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Join the Revolution in Post Production

Ditch the dated post production paradigm -
Embed sound and picture specialists!

“Working with Vaudeville and The Finish Line is about more than just good post production. They have a wide ranging talent base which enables the team to select who they work with. Having them conveniently housed on site means regular contact with the team which enables clearer communication from the very start of production and significant cost efficiencies.”

Jane ManningProduction and Operations Director October Films

“This was a truly excellent service and now I will struggle to use any other post facility because your team is so talented, flexible, enthusiastic, show great love for their work and deliver impeccably every time no matter how complex it gets. Also, The Finish Line & Vaudeville partnership is exemplary, seamless and very contemporary.”

Katie DaviesHead of Production Atlantic Productions

Embedding Post into Production

In-the-know production companies have been working with The Finish Line and Vaudeville Sound Group for some time, in some cases for a decade or more. It is creative post with a difference; bringing boutique picture and audio finishing all together where it should be, in the production office.

Many production companies have their own cutting rooms and media management, with final post outsourced to a third-party post house. Not many have complete picture and audio finishing, where the downsides are considerable. Media management is challenging, complex and requires a dedicated support team with specific technical knowhow. Picture and audio finishing are both craft skills. Creative finishing talent comes with a price tag, and no one colourist or mixer is right for all projects. Building (and maintaining) an audio or grading room is expensive.

The Finish Line and Vaudeville Sound Group offer an attractive alternative to the traditional third-party post model, as the testimonials on this page bear testament. Combined, they bring all the benefits of running a full inhouse post service, providing picture and audio finishing where and when required, without any of the complexities or downsides.

The Finish Line has over a dozen talented finishing artists (highly technical senior colourists) to choose from, who are assigned projects and take full ownership of picture through final post. Backed by the post house’ elegant and robust distributed working infrastructure and team of finishing assistants who can support a production from pre-planning through to mastering, QC and delivery.

Vaudeville Sound Group works in the same boutique way. With over 50 mixers on its books, Vaudeville can curate a shortlist for the execs and the director to choose from based on the project needs. For the producers, both companies can manage most of the work remotely which helps on cost – with the team working across various sites like Vaudeville’s offices, including Atmos HE, in central London, the US or Canada – before setting up embedded facilities within the production companies’ offices. For those producers with sufficient throughput, these facilities can be more permanent, while having the advantage of being centrally supported.

Working backwards from the deliverables, the two specialist facilities work together to design and implement the best possible workflow for the production, supporting the producers from pre-production to final delivery at the highest specifications (Dolby Vision/Atmos), with one post producer as a dedicated point of contact. Better still this approach is time and cost-effective, allowing the production team to focus on the series or film and direct more of the budget into creative fulfilment.

Becoming a Vaudevillian

CEO and Founder of Vaudeville Sound Group, Daniel Jones left school at 16 to study catering management. Daniel believes “managing bars and restaurants gave me the management skills too often missing in post.”

Daniel joined Evolutions post as a runner working his way up to MCR Super, but his real passion was music which he’d been mixing since the age of 14. “I was always the guy in the band mixing demos on a four-track.” The Evolutions mixer let Daniel in to use the audio suite out of hours where Daniel mixed his current band. With Evolutions move to Berners Street, they built a second audio suite. “That was a great learning curve. I put together the studios with the engineer from nothing and became a mixer.

“I met Dom Joly who was directing this music-based comedy and because I was ‘musical’, I was asked if I wanted to have a go at it. It was Trigger Happy TV. It was a huge level of trust mixing what became Channel 4’s most popular show at that time. Under the stewardship of Carl Gardiner and Nerys Richards I also worked with Director, Mike Christie on Jump London, a free running feature doc in 2003” “Jack Cardew and Jim Hickey asked me to mix Dirty Sanchez, a cult MTV show, but they wanted me to do it on my own. I bought second hand kit and set up in the attic.”

“Back in 2006, Twenty Twenty Television was a progressive company with inhouse picture post but no audio. I emptied a tape storage room, put in my desk and Pro Tools,” and added a VO booth. “I was mixing Brat Camp and Bad Lads Army and was employing other freelancers including Luke Hatfield.”

“That’s when I saw the light. Inhouse post managers might be fine with pictures and offline but were more than happy to hand over the audio post – a world they didn’t understand. Vaudeville Sound Group was born.”

Seeing the Light

“In 2007, Mike Christie, who was now working with Princess Productions, called. I was soon running three more suites on top of the two suites at Twenty Twenty. We were mixing Hunted, The Island with Bear Grylls and Got to Dance with Davina McCall with up to 90 episodes in one series.

“Back at Twenty Twenty, Ludo Graham had found Gareth Malone to present The Choir and I’ve mixed most episodes ever since, with Luke also mixing some of the more recent series.” (The Choir has two BAFTA wins and multiple nominations for the production and audio work.) I was working directly with the sound supervisors for The Choir. Getting audio post involved earlier in production is not as common as it should be, and Luke and I prefer to go on set when we can.

