A deal has been signed that will see the Soho visual effects and finishing company take on the offices next door to its current Beak street premises and knock through to create a 15,000 square foot full service facility.
The move will also see Smoke and Mirrors buy a second telecine machine, add as many as 10 new online systems, build a Pro Tools audio suite, introduce offline editing, buy digital intermediate machines and increase the number of 3D seats to 30.
A recruitment drive will see more staff, including two new colourists, brought on board.
Asked how the company was able to expand so dramatically chief executive Penny Verbe said it was down to organic growth:
“Luckily, we've been busy,” she said. “And the money has been going back into the business. We've got a lot of solid contracts but you've got to get the work in so that you can get the next lot of work in.”
The new online systems will be made up of a mixture of Autodesk Flame and Smoke and Avid Nitris and Adrenaline. A decision is yet to be made on which telecine machine or DI technology will be bought.
“No one has come down hard on whether we go for one DI technology or another but workflow stability is an issue for us,” explained Verbe. “We're going to get two new high-end colourists and they will make the call.”
Reception will be enlarged to once again include a coffee bar. While purpose built meeting and presentation rooms will be added as part of a drive to “up the client experience”, as Verbe put it.
The management get the keys to the new premises at the end of May. Verbe hopes that the newly expanded Smoke and Mirrors will be operational by the summer.
Smoke and Mirrors, which already has an office in New York, also plans to launch a facility in China. Staffed up by a mixture of local and international talent the Shanghai facility will cater for advertising clients that have, up until now, used Australian or Thailand based post production services. It will open in May.
Verbe said: “China is the next big thing. As an emerging market, they know what they're doing and they're starting to get the budgets.”
Smoke and Mirrors is part of the Tag group and currently employs 80 people. It does promos for all the major UK broadcasters as well as visual effects and full post on television, commercials, films and digital media.