On a recent day in mid-September, the freshly-renovated, 5,000-sf new home of production and post company October on Chicago’s west side was pretty much out of equipment. Chris DeWinter could not have been more pleased.
“We’re shooting three jobs right now,” explained the partner and cofounder. “When we get to just put our lenses and our efforts on just capturing the story in a really cool, engaging way, we’re creating our best content.”
The day’s production schedule included a food spot for Aldi, a pharmaceutical spot for Astellas and a variety show type interview with Action Bronson for the entertainment web series A Drink With.
DeWinter had no trouble listing the gear out on location.
“C300 Mark IIs, C100 Mark IIs, Mark 1s,” he said. “We have Sony A7Ss, 5Ds. We have the ARRI Sky Panel and some Jokers, a couple 800s and 400s, Divas, all the grip equipment … We have everything in-house to do whatever you need on set.”
The half-full storage area is one of many custom-designed rooms inside the former Sherman tank and Harley Davidson parts manufacturing facility where he and his partners, Ashley Nath and Chris Palese, moved the company early this summer.
Over the past six years, October has also grown outside Chicago to help serve the national and international production & post community.
“The team is on flights all the time,” says DeWinter. “Amsterdam, London and NY … we were just in Munich on a five-day shoot.”
One of the more memorable recent trips for Abbott Labs landed the crew in the English countryside and at a wonderful 300 year-old brewery in Henley-on-Thames.
“We were shooting for the Optics division and had such a rewarding time collaborating and discussing visuals with folks who are obsessed with what we see and how.”
The renovated interior of the new office includes three private edit suites, six edit workstations, a production studio, a green screen, an audio room and a lofted casual area where October’s GoldenDoodle, Murphy, is always happy to welcome visitors.
When needed, the casual area can be converted into more than one workstation.
“We wired it with ten-gig double lines of fiber and cat 6A,” explains DeWinter. “All of our systems are connected.”
Resourceful, indeed; but it’s not the only room designed to handle more than one task.
“We have a full kitchen so we can do a proper food shoot,” he continues. “You can’t film how to make a blueberry muffin without an oven.”
Just off the kitchen is a nook that has been converted into a client workstation complete with desk, phone and an internet connection.
An intricate, beamed ceiling covers the entire structure. It is a detail that DeWinter, the son of an architect, knew how to enhance.
“This is a beautiful bowstring truss,” he says. “We made sure that it remains visible in every room.” He also personally selected most of the reclaimed wood used to construct the interior.
The surrounding neighborhood is a burrow of warehouses converted into galleries, studios and restaurants. Located near the intersection of Grand and Ashland Ave., it is steps away from The Cobra Lounge, All Rise Brewing Company, and Crate & Barrel’s massive photography facility.
On October 26, DeWinter and his partners will fill the space with members of Chicago’s advertising and film community for the first annual Reel Octoberfest.
To do it right, they aim to close part of nearby Kinzie St. and make it a block party.
“I’m sure a couple of folks will probably be wearing lederhosen,” says DeWinter. “Last time we shot in Germany, a few of us came home with authentic lederhosen.”
To check out October’s recent work, see below. To learn more about the company, click here.