“In 2011, Twenty Twenty Television, Wall to Wall, Renegade, Ricochet and Shed Productions came together to create Shed Media (later Warner Bros Television). Nick asked me to show him our set-up. We went downstairs to our little box room at Twenty Twenty and he was like, ‘holy shit, is this where you mix The Choir?’ Vaudeville went on to manage all the audio work with about 45 suites for picture editing.

“I met Zeb shortly after through David Grewal, who I had worked with at Resolution. The Finish Line were doing what I was doing but with pictures. We share the same values and the ability to offer both picture and audio together made perfect sense.”

In 2017, Kate Bronze was promoted to Group Head of Post and Luke Hatfield was promoted to Group Head of Sound as the group expanded into USA and Canada.

From the Start

The Finish Line Founder & Chief Vision Officer Zeb Chadfield’s fishing and farming heritage from Wanganui, New Zealand comes as a surprise. Filmmaking was a calling, “having left school, I started to direct short comedy films at 14, shooting VHS and editing with a two-tape set-up, grappling with the technology.”

When The Last Samurai (with Tom Cruise) came to New Plymouth, Zeb was editing just about anything and selling tech. “The stunt co-ordinator had bought Final Cut Pro 3 and a Powerbook and wanted to record and cut stunts as pre-visualisation. I was the local edit guy with some FCP knowledge so he got in-touch. Working with him gave me confidence to pursue post further.”

From there, Zeb threw himself into the Sydney media scene, selling computers to creative professionals, while freelancing as an editor after hours. The next break came with an assisting role at Crackerjack Productions and later grading Comedy Inc which was his dream job. Crackerjack was acquired by Fremantle Media with Zeb working across post disciplines from on-set graphics to grading, cutting titles and compositing for shows like Masterchef Australia and Australia’s Got Talent.

With British television “always in my heart”, Zeb came to London where he was swiftly promoted to Head of Picture in a large post house. The long and demanding hours resulted in a mental breakdown which left Zeb frustrated and perplexed. “What can be done to fix this working culture? The things that impact the output most is the talent and tools, so what would post look like if I just focus on providing the best of that? The result is a better creative output and improved work/life balance.” For Zeb, the two are not mutually exclusive. “I bought an Avid Symphony licence, Flanders Scientific monitor, DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Creative suite and set myself up as a colourist working in production companies like Outline Productions, Optomen Television and Tinopolis’ internal facility MSV Post.

Many places didn’t have monitors calibrated, fast kit or the right plug-ins, so I came with my own reference monitor, then with a grading panel and then full systems. I was bringing ‘Soho post’ finishing knowledge and technical know-how into the production company office when and where it was wanted but without the bricks and mortar or coffee and sushi costs.”

To The Finish Line

Demand for Zeb’s approach outstripped supply and with partner, David Grewal, Zeb scaled up The Finish Line offering freelance finishing talent. Soon these freelancers became employees. They hired Jonathan Blessley in 2014 (who remains as COO today) who notes, “I was brought in to manage the business from a small office in Kensal Rise where we did the QC and delivery work. We built our first MCR with Digi-betas, SR decks and standards conversion; constantly evolving based on client needs and what supported our talent best.”

He continues “Zeb has always been an earlier innovator. We had virtualised edit suites in 2014 but couldn’t communicate the offer as the benefits were not understood, but we were doing it nonetheless. When Covid came, we were more than fully prepared.”

Zeb’s core values around better working culture and supporting mental health resonated with other post professionals and the company is 50/50 gender neutral, “which took years of investment. We let people control their workload so that they can prioritise family life as needed. Our adaptive workflow enables this. Performance can still be measured, and we create clear, supported paths for employees to develop into more senior roles.” The Finish Line’s efforts were recognised when they won gold and the leadership award in Broadcast Best Places to work in TV 2023 and 2024.

It remains a different but more efficient, customer-centric way of delivering picture post. “We didn’t want to do the client services with a conveyor belt approach and long hours then, and we don’t now. It’s important to stay true to our principles.”

We don't like to brag, but we're changing the game

“Having sound post production integrated in the office has huge benefits. The Vaudeville team are on hand to input into the filming and post production process at an early stage in the production. They go above and beyond to be helpful.”

Helena ElyDirector of Production Wall To Wall, Part of Warner Bros. Television Production UK

“The Finish Line are the masters of picture post. They’ve been my trusted go-to’s for many years and I know that whatever fun challenge or scale of project I bring to them, I can trust it will be completed to the highest standards, creatively and technically, and that the communication along the way is second to none. This was very much the case with recent projects such as Mad About The Boy — The Noël Coward Story, and many others.”

Emma ComansFounder Flying Fox

“The biggest concern I had with embedded and distributed post production was that it would be complicated to manage the different entities and resources, and doing this with four concurrent high profile series meant my concerns were amplified! I didn’t need to be concerned at all. We had one point of contact for each production and at no point did it feel fragmented. They looked at what we had to work with internally, what each production wanted and the needs of each editor, and then designed a unique solution for each series that could tick all the boxes. Right down to building an external facility for one of them because we ran out of space internally! Being able to scale up and down all of the post production resources along the way was very liberating and allowed us to make sure our budgets were all going on screen.”

