Success

New Manchester TV production site – name and brand announced

The name for the UK’s newest drama production hub based in Manchester has been announced.  The 360,000 sq ft site is to be called The Space Project, reflecting the amount of space on offer, which will include 55,000 sq ft of dedicated studio space split into five purpose built, sound-proofed production stages. 

The Space Project

The Space Project

The visual identity has been developed by The Sharp Project team, Alistair Weir at PRP Architects and graphic designer Malcolm Garrett, The Space Project will have its own logo, yet sit within the branding already created for The Sharp Project.  Retaining the same style, the logo will again represent the building footprint.

Commenting on the branding Malcolm Garrett said: “There is a built-in graphic flexibility that allows for current and future expansion of the ‘Project’ family.  The Space Project has its own distinct brand mark, but by using type and colours in the same way it will be instantly recognisable as part of a bigger story.”

Entrance CGI

Entrance CGI

The site in West Gorton, which is ten minutes from Manchester city centre, is due to open in May this year. In addition to the production space the building will house construction workshops, prop stores, and flexible office space for short and long term production rentals.  Five new entry level roles will be created via the SharpFutures talent pool and, when fully let; up to 500 people will be employed on site by production companies and tenants.

Internal CGI

Internal CGI

With four stages at 11,500 sq ft and a fifth of 9,000 sq ft with a large infinity cove they are all air-conditioned, acoustically treated for sound separation, and enhanced reverberation and acoustic performance, fitted with lighting rigs with I beams, 1GB fibre internet with 36 wireless access points, secure overnight parking and designated hair and make-up facilities.

Dedicated support space directly adjacent to each of the stages will include a full suite of dressing rooms, shower facilities and an onsite laundry, as well as extensive flexible support space providing tenants with conveniently located production offices. The 10,000 sq. ft. prop shop situated adjacent to the rear stages is linked to the stage via an extensive canopy, so sets / props can be transferred with ease, not subject to weather.

External canopy CGI

External canopy CGI

24/7 security, a purpose built canteen, landscaped outdoor amenity, screening and conference rooms will provide the finishing touches to a development designed to give production companies access to extensive space options, combined with an intelligently planned support infrastructure benefitting from a highly competitive rate card.

The Space Project has been devised by Sue Woodward OBE, Project Director at The Sharp Project, who continues to oversee all aspects of construction, management and delivery.  Commenting on the new development she said:  “It’s important for the region’s economy to capitalise on the UK’s expanding drama production sector which, in part, is driven by tax breaks introduced by the Government last April 2013. The Space Project creates a new offer for the North of England that will generate interest from producers and broadcasters both in the UK and overseas.  With so much high spec production and back stage space available it seemed fitting to call the building The Space Project.  To have a purpose built drama stage complex in Manchester is very exciting and will help satisfy the relentless demand for such facilities here in the UK.”

The drama facility is part of Manchester City Council’s creative digital asset base that has been created following the success of The Sharp Project.  Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council said:  “Just a ten minute drive from its sister site on Oldham Road, The Space Project will add to Manchester’s creative digital portfolio and provide an important addition to the successful production facilities at The Sharp Project. The new site will create employment opportunities in the sector for local people.”

Manchester based firm PRP Architects, who designed The Sharp Project, has been commissioned again for The Space Project. The building contractor is Willmott Dixon and Project Management is being delivered by MACE with Turner Townsend overseeing finance.

For more information on the new site and to discuss bookings, please email enquiries@thespaceproject.tv or call 0161 205 5508 or visit www.thespaceproject.tv

The Space Project holding page has been created by The Drawing Room

Public Sector Partners:

The drama facility is part of Manchester City Council’s digital asset base that has been created following the success of The Sharp Project.  Manchester City Council is funding the drama facility in conjunction with the following agencies:

The drama hub project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.

For more information please click here

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England, and the Regulator of Social Housing Providers.  Through the Economic Assets Programme, which aims to support local economic growth and regeneration for local communities, HCA funding of £500,000 has been provided for enabling works at the new drama production site..

For more information about the HCA, click here or follow on Twitter.

Public sector partners

Public sector partners

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A year in the life of The Sharp Project…

So as we get into 2014 we thought we’d take a quick look at what happened here in  Newton Heath in 2013, a year when TV production, creative agencies, digital businesses, green screen shoots and events all converged in the myriad of spaces of The Sharp Project.

Hopefully we’ve included enough to give an insight into what was a very busy 2013 for everyone either based on site or those who engaged with them. Due to space and time we’ve no doubt missed some people so please do let us know if you should be getting a mention..

