Wales' largest post-production house unveils remote working toolkit to bring business to Wales

Wales’ largest post-production house, Gorilla, has unveiled a new remote editing toolkit that allows its team to work from wherever they are. The benefits of the new toolkit are twofold: to bring in more income opportunities, and to retain staff, according to CEO Rich Moss.

The company – which has done the post-production for hit shows including Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special, Doctor Who, and One Born Every Minute – plans to commercialise the toolkit to bring more income opportunities to Wales. While global film and television companies regularly use the country as a shoot location for filming, the post-production elements are often carried out elsewhere. Gorilla’s solution aims to lengthen the amount of time and money international film and TV companies spend on post-production in Wales.

With the new toolkit, production companies can start the editing process whilst on location in Wales then with all media still in Wales, continue editing from anywhere in the world.

Furthermore, many new programme ideas involve using archive material (previously transmitted programmes or news stories) along with UGC (User Generated Content), such as phone, Skype, Zoom recordings. As Gorilla employees can work from home during the current lockdown, they can create whole new programmes without filming or requiring anyone to leave their homes.

Rich Moss hopes that the new toolkit will not only help the company through the COVID-19 crisis, but also provide new income streams and opportunities to kickstart the industry after lockdown. Mr Moss comments: “Wales is a popular shoot location for TV and film, however, we often lose out in the post-production stage, as this is often completed elsewhere. I saw an opportunity here – if we could provide a cost-effective way of editing remotely, we could encourage film and TV companies to keep business in Wales and use our services. This would not only boost our business but be beneficial for the Welsh economy.”

With the ability to work from home, Mr Moss hopes that the company will be able to retain talent who might otherwise leave, such as those looking to move away. Mr Moss said: “Losing talent is always such a shame so I wanted to do something about it. This new toolkit means that people can work wherever they are, so they have a lot more freedom to fit their job around their life and can continue to work for us even when their circumstances change. I hope this will improve our pool of talent as we can keep hold of our best people, and also help attract budding new talent into the company.”

Gorilla is currently made up of 70 permanent staff and at many regular freelancers, the number of which often increases in the run up to Christmas – the busiest time of year for the company. This year, because of the backlog of filming due to the coronavirus outbreak, and as a result of the new toolkit, Mr Moss believes he will need to allow for double the usual freelance capacity.

Gorilla won funding from Clwstwr, a programme led by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) that supports screen-related innovation in South Wales, to finance creation of the toolkit. In the past, the company struggled to devote a lot of time to research and development; it felt it didn’t have the capacity to work on anything that didn’t bring in income. £50,000 of Clwstwr funding and significant match funding gave them the financial leg-up they needed to come up with and roll out the remote, off-site, editing toolkit – which, in a strange but fortunate coincidence, happened just in time for the government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown.

Professor Justin Lewis, Clwstwr Director, said: “We’re delighted to see such a rapid and significant return from Clwstwr’s investment in Gorilla. It exemplifies how important it is to give creative companies in Wales the R&D resources to innovate, and shows that, when we do, we can make Wales a global leader in media innovation.”

Gorilla worked with manufacturers and organisations to combine lots of different services into one remote toolkit. The product research and development began in September 2019 when Gorilla made inroads with suppliers, editing systems and kit manufacturers. They identified pieces of equipment or software that could slot together, such as remote hardware cards that allow multiple users to simultaneously remote-in and operate specific editing screens, keyboards or mice. They also developed ways of using firewalls and VPN access to create secure workflows. Gorilla will also be looking into 5G versions of the toolkit as the advanced network has higher speeds and lower latency, making it perfect for heavy post-production and editing.