The RED Dragon camera - one of our two principal hardware tools - does something wonderful with light, hands shot by CLAi on the Epic Dragon, color grading by Chris Layhe



But perhaps the most important aspect in making any film or video project a success is using a little bit of common sense from time to time.

It takes common sense and street smarts to identify a problem on a project or a shoot, isolate the cause and come up with a solution on the spot – and then immediately put it into action.  So I spend a lot of pre-production time designing the right workflows to avoid potential disasters, save money and give the best quality and creativity – and allow for the occasional change in direction… it’s all part of the total service CLAi provide to clients.

In such a high tech industry as film and video production working with the best tools and people available, and knowing both inside out, reduces this risk drastically. It’s a lesson that I’ve seen being learned the hard way so many times over the years…

shriners hospital surgery director Chris Layhe, Audio recordist Arthur Rosato, videographer, edited by Chris Layhe and Corey Sullivan, colorist Chris Layhe. Shot on RED Dragon camera in 4k


Chris Layhe and CLAi use a large number of tools - both physical and software - on every project undertaken.

These change constantly, both to stay on the cutting edge, and to be able to precisely match the tools used by our clients. They pretty much split into two camps, the hardware we use for digital cinema shooting, and the hardware and software that we use for post-production.

As a company we have a deliberate policy of being very “tool rich” – we try to own a very significant part of what we will need on any production.  This allows us to only buy the best equipment and software on the market, with cutting edge specifications and all of the bells and whistles to create complete production packages.

Doing so means that we don’t have to pass on very high rental costs on every project, as many companies do.  We can also be very flexible about scheduling, as we don’t have to worry about pieces not being available, or increased booking costs that have to be passed on. We always have the option to use better tools than a project might really need to get better results – without any extra cost.  And we train in depth to get the very most out of the best equipment (and practice to keep it fresh), and so never have to compromise because of lack of knowledge.

Just as with our equipment, to my way of thinking it’s a lot better to bring in some of the best freelance talents in the area on a contract if we have any holes in our production or post production needs that need filling on each project, than to compromise with lesser talent and lesser equipment.  Doing so without breaking the budget, well that is my problem… it just takes a little of that common sense – and maybe just a bit of magic!