So here we go, 2013 at The Sharp Project, a brief(ish) summary:

Zemap filming Jaguar F-Type launch

Zemap filming Jaguar F-Type launch

There was no time to ease ourselves into the New Year as January saw The Campus being transformed into a launch platform for Jaguar’s brand new F-Type sports car. Over three days and nights, The Campus played host to 100’s of special guests who’d travelled to Newton Heath to view the new model. Photos from the launch can be viewed on The Campus’  Facebook page.

Later that month an additional six shipping containers were added to Red Street. The four doubles and two singles brought the total number to 32, comprising 16 double and 16 single spaces. And with more space came more tenants – DigitalNext moved into Gold, expanding their core offering of SEO and marketing into a wide range of online services and growing from nine staff to twenty, five of whom are young apprentices.

February welcomed Tiger Aspect back to The Sharp Project to start rigging the set for the 3rd series of Sky Living’s Mount Pleasant. Occupying Stages Two and Three alongside production offices, prop stores, make up and dressing rooms, Mount Pleasant series 3 aired to widespread acclaim later in the year.

To mark International Women’s Day in March, The Sharp Project invited digitally-minded women to a day of master classes, keynotes and panel discussions entitled Digital Teapot. Created by SharpFutures, it was an event to inspire women to think about the opportunities within the creative and digital technology sector. Photos of event can be found here.

Also in March, The Sharp Project indulged in high culture to create a fancy dress / One Direction-themed interpretation of the Harlem Shake. The video was created by Colin Boulter (Nielson Reeves Photography) with support and costume provision from Chris Buckley / Pixel Kicks (who added the One Direction twist) bringing 80+ tenants together into a somewhat un-coordinated but very fancily dressed troupe. The video has 82,000+ views to date….

Production on Objective Production’s hit comedy Fresh Meat started in April in Stage Four. As with Mount Pleasant, Fresh Meat was returning for their third series, going on to film Fresh Meat Unlocked in addition. As with the first two series, it proved hugely popular across the board

STUDIO 008

STUDIO 008

May saw the launch of brand new green screen studios, ranging in size from 500–1300 square feet. In addition to offering a tailor-made green screen facility, the studios can be used for voice-overs, castings, photography, corporate advertising and music videos.

Sharp Project tenant AppLearn announced their expansion with the long-term lease of two of the new green screen facilities whilst also doubling their accommodation. Read more about AppLearn’s expansions here.

The green screen studios opening was made official in June, at Event 005. As well as opportunity for people to see the new facilities demo’d, Event 005 hosted a panel on the future of regional broadcasting, chaired by Prolific North, UX workshops, balloons and of course, a roller disco. As you’d expect. Want to see photos of the disco? Of course you do.

Colin Boulter at Nielsen Reeves involved Chesney Hawkes, George Sampson, Helen Pawson, AppLearn, InventID and Pixelkicks in creating the world’s first ever 360 Hadouken – you can read how, here.

Later in June, The Sharp Project opened it’s doors to 4 local schools for a series of ‘Creative Digital Experience Day’, produced by SharpFutures. Read more about MCM Academy’s day here: or click here to see photos from when St Peters RC High School visited..

Amanda’s Catering launched their new website this month too, a project with fellow tenants Sizzle Media.  Amanda and her team continued to work dawn to dusk each in The Campus, catering events as well as providing daily food & drink, non-stop!

CoderDojo

CoderDojo

July marked the inaugural hosting of CoderDojo Manchester. CoderDojo is a worldwide network of young programmers and hackers, with over 100 dojos taking place all over the world. Over120 young coding and tech enthusiasts gathered in The Campus on a Sunday afternoon getting to learn, develop and code together on platforms such as Minecraft, Raspberry Pi and Scratch. Photos from the most recent CoderDojo at The Sharp Project can be found here & keep an eye on the Manchester CoderDojo website for details of events in 2014.

As we headed into high summer, August saw Fresh Meat and Mount Pleasant complete production and de-rig. There were more green screen productions and a highlight of our  sporting calendar, the annual Campus Sports Day. Tenant verses tenant across table tennis, pool and table football – the Digital Next team swept the leaders board across all disciplines, all that practice paying off…

80 Hertz released a new website, produced by their next door neighbours Project Simply, which detailed not only the music production aspects of the studio but also post production, ISDN voice over and ADR. George and his team expanding into band broadcasts from the 80 Hertz live room  – on a Friday it’s now not uncommon to see a band heading in and getting ready to play live on Japanese television.

September saw The Drawing Room hard at work producing artwork and brand for Cicchetti’s VOGUE Fashion Night Out event as well as delivering the CGI run through for the new drama hub site in Gorton.

The Sharp Project from The Drawing Room on Vimeo.