Bernie CostelloHead of Production Transistor Films

“I’ve been desperately trying to keep The Finish Line and Vaudeville to myself for years. Sadly the rabbit is well and truly out of the hat now and I’m going to have to get used to sharing them! Like all production companies we are always trying to deliver well beyond what the budget may allow. This is the main thing that working with such experienced teams provides us - they know how and where to get creative; then where to put the most energy into; ensuring what ends up on screen both looks and sounds amazing. It doesn’t matter what challenges the content might give, they always have the solutions and deliver to the absolute highest standard every time. The talent at The Finish Line and Vaudeville is simply the very best in the business.”

Ned ParkerExecutive Producer Transistor Films

“The Finish Line & Vaudeville played an integral part in post for 'American Murder: The Family Next Door'; not only supporting our in-house edit suites but offering spectacular service in media ingest (there was so much archive), cloud management, QC and mastering, with final picture and sound that was simply stunning.

The level of professionalism and quality of work was outstanding, made better by the fact that both the staff at The Finish Line and Vaudeville are very wonderful humans who you’d actually like to see inside and outside of work.

Nothing was too much of a challenge and they made the whole experience really easy right down to installing a grade one monitor and remote viewing system for the director Jenny to review from home. We really couldn't have done it without them. They are top banana.”

Jonathan StadlenManaging Director Knickerbockerglory

“Working with The Finish Line and Vaudeville is always a straightforward and supported experience. Having them on site provides a seamless and joined up approach to the picture and audio post and they work as one with our in-house team.

Knowing that I can always pick up the phone and talk with a member of the team who knows us and our needs makes everything easy and they are a great bunch of people, all of whom know their craft brilliantly.

We’ve worked with The Finish Line and Vaudeville on a huge range of projects for a variety of broadcasters and I would not hesitate to recommend them to others for any project.”

Maddy AllenProduction Executive October Films

“I first heard about The Finish Line and their audio partners Vaudeville while working at Atlantic Productions on a feature length doc for History Endurance: The Hunt for Shackleton’s Ice Ship. Atlantic had worked with them before with great success, but I confess, that when they were first suggested I was a little apprehensive about how it would all work – especially for the online and the grade. ‘What? They can come to you with all the kit? There’s no separate grade and online?’ But they were brilliant from start to finish.

It was a technically complex project with VFX, remastered rushes from 1915, footage from drones, REDs and underwater cameras, archive, and drama reconstruction and yet it was all taken in their stride. And they made something that could’ve been tricky, run smoothly. It looked great. And Vaudeville’s sound design of crashing, creaking ice that bridged the modern expedition with the old archive brought the whole thing to life. What’s more they were all wonderful to work with at every stage. What’s not to love.

So, when my next project came up - Hawking: Can you Hear Me?, a feature doc about the life of the late Professor Stephen Hawking for Sky Originals (also at Atlantic) - The Finish Line and Vaudeville were my first choice to work with again. Facing the challenges of producing the whole project in lockdown we started working with them in pre-production and once again their advice, service and the quality of the finished film was second to none. I couldn’t have been happier or in safer hands!”

Oliver TwinchDirector Hawking: Can You Hear Me?

“I’d already been impressed with The Finish Line and Vaudeville’s post approach on several of our documentaries, including their work on ‘Josh Taylor: Portrait of a Fighter’ for BBC1 and the Amazon Original Feature doc 'Elizabeth Windsor’. So we were happy to repeat the experience on 'Lionesses: How Football Came Home’.

Our partners Altitude Film Entertainment and SKY Documentaries needed the Lioness film turned around VERY quickly, in time for a Christmas release. We were green-lit just a few weeks after the Lionesses Euro win and rolled into production in September with a hard out for late November. With such a high profile and important story, I knew there’d be a lot of eyes on it, so a huge responsibility and quite rightly a lot of high expectations swirling around. There was a lot riding on it, an immovable deadline, a high quality film that we needed to deliver on time and on budget.

There were of course a multitude of moving parts to put together, from a production, talent and post production perspective, far too many to discuss here in detail. But in terms of The Finish Line, they were super flexible and helped us implement remote access edit suites, media ingest, cloud viewing platforms and conform services all the way through to finishing stage, including final audio mixing at Vaudeville. They were flexible when parameters needed adjusting and were positive, never negative, as post production needs evolved.

It was quite a ride, but the entire Ad Hoc production team, The Finish Line and Vaudeville were extraordinary, moving mountains to pull it all off. SKY and Altitude were delighted with the end result. I’m happy to say the film was released theatrically ahead of its SKY premiere and critically well received. And it was delivered on time and on budget. As a story and as a project, we're incredibly proud of it and very grateful to the entire post production team for helping us realise it.”

Dan GlynnCo-Founder Ad Hoc Films

If you want to produce the best work, you need to be prepared to reinvent the process.

    © The Finish Line Media Ltd & Vaudeville Sound Group