The creative talks working in post-production, going independent and how 2020 has opened a new creative door.
Jax Harney. Photography Jonathan Stokes
Jax Harney. Photography Jonathan Stokes
Working from home has its perks: unlimited tea and coffee runs, waking up half an hour before you start, and being able to integrate sweats into your new uniform. But for some of us in the creative industry, the cross from working in an office to home has proved difficult, and for those in the film industry, it’s become a huge challenge. With many films in production being put on hold due to the pandemic, those in post-production have been adapting to a remote workflow, learning to create beautiful films and cinematography from their own homes.
“It was tough at first,” award-winning colourist Jax Harney revealed. “Getting used to being alone in the suite and not having the buzzy vibes which come with the end of a production was a major downer… I would say COVID has definitely helped us to open up – we don’t all need to be in the same facility together to still make beautiful films.”
Having spent 15 years in the industry, Jax Harney has worked across various mediums and industries, bringing her unique creative eye to Nike campaigns, Vogue shoots and music videos. Starting her career in advertising stills, working closely with various commercial fashion photographers and talent, the creative soon discovered the world of video post-production and used this as a new way to display emotions through her art. Having recently come out as an independent creative after five years working for CHEAT and Envy Advertising, we caught up with Harney talking, taking the leap into independence, lessons learned and how 2020 has opened a new creative door.
Check out the interview below…
How are you?
I’m great thanks! Super excited for 2021!
How was 2020 for you?
2020… Well, it was interesting…What a rollercoaster of emotion, I had the best and the worst of times. I won’t be forgetting that one in a hurry that’s for sure! I definitely learnt a lot about myself last year. I can bake a cracking focaccia, Salt and Pepper’s “Push It” is as far as my talents lie on the guitar and Joe Wicks PE is most definitely not for me.
Do you think lockdown has affected you creatively in anyway?
Yes and No…. I’m heavily influenced by the world around me, seeing different colours/textures in nature and peoples ever-changing fashion will invariably end up influencing me in a grade. Not being able to leave London and connect in real life with people has definitely suppressed that avenue of my creativity. But, on the other hand, since my social life took a blow I’ve found other ways to stimulate my senses. I’ve reconnected with an old passion for sculpting, and I’ve been getting excited about new kinds of art projects to inspire me
You’ve spent 15 years in the industry, how did you first get into it and what would your advice be to someone who wants to get involved?
I started out as a photography assistant in Manchester. I was straight out of college and super green. I thought I knew everything when in reality, I knew nothing. I spent a lot of time shadowing great photographers who taught me invaluable life lessons on different lighting techniques, how to connect with audiences through imagery and how best to use colour to create emotions. Although this is an unconventional route for an aspiring colourist, I would highly recommend to anyone if they can, try and spend some time on set, you will gain a much better understanding of why decisions are made and understand better the lighting techniques used by the cinematographers, this will help massively when trying to recreate looks in a grade.
With 15 years in the industry has there been a pinnacle change at any point?
When I first started out digital was barely a thing. We shot everything on film. Seeing how the technology has evolved over the years, I find it fascinating. Especially as now I spend most of my days trying to make digital look like film.
(LEFT) GUINNESS (RIGHT) KAMALI BAFTA short film
GUINNESS KAMALI BAFTA short film
What made you want to start a new path as an independent colourist?
Since the start of Lockdown 1.0 back in March last year, my career took a major shift in the way all the creatives interacted, when we were all sent home to work we had to find new ways to network with each other. I found I became more directly involved with the projects I was working on and I enjoyed the more personal connection I had with the clients and other creatives I was working with. So when I made the decision to go independent it felt only natural, as I’d already been adapting to this way of life.
Would you say it’s better to be independent?
For me right now being able to do my craft anywhere in the world is wonderful and since I’m working to my own schedule, I’ve really been able to extend my reach internationally to delve into my creativity.I love it!
You’ve been working remotely during the pandemic, how challenging has this been and did it open up any more opportunities for you?
It was tough at first, getting used to being alone in the suite and not having the buzzy vibes which come with the end of a production was a major downer. I’m used to ending my days with high fives, claps and cocktails, so ending the day alone in a quiet room was super strange at first. But, as things progressed, the remote workflows stabled out and became the new norm, things are now running super smoothly. I have clients on hangout links to chat whilst they watch me grade on a live stream, It feels like they are in the room with me regardless of them being all over the world. That’s one thing I would say COVID has definitely helped to open up. We don’t all need to be in the same facility together to still make beautiful films.
Do you think working remotely will be the new norm for people in post-production?
I think there will still be a time and a place for everyone to sit in a room together and collectively get the creative juices flowing, but 2020 has certainly proven that it’s not completely necessary to get the job done.
What’s next for you?
With so much talent choosing to go independent, there’s so much more room for collaboration between artists now. I’m super excited about this! I reconnected with my old colleague Franky Chadwick – Freelance Producer towards the end of last year. Together we’ve been collaborating with other independent artists around the world. I’m hoping this year will be much more of the same. We would love to build up a network of other incredible post talents to collaborate with.