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Five Minutes with The Post Crews Christopher Keenan: Builder and Breaker of the Toys

Olivia Broadley
Apr 10, 2024
5 min read

Five Minutes with The Post Crews Christopher Keenan: Builder and Breaker of the Toys

The Post Crew is a New York-based, full-service postproduction company focused primarily on the advertising industry and short form content. Its community of editors, artists, designers, storytellers, producers and animators are experts in editorial compositing, graphics, mixing, sound design, color, and conform.

“We are all technologically savvy innovators excited to help bring stories to any screen,” says Christopher Keenan, director of Technology. “Our mantra is simple: creativity is contagious.”

Sohonet caught up with Christopher to learn how he views the evolution of post.

Tell us about your role at the facility.

I sometimes use the term ‘the builder and breaker of the toys.’ I am involved in building all the rooms and infrastructure, maintaining and researching all the software and hardware we use daily as well as creating workflows. At any point in time, we are working on several different projects, each with its own set of unique circumstances. I love the challenge it brings, as these days the tech is changing so rapidly.

How do you stay on top of technological changes and know when and what to invest in?

I’m constantly reading and researching the latest technology. There’s a lot of information out there. My job is to synthesize it through the lens of Post Crew. I’m of the mindset that if there is a tool that will help us do our jobs better, we have to get it. At the same time, we try to invest in things that we can use for as long as possible, after all we are running a business. Those aims can be tricky to manage. While we want to be on the cutting edge by taking advantage of the newest and shiniest thing, we must balance that with functional, stable products that allow our artists to get their work done to the highest quality every time.

Luckily, I’ve always been able to maintain a machine or two on the side so that I can install new tools and try them before rolling them out. I’ve also got a couple of artists who love the bleeding edge, so I’ll throw them the most recent version of a technology once I’m happy with it and ask them what they think and if it works for their workflow.  There’s a perceived risk of introducing new technology that needs to be weighed before making and implementing any investment. Most importantly, any new technology needs to allow our artists to be proud of what they produced.

To what extent is Post Crew set up for hybrid workflows?

On any given day we have artists working in the office, at home and well, pretty much anywhere out in the world, so we are using hybrid workflows all the time.  Simultaneously our clients are in their own unique locations and since many of our projects involve collaboration that multiplies the need for hybrid workflows exponentially.

How have you noticed staff work patterns change?

Prior to the pandemic everyone was in the office. As soon as we went into lockdown, early 2020, we scrambled to figure out how to keep our projects going. Luckily, I was able to give everyone remote access to their machines pretty quickly and we were able to continue without really skipping a beat. For a while during COVID it was just me and the machines in the office. Lately there’s been a definite increase in the amount of time people are in the office and the benefits are definitely visible. When creative people are in a suite together magic happens. There’s a time and place for putting your head down and just focusing on the job, but for the collaborative stage of the process it is much better to have the clients in the room. And nothing can replace the mentoring that takes place by just being able to walk over to an artist and be inspired by what they are doing.

That being said all of our artists have direct access to their machines using Jump desktop. This gives them real-time access so whether they are in the office or at home they are viewing and manipulating the media in the same way they are used to. I feel that we have the technology to give artists and clients the flexibility to work the way they want to work.

Post Crew Reel
Can you give us an example?

We had a ClearView Flex prior to the pandemic mainly for one client who wanted to watch edits from their country home. It worked out really well for them. That success made us think of other ways we could utilize the technology. In 2022 we invested in another box which we used to improve our color workflow. Color fidelity is mission critical, and a lot of times clients don’t have time to sit for a color session, but they trust our colorists and value the ability to be a part of the process remotely via Flex. Flex has become instrumental in our color workflow for review and approvals.

What concerns you about the future of the industry?

Cost pressures are always coming down the pipe and it seems that more advertising agencies and large companies are building their own post facilities in-house. There’s a lot of competition for new business. Folks always want things faster, cheaper, better and it is very hard to get all three. We’re fortunate to have partners and clients who value and trust us, and we’ve worked hard to nurture those long-term relationships. As well as a roster of very talented people.

What is your view on AI-driven postproduction?

Where we are going with AI is wild. It has been on our phones for years, in use every day, without us even realizing it. In our professional lives I’d say we are all a little fearful that robots are going to come and take over our jobs. My view is that AI is a tool that we should embrace and work with. We need to figure out how it can best fit into and enhance our daily work lives. And that’s the kind of challenge I love!

What motivates you each day?

Technology is amazing – it’s never static and every day there’s something new. I find that so exciting. Not so long ago you had to be in a specific room on a specific piece of machinery to use a specific technology. Now we are at the point where you can actually try out a lot of new products from anywhere on any box. I find that kind of crazy and exhilarating. I love to try them all.

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