O2 Gurus meet...Dominic Chinea

Picture 1Our in-store tech experts, the O2 Gurus, are always eager to help and inspire people with technology that lets them do more with their lives.

We placed Alex, one of our O2 Gurus, for a day with Dom Chinea a production designer to test out the Huawei Pocket Hotspot and see how Dom can maximise his creativity, and make his working practice more efficient, with a great piece of technology.

Alex has written about his experience with Dom below.

8.58am – O2 Guru Alex meets Dom.

Arriving at Dom’s I was initially blown away by the workshop and its character; set pieces and relics from past music videos (including a trunk from a Rolling Stones promo) and evocative old shop signs decorate the walls – each telling a story of their own. This provided the perfect opportunity to pry into Dom’s creative background and understand more about his personality and motivations for set design and running his own studio.

Dom started off in mechanics, restoring classic cars while at college. After a part-time university degree in graphic design, he landed an internship with renowned photographer Rankin, initially as a photography assistant, but because Rankin didn’t have any set designers, this task fell to Dom. Dom ended up travelling the world running Rankin’s set design department, and these experiences led him to setting up his own company: Dom’s Set Design.

Picture 2 dom9.45am – Development and ideation.

Today Dom is working on an installation for a prime retail space in central London. Dom has created 3D drawings and illustrations on his studio computer, and then transferred these designs to a smart tablet to work from using the Huawei Pocket Hotspot. The hotspot is light, durable, and compact – it doesn’t get in the way of his work and can fit in his pocket. As it’s portable it allows Dom to send designs back and forth from his truck to the studio.

10.12am – Another job comes in.

Dom’s received an email about a job for a shoe store – a new campaign based around an exciting interactive store display. Dom explained, “to build the set for the campaign I need to source parts that need approval almost instantaneously.”

I show Dom how using his smart tablet device and phone with the Wi-Fi hotspot he can quickly take images, edit them and add their specs to be sent to client for sign-off.

I ask Dom about how he manages the busy, somewhat chaotic studio:

“It’s a passion more than anything, we all love what we do – the creative problem solving. Lots of people in this industry just do design, and source it out to fabricators, but it’s satisfying being able to have the abilities and staff here to do it from conception to completion”.

Picture 3 dom11.15am – Sketching up the idea.

Dom transferred what he developed from his smart tablet onto wooden panels in the workshop. The Wi-Fi hotspot means all of Dom’s devices can be connected to his studio computer without having to physically plug in and download designs and constantly look back at notes. Dom said, “I have had to become more tech-savvy over the years as one can’t just put pen to paper anymore.”

Using a Wi-Fi hotspot with a smart tablet allows Dom to show his clients the outcome in person, giving them the opportunity to see a fully realised project in the digital space before they commit to the physical process.

12.32pm – Lunch.

3.10pm – Off to the set…in an American truck!

Dom and I leave the set for the build. I go armed with the Wi-Fi hotspot and grab Dom’s smart tablet, so if any adjustments are needed they can be sent to us on the go and we’re in sync with the team back at the workshop. With zero setup time, it means a smoother operation than dealing with phone calls and lots of handwritten paper notes en route.

Dom explained he has to “make countless set visits from his studio to the installation. There’s lots of ‘chefs’ involved with creative decisions – for our team it’s more than just turning the drawings and renderings into reality. It’s a collaboration.”

“Five years ago all my planning would have been in my head. It would be a few scribbles on paper. But that process doesn’t work in the creative industries anymore.”

Dom has many people relying on him; clients need to be reassured what they’re getting and the team need to know what they’re delivering. Dom has embraced the digital space, demonstrated by his experience with the pocket hotspot, which has allowed him to have a portable studio of sorts.

Dom said, “working with the Huawei Pocket Hotspot, and my smart devices, has allowed me to set up even on the move so I can improve and evolve my designs wherever I am.”

Picture 4 dom