In October, regeneration consultancy firm Eksogen released their report into job creation and business development at The Sharp Project, you can read the report here. The reported detailed the impact that The Sharp Project has had on Manchester and the wider creative & digital sector, in creating jobs and bringing in investment.

Degree 53

Degree 53

Continuing the job creation theme, October saw the unveiling of Degree 53 who are located upstairs in Blue and now employing over 50 staff across app development, coding and design with more expansion planned for the new year. An amazing success for the team of 8 that moved into The Sharp Project in 2011.

LEANCONF

LEANCONF

LeanConf Manchester took place across the site on the last weekend of October. Billed as ‘a Lean Startup, Lean UX and Product conference for entrepreneurs, designers and innovators’, LeanConf brought together delegates from across the world for two days of ideas sharing, keynotes, workshops and socialising. We look forward to LeanConf 2014.

Advertising and production companies continued to come through The Sharp Project’s doors in November, using the green screen studios as well as working with a wide variety of tenants based onsite. Little Orchard Productions and Maverick TV were just two of them, making the most of the short-term hire basis. 

Digital Next invited  Kieran Brown in, as part of their “Britain’s Got Digital Talent” Project. Check out the video. The lad’s got skills

November also featured the premier of ‘Lost Generation’, filmed in part on location around The Sharp Project, directed by Red tenant Mark Ashmore and the Future Artists collective.

As we approached the end of year there was focus on the new forensic businesses based within The Sharp Project,  all developing fast as a unique specialism within the wider digital sector. In addition, Touchsoft continued their work in developing apps with the NHS.

CoderDojo 1st Brithday

CoderDojo 1st Birthday

December continued in the form of the 11 months previous with a scope of happenings such as CoderDojo Manchester celebrating its first birthday in The Campus, Chesney Hawkes (plus a man in a very convincing orangutan suit) rehearse a flash mob in Stage One, Brain Cosgrove interviewed as part of the excellent Manimation event and the spotting of a ghost from Christmas Future…

The Guardian were onsite in December, taking photos for a feature on Manchester’s leading tech companies – read on, here.

Across the year, our tenants continued to win awards – Eloise Whitmore, winning two Radio Academy Awards for Best Sound Designer and Best Producer, Laura Harper from Ward Hadaway won Professional Advisor of the Year at the 2013 Mancoolian Awards and Tunafish Media’s Ric Brooks won ‘Young digital, media or creative professional at the JCI MYTA Awards as co-director Sam Jones won the ‘Business Development Professional’ at The Made in Manchester Awards (as well as gaining global press attention with his Captain Manchester campaign, launching a comic book series in the process…)

Darren ELP in middle

Darren ELP in middle

Darren Fletcher from ELP Lighting claimed the ‘most interesting location for a shoot’ award by travelling to Afghanistan in December, to provide lighting on ‘Gary Barlow’s Journey To…’

Where will we be by 2015? …. we’re gonna need a smaller font…

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The Sharp Project launches new studio facilities

STUDIO 08

STUDIO 08 at THE SHARP PROJECT

The Sharp Project, Manchester’s digital content production complex in east Manchester, has constructed a purpose-built suite of four fully sound-proofed studios, believed to be the only dedicated green screen suite in the UK.

The studios range in size from 450 sq ft to 1270 sq ft, are fully air conditioned. In addition to being a tailor-made green screen facility, the studios can be used for voice-overs, castings, photography, corporate ads and music videos. They are available on short or long term leases from as little as £350 for a day from next month.

This suite of studios compliments the four existing production stages designed for large scale TV and film production which range from 6,200sq ft to 28,000 sqft and are up to 25 ft in height. These facilities currently house the sets for Sky Television’s ‘Mount Pleasant’ and Channel 4’s ‘Fresh Meat’ comedy dramas.

Sue Woodward OBE, Director of The Sharp Project and Manchester’s Creative Champion said: “Production and post-production is a growth sector and if Manchester is to capitalise on the global opportunity we need to be able to offer professional services to a wide range of markets including corporate production companies.”

“There is increasing demand for dedicated green screen studios complete with cycloramas and sound proofing, triggered by the growth of digital content production and the need for bite-sized snippets of digital media in many formats for use across all business sectors in the modern world. At The Sharp Project we can now offer a complete range of studio space for productions of all shapes and sizes. ”

A launch event will take place on Wednesday 12 June from 5pm to 9pm with tours, a panel discussion, live demos, workshops and a roller disco. For full details and guest list enquiries visit www.thesharpproject.co.uk/event005

For more information, follow The Sharp Project on Twitter @sharpproject

Photograph of Studio 08 by Neilson Reeves Photography
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Tenant at The Sharp Project gets top regional award

Photo by Thomas Rothwell, SharpFutures

Sam Jones, Founder and Director of Tunafish Media, a multimedia production company based at The Sharp Project has been awarded the title of Manchester’s business development professional of the year at the Made in Manchester Awards.

