Tour De Force
Born out of sheer determination and passion, 3P Studio has earned its place in Australia’s creative landscape as one of the industry’s hardest working boutique post-production houses. Founded and led by artisan Haley McDonald, 3P Studio’s eclectic portfolio of post-production work includes desirable commercial brands such as Subway, Allianz, Isuzu Motor Company as well as iconic and defining shows like Sesame Street.
“There are a few projects that we are particularly proud of at 3P Studio and one that stands out is the work we did with Brisbane-based advertising agency, Carbon Creative, for the Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet’s ‘Stop the Hurting: End Domestic Violence’ campaign,” comments McDonald. “It was the first large-scale national campaign that we undertook in the studio; it was an honor that they selected 3P to work on such an important campaign.” A testament to their quality and influence, 3P Studio was recognized for their outstanding work on the “Stop the Hurting” campaign, receiving a silver medal in the Brisbane Advertising and Design Awards.
Humble Beginnings Leads to a Local First
With almost two decades of experience in the media and entertainment industry, McDonald has worked for some of Australia’s largest post facilities. Passionate about her craft, McDonald always knew that working as a creative storyteller was her true path. “I got my love of TV from my late father. I never had a bedtime as a child and he used to let me watch TV with him whenever I wanted. This led to a lifelong obsession of working with media and creatively telling stories. On the flip side, I got my work ethic off my mum, who worked in a hospital laundry for 30 years. I grew up in a housing commission until I moved to Brisbane when I was 18 and worked in a supermarket there until I saved enough money to go university and study film.” Drive and passion work hand in hand and proved to be incredible assets to McDonald as she forged her own path in a male-dominated industry.
It was after the birth of McDonald’s son in 2013 that life took an unexpected change and really challenged her commitment to being an artist. “I had left for maternity leave in 2013 to have my first child, Dash, who is now eight. When I came back to work after six months, my position had been made redundant and I no longer had a job to return to.” While most would see this as a devastating blow, McDonald turned it into the opportunity of a lifetime. “For some time I had wanted to open my own shop. But, like most people, I had a mortgage, daycare and other bills. So, venturing off on my own was just too risky, but with no job in hand, I had nothing to lose. It was my chance to follow a dream and I gave it everything I had.” Starting out as a freelance editor and designer, McDonald took every job that came her way. “I would never say ‘no’ to a job. I would never say I was booked. I would just say, ‘Yes, no problem, I can do that.’ Even if I had three jobs in one day, I would just take them and work out how I was going to deliver. Eventually, I started hiring people to help as I took on more demanding projects. Since I had been in the industry and was so well connected, I was able to get projects out the door with a very high degree of quality thanks to very talented colleagues. This, of course, translated to very happy clients and exceptional word of mouth marketing.”
Working 7 days a week, McDonald transformed the busy freelance business into one of Brisbane’s few woman-led post-production houses. “I bought my office in 2016 and took six months to fit it out. On Christmas Eve 2016, they handed me the keys to the office and they went, ‘There you go.’ And as 1st of January 2017, 3P Studio was officially in business.”
Purpose Built for Business and Creative Content
McDonald built the stunning boutique facility from the ground up. And the chic design took into account installing an EditShare shared-storage solution in late 2017. “When we were wiring the office I made sure I had the cable runs and all the infrastructure shared down the track. I always knew that I wanted to install EditShare because I had used it before, and I really liked the way it supported the content flow. We just needed to save for the investment.” For the first six months, the team worked off the old hard drive system where they had RAIDs that were backing up to other RAIDs overnight and doing mirroring for redundancy. “So, we’d put a project in motion and eventually come to the point where someone would say, ‘Oh, that operator needs to use the project on that,’ meanwhile someone else also needed to use it too, then we’d copy off the data onto another drive and it just became unmanageable so we made the leap to EditShare.”
McDonald quips that she could have purchased other gear, but the EditShare scale-out shared storage nodes were the solution to power her successful business. “I could have gone out and purchased a Mac Pro and hooked it up to a couple of hard drives. Would it have done the same thing? To a certain degree, but it hasn’t been tried and tested like in EditShare. After talking with the guys at EditShare and getting the rundown of the specs and performance reports, investing in EditShare gave me the peace of mind I needed. In addition, my previous experience with using EditShare on very demanding projects assured us that this system would take a beating and keep performing.”
3P Studio installed an EFS 200 single node scale out shared storage solution connecting 10 creative Mac and PC-based workstations over 10-GB Ethernet comprising a mix of Adobe® Premiere® Pro and After Effects®, The Foundry’s NUKE, Maxon’s Cinema-4d, Autodesk Maya, 3D Studio Max, DaVinci Resolve for grading and the premium hero suite, Autodesk Flame Premium while Avid Pro tools is utilized to provide audio post production. With advanced support for project and media sharing, EditShare features helped tremendously with the boutique’s retail clients who, more often than not, required an incredibly fast turnaround. It allowed the team to work simultaneously on projects with one person recording voice-overs while another artist works on the graphics and another edits. “Because the EditShare system is designed for content sharing, it makes the workflow as fast and as collaborative as possible. This means higher quality projects completed on time and of course most importantly, happier clients.”
A Business in Overdrive
The successful post-production company tripled its staff between the years of 2017 and 2021, requiring an expanded media infrastructure. Upgrading to EFS 450 and adding FLOW and AirFLOW, the team was able to facilitate traditional editorial campaigns and the growing number of fast-turn projects targeted for social, digital, and other marketing channels. McDonald adds, “More and more client requests are project-specific rather than a campaign. While the content still needs to be delivered across all channels, it has a short-shelf life and smaller budget. The pace from start to finish is accelerated. With our expanded EditShare installation, we have a content factory workflow that gives our clients a first-class post-production experience meeting both their tight timeline and budget requirements.”
The addition of EditShare’s remote media management solution, AirFLOW, to the workflow allowed 3P to offer a “content warehouse” service to its clients. Clients can log in from anywhere, browse through content at their convenience, review work-in-progress and submit project changes. The service removes the burden of clients needing to maintain their own drives or storage servers as all content is stored on the EFS storage platform, maintained by 3P. It also enabled remote collaboration, which was key during the pandemic restrictions.
McDonald notes of the growth, “Our business has reached a point where we need to utilize advanced tools to refine our service offering and delivery. EditShare workflow solutions and creative tools like Adobe have enabled us to make those advancements across our business and deliver a superior level of service.”
Setting a Great Example
As a woman-run and owned post facility, Haley is in a very rare category. “I am very proud to be a female post house owner and can definitely say there is room for more of us to take the lead! Running my own shop has given me the opportunity to work with female directors, producers and operators and I take great pleasure in collaborating with them in my studio. In addition, I also have the support of a fantastic group of young men who are sound designers, VFX artists, animators and videographers and I am very lucky to have them. I also have the support of loyal clients that have been with me since I started and most of my work comes from word of mouth which is nice.” As for EditShare, we are very proud to be a part of this success story.
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