We’re kicking off our new blog series ‘5 in 5’, where we take 5 minutes to ask the Gate’s team of talent 5 questions about their area of expertise. First up is Michael Nixon, Head of Post-Production.

Between editing, VFX work, colour grading and managing our in-house post team, Mike’s a pretty busy guy. Luckily we managed to grab 5 minutes with him on his lunch break to chat about best practices in post, new tech and his favourite projects of the year… 


Is there a piece of technology or software that's particularly exciting you right now? Why?

AI is obviously the big talking point right now within the creative industry, which is equal parts extremely exciting creatively and also terrifying because you know...Terminator. 

I jumped on the train a year ago using AI software 'Midjourney' - mainly to create daft movie mash up posters - and how far it has progressed in that time in terms of quality and options is absolutely crazy! 

With the release of the new Photoshop content aware AI feature which uses AI to extend still images, amongst other things, the step to that evolving into video seems very close! Within the next year we'll be either working for robots or using AI in ways which enhance and progress film making.

What ad campaign have you seen recently that you love and why? 

There is a great Lego campaign which has some awesome VFX in which I saw on Adweek's Instagram account. The ad is titled 'Play Moves Us', and the concept is to show what happens when girls are free to play anything. Visually it mixes live action with outstanding 3D VFX which I'd say was heavily influenced by Edgar Wright's 'Scott Pilgrim Vs The World' in terms of the graphics and sound design.

Check it out HERE.

What have been your fave projects to work on this year? 

It's been a very busy year filled with exciting work so it's tricky to choose! If my hands were tied I would choose the work we've done on People's Postcode Lottery. Working on those creatives with director Giles Smith has been fantastic. Each ad they do demands a certain amount of VFX work which is always a challenge and satisfying when they're completed! For example the latest ad we shot was a summer street party that we shot on a snowy day in Sale - there was a lot of clean up work, tracking and sky replacement in post but watching the ad it looks amazing and warm! 




I would also say our recent commercial for Heineken Star Pubs which was directed by in-house director Graeme Hill. My role on this was online animation and clean up work but also the colour grade. I was particularly happy with this as working with Graeme we used a Davinci Resolve Plugin called 'Look Designer' by Coloulab.ai. Look Designer is a colour engine plugin which allows digital shots to transform into film using a multi tooled workflow. We had loads of fun utilising this and generating the warmth and depth that film allows you.




What has been your most challenging project to date and why? 

I think the most challenging was a grade I did for Noble Panacea which featured Jodie Comer and was directed by Michael-Kaine. It was challenging as it demanded I dived A LOT deeper into colour work and effectively demanded I levelled up quickly to be able to do the job justice, which I'm happy to say I did! 



What best practices would you recommend for a post heavy project?  

I would say that a post heavy project demands involvement from a member of post from very early stages of the meeting process so we are all on the same page of what is realistic to capture in camera and what we need to pick up in post. As a rule it is ALWAYS best to capture in camera but if not, that's when we come in! 

When it comes time to shoot it is important to have whoever is working on the post on set to advise and work with the Director / First AD to make sure each shot works back in the edit suite without too much difficulty and of course add any tracking markers on that are needed. Producers absolutely LOVE holding shots up for that part! 


If you haIf you have a VFX project you need our help with, contact us here.

If you have a VFX project you need our help with contact us here.