The 24 year old from Failsworth beat off stiff competition from a range of shortlisted people from high profile companies including George Davies Solicitors LLP and RBS.

The company, established in January 2011 has a strong client base that includes Nissan, Mercedes Rygor, Harvey Nichols, Forever Manchester and Glidden Trade Paint. Tunafish has also made a number of music videos for a host of bands including The Last Party, Cheap Cuts and Danny Mahon, as well as being featured as the North-West media company to watch by GQ.

Tunafish Media

Sam Jones, commenting on his award said: “The judges said they were impressed with our entrepreneurial spirit and the fact that we established the company from scratch in the middle of a recession but were still able to acquire a good customer base. To win was completely unexpected. We’ve worked really hard to get Tunafish up and running and it is really nice to receive some recognition for that. Being based at The Sharp Project is great and has without doubt contributed to our success as it’s an environment that nature start-ups and encourages growth. ‘

Sue Woodward, Director of The Sharp Project added: “We’re really proud of Sam and the Tunafish team. They are long standing tenants and have really have embraced our ethos and become part of our unique ecology, collaborating with other tenants. They represent what The Sharp Project is all about.”

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The Sharp Project 2012 Roundup

The Sharp Project

With the national and European economies still being squeezed by torpor and crisis throughout 2012, The Sharp Project has proved to be an oasis of creativity, consolidation and steady growth. Sure, as a home for start-ups, the only way probably is up, but The Sharp Project is more than that. We’ve seen major TV productions, inspirational new tenants, Campus membership introduced and a monumental step forward for Manchester as a digital and technical hub. And there are still 20 days left!

This time last year, folks at The Sharp Project were preparing for the Christmas do and we were taking a rare excursion from future-tugging to reflect on the accomplishments of 2011. While all at the Project were naturally excited and optimistic about its own successes and potential, it was amid a national and global economic downturn without too many signs of recovery. So it’s interesting now, as 2012 loosens its grip on our nation’s psyche, to see what this year has brought – even if it’s only to check our trajectory. Continue reading

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In-house Outsourcing with Zemap

Since it resided on a drawing board, The Sharp Project has made its purpose clear: to be a hub for small creative digital operations and the industries that assist them. Much is made of the potential for a tenant to pick different talents from within the building to fill a need for a particular assignment, and to a degree it happens; indeed it’s almost inevitable with such breadth and depth available. But when Zemap, a video production tenant, needed some holes filling pronto, they decided to keep it in the house – and got a result.

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Set Your Dolly Free: Flyka Glides In

People who use swans as a metaphor for grace being driven by hidden exertion must never have visited a film set. The amount of stuff going on behind the camera and dangling over actors’ heads gives little clue about the polished finished product. Inside the industry, though, the quest to simplify the back end has been an ongoing one, the cameras themselves being a case in point. Static scenes are simple enough – just mount a camera and you’re away. And moving along a straight line can be done using rails. But when it comes to filming things that are moving from a close perspective or where rails cannot be put down, the results can be unconvincing or unintentionally amusing.

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Licence to Create: Ward Hadaway’s IP Lawyers

Intellectual property law is often seen as only affecting creative concerns, but in reality it affects all businesses. That said, it’s often the creative companies that are entrusted with the tricky task of compliance, which is why Laura Harper, Head of Creative Industries at Ward Hadaway, thought setting up shop in Manchester’s newest hive of inventiveness would be a great idea.

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Mo Cap One: Motion Capture your Imagination

Visualisation of products and places that don’t exist serves several purposes: selling ideas to financiers, assisting the production process, allowing fine-tuning of designs and promoting plans to the public, not to mention creating self-contained works of art and entertainment. But to look their best, especially to an audience whose expectations increase in line with technology, any visualisation needs to use a blend of technical mastery and design excellence to create efficient but believable visuals. (Some of us remember being wowed by Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing video. Now look at it!) Nowadays visualisation can often mean entering the fourth dimension, with fly-throughs, walk-throughs and probably swim-throughs putting new demands on visual designers – demands that Mo Cap One are facing every day.

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Project:Simply do the White Thing

Web design used to feature two dominant disciplines: graphic design and programming. Getting a website found was achieved through their combined expertise and good marketing. But as the sector matured and competitiveness grew, searchability became a vital consideration, and search engine optimisation (SEO) began to justify its position as a distinct third task in making a successful web presence. SEO also provided Sharp with its very first tenants – Project:Simply.

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