Manchester: a go-to destination for TV and film production

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

It’s a long time since the BBC first signalled its intention to move jobs to Manchester in 2004 - and in that time Manchester’s media production scene has exploded. Today we find that Manchester has become the go-to city for TV and film production outside of the capital. And as we spend more time in this region, we’re meeting the people who help nurture and grow this industry.

Manchester: a go-to destination for TV and film production

The past year has been an exciting one for us here at Escape as we take our services and expertise beyond the M25 boarder to work with brilliantly creative folk in Leeds, Manchester, Leamington Spa, Birmingham, Dundee, Glasgow, Nottingham and Newcastle. Each city is developing their own unique creative hub - pioneering in game development, 3D graphics, animation, film and TV production. But Manchester is the city that has stood out for the sheer scale of growth in the film and TV production sector.

Motion North

Earlier this month we attended Motion North, a bi-monthly event that nurtures the digital creative community in Manchester. Curated and organised by the energetic Jonathan Ashworth, this event is attended by motion designers, animators, filmmakers and VFX artists residing in the upper regions of the UK—getting together to share in their love of making things move. At this event we had the pleasure of seeing some of the great work created by local talent; RealtimeUK, Mighty Giant, Young, Fettle, Marcos Silva, Steven Swanborough and Mike Partington. We also enjoyed an insightful retrospective from Mike Moloney, Founder and Creative Director at Art&Graft, who shared the challenges and rewards experienced by his team at his motion-led design studio.

It was a great first visit for us and we look forward to continuing our support at this event.

Media City CTO Breakfast

In London we have hosted a great many CTO Breakfast events. Aimed at techies and senior artists we showcase new technologies that enhance production pipelines and invite technology vendors to share their roadmaps for solutions in development.

We’re hosting our next CTO Breakfast with Autodesk at MediaCityUK on 16 November. The Autodesk team have some exciting Maya updates to share as well as a number of other new tools and acquisitions, some of which are under NDA. If you’re in the area and would like to come along - you can register here >>

MediaCityUK Show

The annual KitPlus Show at MediaCityUK takes place on 8 November and is set to be the biggest and best yet. Timed perfectly with new releases from IBC in Amsterdam there will be lots of new products on show for hands-on testing. We’ll be attending alongside Autodesk to meet with local post production professionals and discuss latest features in Autodesk’s Maya, Shotgun and some interesting examples of how leading VFX and animation studios are using Stingray for high end previz.

If you’re attending - make sure to stop by our exhibition stand on the mezzanine level to say hello.

The Sharp Project

If you’re looking for TV and film production stages in Manchester or want a dedicated production office - you need to get in touch with The Sharp Project. This space is home to over 60 digital entrepreneurs and production companies specialising in digital content production, digital media and TV and film production. The space used to be the home of Sharp television sets - but is now an incubator for a great many start-up. We visited the space earlier this month and are in the process of planning a few events to host here. We’re also convinced we need to rent an office space here, quoted at £55p/week :)

It’s all kicking off in Manchester, and this growth is set to continue with Manchester City Council granting a further £14 million into the expansion of The Space Project, West Gorton, east Manchester - a sister project to The Sharp Project mentioned above. Creating 275 jobs and boosting the local economy by nearly £10million a year - it’s just another example of how Manchester’s production scene is undergoing an incredibly exciting transformation - making it a very competitive destination for film and TV production in the UK.