post and finishing for spots, PSAs, station promos, corporate presentations and docs. Oh, and as their location might suggest, when the political season heats up, so do their post suites.
Recently we reached out to owner Paul London to find out more about K Street and how they work.
What was your goal when you opened K Street?
At the time we opened there were many small, nonlinear edit shops in Washington mainly using Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro. From the beginning, I wanted to set myself apart by taking advantage of my graphic design skills. I wanted to focus on high-end, graphically-intensive video and TV commercial projects. That’s one of the reasons I chose Quantel gear early on; their built-in editor, effects, text and paint tools were perfect for this type of work.
You are in the center of DC. How much of your work is political-based advertising?
K Street Post has always concentrated on television spot work. This includes local/regional commercials (Next Day Blinds, Silver Diner, Washington Times, Jiffy Lube), and some national TV ads for associations like the American Petroleum Institute and national PSAs for the USO (pictured below).
We also do a large amount of political advertising for governors, congressmen, senators and some presidential races and issue advertising for political action committees (PACs and Super PACs).
Can you name a recent political job?
We have been working on a number of political campaigns recently, including a four-minute video for Carson America played at the Chicago rally during Ben Carson’s presidential announcement this Tuesday. We were making adjustments and shot changes right up to the last minute.
You are a boutique. What are the benefits of staying small?
K Street Post is small and that is by design. Right now we have a Quantel Pablo Rio edit room, a Final Cut Pro 7/Adobe Premiere edit room and an Avid Pro Tools audio room. During the very busy months of the political season — August and September of every even numbered year — we typically add an additional edit room, but the way things are shaping up for the 2016 race, we might end up adding more.
I love being small. I get to focus on what I like best, which is being creative and working with clients on TV projects. I have thought about growing the company and adding additional rooms, but then I would become more of a manager and have less time to be creative. Another great thing about being small is clients have direct access to us. The schedule book is easy to manage and clients can discuss projects and adjust booking directly with me.
Can you talk about your workflow?
We handle all aspects of the post process, so offline editing with FCP or Premiere and online editing and color correction with the Pablo Rio. But to be honest, we have not done an offline for some time. The political spots we work on simply don’t have time for that type of workflow. You usually have 8 to 12 hours to create a finished ad, so you load, edit, grade and get a very polished version off to the client within the day. This is where the Pablo Rio comes in for us. We have found no other system that can do this with the quality level required for a statewide or national TV commercial.
Also, most of our commercial work is graphic heavy. It’s not uncommon to have 30 to 40 layers being used to create the finished ad. The Pablo Rio is fast enough for this type of client-attended work. It’s also great at accommodating changes, and there are lots of changes! It’s quite normal for a political ad to have several script changes even during editing.
If you could share one tip with clients about getting the most out of the post experience, what would it be?
Good question. I ask my clients to get me involved as early as possible. The more I know about the project the more I become immersed in it and the better the final result. Clients should never ambush their editors with their projects.