Managing Post Production with MA alumni Catherine Pearce
By Elise Czyzowska
20 April 2022
‘If I hear one more person saying that you can “fix it in post”, I might just lose it!’ – this is what Catherine Pearce told us back in 2018. At that time, Catherine was halfway towards completing her MA Post Production degree, and since graduating, Catherine has worked as a runner for post production house Evolutions, before joining Guinness World Records, where she has progressed to the role of Media Asset Manager.
Four years since our last interview, we caught up with Catherine to learn more about her first few years in the post production industry, and while she’s constantly expanding and developing her skills, some things never change – keep reading to find out how she feels about ‘fixing it in post’ now…
You started at Guinness World Records as a Post Production Assistant – what was that like?
As Post Production Assistant, I sat across both the video and TV teams, as we call them. The video team is a group of producers and editors creating the content that goes on all of our social channels (like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok). On the other hand, the TV team helps to create, produce, and sell the Guinness World Record TV shows.
Some people might remember the TV series, Officially Amazing, which aired on the BBC – I helped the team to repurpose that content for our platforms! I also made sure that all of our digital content is ingested, organised, and archived properly on our internal systems so that it can all be found easily.
The role definitely made me aware of just how necessary support is within post production. Edit assistance, media and kit management, these all became a part of my role as I spent more time in the company. Then, the role developed into something I had never quite imagined, and I realised just how key good organisation and management of assets really is.
Your role has developed into a managerial position – how has this changed your experience of the industry?
There’s a lot more filling out excel spreadsheets than I thought! I was lucky enough to do some post production management at MetFilm School, so I haven’t been totally surprised by anything in the role. I just have to keep making sure that I check everything I do, because if I can’t find it, no one can!
What did you find the most surprising upon entering the world of post production?
The most surprising thing was probably the scale. I knew that there were multiple elements, but I didn’t realise just how many people are part of the post process. For example, one entire effects company could work on a single 30 second scene for months, and then an entirely different company will work on a different scene!
What is your favourite aspect of post production that you wish more people knew about?
It’s probably getting to see everything come together. The editor is the person who sees everything that happened on camera, and is able to create something incredible out of it. I wish more film-lovers knew that you can’t always fix it in post! I really think the general public doesn’t realise just how crucial all of the post production team are in creating the film, from putting the rushes together, to audio, colour, and all the fun of CGI!
Are there any lessons from MetFilm School that have stuck with you?
In MA Post Production, we worked a lot on good workflow, good organisation within edits, and what style of video works for different platforms The workflow structure and organisational elements have actually come in really useful in my role, and I’ve implemented some of the practical lessons I learnt into my work at Guinness World Records.
Learning aspect ratio, codecs, and formats at the School was also really helpful – I was actually asked a question about codecs in my first interview! It all meant that, going into my role, I was able to have some insider knowledge on the edits, and I actually ended up helping out the editors.
Can you share any advice for aspiring filmmakers?
Keep up to date with the latest changes in your field – for post, that means new editing platforms, techniques, or new ways to work on graphics and CGI. I would recommend that you practice, practice, practice. The more work you do, even if it’s just your friends Instagram video or podcast episode, the better your skills will be.
Finally, just as in our first interview… are there any film or tv shows that have inspired you lately?
I’m a massive fan of Ted Lasso! Some parts of the show were filmed in Ealing, which is always very exciting to recognise. I also think that the story and the characters are so genuine and funny, it really helps to cheer me up.