George Baker – Lights, Camera, Action
For those of you who had the pleasure of watching Little Mix’s performance on the ‘Jonathan Ross’ show the other night, you may be interested to know that the amazing special effects were organised by a familiar local.
George Baker, Ipswich born and bred, started his own special effects company, Encore SFX, with a friend a year and a half ago after studying at university and working in the light and sound industry since the age of thirteen.
George said: “It feels strange to say but it kind of becomes the norm. The stakes are much higher on these shows, there are always a lot of people watching and that can be a lot of pressure initially. When we did Glastonbury, that went live to about 20 million people, which is absolutely insane. It can be quite daunting but you get into a workflow of how you deal with those kind of shows and that’s why we’ve got our name kind of doing what we’re doing really. It’s all very fast-paced but it is always just such a good and fun environment to work in.”
As well as helping Little Mix put on an amazing show for the ‘Jonathan Ross Show’, George and Encore SFX also did the special effects for Little Mix’s TV show: ‘The Search’ as well as ‘The Greatest Dancer’. Not only do Encore SFX do huge shows and festivals, they also work in theatre as well, helping with the special effects for the ‘Back to the Future’ musical production coming to London next year.
“We created the flame tracks on the Delorian and it was so much fun. It’s been great to experiment with it all and it’s nice to have some different things to do other than the festivals and shows. I just can’t wait to see people’s reactions to it.”
Despite the fact that Encore SFX has gone on to do such huge events, George laments that they want to remain as local as possible, especially during these times where the live events industry is suffering such huge losses. Recently, George and his team worked on Glenham Hall’s ‘Light It In Red’ event to raise support for the events industry to survive the pandemic.
Some of our loyal followers might even remember that George helped all of us here at Grapevine out during Ipswich Music Day in 2014 by being a sound engineer for the GrapevineLive stage.
“You’ve got to remember where you came from. The moment you stop doing that is the moment you lose your credibility I think. Suffolk in particular has such a good events vibe around here with so much potential, I’ve seen it at local events like Music Day. There are some really talented companies out here who are really very good at what they do and deserve to be working on more gigs. Those kinds of things are really important to the community, especially right now. It’s all well and good doing all these big shows but they’re more like the cherry on top- the heart of our company is here in Ipswich and will continue to be so.”
Of course, during this pandemic, Encore SFX has slightly suffered, being that so many gigs and live events have either been canceled or postponed. George explains, however, how important it is that we continue to support live events in the area post-lockdown:
“I think there are some important things to take from these days, especially in the events industry. Don’t wait to buy tickets to a gig to see if it gets canceled because if you don’t buy the tickets- that’s when the event gets canceled. Buy the tickets first so people can genuinely see who’s interested. It’s so important to have the live stuff come back
“We, as an industry, provide an astronomical amount of money to the UK’s pocket through running these massive live events but it’s not all about money. What we make in money we give back ten-fold in enjoyment and general wellbeing for people. The amount of my friends who have said: ‘God I really wish we could go out, go see a band or a gig’ is unreal. I think it’s actually really important for the UK culture really that we do try and do those things again, we all like to be entertained, don’t we? I think that’s the most important thing.”
When this pandemic is under control, whenever that may be, George wants to start cracking on with his wish list of future events, going bigger than ever before, listing the Olympics as a future goal of his. He also wishes to expand Encore SFX by traveling abroad to do some gigs and events overseas, especially in America.
Despite all of those incredible goals, the one thing George wants to continue doing more than anything is to keep bringing the ‘wow’ factor to the stage. Don’t know what the ‘wow’ factor means? I’ll let George explain:
“We pride ourselves on the fact that we can do what other people think is impossible for their gigs. As a society, we’re in what I like to call the ‘Instagram’ age. Everyone’s always looking for that ‘wow’ moment and the beauty of encore is that, nine times out of ten, we are that wow moment, that’s the thing I want to continue doing. You’ll never know or need to know who I am or what effects I’ve put in place, you just expect it, but that effect is the lasting memory of the gig that you post on Instagram or tell people about. That’s the thing I really enjoy and that’s where a lot of my pride in our company comes from.”
To keep up-to-date with everything George and Encore SFX get up to in the future, and you best believe there are some incredible things in the works, be sure to give them a like on Facebook and a follow on Instagram @Encore-SFX. Also, have a look at their website if you have a gig or live event you’d like for them to cover.