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Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?

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Tom Cooper
Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?
on May 8, 2014 at 3:56:34 pm

Hi all,

We're planning to expand our production company over a new floor of our building. Part of this is to install 6 new offline suites. I've been trying to push for making 2 larger suites and 6 smaller ones. To make the space for this the layout of the smaller suites would likely have the edit suites facing the windows. I've had various feedback from editors about this and for the most part they are horrified by the idea.

I've seen plenty of post houses with this setup and I can't see the issue if you have blackout blinds for really sunny days. Plus the windows are north facing. I absolutely do not want to mess up the design though if it will compromise the edits in any way. Has anyone had experience with particular issues with edit suites facing windows?

p.s. these are offlines suites, we won't be grading in them.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?
on May 8, 2014 at 6:51:10 pm

I'm finding it hard to imagine a desk large enough to have two people working side by side and laying out a reasonable amount of script/research/logging notes paperwork, i.e., the kind of thing that you typically need to do in an offline edit, in a room where you couldn't spin it by 90 degrees to be against the side wall instead of being against the window.

To be honest, I have worked in facilities where they have that layout and there's only really a problem if there isn't enough space to walk around the desk to adjust the blinds/window opening. It's just a shame to have to block out the natural light on bright days.


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Tom Cooper
Re: Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?
on May 9, 2014 at 9:40:33 am

Ah I did miss out an important detail and that is that we would like to have some kind of soft client area at the back of the room for viewings. This could be a sofa and table or arm chairs with an ethernet connection for laptops. Because the rooms would be shorter across the window side it would be more practical to have the desk against the window and the sofa at the back of the room. Having the suite the other way would mean we have to make the suites wider to have a little space between the desk and the client seating.

Thanks for the feedback though. There was a suggestion also to have two blinds, one which is partially opaque to block out harsh light and distractions outside but let in natural light, and a black out blind inside of that to block out everything.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?
on May 9, 2014 at 12:44:07 pm

I'm one of those troglodytes that wants the edit room windowless. My office has a terrific view with a southern exposure, and my computer for correspondence is against that window, so I can look out at the view in between moments. Even there, the light sometimes is too strong to work comfortably without eyestrain, so the window has shades mostly drawn.

But I edit in a "batcave", and even if it's not a Hollywood-level grading session, I prefer the black box, with the walls a mid-grey, and the overall lighting balanced for color neutrality and a comfortable contrast level.

I like that the focus is entirely on the monitors, without distractions or even a sense of time. It's church, it's a realm of hyper-focus. It's not just the controlled lighting, but also the need for sound-isolated space to listen and work in. A lot of times you're looping some audio over and over, or turning up a piece to listen to it, and that can drive other people nearby crazy. Likewise, you don't need to hear extraneous noise while trying to mix.

When I'm spending tedious hours building graphics or rotoscoping, I do like to have my tunes on, to keep me motivated and awake, but there again, I like to close the door so as not to burden nearby co-workers with my musical taste.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?
on May 9, 2014 at 3:16:19 pm

I spent enough years working in rooms with no windows that I ended up having to take prescription strength vitamin D pills, so I really value natural light these days. But really, facing a window isn't all that big a deal, I prefer it to the side so that the blinds can be left open for more of the time but two levels of curtaining sounds a great solution.

I have worked in a couple of different facilities with a mixture of different sized rooms, where the smaller ones weren't big enough for more than 3 or 4 people in the room at once but we just opened the project in one of the bigger rooms (or even in a meeting room in one place) for viewings. Again it's not all that big a deal when you get used to it.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?
on May 11, 2014 at 1:22:04 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on May 11, 2014 at 1:23:15 pm

I personally prefer windows either to the side or behind. But with shades and black-out shades as needed. Then you can control the amount of light. For offline editing, a bit of lightness is OK. For color correction - darker. FWIW - here are some various floor plans I worked up awhile back.

http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/edit-suite-floor-plans/

Click the images for expanded views.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: Edit desk facing the window, is it a problem?
on Jun 15, 2014 at 5:37:42 am

It sounds weird to me. With windows behind you get all the glare on your monitors. Facing windows you get none unless you paint your walls white and wear white shirts.

On a related topic, why all you people put your preview monitor to your side? Mine is directly in front of me and I always get weeks of neck pain after working in someone's room.


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