Spotlight on Moviola
August 6, 2012

Spotlight on Moviola

It would be difficult to be in this business and not know the name Moviola ( The word itself evokes images of old Hollywood. They opened in 1923 after creating the first film-editing machine, named, of course, the Moviola.

They now have five different divisions, which operate as what they call a “digital ecosystem” that grew out of their desire to provide more services to more customers — there is a full-service NLE rental division with 24/7 support for technology and workflow, an on-site training center (Avid, Adobe After Effects and Photoshop), DIT training, a media division providing HDSR and HDCAM tape and SxS cards, a camera and production rental division, and a new online learning division. They also rent production and post production space at their offices in Hollywood and New York. Moviola's focus is the entire workflow solution from start to finish, focusing on reality and episodic television.

Typically it starts with a conversation and questions from Moviola: What kind of end result do you expect? How are you finishing? What are you delivering on? What’s your budget? How many editors, assistant editors will you have on the project? Do you need to rent space? “All of these questions are asked once you define where the client is going with the project,” says Mostin. “It then becomes easy to determine a workflow that works for the client and provide the best possible equipment we can as a rental house.”

Once a show begins, Moviola will spend a few hours in the cutting room with the editors and assistants, helping to acclimate them to workflow they’ve chosen and to make sure they are ready to start editing immediately. If a problem pops up that’s out of Moviola’s realm, they will help find a solution.

“You have to be in their face and do a lot of troubleshooting,” explains Mostin. “The budgets on the TV side continue to get lower and lower. In many cases they hire young assistants who need some hand-holding, and it's important to be available to help from a technical side.”

The Moviola Training Center was originally established as a way to get high school graduates to further their education and maybe come back to Moviola in the future with work, but instead it has turned into a place where pros teach pros about the latest software and updates. “One of the benefits of having an education center is when you are in the very competitive rental business, we can offer our clients training and classes, and in many cases, that will help to close a deal for Moviola,” he reports.

Some recently added classes include DSLR workflows and a new growth area—digital onset and offsite dailies. “It’s the way of the future,” reports Mostin.

One of the newest arms at Moviola is its Webinar training division. They have started doing free weekly Webinars that are then available for purchase after the fact, such as Editing Bootcamp: The Psychology of a Scene with renowned editor Chris Nelson, Color Grading in Resolve with Andrew Balis, or AVID Media Composer Bin Management, among others.

In a similar vein, Moviola hosts regular educational events, bringing together technology makers, producers and executive producers for real-world seminars in a casual atmosphere that encourages networking for the post-production community.

The learning never ends. The more educated the user, the better the work turns out, and Mostin suggests asking these questions when dealing with a rental house: Are your technicians certified? How long have they been with you? How old is the equipment you’ll be providing? Why are you recommending this product versus that—for example, Unity storage versus Isis storage?

“There is nowhere to hide in this business,” he says. “If you don’t do the job the first time out, you aren’t going to be asked back again. You better do it right the first time and be totally committed to doing and throwing whatever resources you have when a problem arises.”

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