Interview: “Dead Awake” Producer Galen Walker Talks About “Media Toaster’s” Game-Changing Post Production Techniques

Dead Awake producer Galen Walker, who saw his latest film draw on the specialist skills of post-production facility Media Toaster, talks to Top 10 Films about game-changing post-production techniques…

Galen Walker in the Media Toaster editing room | PHOTO CREDIT: URBANITE LA

Media Toaster, a Los Angeles-based all-in-one production house specialising in holistic, simultaneous post-production facilities, boasts clients including networks like Starz, FX and AMC. It is currently working on TV shows Outlander and Ash Vs Evil Dead as well as numerous films, and has taken a giant leap forward with its all-in-one production house specialising in holistic, simultaneous post-production facilities. The company, which is based in Burbank, creates efficient QC, 
post workflow for film and TV, and most recently began working on Taboo, the Ridley Scott-produced series starring Tom Hardy.

Can you tell us how Media Toaster was conceived and the sorts of ambitions it has set itself?

As a filmmaker and ex-post-production studio owner, I have always been extremely involved with the post process. Once I met Michael Meis and Mike DeFusco, I witnessed his delivery and QC “Qi” proprietary software I knew this was a game changer. When any producer uses these tools, there is no way to go back to the traditional way. It is being performed currently by 100% of the facilities out there. We found our location in Burbank and built a highly technical studio with a “Mom and Pop” feel. We are growing by leaps and bounds and our intentions and goals are to keep the same efficiencies as we expand. One day, I believe that our system will be licensed to all major post groups around the world, changing the process for the better.

What would you say are your main strengths and how does the company differentiate itself from the competition?

We are a “Mom and Pop” house with extreme speed and organization. When you call MT, you get us, not a receptionist putting you on hold. We are faster and cut out the middleman plus our technology makes the process faster and more stream-lined.

What sorts of benefits can clients achieve by working with you – i.e. streamlining the post-production process, cost and time savings, utilizing the experience of in-house industry veterans, wide-ranging services etc.?

We can do simultaneous post services at the same time on one production. As the filmmaker is editing, the color timing and score can also be underway within the same facility… thus the director is covering more ground at the same time. I have been in the post-production world for over 20 years; our teams here know what they are doing and have already experienced the majority of the problems that occur in post. Knowledge is king in post and time is money.

In other interviews (Huffington Post for example) company representatives have spoken about taking the industry forward because it still largely uses antiquated methods. You have highlighted the Monster File, QI File and Virtual Desktop for instance. Is that one of your core ambitions – to lead the way on innovation and to drive new methodologies, technologies and techniques, possibly to create new norms that you may pioneer?

The tech we have created is in place to enhance how the process works best. We have a groundbreaking “Quality Control” process titled the “QI” file or “Quality Interactive”. The QI file allows the filmmaker / producers to “see” the issues to correct in a working QuickTime format. Thus they don’t have to go back to an editorial suite or revisit masters. They can see the issues to correct and make the right call for the correction. Media Toaster has a full digital enhancement team in place to correct 95% of the picture and sound problems demonstrated in the QI file. This is the most effective way to get the picture’s problems fixed. We have also created a master “all in one” file for content delivery. We call this the “Monster File”. The Monster File can house ALL of the picture and sound content, in all formats for the world-wide delivery. Thus, your film / TV show is in a file for world-wide delivery and is housed in our cloud. We can deliver the content to any distributor, digitally for the life of the property. This is over the numerous sales and revamping of the content at every re-sell.

The pace of technology progression must make your job both challenging and exciting – how has the post-production environment developed/changed over the last few years and how do you think new techniques might impact the industry going forward?

It’s all about technology and computer power combined with personnel. We find that our crew can do more services in one station than just a single part of the post process.

Rising Director Phillip Guzman teamed up with Media Toaster’s in-house composer Marc Vanocur (former “Tales From The Crypt” producer) for his next two films “Dead Awake,” due out this March, followed up by the hair-raising thriller “200 Hours.” (c) Dita Dimone

Is it possible to highlight some projects you’re working on at the moment or have recently completed?

We are delivering “Taboo” and “The Son”, “Outlander” and “Ash vs Evil Dead”. On the film side, The new “Nine Eleven” film with Whoopi Goldberg and Charlie Sheen as well as the faith-based film “Let there Be Light” directed by Kevin Sorbo. In editorial, we are facilitating a new motorcycle film “American Dresser” starring Tom Berenger, Keith David and Bruce Dern. Media Toaster will not only complete all post services for “American Dresser”, but the music score and soundtrack as well.

Since the company’s conception what have been its stand out achievements?

Our growth with new clients and the fact that we are able to get larger clients to see that our technology is a key factor to bringing us their business.

There is a blurring of the lines between film and TV production these days courtesy of digital technology but, how can Media Toaster be a valuable partner specifically for film production? I.e. Supporting independent cinema through valuable cost and time savings? Have you got examples where you’ve worked with filmmakers/films and the advantages those film productions gained from partnering with Media Toaster?

Mainly time and money. You save time working in our environment. Shaving weeks off of post is a huge factor. Technology combined with experience is KING.

What’s the ambition for 2017 and longer term?

Expansion! Bigger films and I expect once our proprietary methods are widely known, all of the networks will come knocking on our door. They should, it will save them!

Interview by Top 10 Films editor Dan Stephens

Thanks to Galen Walker and Dita Dimone
Images: (c) Dita Dimone

Dan Stephens
About the Author
Dan Stephens is the founder and editor of Top 10 Films. He's usually pondering his next list, often inspired by his adoration for 1980s Hollywood, a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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