Q&A with The Hettema Group’s Head of Media Production Eric Hungerford


eric_hungerford_hettemaQ: Tell us about Hettema.

EH: The Hettema Group was created by Universal Studio’s creative executive Phil Hettema. In the mid-90’s he led the designing of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, becoming a direct competitor to Disney. He created The Hettema Group in 2002, and since then it has been the driving creative force on a lot of culturally significant media-based special venue projects since then. Some key projects include Beyond All Boundaries, a 4D theater experience at the WWII museum in New Orleans, the High Roller observation wheel for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and the One World Observatory observation deck in New York City.

Q: Tell us about your role at Hettema.

EH: I’m the Director of Media Production. I serve as either producer or executive producer on any media based projects that Hettema does.

Q: How did you find out about Facilis?

EH: I’ve used it throughout my career and as I’ve moved to increasingly complex and more demanding jobs, Facilis has always been reliable and it’s something I’ve always been able to stand on. The price point is very competitive as well, and it works well for us.

Q: What are some of the unique challenges you have with content creation?

EH: A lot of what we do is culturally-based, so a lot relies on gathering a lot of pre-existing material, and incorporating new footage with it. Our Facilis system allows us to have a central focal point of content that can be shared. When it comes to being able to access terabytes of material at any resolution, Facilis is the perfect solution. It is cost-effective, user-friendly, and the storage capability and ease of use is a real highlight for us.

Q: How easy is it to teach someone else how to use your Facilis system?

EH: The system is easy enough that any of our editors can administer and create volumes. Even if we bring in a temporary editor, it’s easy to explain. It’s intuitive enough that whether it’s an assistant editor or a seasoned editor coming to work on it, anybody can make sense of things.

Q: What other aspects attracted you to Facilis?

EH: The flexibility is key. There’s a discovery process when doing the kind of work we do. Facilis is allowing our editorial staff to be as fleet of foot as possible, which is a benefit for the project and for the company in general, to be able to creatively explore different avenues without ever worrying that the media pipeline will get bogged down. Frequently, the discovery process happens with clients in the room, so it’s critical that we never have technical glitches. Our Facilis system has enabled us to work much more efficiently. It makes the creative team happy, it makes the finance people happy, and it’s just a great solution.