Comedy & Drama | Post Production

Comedy & Drama

The Heist Before Christmas

The Heist Before Christmas  is set in Northern Ireland and follows Mikey Collins (Bamber Todd), a poor, disillusioned 12-year-old who’s had more than his fill of jingle bells.  

One day he runs into two Santas in the woods; one who has just pulled off a bank heist (James Nesbitt) and the other (Timothy Spall) who claims he has fallen out of his sleigh. Mikey has no time for this second guy – he’s well past believing any of the jingle bells, spirit-of-the-season rubbish, even if his little brother Sean (Joshua McLees) insists on treating the old man like a superstar, but Mikey becomes determined to get his hands on the bank robber’s cash so he can give his family the Christmas they deserve. As he risks everything for the loot, Mikey soon realizes that the spirit of Christmas may be alive after all, but which Santa will come out on top?


The Brief:  

Sky Post Production were asked to facilitate and support the post production on a brand new 90-minute Christmas Comedy Drama for Studio Hamburg, Calico Pictures & Sky Studios in UHD SDR & HDR LB & FF. 

The Solution: 

Sky Post worked alongside Production’s Post Supervisor, organising post production including media management and the setting up of a bespoke end-to-end workflow. We worked closely with all the external post facilities involved including Foley, VFX, and Grade with Sky Post taking on additional Online VFX work as well as providing a full-time Assistant Editor, Sound Assistant and Post Supervision throughout.  


Vickie Mansell – Post Producer 

We were very confident in our tech along with the ability of our teams to be able to support and deliver a great production. Early on my role was to help manage and facilitate everything whilst working alongside external facilities based in both London and Northern Ireland. We brought in our Workflow Supervisor and Audio Mix Tech to discuss how the film was being captured in camera from the outset. Then, working closely with the external Post Supervisor, together we challenged some ‘set in stone’ post processes, offering alternatives where appropriate, particularly regarding how much online VFX work we could undertake which would also allow us to be more cost effective. 

The hardest challenge, as is often the case, was to manage the balance between timelines and deadlines, especially as the production fell over summer holidays! It was an absolute joy to work on this project and a real pleasure working with the teams at both SHUK and Calico Pictures. I know they were very appreciative of all the hard work the team put in and were genuinely impressed with Sky Post. 

Jon Slade – Online Editor/ VFX Editor

Vickie brought me onto the project whilst it was still in Offline. Alongside the Post Super, we decided a combination of two external VFX facilities would create and composite new elements and paint out the rig and wires, and the majority of removal VFX would come to me to be incorporated into the online/finishing session. 

Once I equipped myself with the finest of tooth combs, I ended up removing close to 200 areas - comprising anything from unwanted people and houses to plenty of reflections and pieces of gaffer tape. On top of this there were also a few things like keying/screen replacement, 'enhancing' impacts (such as cars hitting each other) and reducing the appearance of heavy rain.

In addition, the Baselight grade appeared as a plugin effect on the conformed clips, which is crucial for the fast turnaround of any VFX in the Online. It was possible to remove a grade, work on a shot and then re-apply the grade to the timeline afterwards at any point of the Online right up until delivery which was incredibly useful. The same methodology also greatly sped up the revisioning of the production to both UHD SDR and HDR PQ. 

Tatjana Radivoj – Audio Mix Assistant 

My role involved setting up the Pro Tools template and plugins, and combining the work from the Dialogue Editor, Sound Effects Editor and Music Composer into one project for mixing. I also assisted with creating deliverables and I was on hand to help with any technical requests during the mix so that everything ran smoothly.  

The main challenge of the role was probably the scale of the mix. It was a full film mix with many different elements to bring together and, added to that, it was in Dolby Atmos as well as 5.1 and stereo, which meant the Pro Tools template had to cater for mixing in all three formats. With so many elements it was vital to make sure that everything was organised and prepped in advance as much as possible, so I had a setup day with the Re-Recording Mixer to make sure everything was in place before the mix began. 

This was my first time as Mix Technician on a film mix, so I learnt loads! I worked closely with the Re-Recording Mixer, we had some calls before the mix to plan the way we were going to work, and I also sat in for a lot of the mix which was really great as I learnt some new techniques. It was very exciting to be working on the project. It’s such a great Christmas film, and it’s really funny!  

5.1Audio Format

AtmosAudio Format

HDVideo Format

UHDVideo Format

HDRVideo Format

"Thank you so much for all your incredible hard work on this! We really sensed that you and your team felt as passionate about the project as we did, trying to make it the best film it can be – and we couldn’t be prouder. Thanks for remaining flexible and approachable, and easy to work with throughout. We very much look forward to celebrating the film on a big screen with you at our cast & crew screening. Thank you for making this all possible!"
Vivien Muller-Rommel

MD, Studio Hamberg UK


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