For the July Spotlight feature, UK Screen Alliance hears from, Nick Long, Managing Director of the UK’s longest established editing equipment rental company, Salon Rentals, and how they’ve gone from strength to strength heroically supporting the post-production industry for over 5 decades.
Salon Rentals is the UK’s longest established editing equipment hire company, founded in 1970 – Could you give us some insight into how the company first began?
We were originally in production (in fact earlier than 1970 but we had to settle on a firm date when we started to resemble a proper company) and we had a small amount of our own editing equipment. Filmmakers Golan & Globus came to us when we weren’t using the kit and asked if they could rent our Steenbeck (linear editing table), our cutting room and our Mickey Mouse phone, so that’s where it all began (we still have the Mickey Mouse phone today in the Salon archives!). The company was started by Peter & Stanley Long, my father & uncle, Stanley passed away some years ago but dad still comes in from time to time to visit and say hello. The industry has changed a lot since he was last involved which is nearly 15+ years ago now.
Salon Rentals is celebrating 50 years in the film and TV industry this year – Congratulations and happy anniversary! Will you be commemorating this in any way?
Well, we had a massive party planned at an amazing central London venue, we were all really excited but a few days before we were due to sign the deal, lock-down happened! So sadly it’s looking like it will be a 51st birthday instead, we would prefer to have a big party with all our friends and family rather than a socially distant one so I think we will just wait patiently.
Over the years the company has gone from strength to strength adapting for the changes in requirements in the post production industry. You recently launched the salon cloud services to help remote collaboration amongst teams – can you tell us more about this?
Yes, we have seen a lot of changes, people come and go and technologies adapt. We saw the move from Linear to NonLinear, we used to have over 200 Steenbeck’s for rental (we still have a few for historical purposes) but now we have over 200 NLE systems instead..times have changed. Covid19 has been a bit of a catalyst for a lot of the work we had been doing over the last 12 months with regards to remote working. Salon Cloud services encompasses a whole range of remote working options as we are fully aware that no two jobs are the same. We can spin up virtual machines and storage in the cloud for those that prefer it, we can setup clients with Teradici or HP ZCentral remote access software for others and now we can also connect multiple edits anywhere to our new SalonSync service, a high speed hands free file transfer system that allows editors to work on full systems at home but keep local media in sync without having to do anything. Our system handles the whole process and we can provide Project sharing with it too, we have worked with a number of tech manufacturers and then used our own development team to combine them all, a salon glue so to speak. With SalonSync, Remote Access and Virtualized services we really can cater for any requirement in any location, our mission statement throughout this pandemic has been ‘supporting you wherever you choose to be’.
Given the difficult times we are all experiencing, how do you see the UK Post-production industry currently, and what do you hope for the future in the sector?
In 50 years we have seen a lot of ups and downs, the industry always gets through it but there are sadly always casualties, and this one will be no different. It really all depends how fast proper levels of filming return, there is a lot of talk of ‘some’ productions restarting but that won’t be enough to keep everyone buoyant. I think it could be a while before people have the desire or need to return to traditional edit suites, and some may never so we have to adapt. Once things start to normalise somewhat we will see a massive drive as everyone rushes to create as much as they can to fill all the outlets backup with new content – there are only so many repeats people can stand, I personally think I’ve nearly completed all the streaming services!
Are there any favourite projects/milestones of yours which Salon Rentals has completed within the last few years?
Wow, well we have done a lot! There are many classics throughout our history that we are proud to have been a part of, both large and small. As for the last few years well, supplying flagship series like The Great British Bake Off year after year is an absolute honour and they are fantastic people to work with. Major features like Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy films were incredible, both Paddington movies were fun and recently working with the brilliant Steve McQueen on Widows was a highlight too. Slightly differently to feature & drama though, last year we were extremely honoured to have provided kit and advice to Stamp Productions, and the Spitfire Longest flight team as they completed a round the world journey in a Silver Spitfire!
Can you tell us anything about what may be on the horizon for Salon Rentals?
Lots more remote working I think, at least in the short to medium term. Our R & D team are working on a number of cool enhancements to our systems and services to get people working even more collaboratively and seamlessly. We will also continue to grow our storage sales business Salon Pro Sales as it compliments our rental side. We are looking forward to the next 50 years and what changes that brings.
Thank you for your time Nick!
Visit Salon Rentals website: salonrentals.com