Media: Javier Henriquez Completes Work Placement at ENVY
Media pupil Ellie Bostock-Smith (Upper Fifth) interviews Javier Henriquez (Upper Sixth) about his recent work experience placement at ENVY, a top post-production facility in London.
EB-S: So Javier, what you did at ENVY?
JH: I went to ENVY for about five days, and undertook very useful work experience in a range of departments – including offline editing, colouring, production, audio and VFX. I didn’t get to carry out work experience in the bookings department, but the man who temporarily recruited me was the Director of the department, so I did establish a relationship with people working there. Overall, I was very satisfied with what I did at this phenomenal post-production house.
You said you were a part of offline editing – what is the difference between online and offline editing?
The main difference between online and offline, is that offline editors use low-quality footage that they get from the production company, where everything is being recorded. Then, they combine all the footage in a coherent manner to achieve a final product. The online editors give some final touches to the first composition so that it is ready to be passed on into the next stage.
For example, let’s say that you were an online editor and received footage from the offline editors. While looking at the product, you see a scene with a car on it – and in that particular scene we see the licence plate of the car (something that, for legal reasons, cannot appear on TV). What you as an online editor would have to do is to edit the footage so that we can no longer see that number plate. In order to do so the editor might decide to blur the plate or something similar so that it can no longer be seen, and once this process is finished this edited footage would be sent to the audio department.
How long does it take to edit an entire show?
Well, it’s a pretty long process as the show has to go through a series of different stages. The number of hours it takes to edit the show will depend on the show’s individual requirements, so it’s very variable. It is very expensive for production houses to get their footage ready to be broadcast, but it is worth it.
What shows did you work on whilst you were there?
I worked on fragments of a series of TV programmes – some of which haven’t been broadcast yet. I did see one project that they were working on – a reality television series about the UK’s health and ambulance service.
I’ve heard from a couple people that it can be incredibly tough and stressful work, with long hours and pressured tasks. Was it something you really enjoyed, or did you also find it quite stressful?
The work placement was a great opportunity – there is such a wide range of things that you can do at ENVY. As a runner, I didn’t feel stressed myself, but I certainly saw how busy people were. The process for a runner to become an operator is a very long one, and being a runner gives you an opportunity to show that you are prepared to put in extra hours. Ultimately, ENVY wants to work with people who are willing to work hard and properly.
Would you say that being a runner is the easiest way into media and becoming a producer?
I believe so. Most of the people I met at ENVY started as runners. The only one who went straight into the job that I know of was the doubling mixer; he had to study Audio at university and get a Masters degree – I think he studied for five or six years altogether. The only other way is entering the industry as a runner. Another thing to consider is that technology changes so quickly, so work experience is the best way to keep up to date. Even if you have a degree, the chances are that you won’t have had the access to the technology that a post-production house such as ENVY has – computers there can cost up to £200,000 per machine.
Do you want to pursue media as a career?
I’m very interested in the media industry. Right now, my goals are to get a university degree, and then perhaps enter the industry, or further my studies. I haven’t explored all the areas that this industry has to offer and so I would like to have a look at them before making a final decision.
How do you think studying BTEC Media prepared you for your work experience placement?
The BTEC media workload is continuous – it’s non-stop, throughout the whole year. It has helped me become a much more organised person, and realise the importance of time management. As I worked as a runner, the main skills I had to use related to hospitality – being kind, starting conversations with others, creating a nice environment around me. I think that was amongst the most important things I did at ENVY. I also had to make sure that I got to work on time – this was greatly valued at the company, and I knew that I was very lucky to be receiving work experience in a post-production house such as ENVY.
Was there any part of post-production that enjoyed more than you thought you would?
At the beginning of the placement, I thought I wouldn’t like audio and grading. However, when I actually practiced them, I changed my mind completely. I saw how important they were, and they turned out to be amongst my favourite departments. The people there were also extremely nice. The work process was much more instinctive than I originally thought, and that really impressed me.
What was your favourite part of the work experience placement?
I’d say… yeah, pretty much all of it! Talking to people about their experiences was very useful for me; it gave me some very good ideas for the future, and helped me to make choices in terms of what I’d like to do after Bede’s. One of my discoveries was that there is not a specific degree you have to study to work in this industry, which means that you are free to study whatever you enjoy the most – in my case Media and Modern Foreign Languages.
I think that’s all the questions I have – is there is anything else you want to add?
The people at ENVY were marvellous – very professional and very polite. Even though they were incredibly busy people, they would always have time to talk to me about their personal experiences. I really appreciated their time, and wish them the very best of luck. ENVY is a fantastic post-production house, and being able to say I worked there is an achievement that I’m very proud of.