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London. What happened to Soho?

Updated: May 24, 2022

I travelled to London recently to purchase a Broncolor light Generator pack. What I discovered in Soho literally ripped my heart out.

'Never Go Back'

Soho was the centre of Film Post Production in London throughout the 80's, 90's and through to my last visit to London in 2010. But as I walked past 64 Dean St, the place where I had forged my career at VTR, one of the most prestigious post companies in London, the building stands as a monumental shell of what it once was.

VTR was bought out many years ago by Prime Focus and the post production services continued in that building. I was hurt to see it is now as a Michelin Star restaurant with accountants above it. The fact is, the whole of Soho has become restaurants and bars. Each street that once had varying degree of character or significance has blurred into one street repeated over and over.

All the history of all the great post and production companies has been wiped from Soho, which I find heart breaking, In the late 80's and 90's it was a romantic era for film post production as we innovated and developed incredible new techniques. We made advances in visual effects as we pioneered the transition from analogue to digital. I was pushing hardware and software to its breaking point and then beyond to deliver the demands of advertising agencies, production companies and music video artists.

It was the 90's and I adapted software to purposes it was never intended or considered applicable by its creators.

I was directly feeding back to engineers applications and adaptions to shape the post production software which has become in many ways today's standard. The things I would do manually have been incorporated into advance software that is nothing more than a push of a button. It is great, except it only can take you so far before you either end the shot or revert to manual skills. Those skills are not so prevalent in today's post industry.

The world is ever changing, but sometimes it loses something so precious and only those who lived in that era can possibly understand the tragic loss.

My journey as I moved out from inner London brought back memories of fond times and great friends. But I feel that my memories of Soho have been ripped apart and it makes me feel like a part of my life has been erased as it now only exists in the memories of those who lived it and it will fade and die as we do.

I guess that is why I say,

'never go back'.

From 2010 Xmas

©2022 Noel Castley-Wright

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