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Chainsaw Builds On Legacy Of Excellence Servicing Awards Shows

The arrival of the New Year marks the start of Awards Season in Hollywood as various groups and organizations gear up to honor the best achievements of the previous year. Chainsaw, an LA based post production facility and division of The SIM Group, provides creative editorial and other post production services for many of the season’s most popular awards shows, including the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

“I love this time of year,” says Chainsaw co-founder Mike Polito, a 5-time Emmy Award-winner who’s been editing awards shows for more than 25 years. “Awards shows combine creativity, storytelling and live TV. What could be better than that?”

For more than a decade, Chainsaw has been responsible for preparing many of the pre-recorded segments featured on the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Oscars telecast including packages for nominee, winners and special awards.
while more of the editorial duties have been taken on by a team of Chainsaw editors including Tim Schultz and Ray Artis, Polito’s role with the Academy Awards has grown over time. For the past several years, he has enjoyed an associate director’s credit on the show. He is involved through the actual broadcast and is responsible for ensuring that the right clips get to air.

“It’s very different from what most editors do,” he says. “That’s why I love it so much; it’s an adrenalin rush.”

The technical demands revolving around the Oscars have have also grown more technically sophisticated. In recent years, Chainsaw has set up a microwave connection between its facility and production trucks parked outside the Dolby Theatre, where the live show takes place. “There is no tape, no drives,” Polito explains. “We playback a segment at our facility and 20-seconds later it is available on the truck and ready to go to air.”

Although the first months of the year are especially busy, Awards Season never really ends at Chainsaw. The facility services a dozen or more awards shows sprinkled throughout the calendar year. They run the gamut from celebrity-studded events such as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Kennedy Center Honors and The American Music Awards, to the Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, which honors achievements in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics.

Polito is quick to point out that each of these awards shows is the product of the work of hundreds of individuals. Editorial is only one aspect of what it takes to turn a public event into a few hours of compelling television.

“We have the horsepower,” Polito says. “Awards shows have real deadlines and we have plenty of resources and talent. We can apply as many editors to the task as needed to get the job done on time.”

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